Berlin’s electro music scene has a little Norwegian gem on it’s hands and it’s called Sandra Kolstad. With a wonderful synth-pop sound and instantly danceable and poptastic tunes we can’t see this lady staying off your radar for too much longer.
Not only is Sandra a ball of energy and passion on stage, Olga caught up with her for a chat and discovered she’s also the most charming and talkative interviewee.
What was the first record you ever bought? Do you remember?
I actually remember the first. It was a cassette. And it was with, believe it or not, with Sandra [laughs] from the 80′s. I only bought it because she had the same name as I do. I must have been around 9 years old and I bought it at this gas station in Norway for about 50 cents. I listened to it quite a lot [laughs]. It was the first one I bought myself. I was very lucky. I grew up at home where my father used to run a vinyl store in Oslo. We had a nice collection of all sorts of music and I didn’t have to buy that many records.
What was the first concert you ever went to?
I went to my first concert when I was probably 10 years old. A friend of my mother and father was babysitting me, she was sort of a wild card, and she took me to this night club in Oslo where there was this Egyptian musician, I can’t remember who, but it was this wild World music concert. My parents didn’t know and they found out later and were really angry with her. It didn’t hurt anyone, though.
What show would you consider the best you’ve played so far?
I played a show here in Berlin at Supamolly. Which was a place I didn’t really know. I had never been there before and I didn’t know what to expect, but it was a great concert in the end. The sound was surprisingly good, the people working there were really nice and the whole atmosphere was really good. It was totally packed that night which always makes it a great pleasure to perform. I think that’s one of the best concerts I’ve played.
How long have you been performing for?
I was trained as a classical pianist and I did a lot of concerts when I was young. But with my own music my first concert was less than two years ago in Oslo in a small, small, dark, dark pub. I was so nervous I could die. [laughs
You mention being a pianist but you don't play piano anymore. How come? When I started moving away from being a classical pianist and more into doing my own compositions the piano was a sort of a bridge between these two. That was the only way I knew how to make music. It went pretty well and I got a lot of attention for what I did but I was never fully happy with my music and I never really understood why. I tried with different drummers, different bass players and I finally understood that the problem was this fucking piano [laughs]. I wanted to have other sounds making up the sound of my music. Last August I started working with Ableton Live, which is a sequencer program for making music and everything changed. All the pieces fell into place.
Music can have an incredible impact on our lives. Do you have a song or piece of music that has influenced you more than any other.
That’s a hard one. My mother has this game. “If you were going to an island and you could bring only one thing to drink, one thing to eat, one song etc. what would it be”? This is similar. Actually an album that I keep listening to is a record by Lucinda Williams. Do you know her? She’s around 55 years old and she plays country. She made a record called Essence and I really like it. It’s completely different from what I do but it really means a lot to me.
Do you have a musician that has greatly inspired you?
Fever Ray has been very important. She is Swedish and she used to be the singer in The Knife, a Swedish electronic duo. I listened to her first solo album from 2009 a lot. Also Laurie Anderson is a great source of inspiration. I would say those two are the most important ones.
Lately I have realized that Bjork has probably also been very important without me being aware of it and without me listening to her regularly. When people think of Bjork, or at least when I think of her music, I often associate it with a somehow soft, mysterious, Icelandic feel but most of all I like the side of Bjoerk that is a bit harder and a bit darker, the side of her that often comes out when she collaborates with house music producer Mark Bell.
What is the biggest hardship you’ve had to face as a musician?
Are you thinking like personally or practically? Anything that comes to your mind. Especially now that the record is due, I’m faced with really personal