New epic documentary featuring Trentemøller – The Science of Fixion


Today’s topic revolves around Trentemøller and the release of a new documentary dubbed ‘The science of Fixion’, but before we go there let’s recapture a bit. Copenhagen based musician Anders Trentemøller´s talent for heart wrenching melodic moments and exceptional productions, fused with his trademark sound somewhere between indie and electronic, has established him as one of the most respected and admired artists and remixers of this century.

After the release of his 2006 debut album, The Last Resort, praise for him and his music began rolling in immediately. His rampant success led to remix projects with Franz Ferdinand, Giana Factory, Mew, The Knife, and Pet Shop Boys. He collaborated with Depeche Mode as well and supported them on their 2013 Delta Machine tour. His latest studio album, Fixion, continued the collaborative nature of his work, with contributions from Jenny Beth of the post punk juggernaut Savages and his long-time vocalist, Marie Fisker.

The below video and track ‘River in me’ was the first single released from the Fixion album (2016).

‘River in Me’ is a stunning track featuring Jehnny Beth and Trentemøller said this in an interview on the track production process:

The rough demo that featured the bassline and drums was done in 20 minutes. However, we worked quite a lot on having Jehnny’s voice fitting well with the sounds being formed. Jehnny wrote a lot of the melodic stuff whilst she was in London. I mixed the latest Savages record, but for me it was still so great to have Jehnny in my studio. It was actually during the mixing session of the new Savages album that we talked about it being possibly fun to do some work together in the future.”

With ‘Fixion’ Anders really embraced the trademark of melancholy and matured it into something uniquely distinctive and ominously idealistic. Rather than attempting to completely reinvent himself, Anders used his latest outing as an opportunity to highlight certain granular aspects of his signature sound and refine them into a much more organic – and at times perhaps a more song-driven body of work.

Trentemøller has become quite well known for the his urge to constantly reinvent his sound, from album to album, something that he kind of describes as a natural evolution:

“For me, this is something that happens very, very naturally. It is not something that I plan when I start working on a new album – I really like starting with a blank page instead of thinking about what I did on the last records. I don’t want to do the same album twice, of course, but I focus on what feels right for me. I never think about reinventing my sound, because this is just natural development. It doesn’t have to be totally new or different, but it often ends up being quite far from what I’ve done previously. I feel like every album is a snapshot of where you are in your life, and my life changes, and I’m growing up also. [Laughs] The way I sounded fifteen years ago is very different from what I sound now, but I think there’s a natural development when I look at my albums. That being said, it’s a little hard to see that progression when you’re right in the middle of it – maybe it’s more easy for people outside to see the difference. It feels like a very natural flow for me.”

The Science of Fixion is a powerful music documentary by Thomas Jessen, Julie Runa and Kristian Pedersen, and here’s the media brief: “On 16th September 2017, exactly one year after the release of Trentemøller’s fourth album Fixion we are happy and proud to present a full, hour long music documentary by Thomas Jessen, Julie Runa and Kristian Pedersen. Originally produced by Thomas Jessen and Julie Runa and broadcasted in three parts on Danish National TV ‘DR’ the film has been re-edited by Kristian Pedersen into an entertaining movie which we are now happy to share with you.”

A natural topic when speaking of Trentemøller, and a new studio documentary, is gear and for Fixion, he leaned heavily on strings synths, mainly the [Hohner International] String Melody II and Roland [RS02] Strings. “I love layering them over two tracks. They are just so big and retro sounding. We all know those songs with [Joy Division’s] “Love Will Tear Us Apart” sound, and I love it so much. I feel connected to it. Other keyboards have a lot of different voices, but string synths only do one thing.

It’s great that a lot of old analog gear doesn’t have presets. You really have to sculpt your sound from the beginning every time – you cannot save it. When you finally get a sound you like, you have to record it right away or risk missing your chance.

I do have some old synths that store presets, though. I bought a Sequential Circuits Prophet 5when we were on tour in the U.S., but – and it’s a bit embarrassing to say – I didn’t do enough research and ended up not getting the one I really wanted. It was really expensive, but I just felt something was lacking.”

As The Science of Fixion deals a lot with the work in the studio it interesting to hear Trentemøller elaborate on the same topic when interviewed in a Danish online magazine quite recently:

Let’s come back to your studio work for a moment. Each of your albums sounds like very well thought whole. How do you work when you record a new material? Are you a person that has an idea for an album from the beginning or you’re more being in the momentum and writing few songs during one night?

I am very much just at the moment and I really don’t plan anything, because it’s really hard for me to stick to it and I don’t, and I feel limited. So I always just start with a totally blank page and then see when the music takes me. Then it’s only half through the writing process when I can see “ok, that’s the sound”. This time some of the songs really had that 80’s, sort of The Cure sound, and the sound of all those bands that I grew up listening to. But it wasn’t something that I planned, it was just there when I wrote the songs. Most of them were written not even in the studio. The sound was just there and I didn’t want to fight it because it felt right. So it was something that just happened. But sometimes I’m in the studio for one month or two months and nothing happens and suddenly I’m in this flow and I do three songs in a week or so. For me, it’s a thing that you cannot really plan.

You release your music as a solo artist, but then you go on tour and have a band on stage. How do you deal with combining this very individualized way of making music with actually having people that can also have something to say and some ideas how to perform?

It’s actually a very important thing for me. I’m writing all the stuff and playing all instruments in the studio, but I cannot do that live of course. So I really need a band to play the music live, but I don’t want it to be like “Trentemøller with a band”. It is much more about trying to have it as a united thing. So we use quite a lot of time on transferring all of the songs from the album to the band. And at the beginning, the band always gets crazy at me, because I am a strict music teacher saying “you have to play it like this and this and this”. So at the beginning, they don’t have that much freedom, but later they gain that. I also need to tell them what is my ambition for the music. And then they come back with all the feedback and I really love that thing that it’s really not only me telling them what to play, but hopefully it’s something we do together.

BACKGROUND INFO

Trentemøller: Fixion (2LP, CD, stream, download) released 16.09.17 on In My Room, https://trentemoller.lnk.to/Fixion

Directed and recorded by: Thomas Jessen & Julie Runa
Edited by: Kristian Pedersen / Farsight TV

Trentemøller Live band:
Anders Trentemøller (Keys, Vocals, Percussion)
Marie Fisker (Vocal, Guitar, Keys, Perc)
Jeppe Brix Sørensen (Guitar, Keys)
Jakob Falgren (Bass, Keys)
Jakob Høyer (Drums)

Jehnny Beth appears courtesy of Matador Records / Pop Noire

Crew:
Sune Snellman (FOH Sound)
Lars Peter Jensen ( Monitor Sound)
Anders Torp (Backline tech)
Michael “Fut” Radl (Light design and operator)
Clement Irbil (Light operator)
Leif Lunn (Bus driver)
Jonas Jacobsen (Tour Management)

Stage set design: Andreas Emenius

Berlin – Live Recordings
Live footage from Astra, Berlin recorded in February 2017 and produced by Sense Music & Media for Telekom Electronic Beats.

Roskilde Festival – Live Recordings
Courtesy of Roskilde Festival.

Paris – Live Recordings
Courtesy of Elisée Montmatre

Subtitles: Dansk Video Tekst
Produced by Julie Runa, Thomas Jessen, In My Room, Farsight TV

Miss You
Written and produced by Anders Trentemøller
2006 Poker Flat Recordings

My Conviction
Written and produced by Anders Trentemøller
Lyrics written and performed by Marie Fisker
2016 In My Room

One Eye Open
Written and produced by Anders Trentemøller
Lyrics written and performed by Marie Fisker
2016 In My Room

Complicated
Written and produced by Anders Trentemøller
Lyrics written and performed by Jehnny Beth
2016 In My Room

Sinus
Written and produced by Anders Trentemøller
2016 In My Room

River In Me
Written and produced by Anders Trentemøller
Lyrics written and performed by Jehnny Beth
2016 In My Room

Never Fade
Written and produced by Anders Trentemøller
2016 In My Room

Hands Down (Trentemøller’s Blissed Out Mix Instrumental)
Written and produced by Anders Trentemøller
2017 In My Room

Special thanks to Marianne Hansen, Henrik Berring at Roskilde Festival, Nick Cave at William Morris, Kasper Bjørke, Olaf Reinholz, Tobias Lampe, Philipp Brüning