Babylon: what was the most difficult scene to set to music? – Movie news

Justin Hurwitz, who has not separated from the career of Damien Chazelle, for whom he has composed music for all films, returns with us to the challenges of his fifth collaboration, “Babylon”.

Music plays a big role in Damien Chazelle. It’s even the heart of Whiplash or La La Land, an homage to musicals. So it’s no surprise that his most loyal collaborator is a composer: Justin Hurwitz.

At the age of 38, which he celebrated on January 22, 2023, there is only three days difference with the director, who was born on January 19 of the same year. The anniversaries celebrated by the two men, Babylon, their fifth collaboration, has just been released in French cinemas.

Dive into 20’s Hollywood, Justin Hurwitz details on his music with us. While waiting for the Oscar nominations, where he could be one of the favorites after the triumph at the Golden Globes, La gave him the chance to add a third golden statuette to his list after the nominations for best song and best original score for the film. La Land.

AlloCiné: How was your meeting with Damien Chazelle? How was this project different from the previous ones?

Justin Hurwitz: I love working with Damien! We’ve known him for more than half our lives, and it’s rare to find a director who thinks about music in the production process like he does. Who appreciates it as much as he does. It’s fun to get involved so early in a project, as we’re used to.

As soon as we have the script, we look at it, Damien and I, to note where the music will be and where it won’t be. This applies to both the music played on stage and the music we add to it. We also think about editing a bit. I love having the opportunity to think about music so early on. I feel lucky that Damien wants to work like this.

I didn’t want my music to sound like it did back then

What was your inspiration for capturing the essence of this era?

I didn’t do any research because I honestly didn’t want my music to sound like the era. I know Damien did a lot of work for the film, but when it came to the music, we really wanted to stay out of 20s jazz. I was listening more to rock music to find catchy and aggressive music.

I also listened to modern dance. House, electro dance music. Looking for ups and downs, rhythms, beats. That was what inspired me the most. Because we wanted Babylon to have the instruments of a 20s jazz band, but not the feel. It had to be wilder, more unbalanced, and more catchy than the jazz we were putting together at the time.

What was the most difficult scene to set to music?

there is a track called “Damascus Strike”, and featured on the commercially released soundtrack. Without giving too much away about the scene, we ask Sydney [Jovan Adepo] doing something very humiliating while playing. This piece had to be very edgy and catchy at the same time. Let it show Sidney’s feelings at the time and how it develops as the sequence progresses.

And the montage takes us to other places during the scene: we see Jack, for example [Brad Pitt] Fast down the highway to see somebody, Manny [Diego Calva] who leaves to find Nellie [Margot Robbie]. So we had to reflect the interior of Sydney as well as the atmosphere of these other passages. Creating and structuring all this music was a fun challenge.


Justin Hurwitz

What is the main message of “Babil” for you?

It’s a sprawling film with a lot going for it. The love story speaks to me because I find it heartbreaking, with this person who wants to love but doesn’t know how. It affects me a lot. But the main message that Babylon revolves around is the idea of ​​being part of something bigger.

In this case, we are talking about artists who have their own little moment. And when it’s over, the art form they’re involved in continues to move forward, even though it’s part of its overall evolution. This applies to all industries and all sorts of things. When we look back at the end of our lives, we can realize that time has passed, things have changed, and we have a part in it.

Interview by Emmanuel Itier in Los Angeles on December 4, 2022

Posted in Art

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