“Ringtones and wallpaper now available at DL.com” experimental director David Lynch announces to the sound of a tinny drumroll on his once regular YouTube weather announcements. These have recently been picked back up by Lynch following the quarantine demands of the coronavirus pandemic, but none came with the exciting announcement of such mobile downloads.
The idea of a downloadable ringtone now seems rather foreign in a world in which everyone prefers the simplicity of Samsung’s default ring, or Apple’s piercing shrill, but in the world of 2006, a personalised tone was all the range. You could find them available for purchase at the back of kids magazines, or on strange TV adverts that now seem like time capsules to an alternative dimension. Not one to avoid the weird and experimental, this is likely exactly why David Lynch chose to foray into the strange form of micro-media, bringing his own unique sense of humour to the format.
It takes a certain type of individual, or perhaps just a Lynch loyalist, to download the disturbing ringtone that announces in a dark demonic tone “I like to kill deer”, or instead the terrifying infantile screech of “my teeth are bleeding”. Released shortly before the release of his 10th (and most recent) feature film, Inland Empire, David Lynch released the ringtones on his own private website, a website that now redirects to his YouTube channel.
As a result, it seems as though many of these ringtones have been lost to the digital ether which is particularly annoying considering one of them includes the director repeating “what the hell? damn! What the hell?!?”. Speaking about the ringtones upon their release, David Lynch stated: “Cell phones are a handheld theatre…I like to experiment with sound and music ringtones and this is an opportunity to create something different.”
In fact, one of the only places to find these ringtones is in a YouTube video uploaded in 2014 from the Howard Stern show linked below, in which Stern and his guests sound audibly confused by the ringtones. “What! That’s a ringtone?” Stern comments, before another guest comments: “Yeah, you don’t fuck with a guy with a ringtone like that.”
The conversation lasts from the start of the clip until 1:20 where three of Lynch’s ringtones are revealed whilst the rest are left to float around in the recesses of the director’s dreamworld. Here’s hoping they’ll all soon be discovered…