Words matter. These are the best Damien Chazelle Quotes, and they’re great for sharing with your friends.
If you look at ‘West Side Story,’ a lot of those numbers are actually pretty cutty, but the cuts are always musically motivated.
My motivation for being a good drummer was born out of fear, which, in a way, seems so antithetical to what art should be.
Mozart was born Mozart. Charlie Parker was born Charlie Parker.
I think, especially living in L.A., it’s very easy to get wrapped up in weekend announcements and the trades and the whole social life of the city, and to get divorced from what actually matters.
If there’s a good review, I’ll skip over the headline, but I always find the bad reviews and read those. I don’t know why. It’s a little sick and demented.
I didn’t have traditional stage fright. If there was 500 people in the audience or three people in the audience, it didn’t really make a difference. What made a difference was the conductor. Everything that I was scared about as a drummer was him. It was his face. It was whether or not he’d approve of my playing.
I want to do an American ‘Umbrellas of Cherbourg.’
I actually grew up wanting to be a filmmaker. I wanted to make movies, and music was a detour, almost.
I love being in the editing room and playing with tempo and with the rhythm of shots.
It’s certainly no coincidence that big bands became the entertainment of the army in WWI and WWII, and that jazz drumming style is very military influenced. The snare drum comes from the military and becomes the core kind of sound of jazz drums.
I’ve always, especially through old Hollywood musicals, loved just to watch tap dancing; I adore it. I think it’s fantastic.
There’s something very particular about the kind of rage you feel when you’re alone in a practice room by yourself, unable to master a simple thing like a rudiment. You keep trying to master this very basic thing, and when you don’t get it, you just scream. I broke a lot of drum heads, and I broke a lot of sticks.
I love the idea of thinking of cinema as not that far from music. A lot of my favourite movie makers, the way they move their cameras or the way they cut just feel very musical – even if the movies have no music in them at all.
I tend to latch on to things and not let go.
I was interested in music and making movies about musicians, but my own experiences, and doing what it felt like for me to be a drummer? Nah, I wasn’t interested in that.
Practicing is not normally fun. Sometimes people say they’re practicing, but they’re really just enjoying themselves and the instrument. That’s not real practice.
There’s something very particular about the kind of rage you feel when you’re alone in a practice room by yourself, unable to master a simple thing like a rudiment.
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.
There are a few musicians that I know who seem on the outside like very asocial or somewhat unemotional people, people who aren’t capable of emotions, and people think they’re very cold inside.
I was a jazz drummer, and it was my life for a while: what I lived and breathed every day.
If you’re on the varsity team, the responsibilities are a lot bigger and there’s more stress, but you also walk around feeling probably like you can hold your head high.
It’s interesting when you wind up distilling all your ambitions and your goals and dreams into one single person. It’s giving that person a lot of power.
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.
By the end of high school, I had this fork-in-the-road moment where part of me considered going to vocational music school to really pursue it.
People like Art Blakey and Buddy Rich, you look at them playing music, and it’s just like looking at a heavy metal drummer. I mean, they’re playing with the same amount of ferocity. It’s not to say all jazz is like that.
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 love the ending of ‘The Wrestler.’
It’s easy to show terrible people’s behavior on screen, and we all just kind of nod and go, ‘Isn’t that terrible.’ It’s more interesting when you can show terrible behavior in the interest of something good.
As a drummer, you’re always fighting for a level that you never quite attain.
My first movie was totally improvised.
When you’re trying to paint a portrait of a very specific world, you’re trying to show what makes the world different. So, sometimes it means exaggerating certain kind of aspects, but I don’t think it’s that important or it’s that much of an issue as long as you get an emotional truth across.
I like a set to be a happy place, where people can feel free to experiment.
There are a lot of musicians in my life. But movies came first for me. That was my original passion.
First time that I cried at a work of art was at a drum solo that I saw. A drummer named Winard Harper, part of the Billy Taylor Trio, gave back in – I would have been in high school – 2005 or something.
I’m predisposed to never be in pure celebration mode.
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 was in high school, and when you get to be 14, 15, you start to feel a little more like your own person so that you can assert your adulthood a little bit.
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. The conductor would just rip into me, and it lasted for years.
I’m too self-serious for a comedy.
As a kid, I was just writing scripts and taking whatever film classes I could in college.
Certainly, my manager Gary Ungar was the first person to give me any attention and hustle for me. This was back in 2009.
I had seen a lot of music movies that celebrated music or that showed the kind of joys from playing music, which is a big part of it of course, and not something that I would want to deny.
As delicate as ‘Guy and Madeline’ was, it was important that ‘Whiplash’ come off as more of a fever dream.
I’ve always wanted to make movies that are fever dreams.
I do truly believe that the smallest stories can wind up being the biggest because it’s through the specific that a writer can best access the universal.
I handle screenings and award ceremonies really badly.
I like movies that are specific. Movies that home in on a very specific subculture, a specific discipline, a specific world.
If you’re an artist, you want to draw from real life; you want to draw from experiences, emotion, and it’s something that a lot of musicians juggle with. I’ve always found it so fascinating.
There are no large-scale original musicals being made right now. They’re all Broadway adaptations and jukebox musicals or catalog musicals, and they just don’t interest me as much.
The greatest thing has been that projects that were pipe dreams before ‘Whiplash’ are now feeling more realistic.
I don’t like the idea the viewer can kind of sit there and go, ‘Make me like this person.’ People aren’t inherently sympathetic.
‘Whiplash’ scared me. I feel you should only do projects that scare you to some degree. I get motivated by those sorts of feelings.
The first thing I did as a child was draw. I wanted to make animated movies. I think Disney’s ‘Cinderella’ was the first movie I ever saw. ‘Peter Pan’ was the first movie I ever saw in the movie theater. I grew up with ‘Dumbo’ and ‘Pinocchio’ and ‘Sword in the Stone.’ Those were the movies I wanted to make.
I find L.A. kind of romantic, actually. As a movie junkie, it’s a city that was built by the movies. There’s something really weird and surreal about it that I find energizing.
I think there is something to be said for not coddling people and not accepting good as good enough.
My version of a stress dream is, really, showing up on a concert stage with a drum set and not knowing the chart.
I never desperately wanted to be a jazz drummer. If anything, I was motivated a lot by fear. Fear of the conductor, fear of the future.
In some ways, jazz is the most precise of art forms and the loosest in the sense that it’s all about improvisation, but the musicianship required is kind of insane. To actually play with real jazz musicians is a different level of musicianship that almost has no equal in any other form of music in the world.
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.
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.