As they prepare for sound check at a noisy New York venue, Anders Trentemøller takes a moment between overseeing his comprehensive stage set-up and psyching up his band to speak with MXDWN over the phone in an interview where he gives us all the juicy details about his ongoing tour.
Anders, it’s great to finally speak with you. How is the tour going thus far?
Very good. This is only our third day on the tour, so it’s just the beginning but so far so good.
We can’t wait to see you out here in LA. How is the rest of the band enjoying themselves?
They are good. I really admire them for doing their own stuff. They are all from Copenhagen, so I know them all very well.
I know some of the other members of your touring band appeared on your album. Did you immediately know who you wanted to take with you on the road?
It was immediately clear for me who I wanted to bring. Some of them did play on my album, so that was an obvious choice. We have a very strong crew of people on the road here.
I know in the past you had brought video visualization on tour with you. What sort of video set-up are you using this time?
Actually, I wanted to do it differently this time. I think there are a lot of artists who do video projection and I wanted to incorporate different designs built within the videography. We have these machines that go up and down and make unique designs. But it’s also about the fact that we have a full band on stage playing and that the visuals should somehow tie into that aspect of our performance.
That sounds amazing. Is there anything you like to do specifically when performing in different countries around the world?
You know it’s funny, people pretty much react the same no matter where you are. It’s also that 60% of what we are playing is instrumental, so it’s primarily about the music. That makes it easier for us to play in different countries because it’s music that is universal.
Makes sense. Because you utilize a lot of themes, tempos, and styles in your music, how does the band approach this during song transitions?
In the beginning of the tour last year we ran into problems like this. A lot of the instrumentals are changing as we are playing and what we have to do is improvise certain parts of a song. There is room to put in your own parts of a song, which is cool because when I am making music it’s quite a lonely process doing everything myself in my studio. it’s nice to lose that self control on the road.
What is the thought process you put into the set list?
We have pretty much the same set list, but then we change it up now and again. We are playing a lot of new material on this tour that we haven’t had a lot of time to play as a group before. We try to add some energy to the set while making it fun for us.
What equipment are you using for a performance?
We have two guitar players, a drummer, a bass player, two lead singers, tonight we have this girl playing a Russian instrument that you don’t touch to play, it’s great. We have some sequence stuff going on with Ableton, but I am not DJing because I think it’s so boring to look at, so I am doing keyboards and some percussion stuff. The whole focus is very much on the live element. When you watch some eletronica artists it looks like they are just standing there while the music plays. For us it is important to put on a truly unique live show.
Great. Are you doing a lot of multi-tasking then?
Yes! I am focusing on not controlling too much of the technology aspect, we have a guy taking care of that, so I can concentrate on playing music. It’s really cool to have the possibility to really perform and create an amazing live show.
Do you feel like an orchestra conductor?
Yeah, sometimes I feel like that, but sometimes I feel like a regular band member. I feel like I can really trust the other musicians to do the best they can.
As a multi-instrumentalist, is there a specific acoustic instrument you enjoy playing?
Well, we don’t use any acoustic instruments in the show, but on my album I play some acoustic guitar and classic piano. To be able to appreciate that together with the electronic sounds really gives something special. When it’s all done in the computer it can sometimes sound a little too clean, so I like using acoustic instruments to record. Together with this saturated sound and electronic sounds, it really creates something special.
I think so. Anders, do you think there are particular qualities distinct of Danish electronic music?
Yeah, to be honest, I don’t know much about the electronic scene anywhere. I am not that up to date because I am focused on my own music. Still, I think there are some really cool names coming out right now as far as underground music. People are beginning to play things that are atypical and it’s great.
Do you have plans immediately following the tour?
Yes, I am going to immediately begin working on my next album. I miss the process of composing music and vibing music because it’s hard for me to find time and space to do that while touring. We play and then party and then wake up and sound check.
Would to like to do any future DJ tour dates?
I don’t have any during this tour. Actually, I think I have one in Dallas. It’s hard for me to get into that process again.
Do you already have concepts conceived for your next album?
Yeah. I’m trying to work on sketches on the tour bus so that after the tour I will have a bulk of it written. Remixes, also, I am thinking about because they are a lot of fun for me. We have some quite interesting remixes coming out. I enjoy doing remix swaps, too, where I will remix an artist I really admire and they will remix me.
Do you have any collaboration projects in mind?
Nope. The main focus is on the album for now.
Definitely. Is there anything new you want to try on this next album?
Yeah. I am thinking of trying to set up some rules for myself. My last album was very raw sounding, so this time I think it will be fun to, say, use 10 tracks per song to make it much more simple instrumental-wise. You have so many possibilities and sometimes you have to kill your darlings and focus on what is needed.
That will be interesting to see how that turns out. It’s been great speaking with you, Anders, and I’ll see you at the Fonda October 27th.
Photos by Pamela Lin