When the idea of filming a music video for the song Purusha came up, my thought process was to list out all available assets the band and I had at our disposal before even starting on a story board or shot list. I knew that the project was going to be a very DIY, one man video production. Through past experiences, I wanted to ensure not to bite off more than I could chew when it comes to the leg work and the heavy lifting the production would require. The band played a crucial part in pulling together all the necessary pieces to pull this off.
So on my list we had (a.) the generosity of a studio space to film in, (b.) large black drapes the vocalist found at work, and (c.) the guitarist was a licensed electrician who's day job was in lighting solutions.
Through discussions with the band, a priority that they established early was that they wanted to transform the space to a point that it could not be recognized. This is because the studio, Snakeweed Studios, already had its own video series of recording session by other local bands that already had an established aesthetic. The band made the intention clear to break away from that aesthetic, so we took the drapes the vocalist found from work and created our own little studio within the studio.
With the band's guitarist, a skilled technician, on-board I knew we had the ability to play with some lighting techniques. But not in the traditional sense of production lights one would be familiar with. We built a chandler that was put together with 3 LED tube lights secured together in a triangle that was held together with some shoelace and tape. We also prepared individual colored light tubes per musician. My main intention with the lighting here was to give the space, as well as the musicians, more visual depth. Knowing that the space we were going to film in was covered with black drapes, I knew I had to have elements on set, and on screen, to help the audience's depth perception, to prevent the video from looking flat. We then added color gels and created make shift barn door out of duct-tape and paper clips that gave us some interesting effects to play with.
The vision behind the music video was the spirit of resistance. The band and I chose to represent the antagonist as a man in a suit, who’s face is never fully revealed throughout the music video. This was to introduce a level of controlled ambiguity. By not defining who this character is, we allow the audience to fill in the blank and envision the antagonist relative to their individual situation.
The music video was shot with the intention to be released as a prelude to the band's live performance at Bay Beats 2016.
Creative direction, Melvin Ong. Film & Edit, eugeneOBJ. Additional Filming, Axel Serik. Grip & Assist, Mitch & Slanganator. Location, Vault Sixty 4 & The Singapore Jazz Club.