Electronic musician Moby and maker of disturbing films David Lynch might, at first, seem an odd conversational pair. What could the shaven-headed Generation Xer from New York who made the album Play have in common with the messily yet elaborately coiffed Baby Boomer from Montana who made the movie Blue Velvet? But as the recorded event from this year’s International Music Summit demonstrates, they’ve got a lot to talk about. Enthusiasts of both creators may know that they actually do have professional connections: Lynch directed the music video for Moby’s “Shot in the Back of the Head,” Moby has made his music free to filmmakers, and Lynch has even recorded an album of his own, complete with troubling video.
They’ve even become friends, ones close enough that Lynch just calls Moby “Mo,” and Moby once gave Lynch a slide guitar as a present. They’ve got such a rapport, in fact, that Moby can ask Lynch, leadingly and admittedly so, if Lynch considers that slide guitar the best present he ever received. He asks it, in fact, right up there onstage at the IMS, along with such other questions, pre-written on a sheet, as “Have you ever grown maggots?,” “Is Inland Empire my favorite movie of the last ten years?,” “What would your favorite birthday meal be, keeping in mind this is a conference about electronic music?,” “Do we fear death?,” and “Would you like to grow quinoa in your backyard?”
Though both Moby and Lynch love their quinoa, they make even more of a connection over their city of residence, Los Angeles. The former points out that three of the latter’s pictures — Lost Highway, Mulholland Drive, and Inland Empire — star not any particular human actor, but Los Angeles itself. “Anything goes,” Lynch explains about the city that inspires him (sometimes, no doubt, during the meditation sessions he also discusses here) with its light and its jasmine-scented air. “You’re free to think and do things” — two pursuits that both of these guys have engaged in, unceasingly and fruitfully, over their entire careers.
Colin Marshall hosts and produces Notebook on Cities and Culture and writes essays on cities, language, Asia, and men’s style. He’s at work on a book about Los Angeles, A Los Angeles Primer. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.