Quotes by: Damien Chazelle
There were so many specific things from high school jazz band that I remembered: the conductor searching out people who were out of tune, or stopping and starting me for hours in front of the band as they watched.
At the upper echelon of musicians in general, I guess performers in general, you have to have this kind of live-or-die, cutthroat mentality.
Before 'Whiplash,' I'd had a string of failed scripts. I'd pour my blood, sweat and tears into them, and no one would like them.
The go-to reflex all over Hollywood is still likeability. I've always had a problem with it because I think I have a weird barometer in the sense that some of the characters I've cared about the most in movies are characters that are often thought of as despicable.
As a kid, I was just writing scripts and taking whatever film classes I could in college.
I actually grew up wanting to be a filmmaker. I wanted to make movies, and music was a detour, almost.
As delicate as 'Guy and Madeline' was, it was important that 'Whiplash' come off as more of a fever dream.
As a drummer, you're always fighting for a level that you never quite attain.
I was really trying to sell to people who hate jazz: to make a case for the art form as youthful and energetic, not the sort of rarified intellectual activity it's painted as.
I was a kid living in New Jersey, who - I'd wanted to make movies since I was a little kid, so that came before music for me. But I started playing drums just as a hobby, and I wasn't even really into jazz that much.
I was always pretty decent at fast stick work or doing stuff that seems impressive that's not really; I was pretty tasteful and had good ideas musically. But I had a terrible sense of tempo, which is like being a blind painter.
Certainly, I've loved musicals for a while, so I did some short films in college that had musical numbers and things like that, so I've kind of been obsessed with Fred and Ginger and Vincente Minnelli and Stanley Donen and Jaques Demy forever.
I love the idea of using film language similarly to how musicians use music - combining images and sounds in a way that they create an emotional effect.
I guess art itself is insane. Its actual function is rarely clear, and yet people give their hearts and souls and lives to it, and have for all of history.
If you want to make a movie, there may be many forces trying to pull you down, but really, a lot of it is will power. You can will it into being if you just believe that you are going to make a movie.
In a weird way, I'm always going to ground myself. I'm an insecure kind of pessimist, but I'm always kind of waiting for the other shoe to drop.
I was in this public high school in Princeton, and it had this topnotch jazz program - if you were a musician of any kind of caliber, your holy grail was to be in that orchestra. It was that claim to fame of the school, of the town, other than the university. But it was better than the university band.
One interesting thing about jazz, or art in general, but jazz especially is such an individual art form in the sense that improvisation is such a big part of it, so it feels like it should be less soldiers in an army and more like free spirits melding. And yet, big band jazz has a real military side to it.
I would break a lot of cymbals. You whack the cymbals hard enough, and they will crack in half. Drums are not actually as sturdy as they look. They're actually somewhat fragile instruments.
I hadn't seen that many movies that really go deep enough into the fears of playing music or the language that musicians can use to treat each other or, like, the way that you can see it dehumanize and the way that it can feel like boot camp.
What I love about jazz is that it's full of legends, full of myths. It's an oral history because it started in New Orleans and Kansas City, under the radar.
I wanted to look at the mentality that can breed that sort of intensity, that kind of cutthroat, pressure-cooker feeling, especially a form of music like jazz, that should be - or you'd think should be - all about liberation and improvisation and everything.