As the temperature continues to fall into single digits and the night draws in we look towards a mellower genre of music, gone are the dance tracks of the summer. And on cue enter Norwegian, Dutch outfit Klangstof with their stunning 4 track EP, Everest.
Having penned and recorded their latest EP in the back of a bus, life on the road no longer appears to be a drastic lifestyle change; it simply comes naturally.
“We just really enjoy being on the road. It’s like being on holiday with your best friends. Which feels great. We can also just be together and perform, which is the coolest way to communicate with each other. It’s a dream come true.” Says Koen, lead vocalist.
The four piece combine electronic beats with cinematic soundscapes that glide across beautifully intricate melodies. Their music is embellished in delicate production and elegant vocals.
“I played in my first ever band with the two Norwegian guys from Klangstof. When I was 21, I moved back to Amsterdam.” Koen explains, “We always said that if one of us makes it we would definitely play together again. So as soon as we got going with Klangstof I was able to get a nice little record deal, I just rang the guys and was like you’ve got to move to Amsterdam now, because I’ve got something cool going on here. It took one or two weeks and then they just upped and moved to Amsterdam.”
Packing up and migrating to another country takes balls. And to have the most incredible amount of trust also is unprecedented. Klangstof finally got that big break that they had been hoping for.
“It was really great you know because we learned music together and we just wanted to continue that. Our synth guy, I just met him on Facebook or something. Someone told me about this guy saying, you need in you band, he is a synthesizer wizard, he’s the cool guy in town. We then just met in a café and I was like hey here is the record…” It turned out he liked it, and joined the line-up.
Fast-forward to the band’s debut album, Close Eyes To Exit last year,the lads return with a stunning EP that’s delivered with such intricacy. The title track ‘Everest’ is as picturesque as the peak itself. Layers of synths lead way to the chilliest melodies around. The chorus is almighty yet still manages to hold onto that delicate nature that Klangstof are best at. Lead vocalist Koen soothingly delivers a charmingly graceful vocal.
“It’s a song that’s lyrically driven,” he says. “I thought it was cool to have a chorus line that didn’t really mean anything; ‘All I want is Everest’. For me that was the Zen place I wanted to be. It’s a place I could rest forever. Also it’s the name of a mountain, which I’m sure at the very top of the mountain it can get pretty lonely up there. That was the intention of the song. It was to create this really chilled 80s pop track.”
I’ve given the EP a spin a fair few times now and quite honestly I’m still struggling to pick a favourite track. “Every track on the EP is very different and that’s what I really like about it.” Koen agrees, “The cool thing about working on an EP I think is that you don’t really think about a concept or a sound, you can be a lot more experimental. We made something that was a lot more electronic that we weren’t used to. It’s also way less heavy on the dynamics I would say.
“I think the EP is just filled up with a lot ideas that we wouldn’t have done if we would have been working on a record, which I really like, it gave us a lot more freedom.”
Before setting off to play their new tracks to packed out crowds in some of Europe’s best venues, Klangstof have been hard at work again in the studio.
Where the bus made the band creative, without access to synthesizers or tech, the studio makes it “really easy to know how to get the right sound,” but of course – comes with sacrificing the creativity and hard work. “If I could I would have a fully equipped studio in the back of a van or something.”
If Klangstof are managing to create such cinematic tracks such as ‘Names’, that’s full of haunting vocals and sharp instrumentalism. The thought of what they could come up with next, with a plethora of sound recording equipment at their fingers, makes me feel extremely giddy.
Heading to their hometown of Amsterdam to play on tour in the upcoming weeks Koen begins to reflect upon the prospect.
“We’re playing at the Pardadiso which has always been the venue that I would go to as a kid. It’s an old church that fits almost 2,000 people; I never expected that we would ever be able to play there. Going to those kinds of places where you have been before, where you were watching your favourite bands perform, yeah that’s a great feeling to have as a musician, to be able to be on that same stage as your heroes.”
Words by Lewis Smart