- Composer Justin Hurwitz reunited with Damien Chazelle for “Babylon”.
- They have previously worked together on “Whiplash”, “La La Land” and “First Man”.
- Hurwitz said he was influenced by house music and EDM for the “Babylon” score.
Damien Chazelle’s “Babylon” transports audiences to the 1920s, when Hollywood transitioned from silent films to the use of full sound. The director teamed up with composer Justin Hurwitz to capture the wild story with heart-pounding melodies that recently won the top score at the 2023 Golden Globes.
The result is rowdy anthems like “Voodoo Mama,” which perfectly capture the chaos and all the messy parties that unfold throughout the film.
Speaking to Insider ahead of the film’s UK release on January 20, Hurwitz said he made the iconic clapping sound with “wooden planks hitting the floor of my house.”
The Oscar-winning composer went on to explain how he approached the composition of the film, explaining that he was not inspired by the music of the 1920s and instead looked to modern dance music to try to turn the audience up. .
He said: “I also listened to a lot of modern dance music. Modern House, EDM, [I was] take inspiration from the ups and downs you get in modern dance music that only builds anticipation and then just makes you want to dance.”
The 37-year-old Oscar winner clarified that he and Chazelle “didn’t care” about staying true to the music of the era as they wanted to create something totally unique in the world of film.
Hurwitz said, “Most importantly, it gives us the feel that we wanted. We don’t care about being true to the 20s at all. We care about being true to this movie, which is a feel and a your that’s all It’s a world that Damien invented.”
He added: “It’s wild, it’s unhinged, it’s manic, it’s fun. It makes you want to dance. It goes through these edgy sequences. And to get that feel…I was drawing on a lot of things that weren’t 20s jazz.”
Hurwitz also recalled that he worked with a trumpeter he found online to bring trumpeter Sidney Palmer’s (Jovan Adepo) music to life. The composer reunited with Sean Jones after seeing him “on YouTube about three years earlier”.
He explained: “I found Sean playing ‘Cherokee’ with the University of Texas band. He was the pro who had come to play with the college band. And I heard his tone, which was fiery , but super technical. I was like, ‘Yeah! That’s the sound of Sidney. That’s the sound of this movie.'”
The film’s editor, Tom Cross, briefly told Insider that he knew the film’s scenes were going to be “chaotic,” but Hurwitz’s score kept things in check.
He said: “You want to feel like chaos, but storytelling can’t be chaotic. Storytelling has to have some control. And so, I think what really helped me cut it and cut it put together was Justin Hurwitz, his score.”
“Babylon” is available now in the US and released in the UK on Friday, January 20.