Ry Cuming whispered something. I missed it, so I asked him to repeat himself. He said again, quietly: "I didn't know how to speak that language before." At that point, all possible thoughts went clumping about in my mind like a stack of lettered wooden blocks in a kindergarten classroom.

Let me explain. Under a deceptively sparse and soft-spoken veneer, he communicates ideas with precision and focus even whilst sounding like a bohemian. He refers to fans as "his community", the press as "the industry" and restructured the conversation into a holistic autopsy dissecting ideals of liminality, lucidity and erudition. With all that terminology sloshing around, you'd think I was in the midst of being sold a cup of juju-laced-beetle-pulled-oolong tea from the mountains of Nicaragua. His eccentricity involved thoughtful, almost rebellious silences after each question, and every answer delivered, was in the kind of whisper reserved for lovers.

I took a sip of the tea.

It's nothing if not appropriate, for Cuming's (aka Ry X's) new musical project The Acid, is often stylized as ꓃ ᑄ ꒛ ᗌ, or ∴ ⠪ ⠅⠕, or ᕔᕳIᕸ and heavily cloaked in anonymity and surrealistic narratives. The sound of The Acid doesn't approximate the drug, but it's as though they capture those sacred moments between waking up and dreaming - those precious few seconds where your reality is suspended in imagination. Together with Grammy nominated producer, Adam Freeland and industry veteran Steve Nalepa, they mire and muffle esoteric themes into the innocuous fabric of contemporary composition.

The musical term 'holographic', coined by Brian Eno, best describes the impression that hangs in the air throughout their songs and with the trio's debut album, Liminal, due out 2nd June, it couldn't be a more appropriate title. We speak soon after he arrives in Berlin and he segues straight into the collaboration, how Dali slept with coins in his hands and what liminal means to him. Eventually, the 'whisper' became louder to hear.

What were your first interactions with electronic or dance music?

It started when Frank (Wiedemann) and I did a track together, and it was really well received in the underground community in Berlin. I'm very lucky I didn't have to wonder in I got essentially invited into the very heart of the industry. I didn't know how to speak that language before.

Sometimes soloists need to take a step back in order to make their internal landscape more creative. So how did The Acid collaboration come about?

It was all synchronistic. After touring and collaborating in the Berlin scene last year I went back to LA and re met Adam [Freeland]. I guess it was quite beautiful because there was this mutual appreciation and understanding of each other, but you gotta know I have a really strong idea of structure when I'm writing, I generally lead that process.

So what appeals to you the most about working with them?

Steve [Nalepa] is such a mastermind on Ableton, as quickly as I'm speaking it's being done and I've never really had that before. Somebody who is facilitating as quickly as you're creating, I guess that's so rare. It was almost like three people working individually and simultaneously, quite effortlessly.

I suppose the concept of individuality is quite relevant then if you're putting it into a context of a group?

It's quite beautiful the fact that we could each rotate between the production chair and the creating chair. Sometimes Adam would start a track and he would email both of us, I'd then start working on it before they got there and then they would jump in. It's almost like when you start giving roles you create less freedom you know? So not having a role, not having to put on a hat, gives you the freedom to explore what you want.

Why did you feel the need to shroud the identity of The Acid in mystery, symbols and coding?

I think we're all very much strong believers in the essence of something as opposed to what surrounds it. When we created this we realised there were avenues we could take to get people to listen to it in the industry. We didn't want to follow formulas so we decided on the anonymity in the beginning. It was very much about encoding it and trying to hide it a little bit because everything is so available now. We're all very strong aesthetically too; Steve published books on artists, Adam has always been into alchemy and symbolism and I'm esoteric. We were disciplined in our approach of wanting to un-represent ourselves if that makes sense, with discipline comes complete freedom. The symbolism was about creating something that was much bigger than a singular point.

How did you originally come up with the name? It is quite an operative word.

It's very operative and had so much weight. It's an idea and obviously has a lot of connotations but it felt like a name that held enough space for anything to come. It had the ability to talk about many things at once and I think that's what we're trying to do musically. We have such a strong palette and you can use those colours however you want. There are three mirrors that we have with this project and we all take time to make sure what we're doing is exactly what we want to be doing.

In fear of getting too arty I believe your insanely brilliant video for Basic Instinct was inspired by Toby Burrow's Fallen pieces? That had such a weight to it - kind of explosive - how did you come up with the concept?

I mean you can't get too artistic talking to us, great artists know how to look at art before them and create it - art is essentially creation of new content and re-appropriation and reestablishment. Toby Burrows is a friend of ours and the people in the video are WIFE, the dance troupe and are dear friends of mine who I love and trust. When you work with your community in terms of creating art you can move so far beyond a center of vision. We all want to create art that's meaningful and cross some genres and push some boundaries so I asked lovingly for a tip of the hat from Steve and Adam to be able to direct it with a friend of ours Dugan O'Neal. I brought him on as a knowledge base to shoot what my mind was thinking. It was cyclical too, he is the friend whose house Adam and I met at.

It was as if it captured moments that felt like those precious few seconds between waking up and dreaming - when reality is still suspended in imagination. Are these concepts you explore in your music?

We wanted to create a piece of work that didn't have too much narrative, exactly what you mentioned with the concept of that moment - that lucid dreaming state. Salvador Dali used this technique on most of his paintings, he would sleep with coins in his hand and when his muscles relaxed he'd drop the coins and it would wake him up a little and he would remember what his dreams were and sketch them. He used the subconscious to make art, and that's one of our aims. A lot of the stuff on the record is subliminal in terms of the lyrics. If you look at the name, it's liminal, and we're playing with this certain state. If you look at what liminal means it means existing at opposite sides of the spectrum at the same time and it also means passing through a state of dreaming - almost shamanic.

How does this affect your solo work as RY X?

It all comes from the same place. The Acid is new part of myself in terms of shoegaze, drone, drums and heavy electronica. Cross collaboration is so important. The industry says otherwise - people get confused. I say that's not true! There are many different sides of a human being and the best way I can facilitate this is by having all these projects.

It resonates; our age reveres a specialist, yet our generation is becoming more emblematic of natural polymaths dabbling in different pies because each pie feeds the other -

It's a beautiful eco-system of creation right now and each thing is influencing the other. I sometimes want to listen to electronic music, the next day deep house then raw folk from California. If you can appreciate and admire your own work then you're hitting your stride as an artist. All I want to do is create.

What can we expect from The Acid's first live show at the end of the month in London?

I think the first presumption is that it's like a DJ setup, but we're gonna do everything live. It's quite amazing, Adam's had to step out of his comfort zone in terms of playing things live - it's gonna be a pretty heavy experience. We're now pushing into the drone of things and the soundscapes and have a beautiful group of artists working on visuals for us who are completely overqualified for something that is a very small project in some ways. The team would be more appropriate filling a bigger space that Chats Palace to be honest, in terms of their resumes. We're going to be on the precipice of making mistakes too because it's so new. We're creating visual programs that are going to be responsive to the music we're making live - it's all about synchronicity. We want it to be an intimate and very personal and also otherworldly.

It's the lucid dreaming idea we spoke about - you're there, you're awake but at the same time you're in a state of dreaming. I'm excited to see where we end up on that.


The Acid's debut album, Liminal, is released on June 2nd via Infectious.