One of the more interesting artists at next week's Meltdown Festival in the Southbank Centre is Danish indie-electro pioneer Anders Trentemøller. The Copenhagen-based producer and multi-instrumentalist will return to London at the request of Meltdown curator James Lavelle to play a one-off show at the Royal Festival Hall.
Trentemøller first made his long name a few years ago by remixing the likes of Moby, Röyksopp, Yoshimoto and UNKLE, though since then he's moved onwards and inwards with a series of albums made up of complex and spooky yet always beautiful sonic experiments. He promises to bring something strange and Scandinavian to the Southbank with a show that fuses thrumming krautrock and hypnotic vocals into a series of spectral cinematic soundscapes.
You come from Denmark which seems to have a lot of murders judging by your TV shows. Are you scared when you go out at night? What? Not really. I think it’s quite safe – it’s not quite the same as in The Killing and those other shows.
Your recent album Lost was quite dark, intense and melancholic… Are you dark, intense and melancholic? It’s a question I quite often get but I’m actually a really happy boy. Maybe I’m a happy boy because I have this channel that kind of helps me. Sometimes making music can be like – and I know it’s a cliché but – it can be like therapy.
Is it a Scandinavian thing? Because we are from Scandinavia we have this melancholic and a little bit dark part of ourselves. I think many bands from Sweden, Norway and Denmark share this melancholic vibe, even if it’s something we aren’t aware of.
So how did you get involved in this year’s Meltdown? We were contacted by James Lavelle and asked if we wanted to play. It was great for me because I have already worked with James and UNKLE. They did a remix of one of the tracks on my album and I did a remix for them, so it was logical to try and do this thing together.
What will you be playing at your London show? I’m playing music from my albums, which is a mixture of electronic and indie elements. But of course because we’re playing live the sound gets a little more rough and dirty than the albums. That's actually something we always want to achieve because I think it’s boring if a band plays totally the same as the album. We feel more like it’s doing covers of the songs.
You’re performing in the Royal Festival Hall which is quite a classical space. How are you planning to handle the venue? Have you been there before? No, I’ve never been there but of course heard about it and we have sometimes played similar places. I’m really looking forward to the venue it looks really special, really beautiful.
Design is also an important part of your stage shows – will we be seeing that in London? Yes, we always have this special visual side to it. I’m working closely with a Danish designer called Henrik Vibskov so we’re definitely gonna bring that.
How does the design evolve – from an idea or from the music? The funny thing is that Henrik is one of the most famous fashion designers in Denmark but he actually started playing drums in my band so I knew him first as a drummer before I started working with him as a designer. He’s very much into the music which makes it easy because sometimes it’s really hard to find words for such an abstract thing.
What kind of experiences have you had playing in London before? We’ve played a few times in the Roundhouse and the Forum – and that was really great fun with a really cool crowd.
Has London ever inspired you in any way? Not simply London but the whole UK sound from the 80s and 90s – the Cure, the Smiths, Joy Division, Echo & The Bunnymen – there are so many UK bands that I have been inspired by. It has always been a big part of my musical background. So of course playing in London will be something special for me because somehow I feel that I have been here in the city even if I haven’t been too many times, if that make sense.
Trentemøller performs at the Royal Festival Hall, Tuesday 17 June, 7.30pm. Tickets are £20, £15.
James Lavelle's Meltdown runs from Friday 13 June 2014 - Sunday 22 June 2014.