Jason Bentley: Well it's getting harder and harder to succinctly describe our next guest in studio. Filmmaker, photographer, sculptor, singer-songwriter, universal creative spirit David Lynch joins us this morning on KCRW. Good morning, David.
David Lynch: Great to be here, Jason. Thanks a lot.
JB: Absolutely. How've you been?
DL: Real good. And we're here, being joined by Dean Hurley.
Dean Hurley: Hi, Jason!
JB: So, "Crazy Clown Time" is your new album. And I know that music has been an important part of your films, and just your overall aesthetic for a long time. But this project is rather different. Tell us…you know, set it up a little bit for us.
DL: In the 90s, I built a studio. And the studio is for watching films, it's for mixing films, it's for experimenting with sound and as it turns out for recording and mixing music. I started getting into music with Angelo Badalamenti on Blue Velvet. And I started getting into a kind of a different land of music, experimenting with a guitar as a sound effect. But a musical sound effect. So one thing led to another. And I started making music. And as Dean says, I'm a self-taught non-musician.
JB: Is there a connection between the way you approach other artistic endeavors, filmmaking or photography, and the art and the craft of songwriting for you?
DL: It's sort of the same, you know. I always say the same thing…it's ideas. And ideas…you could say that ideas are creativity, but nothing happens unless there's an idea and/or a flow of ideas. And it can happen in any medium. You get in there, and ideas begin to flow. And it happens a lot with action and reaction. So in the world of music, like Dean and I will start out with a jam. Before we start jamming, we picked chords, a certain kind of feel, a beat, in our mind. But once you start going, a thing happens. And this…you know, every musician must say "Yeah yeah yeah!" It's a thing. If the guitar sounds a certain way, and the beat is a certain way, a thing will come out. Just as natural as falling off a log. It will just come out. And there's a lot of mistakes, there's a lot of accidents, but there are these discoveries that come along. It's just magic.
JB: I'd like to get into the first song that we're going to play. This is called "Strange And Unproductive Thinking." Very interesting song, because on one hand it feels like it's very stream of consciousness, but then it's also it feels like a philosophy or credo, as far as the goals of being a creative spirit. If you could set this song up in any way before we play it, what would you say?
DL: From time to time, I write what I call "meaningless conversations." That, they don't have periods. They just go. And this is a song, "Strange And Unproductive Thinking," based on a meaningless conversation.
JB: David Lynch is our guest. Crazy Clown Time the new album. And let's check out this song, "Strange And Unproductive Thinking," on KCRW.
(PLAYS "STRANGE AND UNPRODUCTIVE THINKING")
JB: We're back in studio with David Lynch and Dean Hurley. And they have come with a brand new album. David Lynch, of course, you know as a filmmaker and photographer. But now singer-songwriter on this project. And over the years in your films, you've cast a lot of very beautiful women. For this project, you also have another beautiful and talented woman, that's Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
DL: My music agent from time to time will say "David, I want to bring somebody up for coffee and you talk with them and maybe something happens." So this was what happened with Karen O. She came up once many years ago, and nothing happened. She drank about three beers and then left. Then recently she came up. Dean and I had this track for "Pinky's Dream," and I had lyrics. Karen O sat down, we got her some coffee. She read the lyrics, she liked them. She wanted to live with them for a bit. So we kept playing her the track. Pretty soon she leapt up, went in the booth, and out came "Pinky's Dream."
(PLAYS "Pinky's Dream")
JB: New from David Lynch, featuring Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. That song sets off the CD. It's called Pinky's Dream. David Lynch joins us in studio. Now we talked about your history with music, you know, writing for film scores, songwriting, also the recent project with Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse. And then kind of putting out your first two songs from this album, probably about a year and a half ago maybe. We were able to debut that here on Morning Becomes Eclectic.
DL: You sure did. You sure did, Jason.
JB: I wonder if it was encouraging to your process as you saw how people were receiving the music. Did it encourage you to put the finishing touches on this album or get a little more serious about this record?
DL: Absolutely. You don’t know what you did, Jason, when you played that on the radio. And the people at Sunday Best Recordings heard it. And they said to me and Dean, "Let us prove what we can do with this music." And they got that stuff out around the world really, really great. The greatest bunch. And then, this set it up for the album. And it's true, everybody knows if no one really is showing any interest in your work, yes you'll still work, because you love to work. And I love to work. But when somebody shows interest, it just amplifies the energy and it's such a good feeling. And it really facilitated the acceleration of this album coming out.
JB: "These Are My Friends." I enjoyed that and thought this was amusing. Tell us about this song.
DL: I don't know how to explain it. I wrote those lyrics, but correct me if I'm wrong Dean, but I think this one kind of came out and it wasn't fiddled with much.
DL: It came out, and…People have friends. All of us has had a childhood. And friends and childhood, when they swim together in happiness, that's the feeling of "These Are My Friends."
(PLAYS "These Are My Friends")
JB: We're back in studio with David Lynch. The album "Crazy Clown Time" through Sunday Best Recordings. What we're really seeing here is a solo debut. Of course, Dean is very much a part of your music. Are you thinking about another record? I know you've got this one on your mind…
DL: We've already got at least one track for the new album.
JB: Excellent. Lyrics that I heard in "Strange And Unproductive Thinking" just kind of blew by me, but something like finding something out of nothing was the idea. And I wanted to ask you about the importance of the abstract. Giving credence to the abstract.
DL: Jason we're just gonna have to do a full, full day of talk. Because abstraction, where is the greatest abstraction? They say the greatest abstraction is the unified field. Unified field, you can find at the base of all matter or at the base of all mind and intellect.
Unity. Source. Absolute. Ocean of pure consciousness. It's just a field that's eternal. Always been there, always will be there. Everything that is a thing is born out of this field. And it's such an abstract thing. How can pure consciousness give birth to a fish, or a tree, or a Jason? This is abstract. So abstract. And how can this field within be a field of infinite bliss? Bliss begins where happiness leaves off. Bliss can be physical, emotional, mental, spiritual. Bliss. It's such an abstract thing. But it's real. All these abstractions, they really pale compared to that big abstraction. But they make us, we fail to be able to say what they are with words but we all kind of understand abstractions because we're alive and we live.
JB: You've been a major supporter of meditation and bringing the benefits of meditation to a mainstream consciousness. Is meditation that idea of finding something significant, something meaningful in nothing?
DL: Yes. There's a line, we were just talking about this the other day. John Lennon sings "Across The Universe." He says "Nothing's going to change my world." And everybody thinks he's lost, he's saying like it's not gonna happen. It's impossible, just give it up. Nothing's gonna change anything. But it's not that way. In nothing, no thing, this field of unity within is actually no thing. Yet all things come from it. So I can picture John Lennon asking Maharishi, he says you mean nothing's going to change my world? And they laugh. Yes, that's the truth of it. Nothing is going to change everything. It's going to bring all the transformation, it's going to unfold our full potential. Which is called enlightenment. It's really the story of the human being, it's so beautiful.
JB: David Lynch has been our guest. The new album "Crazy Clown Time" is released on Sunday Best Records. David, it's been a pleasure.
DL: Bless your heart, Jason. Thanks for having us in.
David Lynch, film director, painter and musician