Filed under: Interview
“The most important thing is to believe in your own sound and not to listen too much to what the top DJs are playing or what’s hip right now. Just make the music that you feel yourself and try not to listen to other people telling you what style you should do.”
6 years after he quit club culture to become a kindergarten teacher, Anders Trentemoller sits right at the top of the dance scene, both as a DJ, producer and remixer to the stars (including the likes of Royskopp, Moby and the Pet Shop Boys. However, following his newfound maxim, his debut album ‘The Last Resort’ is anything but dancey, instead pursuing a cinematic, almost ambient vibe, at least compared to his dance tracks.
“I was quite aware as soon as Pokerflat asked me to do an album that I wasn’t going to do a simple dance album with 13 pumping dance tracks because I wanted to do something for listening to at home or in your Ipod rather than on the dance floor,” he explains.
“It was also important for me that the whole album told a story from the first track to the last track so I could lead the listener on a journey.”
Aiming the record at ‘all you dreamers, lovers and spacers out there’, Anders admits he’s exposed himself fully on the record, reflecting ‘my life, my thoughts, my needs, my insecureness, my longings’, though, perhaps wisely, he’s kept it entirely instrumental. The result will disappoint DJs, though as he’s quick to point out- ‘I don’t care what DJs think of it’.
Interview & Introduction by Jonty Skrufff (Skrufff.com)
Skrufff (Jonty Skrufff) : Do you find it trickier making these instrumental emotional songs compared to club tracks?
Trentemoller : Some of these tracks were actually easier because they were much more personal as there were less limits. When you’re making dance and techno tracks you always need to consider the DJs placing 16 bars at the beginning of tracks for example, whereas for this album I had total freedom to do whatever I liked. Then again this is my debut album so I was also conscious that I wanted to do it as well as I could.
Skrufff : Are you more enthusiastic about music made for listening to compared to dance music?
Trentemoller : Yeah, because there are many more layers in this kind of music. Dance music is functional; it’s made to get people dancing whereas with this kind of music you can express far more feelings, such as melancholy. There’s also more potential for expressing emotion than there is in a dance record, I can’t see why you’d put melancholic emotions in a dance track as people don’t want to feel sad when they’re dancing.
Skrufff : Speaking from a DJing perspective, I would have loved to have 10 more dance floor killers…
Trentemoller : I’m not making music for DJs, this album was made from my heart, much more than my dance music. Because making dance music involves more workmanship in a way while this was much more personal to me, if people are disappointed, I don’t care.
Skrufff : I read about you taking a break from music in 2,000, what did you do in that period?
Trentemoller : I was actually having writer’s block and I was not satisfied with my own sound, I decided all my tracks sounded terrible. I was actually afraid to even go near my computer for two years, because somehow I lost my inspiration. A lot of things happened in my life. Slowly after two years I began making music on my computer then after two years suddenly one of my older tracks ended up being signed by Naked Music. That was a bad period in my life, those two years.
Skrufff : Did you lose your confidence?
Trentemoller : It was a combination of losing confidence and also some personal issues, in a way I felt that I was beginning to repeat myself musically so when I look back I think taking a break was a good thing for me because I had some kind of wake-up call. Having that two year break made me start trusting my own sound. Because even during that period I was still listening to a lot of music and thinking about it a lot of the time.
Skrufff : Did you get a regular job?
Trentemoller : Yeah, I was actually working in a kindergarten as a part time job just to earn some money. The children were from 3 to 6 years old, I was making some drum sessions with them, with bongo drums.
Skrufff : Did you other teachers know of your DJ life?
Trentemoller : No, I never told them about it as it was a whole different atmosphere and world to my kindergarten. I stopped because I started DJing again and made some money from the Naked tracks and things suddenly exploded and I was able to make a living from music.
Skrufff : On your press release you talk about expressing your insecurities in the music, are you confident today about doing that?
Trentemoller : Yeah. I’m very proud of this album. Normally when I make music I rarely go back and listen to it again once I’ve finished it whereas with this album I can still enjoy it. I’m very happy that I’ve finally got the chance to show people that I can make lots of different styles of music, that I’m not only a techno/ house producer. I’ve actually always made this kind of music I’ve just never released it before.
Skrufff : In an ideal world, if the album does well beyond your wildest dreams, would you give up dance music altogether?
Trentemoller : No, I’d still make dance tracks, I’m still interested in making all sorts of music, whether it’s techno or whatever., as long as it has my sound.
Skrufff : You’re associated frequently with the minimal tag, Christian from Ame told us recently he’s bored of minimal…
Trentemoller : I’m also getting bored of it, but I’ve always been a bit bored of it. Some people have said that my music is minimal but I’ve never seen it as minimal. With my dance tracks I’ve always tried to add layers and small details making the track develop and that is not quite what I think of minimal as being. I also think that the minimal scene needs a fresh kick.
Skrufff : You’ve stayed based in your hometown of Copenhagen, did you ever consider relocating, for example to Berlin?
Trentemoller : I’m very happy living here in Copenhagen, it’s a small city with big city qualities and you can walk from one end to the other in one hour and bump into people you know. I could live somewhere else for a year but I’m quite happy to stay here as a base.
Skrufff : Are you hoping to perform your music live?
Trentemoller : Yeah, though not right now. I’m more concentrating on my next album so maybe later, for example next summer at festivals because playing this album in a club setting wouldn’t work. It’s not for dancing though as festivals where people listen it could work.
Skrufff : You’ve had loads of success with remixes and your own productions in the last two years, how much has this success helped you handle your insecurities?
Trentemoller : I don’t think success has made much difference for me it’s been more about working for myself and also actually doing this album because it’s been like a therapy, because I had the chance to express some of the feelings that I’ve had with music. Even if that sounds weird; it was a way for me to get some of my emotions out of my body.
Skrufff : Looking back to when you quit the business for two years, what should people do to avoid making the same mistakes?
Trentemoller : The most important thing is to believe in your own sound and not to listen too much to what the top DJs are playing or what’s hip right now. Just make the music that you feel yourself and try not to listen to other people telling you what style you should do. It’s also helped me enormously to start believing in my own sound, that’s the key.
End of the interview
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