The legendary director discusses releasing a double A-side single on Sunday Best, why all human beings are detectives and the creative magic of fire
When we heard David Lynch was releasing a double-A side single on Sunday Best Records, and that he wants you guys to come up with the idea for the videos, we got straight on the phone to LA to find out exactly what was going down. The iconic director of Wild At Heart, Blue Velvet, Twin Peaks and Inland Empire has always been known for his profoundly emotive choice of music in his films, often working closely with the acclaimed composer Angelo Badalamenti in musical collaborations such as Thought Gang.
More recently, he worked with Dangermouse on the startlingly original Dark Night of The Soul project, but the release of the singles 'Good Day Today' and 'I Know' remain unprecedented in his career. While 'I Know' has some musical precursors in the Lynchian oeuvre, the echo-heavy, sweeping electronica of 'Good Day Today' will surprise and delight many of his fans. Over a crackling phone line we asked the legendary director about the conceptual genesis of the two singles, and a whole lot more...
Dazed Digital: How does music come to you, do you ever wake up with a melody in your head?
David Lynch: That’s exactly what happened on 'Good Day Today'. I just got this melody for the chorus part but I didn’t know what notes they were so I drew a picture of them – I’m not a musician but I play trumpet and can read music – then I worked with Big Dean Hurley and we started building the song.
Dazed Digital: The song seems to have a theme of redemption and salvation – why do you think they are such recurring motifs in culture, and where does that wish for salvation stem from in the collective consciousness?
David Lynch: Right. That’s a really good question. I think that human beings… they know a certain thing inside. It might be buried really deep but they’ve kind of got this thing where they know some feeling about a bigger future for the human being. That sort of drives some people to become seekers. I always say human beings are like detectives – we look at the world and we kind of figure things out, and we do rely on that still small voice inside but it’s really quiet these days because of all the stuff that covers it.
Dazed Digital: Do you think you can get through to that small voice with more with the immediacy of a song than you can through a film?
David Lynch: I don’t know. That’s an interesting question, too. Music does talk to us in deep places and it can stir things, as we all know, and some of it really stirs. It’s just real beautiful. I just saw this video of Pink Floyd singing 'Comfortably Numb' in an arena. It was just such an incredible production and it was just so thrilling to see this thing. It was so powerful. Music has got a lot of power and it can maybe awaken something.
Dazed Digital: Yoko Ono said music is a way of having a meeting with the whole world...
David Lynch: Yeah, yeah, yeah… That’s really beautiful.
Dazed Digital: When you sing that you’ve had enough of the dark in a 'Good Day Today', how personal is it? Is that how you feel as someone who has dealt so much in dark subjects?
David Lynch: (Laughs) Well, y’know… not really, but I do like ideas and sometimes I say that ideas reflect our world, and right at the present time our world is pretty dark so, y’know, stories can hold both things. I think there is a feeling there of being tired of certain things and wanting something different.
Dazed Digital: Do you believe that to see the darkness in the world you have to be standing in the light?
David Lynch: In a weird way, yes, but if there is a lot of fear then you don’t want to go in any dark places. Ideas and sometimes music can incorporate those things, and those things are very, very interesting.
Dazed Digital: How much can an artist guide reactions to their work? Are you interested in the multiplicity of interpretations someone could have of a song or a film?
David Lynch: Well, every listener is different and every viewer is different, so I say just stay true to the idea, because you can’t control what’s going to happen when you release something – it’s anybody’s guess how it going to go in the world. I fall in love with ideas and then I try to transfer those as best as possible to a medium. That’s the whole thing, and I always feel that if a person is true to the ideas and in love with them that maybe there’s a good chance that some people will feel the same thing… if you do a good job.
Dazed Digital: Do you think music can be a tool for transcendence?
David Lynch: Well, I’ve travelled with Donovan and Donovan thinks that his music, or music in general could get a person really deep, but I don’t know if they will transcend with it. I mean, transcending is a unique experience and that’s why you take a technique like transcendental meditation – you will transcend your first meditation with every meditation because it is a technique that works. Then when you hear certain music after you have had that experience a bunch of times you start to recognise it real well, and you hear certain music and it does get you really, really deep. Whether it causes you to transcend? I don’t know for sure.
Dazed Digital: There is a lyric in 'I Know' that seems to be about receiving a message from a bird. Do you think we can pick up messages from nature?
David Lynch: (Laughs) Well, the bird didn’t tell him anything, the bird stopped to sing. That’s the problem. Sometimes the whole world tells you things, or it’s trying to tell you things anyways, and when you are a detective you look for clues, and sometimes one thing leads to another and you get some answers.
Dazed Digital: The competition to come up with ideas for the videos must be like detective work for you – it must be exciting to see what comes back?
David Lynch: Well, the idea is that a competition fuels the fire, and it’s kind of exciting and more fun because you make something you wouldn’t have used without the contest.
Dazed Digital: It’s interesting that you use the word fire because it’s a word used a lot in 'Good Day Today' and is an important element in your films. What does fire means to you symbolically?
David Lynch: Right. Well, I love fire but I guess pretty much everybody does to one degree or another. I like the smokestack industry, I like machines and I like fire in those industries. It’s just such a magical element. It’s just magical. When you think about a fire, you think, 'How in the world did this texture come?' Then the heat from it and sometimes the sound of it is so devouring – it’s just incredible power and it just makes you dream.
Dazed Digital: Do you think the inescapable fact of mortality drives people to create and to want to leave a legacy?
David Lynch: No I don’t think so. I think it’s just so much fun to work in different mediums. I mean, if it was a real drag to work in them and you just thought about leaving a legacy... I don’t know how exciting the work would be. It would just be sort of futile. Love it! If you love it you have just got to do it, and it’s not about leaving anything behind or anything… it’s really just the joy of the doing.
Dazed Digital: Like The Myth of Sisyphus – having to find the joy in constantly pushing the rock up the hill?
David Lynch: Yeah… just pushing the rock up the mountain, but having some Coca-Colas on the way.