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Friday, April 6, 2018

Factfile

Who: Lynchland
What: Lynchian archivists
Where: Bordeaux, France

Interview with Lynchland

Can you tell us how Lynchland came about? Where did the idea come from?

Roland: I wrote two thesis about David Lynch’s first films, Eraserhead and The Elephant Man. David Lynch got them and decided to invite me on the set of the whole shooting of Lost Highway and I’ve been more or less “on that road” since. In the early 2000’s, I began to write some articles about David Lynch’s works on the internet and Lynchland was born.

Jeremy: I met Roland in Paris in 2002, during David Lynch’s only live gig. Lynch was performing his BlueBOB album on guitar, along with his pal John Neff. Roland and I quickly became friends, and around 2014, I told him that I wanted to do mixes for Lynchland. We talked it out for a while and a few months later, we were ready to go.

How long have you been doing this? How many mixes have there been in the series?

Jeremy: We released our first mix in March 2015, and there have been 52 mixes as we speak.

Do you do anything at physical events or is the mix series strictly an online thing?

Jeremy: It is strictly an online thing.

Can you tell us about your influences? Obviously, David Lynch is a big one but are there any other influences that you have for the mixes?

Jeremy: The idea behind the “Lynchian” mixes—i.e. music that sounds like it belongs in a David Lynch film—dates back to the late 00s, but another artist, Ennio Morricone, originally inspired it. I kept hearing songs that reminded me of Morricone’s style, and eventually tracked them down. Then I thought about all these musicians that have had a massive influence on popular music during the 20th century and created my own private mixes around Morricone and Lynch, but also James Brown, Edgar Varèse, Brian Wilson, Chuck Berry, The Beatles, Serge Gainsbourg, Prince, etc. I’d love to expand this idea to vocalists and work around the influence of Billie Holiday, for example. That would be fascinating, but the research alone takes an awful lot of time.

As for people doing mixes, I enjoy a lot of them now, but I could not name anyone as an influence, it’s just something that had been on my mind for years. I was obsessed with literal mixtapes as a teenager.

Do you theme mixes in any particular way?

Jeremy: It depends. When I initiated the project, I told Roland that I wanted to build some sort of narrative within the mixes, to create a narrative soundscape with a Lynchian flavor. I recorded myself driving on the highway, walking, talking, closing doors, even coughing. I don’t have the best voice, but my coughs sound magnificent. I seem to remember that Roland was concerned about the amount of effort it would take and even though I was like “watch me”, he saw me fail miserably. After a month, I had an hour-long mix but with maybeonly five or ten minutes of sound that I was content with. So we scrapped the idea, and went back to a more conventional approach and it came out much better in the end.

With the standard “Lynchian” mixes, I try to assemble songs that “mix well” (i.e in a way that I find interesting or pleasing) but there is no unifying theme besides the Lynchian mood. I’ve done a few mixes based on David Lynch’s films (Eraserhead, Blue Velvet, Wild at Heart, The Straight Story), some Twin Peaks-inspired playlists, we’ve recently done a video game-based Lynchian mix, so some of our work hasa little bit of a concept behind it. Our series “Songs from the Stars” is where you can hear actors from David Lynch’s films sing, be they professional musicians or not, has been especially well received. Occasionally, we celebrate David Lynch or Angelo Badalamenti’s birthday with a mix. We’ve also paid homage to David Bowie twice, which is something I just had to do to soothe the pain a bit.

Finally, two years ago, we launched what has become our main series besides the standard mixes: the “Guest Mixes”. This is where we ask artists who’ve worked with David Lynch to share their favourite songs (and a few words about their picks). We’re very proud of it.

Roland: I am indeed very proud of this series. I spent a huge amount of time contacting the guests and trying to convince them to join. It’s sometimes frustrating when some ‘divas’, who had at first promised to be a part of it, disappear into the ether and into the pure silenc but it’s also such an honour when some people like John Neff (David Lynch’s longtime collaborator), singer Rebekah del Rio or composer Barry Adamson, to name a few, are happy to join in. Our most moving Guest Mix has been Harry Dean Stanton. He agreed to share his 15 favourite songs to celebrate his Birthday on July 14th 2017, and we realized in September that this tremendous gift was probably his last ‘public’ appearance. Such a wonderful actor and human being.

What influence, if any, does the city in which you live have on what you do?

Jeremy: I love the idea that my city, which is Bordeaux, France, could have an influence on my work, but sadly, that’s not the case. I don’t even drink red wine when I mix. Bordeaux is a nice place though! A bit more daring and exciting now, artistically speaking, than it was a few years ago.

What technology do you use to make the mixes?

Jeremy: I’ve used Sound Forge for the past ten years. It helps me create 95% of what I want to do. Sometimes, very rarely, I need to do something that other software does better; depending on what it is (some effects, another way of mixing or mastering), I usually go with Audition or Cubase.

Do you spend a lot of time thinking about how you order the songs, one after another, to create a particular atmosphere? Do you also mix songs together?

Jeremy: I don’t want to overthink it. I do my research first, and this takes the most time by far. It’s pleasing but demanding. Once I have about 20–25 five songs, I usually try to narrow it down to 15. I like my mixes to start with an instrumental and to end with a positive, uplifting song, also a norm I have set for myself, nothing mandatory, of course. Jazz, rock,

ambient are the most relevant genres. Synth-pop from the 2010s is good as well; you can definitely hear Julee Cruise’s influence on many new acts. When I try to get the most Lynchian atmosphere, I’ve found that reverb is a plus, obviously, and that acoustic guitars don’t work too well most of the time. They’re too clean, they sort of break the brooding or ethereal mood which I find is the most pertinent. Blues and folk guitars can work really well though. Finally, I try to include women and men on each mix. Then I mix and try to convey various “energies”, various dynamics, from quiet to loud or slow to fast.

I like to mix songs together, but I don’t want to overdo it. I mainly try to alleviate the transition from one song to the other so that it sorts of flows together. Sometimes, you have to be more abrupt, and sometimes, you just have to respect the silence between two songs, especially when a classical piece ends. It’s so subtle, acoustically speaking, that you want to let it fade out as quietly as possible. One of our guests, Lawrence English, has done a remarkable mix for us, in which he truly mixes songs together, with many callbacks, samples, etc. It’s great.

Do you think a lot about the imagery that accompanies your mix on Mixcloud?

Not a lot, no, and usually not before the mix is done. Usually an idea springs to mind, and I recreate it as well as I can. Since most of the time I do my mixes a few days before the deadline, it leaves little time to create the accompanying picture. I still put a few hours into it, but I’m not a graphic designer. I have great respect for what graphic designers can achieve, and I cannot do much by comparison. I enjoy doing it a lot though, it’s a nice learning process.

Luckily, we’ve had some very talented illustrators to help along the way: Rinaldo Zoontjes, David Marques, Had H, Andrew B. White, Tyler Henry, and, last but not least, my girlfriend Azélie Fayolle. I’m very grateful they agreed to participate and help out and am very pleased with the result.

Do you have any other upcoming events/things?

Roland: Regarding the Lynchian Mixtapes, we hope to be able to publish our Member Mixes onto some nice vinyl one day, but it’s still a long way before we can do this. Lynchland’s main project is currently to create a Lynchland Magazine. It’s also a huge work, but we hope we’ll be able to do it.

Municipal Pool

Check which is the shallow end and note the point where you will be out of your depth.