K Exclusive: An Interview With LANKS
With refreshingly dynamic production and sophisticated melodies, the multi-talented LANKS has been releasing music since 2014. Over the past five years, he has developed and refined a distinct sound which lands somewhere in between that of James Blake and Thom Yorke, offering his own twist through production techniques and unique instrumentation (all of which he plays himself).
This summer, The Kollection had the pleasant opportunity to catch up with Sydney, Australia’s very own LANKS and discuss how he finds inspiration while traversing the industry as a solo-electronic act, what to expect from his upcoming album Ok Moon, and more.
Your music is distinct in the way that it places emphasis on the dynamics of sound. How were you initially introduced into making/producing music in this way, and what made you want to make music in the first place?
I think I just love the drama in music and art. I love the distilling of ideas and how potent they can become when they’ve gone through that process of creation and editing. From the moment I picked up an instrument I made things, no matter where my technique and execution skills were at. I feel like ‘try first, read the manual later/never’ is how I approach everything. I’m curious!
Australia seems to have enormous support for upcoming artists especially through platforms like triple j unearthed, would you consider it a substantial way to find new fans? How do you typically connect with new fans?
Definitely! I think in Australia there is some amazing processes set up to help artists and the love of an underdog story in our culture, while having some sometimes problematic side-effects, also does some amazing things for young artists coming through. We generally want to support the ‘little guy’.
My main fascination with fan connection these days is just exploring creating art, extending that same attention to my channels that I communicate with fans through (trying to at least), and I’ve also been studying digital marketing at home for the past 12 months because I find the way we connect in the digital age to be both fascinating and empowering.
What are the key steps to your music writing process? Where does most of your inspiration come from?
People. I think connecting with people and diving into their stories (as well as my own) is an emotionally rewarding and humbling experience.
I write a lot of songs with other people for their own projects too these days and exploring emotions and stories together seems to be very therapeutic for both present. I used to work in my own silo at home for hours every day and I found it to be a very lonely experience and honestly, I have no desire to go back there at this stage. People inspire me and challenge me to create better and I am pretty obsessed with that experience for now.
You’ve been putting out your own music for half a decade now, what have you noticed evolve the most in the music industry since you first started?
When I started releasing blog aggregators and SoundCloud were huge and that has shifted monumentally.
More music seems to be being released these days and I love that, as much as it sometimes gets overwhelming.
Pathways for what I want to do have opened up more too, which might just reflect that I’ve gotten to a different level to where I started, but it also feels like the environment has changed and there are new spaces opening up for artists that weren’t there before maybe. That’s just my current musing on that, but I might say something completely different in a year. Stay tuned.
How do you find that you best distinguish your current sound from that of other artists?
I’m not sure. I think there’s quite a lot of original and unique sound palettes emerging because of the nature of home laptop recording now. And because I play a few instruments I guess I have generally got a nice mix between electronic and organic sound.
My voice sounds quite different to a lot of singers too, just because I never really trained and I ended up loving singing high in falsetto. I’ve gotten a lot better in that space that where I was 5 years ago.
A little over a year after the release of your debut, twentyseven, you have a new album scheduled to release in September. What can we expect from the upcoming ‘Ok Moon’?
We’re really excited about this collaborative project. Dustin Tebbutt, Xavier Dunn, Hayden Calnin and myself are all solo artists and songwriter/producers and we just made a record for fun in Dustin’s studio. I think working with songwriters that I rate and respect so highly was a highlight of the past few years. There’s a lot of influences across the record, from Jose Gonzales to Ry x to Phebe Bridgers or Bon Iver. I’m really proud of this record.
It seems rather rare to find a LANKS song that includes a feature from another artist, is this on purpose or just the way that it’s happened so far? Can we expect any guest artists on the new album?
In the past few years, I have actually released quite a few songs with other artists, some that have done really well, like Strangers with Tia Gostelow. But I only seriously shifted my mentality to be more collaborative in the past 1-2 years, and as sometimes music can take some time to actually be released, there are a quite a few collabs that will drop in the not-too-distant future I think.
Collaboration is probably the main driver behind my music now though, so the next releases for me after the Ok Moon record will definitely have more of that I think.