A good producer knows how to blend melodies and beats seamlessly, but a truly knowledgeable one knows the origins of every note. Danish producer Anders Trentemøller started out his musical career in bands as a multi-instrumentalist before becoming a club DJ and producer. Two years ago, he made his name in the minimal techno/house scene with debut album The Last Resort, blending ethereal melodies with hauntingly rhythmic beats. His second album, Into The Great Wide Yonder, released last year, goes back to his roots and love of playing live instruments, which he layers with electronic sounds. While these two worlds might not seem to go together, Trentemøller exhibits how twanging guitars can complement stirring synths, and shows where techno and indie rock cross paths. You can experience what we can only describe as indie electronic techno rock (so basically Coachella in the melting pot) when Trentemøller plays alongside his live band Saturday at Mezzanine.
You must pretty tired since you're playing North America coast to coast -- from Ultra to SXSW to Coachella -- with a full band. How did you like Ultra versus SXSW?
Yeah, I'm quite tired, but we have a really good crew. We play at night, travel through the night, and wake up in a new city so it's a great experience. Both festivals were great, and obviously two very different experiences. Miami was much more techno-based, but with our new tour, it has more of a rock sound, so we got to mix the different sounds. Sometimes people expect us to be more techno, but this time, we were more indie rock, which surprised them. And hopefully we mixed it well!
Your first album and second album are extremely different, productionwise. What made you want to go back to playing real instruments?
I think it actually it came out of a need to for me play more intimately live. I somehow missed it, because electronic music is so much about programming and sitting in front of the computer all the time. I have this bond with organic sounds. It was a natural development for me, so I had to get back to that somehow and try to incorporate those elements in my music. It just happened because I wanted to challenge myself and not repeat what was on my first album, which was dominantly electronic sounding.
When you record albums, do you record them or have any input from the band?
I actually play all the instruments myself. It's done in my home studio. When we go on the road, I can't play all the instruments at one time, so that's why I tour with a band. The band is also all friends of mine. It was easy for me to put together a band that understood what the sound was about.
Watching the video for the "Silver Surfer, Ghost Rider Go!!!" where you played in front of 50,000 people was almost like watching a rock arena concert.
Of course, normally, we don't play in front of that many people. That's how our live shows are they have a lot of rock energy. It was really special for me playing Roskilde Festival, because it's the biggest music festival in Northern Europe, and I used to go that when I was a teenager. It was surreal for me to be on the main stage. People just went crazy, and when I think about it I still get goose bumps. It was so much magic with love in the air.
Into the Great Wide Yonder had so many sounds that transition from your well-known minimal techno sound to rock. What was the writing process like?
The whole writing process was much quicker this time, because [on] the first album I was using tracks that were three to four years old and putting old melodies together. This album was created in under one year. A quicker process meant I had to be quite hard on myself because I wanted to make the album much longer. I had 10 more tracks but they could not all be on it.
It was rough because I didn't have that much time, but great in a sense because it also forced me to be a little hardcore on myself in what sound and direction I wanted for this album, and what I wanted for future albums.
You also remix your own tracks. Is it harder since it's something you've created, and now you're taking it apart and re-creating it again?
It's a little weird sometimes, because when you've been working on one track for so much time, you have step away to look at it from the outside when you do a remix. Normally it's easier for me to remix other artists, because for my own music the tracks are always still fresh in my head. Remixing myself is often a little bit hard, because I cannot get tired of the track because I know it so well and all the elements.
When I remixed the newest single, "Shades of Marble," it was one of the tracks I started on first for this new album. But even though it was still fresh, I felt quite comfortable going back to the track and taking it to new direction. Taking a special part like a hook or guitar riffs and build a whole new track around those elements is what I try to do for my own tracks. But honestly, I prefer not to remix myself because I just get too close to myself!----