Manic Mundane’s Astral Bodies: A Demonstration of Newly Found Connections

By: Tj Delima

Bursting out from her bedroom studio, Kath Dizon released her first undeniably catchy debut song “Astral Bodies” with the help of  UDD live sound engineer Sho Hikino. And just recently  together with art director Garry Cortez the highly anticipated music video was released. It surely did gain loads of superb feedback from their audience. 

The theme of Manic Mundane’s Astral Bodies music video is about disconnected or detached relationships. An interesting topic to address especially in the current state of our society where we are experiencing detachment and isolation in fear of the pandemic. 

With that we’ve tried to uncover the process on how they developed the music video. Kath and Garry share the same passion for both music and art. It’s one of the main reasons that made them click right away and develop this passion project. They were formally introduced by a common friend Liz Alvarez (frontwoman of Espervene and part of the music scene in Dubai). 

Kath Dizon of Manic Mundane and Dir. Garry Cortez

Melt: For people who have not seen it yet. How would you describe the music video? 

Visually, we decided to go in the middle ground of stylized and realism as a treatment.

Melt: It was indeed an excellent union of stylize and realism. We wonder how you guys came up with the theme? Or what was the inspiration behind the music video?

Garry: I did a twist on the MV. The interpretation of the song was about a newly found connection to somebody. And it’s during this time when you put down your walls and take risks without knowing what happens next. I decided to focus more on the what ifs rather than the current setting of the lyrics, as the main narrative of the mv.

Kath: The song was originally about fancying Astral Projection or Out of Body experience with someone on the same frequency, particularly a lover. Music and lyric wise– it already sounded more stylized, synthy and futuristic, bursting with both emotion and melody. So when I first talked to Garry about the song– we both knew right away what the music video’s concept is going to be like: Sci-fi/ futuristic.

Melt:  The music video really did mimic the overflow of emotions and melody on the song itself.  What was the creative process when making the music video? 

Garry: After listening to the song and reading the lyrics, I wrote a storyline and showed it to Manic Mundane to which she immediately approved so I started doing the 3d process. The greatest thing about this project was I had the freedom to edit the storyboard all throughout. I am happy that we didn’t go with the concept that I initially had.

Kath: Garry got back to me with a very intricate storyboard (yes with video references!). My first impression was “Oh my God this is some Black Mirror sh*t. haha!” Then he started talking about doing 3D animation instead of cel shading (cel shading was the original plan) for the MV. He also mentioned that he was already looking into the possibility of creating a full 3D/CGI music video prior, since there’s not much in the PH, albeit rather time consuming. At that point there was no reason to even refuse because how could you?

“It’s almost like playing god inside a computer software.” -Garry Cortez

Melt: The 3D rendering was definitely a new way of visualizing the song and it gave a whole new level in contrast to Cel Shading which is quite demanding as well. What was the biggest challenge in creating this music video? And when everything was done what was your reaction?

Garry: The most challenging part about 3D animation is it demands much time and you need to maintain a well made flow. At first I thought this project would never be doable since I have a day job (as an Art Director for an Agency in Dubai) and I am doing the whole pipeline on my free time alone. It’s almost like playing god inside a computer software.

The only difference is, they say our universe is created in 7 days but in my case, I created the universe for Astral Bodies within months. I spent a lot of sleepless nights breathing life to our characters but I can say it was all worth it. 

Kath: Surreal is an understatement. I mean, going back from the first time we were talking about the storyboard to the day I saw the whole MV really gave me goosebumps. As imagined, it gave me the impression of Love, Death and Robots and Black Mirror feels! Garry had been working on it for 3-4 months and we were working remotely since he is in the UAE and I am here in the PH. Very unbelievable and totally worth the wait!

Melt: Everyone got goosebumps when they saw and resonated with the music video. The movements and the scenes each had its own essence. What were a few of your favorite scenes from the music video and why? 

“Our most favorite scene is the one where both man and woman are levitating above the sea because you could see the details were so intricate.” -Kath & Garry

What is the message that you wanted to express to your audience via your music video?

Garry : We are proud that Astral Bodies sits as one of the very few OPM songs with a full 3D/CGI music video in the Philippines. We have a lot of great Filipino directors who practice traditional filmmaking and we are really flourishing worldwide. It will be a great plus if we showcase more directors who tell stories via animation.

Kath: As one of the few 3d Music videos in the country, I can say that the film and art industry is very much evolving. And we really hope that this leaves other young and existing visual artists the inspiration to experiment, explore and navigate the depths of animation. Overall, I’m super proud to be working with Garry with this passion project. I’m really happy that the music video perfectly matches with the song. I guess this is the best part of the output, the fact that it’s a perfect combo, or so I’d like to think!

Manic Mundane – Astral Bodies Music Video

Melt: Will we be expecting more music videos coming from you? More breathtaking 3d visuals.

Garry: 3D is an extremely time-consuming process. But hopefully, if time allows!

Kath: To be honest, it’s a big challenge to say yes cause the first MV with Garry absolutely set a standard. Not sure how to keep up with that on my next music videos haha but we’ll see!

Check out the music video below!