Trentemøller is a pioneer of a new Scandinavian sound that resonated across the globe and influenced countless modern producers and musicians. The producer has been crafting his musical identity for 20 years now which gained iconic or dare we say legendary status worldwide. Establishing a sound that is always evolving yet easily identifiable as his own, Trentemøller is making a musical appearance in Beirut this weekend at The Grand Factory. We had a quick chat with the producer and got to ask him about his history, process, Beirut expectations and everything in between.

Your music defies the definition of genres, emotions and even sound design. Although it’s hard to describe music using words, how would you pen the sound you make?

Yeah, you’re right, it’s always difficult for me to accurately describe. But I try to make music that always has a melodic aspect to it, even if it’s sometimes pretty cinematic. Other times I like to write songs that are more really song based you know…with a verse, chorus and a bridge maybe…it really depends on what mood I’m in and what will fit into the album I’m working on.
But as a rule I like to not be limited to a specific genre, it should really be the music that kind of guides my way.

Where artists grow up often plays a huge role in their music. Besides Scandinavian music that clearly influences your sound, how does home play part in Trentemøller’s process? 

I have been living in Brooklyn for a year while my girlfriend was working there as an architect and that was great, but I prefer the quiet of my house and studio outside of Copenhagen. It’s close to the beach and I can get really into my thing being a bit isolated; I tend to work best when there are not so many people around me. I share my studio with my drummer, who also produces other bands, and I like that social thing too. There is space for getting into the music without any ‘noise’ from outside, while at the same time there is stuff happening in my studio, with Jakob (the drummer) working and other musicians dropping by now and then. It’s a good mix I think.

You are one of the pioneers of a novel sound of Danish music and the world. Tell us about your creative process in the studio, how do you go about building off the beaten road timeless classics? 

ha ha thanks… It’s very different. Often I sit at my upright piano and play with different chord progressions and melody ideas, other times I start with a sound I like on my synths or the guitar, or I play around with my effects pedals and see if I can come up with something that really interests me. It’s always a long process, trying out a lot of different ideas. Often it can be quite frustrating when nothing good enough comes up ha ha …but you just have to be patient and sometimes do something else. Take a walk by the seaside, or grab a beer with your friends etc..

Your process is quite interesting. It’s something like a film director where you finalize everything then include your band members and give them strict instructions as to how to play every piece. At the same time, you’ve expressed the pleasure of playing live and experimenting with sound. How do you translate the contradiction of studio experimentation with the precision of your live performances? 

I have had the same band for some years now, so they know me and I know them. Both artistically and on a personal level. So I present them for the final album. Sometimes they have been playing on several tracks so they know them already, but it’s just a lot of hours playing together in my studio and trying to see where we can take the music as a band, not as Trentemøller with a ‘backing band’. It’s important to me that we can play the songs in a way that fits our band.

It took you many years of experimenting before deciding to release your music. It also takes time, playing around at the studio to find the final sound of an album and hone it to perfection. What’s your relationship with time, and how can an artist still manage to come up with a meticulous end product when everyone is always in a rush to get things done? 

At one point on the making of a new album, I always nearly give up. It’s so hard sometimes when things just don’t go your way. You think it sounds boring and something heard a thousand times before. So it can be a real mindfuck, also because I work on my own always. On the other hand I like it that way but it surely is a huge challenge sometimes!

You’ve been playing music for twenty years. How does touring and performing live evolve with someone who’s been doing this for such a long time at such a global caliber?

I LOVE touring with the band!! I never get tired of it. We have a great crew behind us. The same sound guy, light guy, tour manager, monitor man, roadie…so we are like a big family. 12 people all in all in a bus! And touring is a nice contrast to me sitting alone in my studio. But after a huge tour as we did with the last album ‘fixion’ where we played around 150 shows in a little bit more than a year, it’s also nice to come back to my little cave and write new material again.

 You’ll be playing in Beirut next week, and you’re known to have a unique connection with any crowd you play to. Do you have expectations or experiences with the blooming Beirut electronic music scene?
I’m SO much looking forward to playing in Beirut. It’s only a DJ set this time, as we are not playing with the band right now because I’m working on the next album, but it’s gonna be so much fun DJing a little again. It’s something that I rarely do, so I’m looking forward to it and also to exploring the city! My good friend TOM and his Computer will also play and his wife is from Beirut so we are gonna see a lot of nice places I think. It’s a city with such a long history, can’t wait to explore some of it!

What is so appealing about remixing tracks, and why do you think it’s important to rework your own tracks?

It’s funny because I haven’t remixed for 3 years now. I really got tired of it, and I wanted to use the time on my own stuff instead. But yesterday I actually made an exception, I just finished a remix for one of my favorite bands A Place To Bury Strangers. So when they asked me to remix their single from their new album I could not resist ha ha!
They are so cool, love their music and sound!!

You influenced countless musicians and artists around the world, it would be interesting to know who influenced you. What are some albums that lingered with you over the years and what’s your guilty pleasure? 

I dont believe in guilty pleasures to be honest. But I’m inspired by different kinds of music…everything from Slowdive, Suicide, Jan Johansson, Erik Satie, Jesus and Mary chain, Alessandro Cortini, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Mazzy Star, Nick Drake, The Cure, Velvet Underground, Chopin etc ….the list can go on.

Your fans around the world religiously await any Trentemøller rumours, gossip and news. Any new album on the horizon? A surprising sonic turn? What does the future hold for you?

As I said, at the moment I’m working hard on a new album…it’s still in the ‘trying out different stuff’ phase, but that’s what I’m dedicating all my time to now and for many months to come!