By Bree Davies
By Emerald O'Brien
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Just as his career as DJ and producer was taking off, Denmark's Anders Trentemøller made the unorthodox decision to stop making music. "I was suddenly not so much inspired anymore," he says. "I felt I hadn't found my own sound, really. I could see myself trying to spend more time trying to sound like someone else, trying to sound like Daft Punk or some other artist back then rather than doing my own stuff.
"I was quite frustrated," he goes on. "So it actually ended up for me as kind of writer's block, you can say. I was afraid of coming near the computer at all and was very unsatisfied with my sound. It was really hard, because music is my life and my big passion, but I wasn't satisfied with how it sounded, and I always felt that if you're not satisfied with the music you're doing, don't release it."
Subsequently, Trentemøller took a break and taught kindergarten to make ends meet. After two years off, he was ready to return. "Slowly I began to feel the inspiration," he says, "and the patience came back, maybe because I didn't feel any pressure on me."
The time away paid off. His sound, especially on his 2006 debut album, The Last Resort, is distinctive and gorgeous. Moody and melancholic but shot through with an insistent, irresistible pulsing groove, it shows a masterful command of dynamics, timbre and arrangement. Drawing on ambient, minimal house and techno and incorporating elements of breakbeat, rock, soundtrack music and more, Resort is a masterpiece of imaginary vistas illuminated by eerie washes of sound, a deft blend of diverse influences into a fully realized whole.
"When I was a child, I was listening to a lot of classical music because of my parents," he notes. "Then later, I was really into the whole new-wave, indie-rock scene, bands like the Cure, the Smiths and early Depeche Mode. At that time, I was playing in some rock bands, and then after a trip to London, I suddenly discovered drum-and-bass and trip-hop and saw you could get the same energy that you get with new wave or punk just using samplers and synthesizers, and that was really big for me."
Despite enjoying considerable success as a DJ and remix artist, Trentemøller is currently concentrating on his own music, including touring the U.S. for the first time with his band, something he considers a natural evolution.
"I was not thinking that much about it, actually," he concludes. "I was just writing the music, and some of my friends came to visit me in the studio and played drums and guitar and bass. That's just a really natural way of making music for me."