In case you were wondering, “klang” comes from the Norwegian word for “echo”, while “stof” means “dust” in Dutch. This evocative amalgamation of words perfectly sums up the magical sonic textures present in the music of the Amsterdam-based alternative act, founded by Dutch/Norwegian musician Koen van de Ward.
Making waves with their slowly simmering, atmospheric sound, and bops such as “Hostage”, “Everest” – not to mention the heartfelt rendition of Michael Kiwanuka’s “Cold Little Heart” – they also became the first Dutch band to perform at Coachella back in 2017.
Following their single “Attack Attack” taken from their acclaimed second album The Noise You Make Is Silent, we caught up with the band and talked through their journey so far…
When was the moment you realised you first wanted to make music?
There was a point where I figured out that I was a pretty bad talker. I’m really good at saying the wrong things at the wrong time. By choosing my words carefully and wrapping them up in songs, I felt like I had more time to think about what I had to say, and also add the right emotion to it on a musical level. That already happened at a pretty young age. I probably was around 18 years old.
Who did you grow up listening to?
We have such a wide range of things we listened to while growing up. When I first picked up the guitar it was all about Radiohead, Sonic Youth and Nirvana. And some of the early Coldplay stuff to cry to every now and then.
How would you describe your genre?
For this record we went through many different phases. It ranged from guitar-based songs like “Death03”, to all electronic stuff like “Solo” and “Phantoms”. I guess it’s the combination of those things that make up for something that still hasn’t really gotten a name in today’s pop-culture. We usually just stick with alternative. Nice and vague.
Where do you get your inspirations from?
For The Noise You Make Is Silent, we drew most of the inspiration from each other. Late nights in the studio, wine, and just bouncing ideas from one brain to another. This time around we stuck with a variety of synths that really got us into the right direction. Our Prophet 12 and Korg MS20 played a really big part in shaping the sound on this record.
What’s the best feedback you’ve ever had on your music?
Playing Coachella and Zane Lowe recommending our stuff to the world is definitely high up the list of best feedback. But as weird as it sounds, the best feedback that make it all worth is is a good hug from our parents and girlfriends. On a musical level we know that their input isn’t super reliable, but having friends and family supporting us through thick and thin make it all worth doing this.
You’ve previously left in background noise/banter into your songs – why do you prefer to champion this sonic rawness?
We’ve always been afraid to get lost in pop productions. In today’s music it’s all about how loud, clean and fat your music sounds. It works well a lot of the time, but it also loses the raw emotion of a song. When we are recording we plug in our microphones and synths and just start jamming out. Sometimes it happens that the first take, with the TV still on in the background and someone else talking, just captures the right emotion. Instead of redoing it, we were like; let’s just keep it in if it’s amazing.
Do you feel really vulnerable releasing music that is so close and personal to you?
Oh man, yes! The more you think about it, the worse that feeling gets. A record becomes a part of your life that stays with you for three years. No one gets to hear it, only the three of us. It becomes something very personal. Things that are very obvious for us might not be obvious to listeners. Like lyrics or other creative decisions. With the first album I would browse the web for ages trying to see if people “got it”. It becomes an obsession. I really hope that I won’t get into that again. Right now we know how proud we are, and we should never let other people’s opinion change the way we listen to the record.
What’s next for you?
There is a nice European tour coming up in March. That will be the first time we are going to perform the new songs live. That’s definitely something that excites us. And we still haven’t had the chance to hold our new vinyl yet. So we are all extremely stoked to buy a bottle of wine and play that for the very first time!