When we interviewed Diego Mapa [composer for Ang Nawawala], he said something interesting. More than a character study, he feels Ang Nawawala is a record of a particular scene that will not exist in five years.
I think he's right. If you watch Rakenrol, that's exactly what happened to Rakenrol. The only place in Rakenrol that still exists is Saguijo. Wala nang Mag:Net, wala nang Mayric's, wala nang NU . So Rakenrol captured all of that before they died. And I'm sure it's probably gonna be the same for Ang Nawawala. Scenes are like tides. This scene didn't exist five years ago, and it probably won't exist five years from now. I mean, wala nang Meiday na nga e!
For me, films are important because you can document something without having to recreate it.
The music video for Tarsius' "Deathless Gods", from the OST
How do you feel about people saying that it's a hipster movie?
Here's the question: what is hipster? Kasi, when did a hipster become derogatory? And what is derogatory about it? It's basically about social racism. It's discrimination based on how you dress, or discrimination based on what your likes are. Which is weird. When we went to Singapore, and we went to the Andy Warhol exhibit, andun yung mga photographs niya, and then—kasama ko yung mga Taken by Cars boys—parang, “Um-i-Instagram naman sila dito, a! Tapos lahat naman sila diyan hipster e! May hipsters pala dati e!”
They were jokes, but at the same time...hipsters weren't invented seven years ago. When did it become bad? Who makes it bad? For example, I like records, and I like Woody Allen movies, and people comment that I'm a hipster, and I'm like, should I be offended? Do you want me to be offended? Is it a compliment?
Are you gonna not watch the movie because it's a hipster movie? People don't go, “That's a hippie movie! That's a beatnik movie! Uuuuugh!” No one does that! Pero kung hipster movie, parang everyone is like...eeeeeuuugh! For me, the only problem I'll ever have with the comment is if they won't watch it because of that. Parang, they'll literally not watch it because it's hipster. What? Watch it, and then call it a hipster movie...that's fine. But if you're gonna dismiss an entire film because a person labeled it...I don't see why anybody would do that. What if okay naman yung kwento? What if okay naman yung acting tsaka yung music? I mean, watch it, and then hate it after.
How involved were you with the music of Ang Nawawala?
Very involved. Me and Ramon are also the co-music supervisors, so every song in the film is hand-picked. I realized it was such a good collaboration, because ever since we were in college, we would exchange music.
Medyo hands-on ako sa scoring. Parang they [score composers Diego Mapa, Mikey Amistoso, and Jazz Nicolas] said to each other, “So email-email na lang tayo ng mga riffs.” Sabi ko, “No. You guys have to into a room, you have to jam, and you have to make music together.” I have to be an asshole sometimes. They would be jamming, and I would visit, and they'd let me hear the music, and I'd go, like, “I like this, this, this.” And then, I would give them the scenes, and they would start scoring it together. And then I would come in again when they were ready, and I would say, “Change this, change this note, can you change this instrument, take that instrument out.” And I can be that blunt with them , because they're friends, and I've also been in bands with all three of them: me and Jazz have Boldstar, me and Mikey have Blast Ople, and Diego and I had a band a long time ago called Death To. But I've [also] worked with Diego for scoring Project Runway.
I don't know chords, but I do know what I like. I know how to play the piano, I can play them what notes I wanted, and they would do it. Magical silang tatlo.
How difficult was it to get the older songs?
For the two Apo songs, mahirap talaga i-approach ang Vicor [Records]. Luckily, Vicor has been bought out by Viva, and I have a better relationship with Viva. We found out that Jim Paredes wrote the songs, even if Boboy [Garrovillo] is in the film, so I had to talk to Jim myself. I presented to Jim the scenes. First he allowed us to do it but I'm going to make a music video for him, like an ex-deal, kasi mahal sobra ng Apo. Ridiculously expensive talaga! (Laughs) But he liked the scene. And when he saw the movie as a whole, he loved the movie, so for the soundtrack, he allowed us to put him in the soundtrack for the same deal as everyone else in the soundtrack.
With regards to the older songs...the Ric Manrique song, I really wanted that. I asked Vicor, when I was asking for Apo. “I want this Ric Manrique song, and this Apo song.” And they said, “Ah! Ric Manrique! You can just have him for free!”
All the Filipino music is from my personal collection that I found in Vinyl Dump. The other songs, the Dominic & His Orchestra songs, yung mga kundiman and harana stuff, I found that their record label doesn't exist, and the date is more than 50 years na. So it's public domain.