Track by track with Trentemøller

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Take Me Into Your Skin

“I re­ally wanted to have that feel of bring­ing the lis­tener into a kind of jour­ney. This whole song is a big build-up, too, and then it breaks into my favourite part of the song – the chords were very much in­spired by the chords of a [US alt rock­ers] Mazzy Star track I loved.

“The whole song is based around this one bassline and sim­ple chords – then I added some dif­fer­ent melodies. I did that with my ‘fake gui­tars’ [laughs]. It sounds like gui­tars, but it’s all done with synths.”

Vamp

“This came to­gether when I was play­ing bass gui­tar. I’m not a very good bass player, but I could do some­thing very sim­ple. Then I sam­pled that. The whole song is based around that.

“Then I wanted to make the sound rough, and to have a sexy groove to it. At one point I felt some­thing more rough was miss­ing so I did th­ese synth stabs that you can hear in the mid­dle of the song – that was my Juno-60. I think that was run through some over­drive gui­tar ped­als. It’s quite a sim­ple tune that’s just bass, drums and stabs, com­ing in and out.”

Evil Dub

“This started off as quite a reg­u­lar Dub/Elec­tron­ica song, then some­thing funny hap­pened. Back then Mys­pace was the big thing, and one of my fol­low­ers there had made his own boot­leg of one of my old songs that I re­ally liked, so I wrote to him and asked if I could have the gui­tar part.

“I thought it would fit re­ally well over the ver­sion of Evil Dub I’d made, but it was in a dif­fer­ent key and tempo. I had to pitch it down and timestretch it to fit. It was quite hard for me as I was very new to Able­ton Live and I didn’t re­ally un­der­stand the whole ‘warp’ thing. It took me a long time to make it sync. I was re­ally bad at read­ing man­u­als and still am [laughs].”

Al­ways Some­thing Bet­ter

“The idea for this song came when I was in this old Dan­ish ra­dio stu­dio. They had a lot of dif­fer­ent old in­stru­ments that the sym­phonic orches­tra there would use. I found this kind of small pi­ano that had a great sound called a ce­lesta. It had this fan­tas­tic glock­en­spiel sound that I used for this song.

“It was some­thing that was quite hard to recre­ate with a plugin. You could re­ally sense the frag­ile el­e­ments to it. It had all th­ese quirky sounds that you just couldn’t find in a plugin. I re­ally loved it.

“It added this or­ganic sound that the whole al­bum had. It helped cre­ate that con­trast between some­thing that was very new and crisp, and this 400-year-old in­stru­ment, that re­ally added this spe­cial el­e­ment to it.”

While The Cold Win­ter Wait­ing

“This ti­tle was to­tally stolen from a Mazzy Star song – as you can tell I’m a huge fan of their work [laughs]. It was a sen­tence in one of their songs,

Rhymes of an Hour. A lot of the songs on my first al­bum have th­ese dig­i­tal ‘clicks’ through them. They’re re­ally rhyth­mi­cal pro­grammed. They came from a CD I burned once, where some­thing went wrong, and it made this glitchy noise. The CD had no mu­sic on it, but lots of weird clicks. So I used up two days just sam­pling up ev­ery lit­tle click from this glitchy CD, be­cause they all sounded so dif­fer­ent. I ended up with a huge li­brary of about 200 clicks. I then used them to pro­gram per­cus­sion through tracks like this.”

Night­walker

“This also has bits of that CD er­ror noise on it. It be­came part of my sig­na­ture sound for this al­bum, I think. Th­ese very high-end and tre­bly dig­i­tal clicks.

“This is more of a straight Dub/ Elec­tron­ica track, though, with some synth stabs in it. I was very much in­spired by Ba­sic Chan­nel [the Ger­man dub and techno out­fit]. I wanted to do some­thing sim­i­lar to what they were do­ing. I used my Virus over the top to bring in an­other el­e­ment.”

Like Two Strangers

“Again, I used the ce­lesta in­stru­ment from the ra­dio stu­dio on this track. Then there’s a ride from the drum set they had there, too, which I played.

“It was a very sim­ple drum sound. Not jazzy, be­cause I didn’t want that, but the brushes made it more gen­tle. I started with a much more Elec­tronic beat, but it didn’t feel right. So it was very nice to use the acous­tic drums.

“I play in­stru­ments, but not too much. I started off play­ing drums be­fore I played pi­ano. I can also play a lit­tle bass and gui­tar. It’s just enough for me to play some sim­ple parts on my songs, then cut it up. My main in­stru­ment would be pi­ano and key­boards.”

The Very Last Re­sort

“This is a song that is very cine­matic. I wanted it to be very score-like. I was in­spired by the mys­ti­cal feel­ing of David Lynch movies, and En­nio Mor­ri­cone’s work.

“Then I used some kind of weird di­a­logue that I sam­pled from this

“I was in­spired by the mys­ti­cal feel­ing of David Lynch movies, and En­nio Mor­ri­cone’s work”

Span­ish movie. I didn’t want peo­ple to un­der­stand what was be­ing said. I wanted it to sound like two hu­mans talk­ing to­gether. It’s a woman and a man. I re­ally liked the idea that if I put on a lot of re­verb and de­lay on it, it would sound like th­ese ghostly words, but you couldn’t hear what they were say­ing. That made for a spe­cial feel­ing for the whole song.

“This al­bum was also re­leased on vinyl, so this also served as an end to part one on the vinyl re­lease.”

Snowflake

“This was the per­fect start to part two. It starts with be­ing quite am­bi­ent, then it has this techno synth that slowly fades in, from the Virus.

“It was a song that I wanted to have that am­bi­ent feel to it, but then sur­prise the lis­tener with that very nice, nearly down­tempo, feel to it, de­stroyed by an ag­gres­sive synth riff go­ing on. Again, there’s a lot of those CD clicks go­ing on, too.”

Chameleon

“This, and the next track, are the only two that are techno-like. They’re very much in­spired by my old sound – back then.

“The bassline here was also heav­ily in­spired by [clas­sic elec­tric Punk duo] Sui­cide, who were one of the bands that I was re­ally into. I wanted to do a sim­ple bassline that had that vibe to it. Then it’s just re­ally the Virus and my Juno-60 – they were the only two synths I had at the time [laughs]. That was ba­si­cally it. It’s the only song, re­ally, that has that ‘shuf­fle’ feel to it.”

Into The Trees (Serenetti Part 3)

“This keeps the en­ergy go­ing. It fits well with the last one. There are some drums recorded in that ra­dio stu­dio. I only had that space avail­able for a few hours that day. In that time I recorded all the drums for the al­bum. You can def­i­nitely hear those live drums, played by Hen­rik Vib­skov, who went on to be the live drum­mer in my band, when we were tour­ing

“I wanted this to be very elec­tronic, but also have that hu­man feel to it – That or­ganic warmth. Those live drums added some­thing spe­cial to it. The drums here have a nearly ‘march’ like feel to them. Hen­rik was re­ally good at get­ting that across.”

Moan

“There’s a lit­tle sam­ple in there of a car horn and some birds, that you can hear far away. I just put out my mi­cro­phone by the win­dow to get some at­mos­phere from the street.

“That was some­thing I would do a lot back then. I also would go into the woods and just record sounds to use, too. I would use them as at­mos­phere gen­tly in the back of the mix. You might hear them if you lis­ten very closely on head­phones to the al­bum again. It gives a di­men­sion that you aren’t re­ally aware of. It was more to the front on Moan, though.”

Miss You

“This song was done in two hours, max­i­mum. It was recorded live, so I just sat on my Virus and played to a click track.

“It was a very sim­ple thing to do, and done very late in the evening, feel­ing very melan­cholic – I missed my girl­friend.

“I thought about adding some drums – I’m nor­mally one to go back to a track the next day to work more on it, but I some­how felt that this was very sim­ple, and pure, and frag­ile. I liked that.

“I would say that this is the only track in my en­tire ca­reer that I have never touched af­ter the first ses­sion. It was mixed and ev­ery­thing in those two hours. I was happy I was ca­pa­ble of do­ing that. It is easy to over-do stuff. It ends the whole al­bum in a very hon­est way.”

“I pretty much started, as I al­ways do with a new al­bum, by just play­ing a lot with dif­fer­ent melodies, to see where the mu­sic would take me. I didn’t have any big plans when I started the al­bum. It was just play­ing around. Then very quickly I could see that it had a very melan­cholic, cine­matic feel to it, and I re­ally tried to fol­low that path.”

Trentemøller has just fin­ished a gi­gan­tic 50-date tour of Europe, Amer­ica, and Canada, and is look­ing for­ward to a packed sum­mer of live shows. UK fans can catch him per­form­ing at this year’s Beat-Herder Fes­ti­val, held between the 14th-16th of July. When the dust set­tles on that oper­a­tion, he has firm plans to re­turn to ei­ther his own vin­tage gear-packed stu­dio, or strip it all back and head to his girl­friend’s crib in Brook­lyn, and make beats with his lap­top and lone MIDI key­board.

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