David Lynch on Music and The Big Dream

Loud and Quiet catch up with the filmmaker at his home in the Hollywood Hills
David Lynch at his Hollywood home. Photograph: Nathanael Turner
From Daniel Dylan Wray (Loud and Quiet):
What is there to extract from the mind of David Lynch that hasn’t already been refracted through the multiple prisms of his art? His reticence to discuss the meaning or fundamental essence to much of his work, combined with his astute creative intellectualism and consummate vision very much being on another planet to mine or anybody else’s, rendered a feeling of redundancy before I had even begun. But while Self proposed an inevitable, predestined failure, I soon came to realise that that failure can only really apply if one attempts to truly understand Lynch; to gain a sense of closure and finality by meeting the creator and placing your thoughts in his hands and asking him to fill in the gaps. Like so much of his work, the beauty of the interpretation is often in the ambiguity; the lucid, hypnagogic half-conscious dream in which reality, fantasy and nightmare are an indistinguishable mesh. Failure becomes less of an anxiety if it is approached with no expectations, which it soon transpired, somewhat ironically, is a fitting encapsulation for both Lynch’s work and for attempting to understand him.

When David Lynch announced his 2011 album, ‘Crazy Clown Time’, many treated it as a wild, off-road steer into another art form. A new, drastic, perhaps even detrimental move into the unknown, like the reversal of the preordained disaster route of pop star to actor. Music, however, has been as synonymous with David Lynch – both cinematically and singularly – as coffee, cigarettes, the colour red, transcendental meditation, cherry pie or Jack Nance. In fact, of all the evolutions and phantasmagorical shifts throughout Lynch’s cinematic career, his exploration in music has been one of the few consistencies in his artistic life; an anchored rock steadied under the thrashing sea that it his visionary transit.

Lynch’s ventures into sound and music are too great to count, but he has composed music for many of his own films and projects, has a longstanding musical partnership with Angelo Badalamenti, has written lyrics and produced albums for Julee Cruise and Chrysta Bell, been a member of rock band Bluebob, set up his own record label, featured on ‘Dark Night of the Soul’, the 2010 Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse album, created the exquisite and elegiac ‘Polish Night Music’ with Marek Zebrowski and he finally began singing in public via inclusions of some of his songs in 2006’s Inland Empire. A strain of surrealism still reins supreme and subversion characteristically takes place within these musical leanings. Lynch’s distorted, hidden vocals mirror the backward, mangled ones so prominent in his films and when taking on one of the most ubiquitous instruments in existence, he literally plays the guitar upside down and back-to-front. Lynch, in many senses, has a near forty-year career in music and sound experimentation behind him, but rarely is it ever fully explored or discussed. [Read More]

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