Klangstof have a huge amount of buzz for a band with one album, Close Eyes To Exit. They’re signed to Warner, they just played Coachella, they’re touring with The Flaming Lips, then with Miike Snow in June, they’ve got sets at Bonnaroo and Sasquatch… It’s a stellar start for a tiny quartet from Amsterdam. So do they live up to the hype? We got the chance to talk with lead singer Koen Van De Wardt to find out more.
The MAT Magazine: How did it feel being the first Dutch band playing Coachella?
Koen Van De Wardt: It definitely was very special. It’s been a very weird start to our career in our own country (Amsterdam). We’re biggest in the United States and the U.K. It really got us going in the Netherlands. People were watching the live stream in the Netherlands so it was a very proud moment being the first Dutch act to play there.
TMM: You have a huge Radiohead influence that you’ve mentioned previously so we were curious what your favorite album is?
KW: I always mix it around but right now it’s In Rainbows. I caught their second weekend set at Coachella and it was amazing.
TMM: How was your general Coachella festival experience?
KM: I was really surprised by how clean it was. I had only experienced European festivals where after a few days, everyone smells like shit and is dirty. Coachella was so clean the entire weekend. It was almost like a catwalk more than a festival. It was a very fun experience being there.
TMM: Here’s a creative question we always like to ask. How would you describe your band to aliens?
KM: Hmmmmmmmm. It’s like the best food you’ve ever eaten. It’s like Mexican food. It starts very nice but then it gets hot and spicy. It gets more and more heavy.
TMM: You might have to explain what Mexican food is to them but that sounds like it’d be a really fun meal.
You’re playing Sasquatch and Bonnaroo. Are you excited to play them? They’re more likely to be more muddy than Coachella.
KM: Hell yeah! I’ve been following Bonnaroo since I was a kid. It’s one of the few festivals that I’ve always watched.
Sasquatch is a festival I’ve never heard of when we were announced. I was Googling it and was so surprised how amazing it was.
TMM: How does it feel to be touring with The Flaming Lips?
KM: They were pretty much the top of my list for bands in the world and bands I’d love to tour with. I really want to learn from them because they’re so different and know what they’re doing so well.
TMM: Since you’re touring some of America right now do you have places you’re particularly excited to visit?
KM: I don’t know what to expect in the cities we’re touring, you know, what weird shit we’ll see? We haven’t toured the West Coast yet. We just did a few shows in Los Angeles so I’m really excited to go up to Seattle. I love the driving as much as playing. I’m excited to drive through the U.S.
TMM: Amsterdam is known for a lot of electronic music right now. Has that played a role in your sound?
KM: It probably has. I was raised with all the electronic music around. I kind of grew up in Amsterdam. I found Radiohead though and I kind of found my own way. My roots are very much in EDM. I started out as a DJ when I was 12 making beats and loops. There are some songs on the record with digital beats.
TMM: Coachella definitely is a great place for electronic music. Did you have a favorite set you got to see?
KM: I really wanted to see Martin Garrix. I rate his set as one of the most fun moments of Coachella.
TMM: So what’s next for the band?
KM: We’re doing the tour with The Flaming Lips and will return to the United States in June to tour with Miike Snow. July and August will be festivals in Europe. We’ll try to get to the studio in September/October. I always rent a cabin in Norway where I used to go for the first record. I want to go with a full band and set up our gear and just stay there for a month to record some demos for the next record. We’ll have a single or two out by the end of the year but we’re really busy with touring so we’re not sure yet. We’re going to be writing songs on the road and some are already finished, just need to get mixed properly. As soon as we’re done touring we’ll jump into the studio and start recording the next album.
TMM: If you could collaborate with someone right now, who would it be?
KM: Our new demos are more urban with more beats. I would like to try out something more hip-hop based. Maybe Kendrick Lamar? Something like that.
TMM: Did you get to talk to him at Coachella this year?
KM: Oh man, no. I was so shy. If he would have stood next to me I wouldn’t have said hi.
TMM: If you could recommend one place to eat in Amsterdam, if you’re there for one day, what would it be?
KM: We have the best chicken in the world I think in Amsterdam. It’s called Vantspit. I take my American friends there because they think their chicken is the best but they all love the Amsterdam chicken way more now.
May 10 Fox Theater Oakland, CA
May 12 Roseland Theater Portland, OR
May 13 Knitting Factory Spokane, WA
May 15 Queen Elizabeth Theatre Vancouver, Canada
May 16 Paramount Theater Seattle, WA
May 18 The Great Escape Brighton, United Kingdom
May 27 Sasquatch! Festival George, WA
Jun 07 Great Stage Park Manchester, TN
Jun 08 Great Stage Park Manchester, TN
Jun 09 Bonnaroo Manchester, TN
Jun 11 Stubb’s Amphitheatre Austin, TX
Jun 13 Republic NOLA New Orleans, LA
Jun 15 The Fillmore Charlotte, NC
Jun 16 Firefly Dover, DE
Jun 17 The Goodyear Theater at East End Akron, OH
Jun 19 Bogart’s Cincinnati, OH
Jun 20 Egyptian Room at Old National Centre Indianapolis, IN
Jun 21 Mercury Ballroom Louisville, KY
Jun 23 20 Monroe Live Grand Rapids, MI
Jun 25 Wooly’s Des Moines, IA
Jun 29 Ogden Amphitheater Ogden, UT
Jul 03 First Avenue Minneapolis, MN
Jul 04 Summerfest Milwaukee, WI
Jul 15 Neon Fields Haren, Germany
Jul 16 Latitude Festival Lowestoft, United Kingdom
Jul 19 Boomtown Festival Ghent, Belgium
Aug 04 Appletree Garden Hamburg, Germany
Aug 10 Sziget Festival Budapest, Hungary
Aug 12 Haldern Schmallenberg, Germany
Aug 13 Ypsigrock Festival Castelbuono, Italy
Aug 25 Lost Village Festival Lincolnshire, United Kingdom
Sep 08 Festival No. 6 Festival Penrhyndeudraeth, United Kingdom
Nov 16 Muziekgieterij Maastricht, Netherlands
Nov 17 Paard van Troje The Hague, Netherlands
Nov 18 Luxor Live Arnhem, Netherlands
Nov 21 The Lexington London, United Kingdom
Nov 22 Le Pop Up du Label Paris, France
Nov 25 Covo Club Bologna, Italy
Nov 26 Dude Milan, Italy
Nov 27 Mascotte Zurich, Switzerland
Nov 28 Schüür Lucerne, Switzerland
Nov 30 Kantine am Berghain Berlin, Germany
Dec 01 Chapeau Rouge Prague, Czech Republic
Dec 02 Milla Club Munich, Germany
Dec 03 Neues Schauspiel Leipzig, Germany
Dec 06 Prinzenbar Hamburg, Germany
Dec 07 Vera Groningen, Netherlands
Dec 08 013 Tilburg, Netherlands
Dec 30 Paradiso Grote Zaal Amsterdam, Netherlands
Photos by Natalie Somekh, Interview and Words by Phillip Gutgesell