Transmissions :: Jim Jarmusch

Music is never incidental in a movie made by our guest this week: director, collage artist, and music maker Jim Jarmusch. Music is part of his films’ DNA, a through line running through his characters’ black comedy gags and existential wanderings. There’s no stylistic template—everything from crazed blues to ambient drones have soundtracked Jarmusch’s films—but the director ties songs together with an unmatched patience and style. The soundtrack to one of those motion pictures—2014’s vampire yarn Only Lovers Left Alive—was recently reissued by Sacred Bones. It features Jim’s band, SQÜRL, his frequent collaborator lutenist Jozef Van Wissem, and guest appearances by Madeline Follin of Cults, Zola Jesus, and Yasmine Hamdan. Jim joined us from his place in upstate New York to discuss the pastoralism that defines his creative practice these days, his early days, collaborators like John Lurie and Steve Buscemi, and of course music—Neil Young, Tom Waits, Iggy, Wu-Tang Clan, and beyond.