Koen van de Wardt of Klangstof: “This rock star lifestyle was kind of a mistake”


Koen van de Wardt, the mastermind behind Dutch alt-indie band Klangstof, never imagined in his wildest dreams that he’d become a rock star. Actually, he might’ve dreamt about it once, but touring the globe as a musician wasn’t the lifestyle he envisioned. “I might’ve dreamt about it once. I always thought I’d become a producer or engineer. This rockstar lifestyle was kind of a mistake.” Klangstof’s success was a pleasant surprise after van de Wardt moved from Norway to Holland to pursue music.

The frontman contently worked as a producer, creating music for commercials – and he enjoyed it. However, his solo project [Klangstof] that he played as on the side quickly began to grow. He recruited two friends from back home and went to Facebook in search of another. “Jun, our drummer, he had a bit of a hard time at first. He kind of wanted a safe zone, have a reliable job and some kids. However, we convinced him. He’s a good drummer and it was a once in a lifetime opportunity,” van de Wardt said.

In hindsight, the band members made the right decision. This year, Klangstof became the first ever Dutch band to perform at Coachella and were named Best Alternative Act at the Edison Awards in Holland (the Dutch equivalent of the Grammy Awards).

“I know that we were drinking and just played a show,” van de Wardt remembered when he received the notification about Coachella. “I remember getting a text saying a lot of bad words and ‘Coachella’. I remember throwing my beer up in the air and I started crying. It’s just not something you expect – a Dutch band playing a festival like that this soon.”

The U.S. has quickly become a second home for van de Wardt, who just a few years ago visited the States for the first time when he signed a record deal. Klangstof, who just finished a tour with alternative icons The Flamings Lips are receiving considerable praise. AXS said, “Klangstof has created a sound that strikes a chord with the deepest emotions in all of us,” while the Portland Tribune boasts, “Klangstof may be Holland’s answer to Radiohead.”

The four-piece band is currently on a two month tour, in a completely different country, living out of a bus, alongside fellow Scandinavians Miike Snow.

“Apart from loving their music and sound, we never really knew each other. It’s cool to be on tour with a fellow Scandinavian band and learn how they did it. For Scandinavian and European bands to make it in the U.S. – it’s a big deal.”

Both bands, Klangstof and Miike Snow make their way to Charlotte and will perform Thursday, June 15 at The Fillmore Charlotte. Tickets are available here.

About author

Jared Allen

Jared Allen

Jared is a music journalist, photographer and avid music listener living in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys live music, long car rides with Kellin Quinn and trips to the local record store, even though he still doesn't own a turntable in fear that his roommates will evict him.

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