As high-speed internet gallops across the world, the moving image is changing the way we consume media, including music. In the Philippines, the popularity of rap has skyrocketed along with the rise of Youtube, like so many other regions. Viewers are drawn not only to fire lyrics and hard beats but also waves of fashion and intense visuals. Bawal Clan has been earning their place as a crew within the scene here for over a year now and their videos have been central to their climb. Miguel Aragon is the man behind many of them, including the “4 Door Honda” visuals, their first single off the new album Nightmare On 66.
The video has a post-apocalyptic vibe, with the Clan posted in abandoned buildings, on dilapidated corners, and boarded on rusty docked ships. Shot in Binondo—a historic but neglected area in Manila—Aragon used real backdrops to create a fictitious sci-fi world. He embellished on the already striking scenery with an array of full-colored lighting, rows of wheat pastings, and plentiful effects. He takes an already moody track and elevates it to new levels of dark, dystopian world building.
For the lighting, Aragon used three battery powered lights featuring the full spectrum of RGB colors, so he could move them around and change colors to add variety to each scene. He spliced in all the effects himself, emulating the feel of found footage, like a video someone dug up in the future. And his producer Jem Vergara did the design for all the title cards. There are some subtle references to other videos too, like when Rjay Ty rhymes the word “fire,” animated flames from the “Yoga Flame” video flicker across the screen.
“We filmed the whole shoot in under 8 hours, but we had to deal with the barangay people twice and the police once,” he says with good humor. “Binondo has a lot of character and I wanted to capture some of those big open windows. We also wanted to shoot it more action movie style, but it was during election season when people were really crazy about guns. So we had to make a lot of revisions to make it happen. The final card table scene was done on one of the boats docked on the Pasig River. We got sea sick whenever boats would pass by and we’d rock in their wake. We kept having to stop shooting.”