Interview with Sandra Kolstad | Roundhouse Rising

Norweigian artist, Sandra Kolstad takes to the Roundhouse stage this February, as part of the 2012 Roundhouse Rising festival. Coming up, is an interview with the singer, who you’ll find on stage during the Rising’s ‘Incidentally, Nordic‘ night on 17 February, which brings together the best of electronica, featuring all things Nordic.

Needless to say, Sandra Kolstad makes electronic music. Dark and danceable, explosive and extravagant. She has seduced audiences with her strong live performances, in Norway, Sweden, France, Denmark and Germany, as well as the 2011 Øyofestivalen in Norway, which she’ll be returning to again tomorrow.

I caught up with Sandra during her busy schedule, to quiz her about her life in music, and her approach to travel.

But wait! Before you scroll on, let’s really bring this experience to life with some music from Sandra herself. We’ve picked out one of our favourite Sandra Kolstad tracks, Fire Burn, Blood Flow to carry you through the interview.

Fire Burn, Blood Flow, by Sandra Kolstad

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Roundhouse Rising, it’s a fantastic event and one that we’re really excited to be backing this year. Featuring exciting line-ups of emerging music from the UK and around the world, plus workshops to inspire the next generation of creative young musicians.

Roundhouse Rising 2012 takes place over the upcoming half-term, between 9th and 18th of February, and has expanded from 2011’s week-long festival with several events moving outside of their legendary Chalk Farm venue, to some of East London’s most exciting stages.

For more information, and to secure your tickets from just £5, visit the Roundhouse Rising website.

STA Travel meets Sandra Kolstad

Remember, you can see Sandra at this year’s Roundhouse Rising, in Chalk Farm, London on February 17th. She will also be touring the UK from November, with an EP coming out in early 2012.

Where is home for you?

That varies, really. Sometimes Berlin, sometimes my family’s old house by the ocean on the west coast of Norway.

What countries are top of your wish list to visit in 2012?

I have just discovered Bulgarian traditional music and would love to go there and listen to it in real life. I am also looking forward to visiting some of the cities where I’m gonna play, like New York. I’ve just been to Japan, and will probably go back there for some concerts — that’s also a thrill.

How would you best describe your sound to someone who is new to your music?

Danceable, sometimes dark, sometimes bright; made to make lovers make love.

Where is your favourite stage to play?

Well I do have one in Oslo, where I come from, a place called Blå. The atmosphere there is just so good and the sound is as well.

Are there any countries that you would really like to play in but haven’t had the chance yet?

Oh, many. I think I would like to play in them all, really.

What would you say are the biggest cultural influences on your music?

MTV and socialism.

If you could headline any festival in the world, which one would you go for?

Oh. I think I will stay close to home and answer the Roskilde Festival in Denmark. I always went there as a teenager and it would be nice to come back as a headliner, I guess. Or Coachella wouldn’t be too bad either.

Are there any unusual instruments you’d really like to learn how to play?

The Mongolian morin khuur. And I would really love to play all these melodic gamelan-percussion, like slenthem or gambang.

The world is a stage and no place is out of bounds. If you could put on a gig anywhere in the world, where would it be?

I have always dreamt of playing somewhere in the rainforest. Put up a big PA and just let the tones ring out loud, right there in the middle of the beauty.

Who or what are your biggest musical inspirations?

Whoever comes my way, usually. I am blessed to be easily inspired.

Where in the world would you go for musical inspiration?

To that old house by the ocean where my family comes from. It is probably the most beautiful place I know.

Have you ever had any travel disasters?

Not really disasters but I have travelled a lot, and stuff happens. When I went to Mongolia to live with the nomads for some time, I couldn’t eat anything but rice for a month, as I am a vegetarian. At that time of year, they only had dried meat and rice. It was a miracle to live on the steppes with them, but I was very hungry when I got to Ulaan Batar and finally eat something other than rice.

Where are you most likely to be found whilst on holiday: the beach, city or off adventuring in the wilderness?

You will find me in the wilderness.

What was your favourite holiday you’ve been on?

Oh, holiday, I feel I haven’t had one for so long. But I had a wonderful weekend in Italy in September last year. Some friends got married there and we all stayed at a big castle in the middle of Toscana (Tuscany). It was almost a bit surreal.

Do you have any pre-performance rituals you have to do before you go on stage?

I have to be alone for a while.

What one thing could you not travel without?

My iPod.

If time and money were no object, where would you go on your trip of a lifetime?


What are you looking forward to most in 2012?

Releasing my next record, playing concerts and writing new music. And hopefully having a lot of fun.

If you could perform with anyone, alive or deceased, who would be your dream collaborator?

John Lennon. Or Laurie Anderson.

Have you got any tips for other young people who want to get started in the music industry?

It’s a lot of work and it is important to work hard, stay focused and keep it real.

Who else are you excited to see at Roundhouse Rising 2012?

I really look forward to hearing the Krar Collective.

Where is your most favourite place on earth?

Right now: Treptower Park.

What would be the top song on your holiday/travel/beach playlist?

The tide is high with The Paragons.

What is your favourite holiday activity when you’re not making music?


You’re on your World Tour – which three cities are you most excited to play?

Tokyo, Moskva and Detroit.

What would people be surprised to find on your iPod?

Tom Petty, probably. Only one song, though: Free Falling.

If you only have one chance to go on holiday this year, would you prefer a lazy week on picture-perfect paradise beach or an action-packed adventure in the jungle?

I know I just answered that you will find me in the wilderness, but right now I have to admit: It sounds quite nice with a picture-perfect paradise beach.

What’s your favourite way to travel? Plane, train, car or other?

Train. I have been on several longlasting train journeys, like the Trans-Siberian Railway, and also a lot in India, and the feeling of walking onto a train never disappoints me.

River, lake or ocean – which would you most like to kick back next to for an afternoon?


What’s your best packing tip?

Pack light.

Favourite food from around the world?

Indian and Vietnamese.

What would you never travel without?

Something to make music with. Exactly what changes: I’ve had ukuleles, synthesizers, kalimbas and even just my computer.

Who would be your ideal travel partner(s)?


Where would you go for the perfect weekend away?

New York.

Everyone’s got their musical guilty pleasures or their fave songs to sing in the shower. What’s yours?

Try sleeping with a broken heart. Alicia Keys is a queen.

If you could film a music video anywhere in the world, what place(s) would you want as the backdrop?

The Niagara falls.

What would be your idea of the perfect night out (or in) anywhere in the world?

Eating and drinking good food and wine with good people. And hopefully and probably dancing in the end.

What type of traveller are you: backpacker cheap or jetsetter chic?

Something in between.

If you had to be an adrenaline junkie for a day, would you prefer to skydive and jump out of a plane at 15,000 or cage dive with Great White sharks?

I would prefer swimming with sharks.

Are you a water baby or do you prefer to keep your feet firmly on dry land?

Water, baby! Nothing like it. My next record is inspired by water in all its forms and shapes and I could swim forever.

How has Sandra Kolstad inspired you? We certainly learned a thing or two, and we’re looking forward to supporting the 2012 Roundhouse Rising! Get involved, and if you need any more info, just let us know via the comment thread.