Today we had the pleasure of interviewing the wildly impressive band from Europe, Klangstof, to celebrate the release of their debut album, "Close Eyes to Exit." Band member Koan grew up up in a remote area in the middle of Norway with a limited budget and no one to start a band with. So, he taught himself how to play and record. With his first track picked up by a local radio station his music started making its way across Nordic airwaves. He then went on to become a bass player in critically acclaimed indie band Moss which only confirmed his passion for playing solo, and so Klangstof was born.
Who is Klangstoff and where do you hail from?
Koen is the guy who lived in the middle of nowhere and produced and wrote “Close Eyes to Exit”.
Wannes is our afro god and synth wizard from Rotterdam, Netherlands.
Jobo is the dude who will be head banging the most on stage, maybe even more then James Hetfield.
Jun Christian plays drums and turns a lot of samples on and off during the songs.
How would you describe your sound?
Yesterday I met someone who told me that it was like Radiohead for people that aren’t suicidal. As weird as it sounds, I think that is quite on point. It’s atmospheric and melancholic pop music with some uplifting hooks in there.
When and how did you form Klangstof?
It started as a solo-project a few years ago. When I started finishing up ideas, I really wanted to get a band together to give the album a bit of a “live” feel, instead of just using electronics. So I then went on to record the album with some good friends. After the recordings were done, I went on to find the perfect band for live touring and the future. I asked Jun and Jobo, with whom I once were in a band with in Norway to come over and join Klangstof, and came across Wannes in a café somewhere in Rotterdam.
Congrats on signing to Mind of a Genius (MOAG). How did they reach out to you from Los Angeles.
David (founder of MOAG), called me in the middle of the night, after Hostage started playing randomly on his SoundCloud. I think he was checking a different band when all of a sudden we popped up. It was a quick and exciting call. He really gave me the confidence and time for Klangstof to grow, which I think is a good thing to do these days.
The artwork beautiful matches the serenity of your music. What did that creative process look like?
Thanks! The art is made by Jenna Arts (yes, that’s her real name). I have been fond of her drawings for a few good years now. I e-mailed her a year back and told her that I was working on a “secret” project and if she could please listen to a few demos and draw something. For me it was, just as it was for her, very inspiring to help each other out creatively. She could draw something, and I could make a song out of it. It was a very special collaboration.
What was the motivation and/or strategy behind releasing an album now?
For us it was more something we had to do, rather than a strategy. We thought that people would find the music a bit too hard to digest, so we wanted to spread it out to give them some time to get used to it. I think it worked really well. You could see that we slowly gained more fans and followers over the last 7 months, and we felt that now the time was right to release the record.
What are you hoping to achieve by releasing the album? From a personal level, rather than professional level?
When I started the writing process, I would never think that I was working on a worldwide release. So in a lot of ways I’ve already achieved more than I had ever expected.
Close Eyes To Exit for me was really an album I had to write. Both lyrically and musically. I think that’s the thing with most debut albums. I just wanted to get our sound out in the open and see what happens. From here on we can really go anywhere, which feels great.
The Dutch Impact showcase highlights the best of Holland’s young talent and you were luckily enough to play! How was your experience? Was the crowd what you expected?
It being a showcase festival, I expected a lot more noise from the crowd. But it was actually really really nice. I still find it amazing to see that so many foreign people drop by and understand the music.
Joining Jagwa Ma on tour must have been a fantastic experience. How did that came about?
We have the same booking agency in Europe, that was how the connection was made. It feels unreal to be joining them on tour. Been a big fan of them from the very start!
Is there anything else you'd like to tell your fans in Australia or the rest of the world? Facts or news you're itching to share!
There are a lot of cool things happening in 2017 that I just can’t tell yet! But let’s end by saying that a few Australian shows are topping our bucket list at the moment.
Without further adieu, please listen to their debut album, "Close Eyes to Exit." The epic soundscapes and guitars remind you of the quiet and fascinating Scandinavian nature, while the synthesizers and drum-machines sound bring an industrial feel. Klangstof continuously and unexpectedly unites the polar ends of the spectrum, in such a way that you want to both dance and cry while listening.