We first came across Dustin Lynn’s visual creativity in connection with David de Rothschild’s Adventure Ecology initiative back in 2007. When we interviewed him last, Lynn was with de Rothchild on the Toxico Mission in Ecuador, where he was working alongside artists like Gabriel Orozco and photography duo Oliver Chanarin and Adam Broomberg, documenting oil companies’ devastation of the Amazon rainforest. While garnering acclaim for his beautiful photography and film work over the last dozen years or so, unbeknownst to many, Lynn has been consistently noodling away on music behind the scenes. “I’ve been recording little guitar jams, dubbing over myself in the computer or on a four-track since I was 14,” he says. “I just never played the recordings for anyone.”
Now he is bringing his sonic creativity out into the open under the moniker Dukes of Chutney, alongside fellow musician John Paul Jones and singer Elle P. The group has evolved over several years with all three making contributions from their various locations around the world. The dream-like layers of sound in the Dukes’ atmospheric EP Domino certainly sound like they’ve been inspired by global adventures. “John Paul Jones and I first recorded together in Sausalito, California a few years ago,” says Lynn. “After that point we both embarked on separate travels—I think he went to Japan and I went to Spain, but we would still share jams via the web… Soon we were both introduced to Elle P. in Berlin via social media, and began sending her the finished instrumentals.” Their process of musical exchange is very fluid: “We end up just playing what instruments or sounds we feel would work in that moment in time. All of the songs on this record began on an acoustic guitar and were expanded from there.”
Lynn says his experiences making music videos were also instrumental to the moment-to-moment feeling of the collaboration. “Doing music video projects has sometimes led me to see the artist’s recording studios, which is always a great seed of inspiration,” he says. “I visited Peter Kruder’s studio in Vienna few years back, and I feel that taught me a lot about capitalizing on the mood of the moment; if the mood is right to work on music then do it, otherwise don’t force it—go to a movie.”
While bringing out his musical side, Lynn certainly hasn’t left his visual connections behind. He enlisted photo buddies Chanarin and Broomberg to design the album artwork. And with the Domino EP comes several cinematically focused videos for the tracks, featuring clips from famous films such as Federico Fellini’s “Roma” and the ’70s surf film Morning of The Earth. “When I first began making films, the ideas would always come to me while listening to music,” Lynn explains. “Since I can remember, film and music have been one in the same for me; both are forms of color.”
Dukes of Chutney are now working on a full-length album as well as several collaborative projects with Petter Nordkvist, Sandro Perri and Peter Kruder. They are scoring a new Globe surf film called Strange Rumblings, and an upcoming collaboration with Mohawk General Store.
Images courtesy of Dukes of Chutney