INTERVIEW GARDENS & VILLA by Nadine Oosthuizen
Chris Lynch packs a bag, boards a plane and crash lands on an ice planet called Benton Harbor, Michigan. The unassuming spot inspired the bansuri flute infused “Domino”, the highlight of this spiritual and folky-synthesized new album, Dunes. Lynch, who’s lived in San Barbara for the past two decades, recorded it with his band (Levi Hayden, Dusty Ineman, Shane McKillop, and Adam Rasmussen) aka Gardens and Villa and genius producer Tim Goldsworthy last winter. Today, Lynch fills DWP in on all the rest
DON’T WORK PLAY Where are you right now?
CHRIS LYNCH In van on the 5 freeway outside LA, en route to Outside Lands in San Fran.
DWP Seems like you're always touring! How is that going?
CL It's quite mind altering. But reallllyy fun to play so much music and see glimpses of so many faces and cities and food! But at some point you reach a zone where you miss home and things like Mexican food and the ocean so much it can make you sentimental.
DWP Speaking of home, what do you miss most about Santa Barbara?
CL Well, I actually just moved away ;( went through a sad breakup and needed change. But I miss the hell outa that town. Especially the beaches during the golden hours.
DWP What's the music scene like in Santa Barbara?
CL Pretty funky. Lots of reggae and shitty top 40. But in the secret places there is a thriving and pretty diverse scene of people making music and going to shows. For instance if you've ever been to the Biko House in Isla Vista.
DWP Your ideal soundtrack to Santa Barbara:
CL Beach Boys: Pet Sounds, Lee "scratch" Perry: Return of the Super Ape.
DWP What are some of your most memorable moments of life on the road?
CL A gun was whipped out on us in a strip mall parking lot in Atlanta once by a man creeping up in the shadows at 3 in the morning- we floored our van and smashed over some bushes onto some train tracks and then had to bust out of there almost getting hit by a train. Hah. Stuff like that. Always the unexpected.
DWP Do you ever associate sounds with specific colors/ scenes or random concepts?
CL Oh yes! Quite often. Certain songs and notes have always been associated with colors and scenes to me. Adam (the keys player) and I have always written out the colors (usually to describe a certain vibe) to jams we are writing and crafting when we are creating a record. We usually agree. But it's funny when we don't and one is like "no way man this song is midnight blue daggnamit!" We probably sound like we are pretty far out in the head.
DWP Haha, so how would you describe Dunes?
CL It's a very nightblue/purple/crimsonish record hah- no but seriously. It is a darker and more angular/ wintery than our first record which was made in the summer.
DWP Can you still remember the first song you ever wrote for Gardens & Villa?
CL Ah yes! It was called “The Ghost Ball" and it was a psychedelic waltz about feeling estranged in your home town.
DWP How different do you feel from then to the person who wrote Gardens & Villa? What did you (and the band) want to try with Dunes?
CL We are very different people now. Hundreds of shows and traveling and you know getting older you learn a few tricks. But I think the setting of industrial Michigan during the winter (where we made dunes) and Oregon during the summer, sleeping in tents (where we made the first one) accounts for a lot of the difference. Nature vs nurture.
DWP So, key things you've learned from people you've worked with:
CL Richard Swift- how to have a good time ALL the time.
Tim Goldsworthy- how to play with and make great sounds with music equipment I have no idea how to use.
DWP Who/ what has inspired you recently?
CL I saw my friends, Pure Bathing Culture, open for a band called Hundred Waters in east LA (that's where I live now) both bands were extraordinary and very different. Made me go home and write music all night!
DWP What motivates you to make music?
CL The feeling that I feel when the band is really pumping and everyone's brain is firing at the same second, to the same beat, on this collective mind wave that accelerates and can move you to feel things and see things totally out of the blue- from nothing but sound. It's other-worldly. You can feel it when the crowd enters that place too and everyone can leave themselves for a bit. It's magical and definitely healing for me.
DWP Gardens & Villa summed up in a superpower:
CL The power to make time-portals and worm holes that eventually bring you back to where u started.
DWP What makes you smile?
CL Animals, pizza, cute girls, funny faces, Chevy chase, people using blue-tooth, rollerbladers, old people who are in love or just really silly, plants, water, food, and parks.
DWP Is this forever?
CL Is this real life?