With all the paths, the potential directions open to musicians, it’s little wonder that some get confused. Spending the best part of two years on the road, Trentemøller wasn’t sure what direction he was travelling in – but he knew where he wanted to end up.
Heading straight back to his native Copenhagen, the producer locked the door of his studio and threw himself into making new music. “I was having so many ideas that I couldn’t wait to get back” he explains. “For me, it is very typical to work really focused – like ten hours in the studio for two, three weeks. Then I’d need a break, take a break from the music and do things in my real life – spend time with my girlfriend and stuff like that” the producer continues.
Emphasizing the need for other voices, other inputs, Anders Trentemøller says: “It’s really important to me to see the music from outside, to get the feedback from other band members. I really like to work on my own, but the demands mean that sometimes you just have to break off.”
It’s these twin poles – lost on the road, lost in the studio – which drive the electronic artist’s new album. ‘Lost’ is very much a studio document, marked by hours of careful, exacting preparation. But it’s myriad of collaboration – members of Low, The Drums and more stop by – lend it the feel of a travelogue, of continually encountering new influences.
“For me, I have never had any plans before starting an album. It’s really important to me that everything is totally open” he enthuses. “The music, for me, remains somewhere to go. When three, four years pass of course things are happening to your life, and also hopefully it can develop and you can hear that in the music. Especially for me, maybe, because music is my biggest passion and it’s really something that I use to reflect what is going on in my life.”
Unusually, more than half of ‘Lost’ features guest vocalists, with Trentemøller drawing particular inspiration from the indie sphere – something the producer views as quite natural. “For me, it was a quite natural development and I don’t see it as being that much different from my previous albums” he insists. “Of course, it’s different from the first album that I did, eight years ago, but of course you develop yourself. For me, it was a quite natural development.”
“I started dabbling in bands when I was a teenager” the Danish artist continues. “I was very much (and also still am fan) a of the whole British post-punk scene – The Cure, Joy Division, The Fall - and also later the whole Manchester scene with Inspiral Carpets, Ride of course The Stone Roses and Happy Mondays. It was actually just later when I got into more electronic stuff.”
Returning to the indie sounds which fired his adolescent mind, Trentemøller allows these to filter through on ‘Lost’. Peter Hook style bass lines abound, while The Cure’s claustrophobia rings out clearly on a few tracks. Yet this would be a simplistic view of the album, and the producer is keen to widen the focus of dialogue.
“I am really much inspired by classical composers because they also have some kind of melancholic thing in their music. I also like folk music and some jazz” he insists. “So for me it was another inspiration. Of course, if you take a track like ‘Still On Fire’ it has a kind of a close bass sound which was definitely inspired by The Cure and their bass sound, and then other times there were much more abstract things going on. Sometimes it can be difficult to hear what the inspiration is, because it’s not always that clear, I think.”
Sometimes sending files via email, at others entering the same studio, the collaborations on ‘Lost’ were built up over a period of 12 months. “It’s funny because in the beginning I was not thinking that half of the album should have vocals – I had the idea that maybe two or three would have vocals” he explains. “Then when I started writing songs, the melodies, more of those songs just came up while I was playing on my own piano in the studio. So it was a bit of the opposite way around – normally you maybe meet with the vocalist and then you do the music together but this time I wrote the melodies and then contacted the artist and crossed my fingers that they’d like the song. It was a little bit nerve-racking sometimes, if the artist would say yes or no. I was really lucky, in that everybody said yes.”
Ultimately, the complexities of the album – it’s mosaic of influences, it’s lengthy list of guest vocalists – can be summed up in one word. ‘Lost’ has a duality of meaning, a positive / negative connotation which seems to sum up the inspiration and process behind the album. “‘Lost’ was actually a word which kept popping up many times while I was working on this album” he states. “I don’t know really why, actually. I thought about the word lost, that it was actually interesting how this word has double meanings. For many people lost can be a negative thing, being totally lost. But for me, it was a much more positive word – being lost in music, or lost in love. Letting yourself loose in the music, lose yourself. For me, it was a word in a good way for how I felt when making this album. Not about being lost when doing it, but feeling lost in the moment, the now. Just making music”.
Words: Robin Murray
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'Lost' is out now - check out the Clash review HERE.
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