In 2006, Danish multi-instrumentalist Anders Trentemøller dropped his first name and released The Last Resort, a cold, dark album full of ethereal soundscapes. He followed that up a year later with The Trentemøller Chronicles, a collection of remixes of songs by Robyn and the Knife, and, three years after that, Into the Great Wide Yonder, a romantic blend of electronic and rock music. Released on November 8, his latest project, Remixed/Reworked, features a few of Trentemøller’s favorite self-produced remixes. We caught up with the great Dane to chat about Coachella and why Suicide (the band) is better than Kraftwerk.
BULLETT: You guys played Coachella this year. What was that like?
TRENTEMØLLER: Well, it’s so legendary. Many of my favorite artists have been playing there so we were looking forward to being a part of it. It’s our second US festival. We also played at Ultra, which is much more club-oriented. It was cool for us to play at Coachella because it’s broader and has both the electronic side and the rock side to it, two different styles we very often mix into our own music.
Why the interest in remixing other people’s songs?
For me, doing remixes is my way of collaborating with other artists, and having the opportunity to see how they work. Getting the part from Depeche Mode and being able to see how they build up a track was really special for me because they were my teenage heroes.
A lot of Scandinavian bands like Casiokids have recently been making a splash on the international music scene. Are there any other artists from Denmark or Sweden you think we should keep our eye on?
Yeah, definitely. Efterklang has been making fantastic albums lately. I’m also good friends with another Danish band called the Raveonettes. There’s also a new band called Sleep Party People. They are all very young kids but they play this weird instrumental electronic music that’s still live with drums. It’s really special, more like underground music. It’s not something that’s easy to get into at first listen. There’s also this Swedish jazz player who’s dead now, but he used to make traditional Swedish folk songs in Russian and turn them into jazz versions. He’s called Jan Johansson.
There seems to be a really movement currently coming out of Northern Europe.
Actually, it’s been booming in Copenhagen for the last three years. I think it’s because artists are suddenly daring to believe in their own sound. Normally every band wanted to sound like a band from the UK or the United States. Or if you made electronic music, everyone just sounded like they came from Berlin. It was all the same. It was so boring but now it’s really like we have this kind of Scandinavian, melancholic sound.
Do you think it has to do with the weather?
[Laughs.] Yeah, actually, if you go back and listen to Scandinavian folk music from 300 years ago, it also has this dark melancholic vibe.
Do you find yourself referencing Danish pop culture in your music ?
Well, I don’t think I have pop-culture influences specific to Denmark, but I’m pretty inspired by an electronic band from the ’70s called Suicide. For me, they were something special. Kraftwerk was the biggest one back then but Suicide really did it for me because they had this rock-’n’-roll attitude in their sound, but without using guitars. It was so rough and mind-blowing, and now it still sounds fresh in a way.
You collaborate with fashion designer, Henrik Vibskov. What can you tell me about his contribution?
Henrik designs our stage show. He loves to play with different styles. He has this kind of mystical thing in some of his work, especially now—for the past two or three years it brighter and more colorful, but he’s been getting into darker things, which is something I can relate to. He’s a really cool guy.
Have you guys known each other for a while ?
Yes, for the past 10 years or so. It’s funny because when I met him at this jam session in Copenhagen, I didn’t know at all that he was making clothes. We played together for one year and he never told me anything about it. And then one day I was in this shop in Berlin, and I saw these clothes with Vibskov on the label. So I asked him, Do you make clothes? And he said, quite simply, “Yeah, I do.” And now he’s quite a big fish in the design world.
He’s becoming an icon.
Yeah but for him it’s really great sometimes to take a step away from the whole fashion scene, and just be a drummer and hang out with the guys.