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Where do you get your records? That record store scene felt so personal.
I grew up with records in the Eighties. I go to record stores. Recently, I've been visiting record stores and just digging. Vinyl Dump in Cubao X: we shot [that scene] upstairs. So that scene was very close to my experience of digging for records, except not with a hot guy in the room. I'd even dig for records in Hong Kong; in the States, I would go to vinyl stores in LA.
There's a record store near my house, called The Gray Market, in Katipunan, near the White Plains gate, where Crave Burger and Flaming Wings is, that entire compound, it's just near the end. And it's called The Gray Market because it's not just records. They also sell books, they sell stereo equipment, they sell record players, they sell music books, movie books, paintings...they sell everything, but predominantly records. They have new records from the US and the UK. Their record collection is beautiful. You can buy New Order brand-new, the Cure, you can buy live albums of Depeche Mode. I found Interpol there, the XX...they have a very good selection.
I heard there's a very good collection in Boni Serrano that I haven't gone to yet.
The indie music scene, as presented in the film, is very polished, geometric, and orderly. Is this how you really experience it?
No. That's a conscious design of the film. It was me, the cinematographer, production design, and styling: all hand-in-hand to create that style, from the clothes to the sets. Everything has been talked about.
For example, Gibson's room. Even the placement of the lamps are very particular. Even in the gig scenes...for example, Route 196. Route 196 doesn't have a stage. We put a stage there. We lit it our own way: we put a mirror ball so there's texture, and we also put a projector on the side.
Every shot, all the actors wore layers and layers...grabe ang pawis! Mainit talaga ang production. The house had no aircon. In that room, Gibson's always wearing long sleeves, Jamie had to wear two layers—he has a shirt and a blazer. So I felt bad for them, pero they had to do it. There's no other way, it's an old house.
What's great about Trinka is how she can outsource everything. You can take a screencap of Gibson's room, and she can point: “This painting is from Ge Mapa, this painting is from Arnold Arre, this painting is from Alice Sarmiento, this casette lamp is from Vicky Velasco, this Akira bike is from Mark Lavin.” She literally went to everyone's house and went, “Can I borrow this?”
What are the other Cinemalaya films you enjoyed this year?
I loved Bwakaw. That was my favorite. The second one was Kalayaan. I really loved it. They're actually polar opposites: Bwakaw is like the audience pleaser, everyone's gonna love it and cry; Kalayaan is a polarizing, challenging movie. Art na art talaga. Pero sobra siyang ganda. Cinematography is beautiful, [and so is the] music, sound design, acting.
Where do you go if you want to watch live music?
Route 196, Saguijo, B-Side...the same places. The reason they're in the movie is because they're the places that I go to. I never wanted there to be a place where I would be like, “Go here, it's cool,” but I don't really go there. I love live music, and I love to support my friends. Kunwari if I know Tarsius is playing, I'll go watch because Tarsius is amazing. I saw Radioactive Sago recently live...grabe! Gumaling pa silang mas lalo!
Live gigs, andaming nangyayari pa rin. There are new bars that come up, [like] 121 in Pasong Tamo Extension. I think they're making it a venue, they want to be a new gig place. They have to work on their sound mix though, kasi glass sila e. Freedom is still a bar, but I hate playing there. 70s Bistro still has bands playing there. I don't like the reformat, though. It's weird. The banyo is the same, though.
If you could make a music video love letter to Manila, which song would you use?
Wow! Ang hirap nang tanong 'to! Definitely it has to be something from the Eraserheads. [Thinks for some time.] “Torpedo” by the Eraserheads.
Ang Nawawala opens this September 12 at SM Mall of Asia, SM City North Edsa, SM Megamall, SM Southmall, SM City Cebu, SM City Bacoor, SM City Iloilo, SM City Pampanga, Gateway Mall, Eastwood Mall, Lucky Chinatown Mall, Newport Cinemas (at Resorts World), Robinsons Galleria, Robinsons Place Manila, Robinsons Metro East, Robinsons Place Bacolod, Gaisano Mall Cagayan de Oro, GMall Davao