Kristoff - "Music taste is subjective so anyone has the right to not like my music, but no-one can accuse me of not being honest in it." - Stereo Stickman

Kristoff “Music taste is subjective so anyone has the right to not like my music, but no-one can accuse me of not being honest in it.”


Songwriter and artist Kristoff brings unwavering creativity to the indie scene, with an extensive repertoire topped by his latest album of originals Here Goes Nothing. We caught an interview with Kristoff to find out more about the making of the music, his journey so far as an artist, what inspires him, and plenty more. Here’s how it went.

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Hey Kristoff – great to chat with you! To introduce things, where are you based, and how long have you been making music?

Thank you! I was looking forward to the interview! I’m based in Budapest – Hungary, in the very heart of Europe, and I have been making music (in some way, shape or form) for about 12 years at this point. Ever since I got my hands on my first guitar I started writing my own little melodies and songs. I had a Metal band for a while and I started making demos and recordings about 5 years ago of my solo music.

What’s the focus of the stories that lie within Here Goes Nothing, and why this title?

I would say the main focus is self expression and being honest. Saying out loud what I feel inside, being open about my worries, problems, insecurities in myself, how I feel towards the future and how I view the world we live in today.

Music taste is subjective so anyone has the right to not like my music, but no-one can accuse me of not being honest in it. I’m not trying to look like I’m more than what I actually am so I don’t talk about millions of dollars, fast cars and women at my feet. Instead I talk about things I actually know and I try to do it in an entertaining and creative way. And the title represents that that I think.

I made these songs for myself at the time, because it felt good to make them. And when I was contemplating whether I should even release them or not I just thought “Why not? Here goes nothing”. So that’s how the title came to be. I thought “Maybe the songs will resonate with some people, maybe they won’t but I have nothing to lose by releasing them”.

The album kicks into gear with a sort of nostalgic, cinematic trip hop presentation – loaded with spoken fragments and a looping melody. How do you craft a track like A Wanted Man, how do you decide what to include and where to take things?

Sometimes when I am messing around with loops and beats, I end up with beats that I really like but I can not see being turned into full songs. I’m not saying these are the “leftover” beats because they are not. I like them, I’m proud of them, and that is why I decide to show them to the listeners. These loops turned into intros, outros and intermissions between songs, elevate a simple bouquet of songs into a coherent album. Sort of like how you need cement between the bricks to make a wall.

The loop in A Wanted Man had the perfect amount of tension and energy for an intro, so I decided to make it into one, sprinkled with some quotes from “larger than life” characters I like from movies and all kinds of media. The quotes also serve as some sort of foreshadowing of what the listener can expect from the album. Honesty, anger, humor but all with a good amount of mysticism to keep the listeners on their toes.

As Mr Morgan hits we hear this rap thread of identity. There are also some world-music traits employed throughout. How would you describe your overall style in terms of genre?

That is a very good question and I don’t even know how to answer it to be honest. There is a trend I noticed in the past decades. People seem to be obsessed with genres and creating more and more sub-genres which I do not really understand.

“I have seen musicians sometimes decide what sub-genre they are going to belong to before they even make their first song and all I see in doing this is creating unnecessary limits. Should I not release a potential banger because “it does not fit in my sub-genre”?”

I would call ‘Here Goes Nothing’ a hip-hop or rap album, but even on this album not every song fits the criteria perfectly. Maybe the next album won’t even be hip-hop, who knows. Maybe I’ll go back to a more guitar focused, rock and roll style.

The “world-music traits” you refer to are there because they just felt right where they are. I always liked different instruments, different kinds of music and thankfully as a child I was exposed to many different cultures. I am half Palestinian and I spent a good part of my childhood in the middle-east so I’m very open to every style, instrument and basically anything that can be called music. I just call myself a noisemaker.

It Is What It Is feels like a classic or old-school hip hop track – who were some of your earliest influences, and who do you still listen to today?

There are many musicians who inspired me to start making music and they are as scattered on the musical spectrum as they can be. The voice of Ronnie James Dio inspired me to start singing, the guitar playing of Tony Iommi and Jimmy Page made me pick up the guitar, Les Claypool made me pick up the bass and so on.  The ones who’s influences are most present on Here Goes Nothing are The Notorious B.I.G., Eminem, Wu-Tang Clan and MF DOOM. Without them I wouldn’t have even tried rapping.

It Is What It Is was most inspired by Biggie I would say. He had a certain style of storytelling that really resonates with me and he had an amount of honesty that was (and still is) very rare from someone who is as great as he was (and still is). On that song I put the main focus on the words and I did not over-complicate the beat. The artists I listed are still on my playlist nearly every day and they still inspire me to continue making music but I wouldn’t dare try listing everyone who inspires me. That would be a list that is way too long.

What’s changed in your style and perspective since the distinctly different, 2021 album Insomnia, and do you expect your sound to continue evolving?

My sound definitely will evolve. At least I hope so, because I would be very sad if I got stuck in one place. I want to get better at producing, at playing the guitar, at rapping and singing and so on. There is always room to grow and one can not grow without changing. I’ll just keep practicing and making music I like.

When I made Insomnia I was more in the mood for guitar focused music rather than rapping, which is very lyric focused. Since then however I got better at producing, Here Goes Nothing is a step up in overall sound quality in my opinion.

What’s your plan of action for 2024?

Keep making honest music. I have a more rock and roll type album in the works now so I’ll keep working on that and we’ll see how that turns out. Other than that I started focusing more on my online presence and social media because as hard as it is for me to do, the importance of social media in the world of music can not be understated nowadays. So I’ll keep focusing on that too.

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Find Kristoff on Instagram.

Rebecca Cullen

Founder & Editor

Founder, Editor, Musician & MA Songwriter

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