KRANKk is one of the three music acts that joined Revelland for an exhilarating two-year process to transform their live show to an immersive experience. They are a collective of musicians and producers who met at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Antwerp, Belgium. Thomas Geysen (drums) and Willem Heylen (guitar) graduated with a Masters in Jazz and Contemporary Music. Aram Abgaryan is in his final Master studying Classical Music (piano), film scoring and electronics.
Can you describe the sound of KRANKk to someone who can’t hear?
“We are intrigued by the potential of mixing acoustic with electronic music in a live setting. Our sound is the perfect mix between the two which offers you a unique experience. The sound of RESET, our multi-sensory performance, is deep and dark. Some of the songs are slow atmospheric pieces, reflecting the feeling of introspection like sitting on a train, staring out the window during a rainy night. Other tracks are intense and high in energy. Testing the endurance of the dancers as they are moving intensely on our fast rhythms and heavy sounds, bursting with power.”
Two years ago, you joined a brand new Revelland project to research, develop and showcase an immersive live performance. Why did you decide to commit to this?
“We had a few experiences on stage where we truly felt the need and urge to expand the show in some way or another. We don’t have a ‘frontman’ on stage, therefore we try to bring our guests or featuring artists to the shows with us, but we didn’t have a storyline or tension arc that made the music more understandable. The Revelland project came along and it was what we were searching for: guidance in developing an immersive live performance where we work closely with people as inclusive as possible. That’s why we decided to not only take people with sensorial, mental or physical disabilities in account but also to actually work with them on stage. We’ve learnt so much that we now automatically bare some elements in mind while being in the creative process of making music.”
What were your expectations starting this project?
“We expected that this collaboration would give us the opportunity to create an experience for our live shows. By adding elements like visuals, smells, drama, sign language, movement… After our first call, the scale and ambition of the project grew immensely. It was very clear what was possible, now it was just about finding the right people and working hard. We had long meetings with amazing experts in their field. We still feel blessed for these connections and want to thank everyone on board for inspiring us.”
Why do you think accessibility is important?
“Accessibility is important because the gap between people with and without disabilities is too big. With projects like this we can connect both artists and audiences with and without disabilities through art. It creates a platform for a diverse audience to share a collective experience. And it helps to bring people with disabilities out of social isolation. Something they often experience in our modern day society.”
What insights have you gained thus far regarding accessibility in the music industry and in relation to your live show?
“Working through collective improvisation brings a lot of inspiration for everyone because there is no disability in making art. The joy and connection between people, who are otherwise divided, on stage is one of the most beautiful thing we witnessed 2021. Nonetheless we’ve also noticed that there are often practical challenges to overcome when trying to integrate accessibility in music and live show. But by working with Revelland and setting up a network of partners we have surrounded ourselves with a team that can assist us with overcoming these challenges.”
Can you paint a picture of what the future looks like for KRANKk?
“We’re working on new music with a lot of exciting and talented artists, preparing for the festival season and concerts as well as playing RESET in theaters. We’re also hosting our second KRANKk Night, a nightlife concept where we invite friends and fellow artists within the scene. The first edition was memorable with amazing national and international talent like Dvtch Norris, Rare Akuma, Manga Saint Hilare, and many others. The second one is in Trix, Antwerp on March 12 2021.”
Header photo taken by Yaqine Hamzaoui