When listening to Klangstof
's debut album released earlier this year, Close Eyes To Exit,
the listener can't help but get completely lost in an atmospheric haze. Klangstof, AKA Norwegian singer/songwriter/producer Koen Van de Wardt, makes music that fully utilizes space, creating an airy bed of sound. Boasting a sound similar to Radiohead, crisp, intimate vocals murmur as airy guitars float and clean synths bounce from ear to ear. "Seasons" and "Hostage" are clear indie-pop highlights that we haven't been able to stop listening to and because of this, we just had to talk to Koen Van de Wardt himself about what type of gear got him started and what type of gear helped the actually making of the record. Check out what he had to say below.
"The first proper guitar I ever bought (or my dad bought for me when I turned 15), was an American Stratocaster. I've had tons of guitars since, including a Fender Jazzmaster, an old Italian guitar from Eko, and also a Harmony Meteor from the 60's. All great guitars, but I always ended up with the Strat. The sound is very versatile and the guitar is really lightweight and easy to play."
"During the recording of the album I wanted the guitars to sound very weird, so I recorded a lot of guitars without even using amps, but just plugged them straight into a Universal Audio DI-box. The Strat works great for that, since it has a pretty solid sound across the whole spectrum. I would later, instead of using guitar pedals, use a lot of digital plug-ins to tweak the sound. Our biggest challenge in the end was to convert all those digital effects to actual guitar pedals, so we could play the songs live. On stage we ended up with a Strymon Big Sky routed through an Amplifier, but we also send the clean signal to the FOH to try to maintain that big sound that you often won't get when using a guitar amp."
"For the overdrive I've always used a Boss Blues Driver. It is one of the cheapest overdrive pedals on the market, but I just can't get enough of the sound. It again is one of those super versatile pedals that can go from really warm overdrive to a very aggressive solo sound."
"For most of the bass sounds I used a Korg MS20. It is one of the most famous vintage monophonic synthesizers. The bass sounds you can get out of that machine are incredible. I used this on songs like 'Amansworld' and 'Close Eyes To Exit.'"
"Another little gem that we use a lot is the SIEL Cruise. This is a pretty rare one these days. It's an Italian synth from the 80's. Back in the day it was the cheap equivalent of the Juno 60. But because it was way cheaper, it also sounds way more out of control. It's a machine with crazy bass sounds. We used this one as the main bass synth on 'Hostage' and 'Doolhof.' The string sounds on the record also come from this Italian beauty. You can hear it pretty clear on the intro of 'We Are Your Receiver.' We would mess up the sound by having a Watkins Copy Cat tape delay, and slow the tape down by using our fingers. Old skool."