Will Cuming, aka LANKS, is a producer and singer-songwriter who makes textural, melodic electronic music from his Melbourne bedroom. His intricate layers of instrumentation, fuzzy percussion and infectious hooks give way to falsetto vocals that are rich in narrative.
Cuming’s creative family is an interesting story in itself (his dad is a visual artist; his sister and manager, Lou Cuming, is also a musician; his cousin, Ry Cuming, performs in The Acid, Howling and as solo artist Ry X), and is celebrated through his new single Golden Age. His 86-year-old grandma, Valda Cuming (and artist in her own right), created its cover art.
Broadsheet: You grew up in Melbourne and are based there now – any favourite haunts you can tell us about?
Will Cuming: I don't want to say it too loudly, because it might catch on, but I spend a lot of time playing snooker/pool at Red Triangle with my housemate (who does all the LANKS design work), and [musician] Ben Abraham. We also generally take touring muso friends there. If I'm not there I'll probably be at Viet Rose on Brunswick Street getting a laksa.
BS: Where does a song start for you?
WC: It can start anywhere. Most often, though, I start with instruments or beats and things, then I start to develop a mood out of that. But there is no reason it can't start with the lyrics first. There's a great quote from Brian Eno about making art. He explained that it is like starting with a bullseye and then building the dartboard around it. Creating art is about searching for a little piece of magic, and when you find an idea that’s special, you need skills to extrapolate that idea, and time to find more pieces of magic to build it with.
BS: Your grandma created the beautiful and unusual artwork for Golden Age. Can you tell us a little bit about her?
WC: Absolutely! My grandma, Valda Cuming, is an incredibly inspiring figure for me. As kids our time with her was always spent making sculptures, drawing and painting, and all our Christmas presents always had a sketchbook and fine-liner attached. The artwork for the latest single is one of many of her works that I absolutely love. I have been catching up with her a lot recently, and going through all her art and the stories behind it. She has mountains of paintings and sketchpads and is the most prolific creator I know, even now at 86. You can find her work on her Instagram that I help her run (@valdacumingartist).
BS: What can we expect from your Golden Age tour?
WC: There will be some new music, a really fun and spontaneous live set (I studied improvisation after all!) with some incredible musicians accompanying me. Also, with Golden Age and Heavy As A Heartbreak (my collaboration with Just A Gent), the set is becoming more energetic, which is exciting. There's nothing quite like hearing the records in a live setting and just letting that wash over you.