The cult auteur and master of the otherworld discusses creative freedom, musical inspiration and new album ‘The Big Dream’
“Encounters with those artists you truly admire are doomed to disappointment. After all, it’s all in the work – the worker himself is just an organic appendage” – Will Self on David Lynch.
Will Self’s quote loomed ominously over me as I prepared for this interview. 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.