One of the most buzzed about films on the festival circuit this year was a music movie — sort of. Whiplash is about the the abusive relationship between a demanding bandleader and his student, a talented drummer named Andrew. The film’s director, Damian Chazelle, says he actually thinks of Whiplash as a sports movie — at least in terms of narrative format. Still, the film draws on Chazelle’s own experiences as a drummer, and considers what it takes to harness musical genius. In an interview for The Dissolve, Chazelle talks about music teachers, how practice shouldn’t be enjoyable, and the idea that art could kill you:
Especially toward the end, I definitely wanted to film Andrew in a way that looks like he’s this close to literally having a heart attack and keeling over. I wanted people to worry not just for his sanity, but for his physical well-being. There’s a physical side to this instrument, and a brutality that’s not just emotional, but corporeal.
Read the whole interview here.
On this Encore: We play two great clips from Alex’s friends, talking about sounds in the world that make them think of music. Hear the episode here.
When you hear the word disco, you might think of The Bee Gees and Saturday Night Fever. Few people realize that disco was originally an underground culture created by and for blacks, latinos, and gays. This week, Michael A. Gonzalez brings disco’s little-known history to light in a personal essay for Medium’s Cuepoint. Specifically, Gonzalez writes about the night he lost his “disco virginity” at a dance club in Baltimore in 1979. In the process, he also tells the story Baltimore’s vibrant black culture:
Odell’s opened in 1976, back when G.Q.-dressed soul brothers still led their ladies by the hand to the massive dance floor to hustle and freak. In those days, disco was the soundtrack for most of my high school friends and Odell’s was where young, black Baltimore boogied. ‘You’ll know if you belong,’ was their motto, which was broadcast regularly on radio commercials between ads for Champale and jheri-curl juice.
Read the whole article here.
For the past year, Alex has been plagued by an iPhone notification sound that constantly reminds him of the Beach Boys song “Sloop John B.” He goes on a journey to find out why — and he discovers that he’s not alone.