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Belgium: The Vinyl Frontier

Welcome to KRANKLAND

Krankland wanted to create an image that summons imagination, something vulnerable but still strong.

Interview Diederik Decroix
Photographs Krankland

Thomas Werbrouck and Eline Adam used to be the driving force behind Little Trouble Kids. Where that was more of a very time consuming hobby, Thomas’ new and very ambitious project Krankland is a full time job. This with the unrelenting support of Eline.

Thomas released his first solo album on Little Trouble Kids at the end of september. Yet, it quickly becomes clear Eline also had some say. She designed the cover and acted as Thomas’ sounding board. For Thomas, making the record was a way of discovering and accepting his own feelings and limitations. Eline’s role as confidante and lover was very important to his process. At a certain moment he even wanted to cancel the release, but Eline talked him out of it.

It’s also not realy a solo album. Thomas got a lot of friends to play along. You can hear Janko Beckers’ (Golden Tieger) pedal steel, toy keyboard and autoharp, Christophe Claeys (Amatorski, SX, Magnus) on drums and Thomas Mortier (Yuko) slapping the bass. The songs were recorded at Studio Jezus, supervised by Pascal Deweze (Metal Molly, Sukilove, Broken Glass Heroes).

The title Wanderrooms refers to the German word Wunderkammer, a term Eline picked up during her internship at Museum Dr. Guislain in Ghent. It was an experience that changed both their views on life an art completely. 

Welcome in KRANKLAND, welcome in ‘Wanderrooms’. Forget all that you know and unexpect all the expected. It’s going to be a wondrous journey!

During the Renaissance, a Wunderkammer was a cabinet of rarities, a collection of weird objects not necessarily linked. See it as the predecessor of the modern museum. “To me, the album is a kind of Wunderkammer. All these different ideas and influences packed together. Some made sens in my head, but not on the record. As the collector I decided what was to be released.”

Thomas left nothing to chance. This record was made with so much love for musicianship. David Lynch was his main source of inspiration. Thomas relates to the way the famous director leaves things to chance. As a singer songwriter, Thomas wanted to broaden his horizon. He studied Bob Dylan, Nick Cave and Leonard Cohen to improve his own way of making music. The profiling urge of Little Trouble Kids is officialy gone, and made way for acceptance and focusing on writing awesome songs. 

‘Wanderrooms’ was recorded in November 2015. While the first songs were written in January 2015, the release was carefully planned. The first single, ‘In the Realms of the Unreal’, was released on Record Store Day 2016. The clip, made by Thomas himself, was a montage of vintage, psychedelic commercials. The single itself is a limited 7" with the additional b-side 'Hurry Man' and exclusive three-layered artwork by Eline. ‘Realms of the Unreal’ refers to a documentary about Henry Darger, an outsider and artist. You can watch it here.

Eline has a lot to say about the artwork for Wanderrooms. They went through sixteen different covers and ideas. That’s because Eline and Thomas both had different ideas about the record. The minimal decoration and geometric shapes reflect Eline’s passion for the Wiener Werkstätte. Eline wanted to create an image that summons imagination, something vulnerable but still strong.

Eline is not a first timer when it comes to creating artwork. For the sleeve of Little Trouble Kids’ Adventureland, Eline collaborated with Marjolein Hoornaert. She even likes creating visuals more than making music. Yet, when asked if she would design covers for other bands, she quickly replies she only wants to work for Thomas. But who knows what the future holds.

The rabbit on the cover refers to their pet rabbit Wollie. Wollie accompagnied Thomas during his work on the songs and became his new best friend. It’s safe to say, Wollie earned his spot on the cover.

Also remarkable is the reference to the support of the Flemish Government. This support and recognition as artists is very important to Thomas and Eline. It allowed them to book studio time and record the album, just like The Black Heart Rebellion for example.

Krankland also received the ‘Price for Pop Music 2016’. With Gert Keunen, Kirsten Lemaire, Luc Nowé, Katia Vlerick and Wim Wabbes as members of the jury, it was a very welcome pat on the back. This because Thomas and Eline choose the hard way: they did everything themselves. Thomas wants pop and rock music to be taken seriously. Projects like GALM are very important to keep supporting the pop and rock scene in Belgium. Thomas even began his own start up, he’s the employer of his musicians and owns all the rights to his music.

A new video focussing on the band members is coming soon. Eline had a lot to do with it. Expect something with an aquarium and an overhead projector. Big examples for Thomas are the visuals of Godspeed You! Black Emperor or the illustrations of Gerda Dendooven who draws live on music. But that’s not something we’ll see Eline do anytime soon. She does not like being on the road. It was one of the reasons she quit music. 

I hate just sitting in the bus for hours on tour

Meanwhile, Thomas is working on new material. It’s gonna be a group project, featuring all the band members. Talking about record sales, Elines has noticed vinyl sells better the CD at shows.

See what Krankland is all about:
krankland.be
Bandcamp