While this is not their first foray into animation, The Itchyworms whisks us away to a dreamland of chock full of Filipino cultural sensibilities—to the tune of The Life I Know, of course.
“Alam niyo ‘yung mga animated short films na napapanood natin before ipalabas ‘yung mga Pixar movies, isipin niyo isa ‘tong ganun,” writes Jugs Jugueta, co-lead vocalist, guitarist, and multi-instrumentalist of The Itchyworms, on Instagram ahead of the music video release of their single, The Life I Know. In the same wonder and whimsy of the animated short films that precede the heartwarming stories of Pixar, as well as to echo the tender telling of the piano-led ballad off their album, Waiting For The End To Start, the iconic and indomitable Filipino pop-rock band dreamt up a world of infinite possibilities in stop motion.
Weaving the cool, calm, and charm of The Life I Know, a decidedly Filipino narrative, and most importantly, the textures and traditions of our very abundant culture, are not only fantastic collaborators, but longtime friends of The Itchyworms. At the helm is Marie Jamora, the award-winning filmmaker (Ang Nawawala) now making waves abroad as one of the directors of Ava DuVernay’s Queen Sugar, who also at one point was the band’s manager and music video director (Antipara, Buwan, and Love Team). Together with her partner, Jason McLagan of Indie Pop Films, animation by Apartment D, and director of animation, Cami Kwan, the stop motion offering is really a coming together of creativity, and well, family.
The Story Of Awit In Song
“Being a new mother myself and remembering the experience of having a baby in my own womb, I always wondered what was going on inside, whether there was a different universe that my baby lived in,” says Marie Jamora of The Life I Know, which follows Awit, a toddler navigating a complex space of both the physical and emotional sort. “This all inspired and informed me for our video. I don’t think I would have ever thought of this concept if I didn’t go through this experience.” Here, the personal and progressive concept of growing up is taken on in a way that a child can understand and an adult can appreciate.
It is uncomfortable and unnerving, sure, but laced with the lyrics of The Itchyworms, the potentially terrifying becomes warm and welcoming. “There is beauty and awe in embracing a wider world, of seeing beyond yourself,” explains Cami Kwan. “But there is an inherent loss in that as well, and we wanted to explore that sense of melancholy as well as that sense of power and joy.” The result is real and riveting, as it stirs a recall in every one of us. In this essaying of a shared experience, the degree of distinction adds depth to our continued journey of understanding of life.
“The Dream World is made entirely of these traditional woven fabrics, and the characters are all made out of wool and other weaving materials,” shares Cami Kwan, shedding light and color to the conscious use of patterns and point-of-view that is very Pinoy. “This fundamentally links the characters to the Dream World, which we also designed to evoke the feeling and patterns of a womb. Dreams and wombs are safe spaces, where anything is possible and where life can be created from nothing.”
The Itchyworms Keeping It Real
Lynchian in essence, with intuitive use of metaphors in both the form and figurative sense, this music video parlays the functional with the fantastic, giving us a true representation of the song, as well as of The Itchyworms. “To make it through tomorrow / You gotta step out of your past / In a world that’s always changing / Only a few things ever last,” they sing, perhaps a little too close to home, as we all have grappled with the idea of uncertainty more so than ever as of late. “Without you I’ll never make it / My wound would never heal / Without your love I’ll never take it / I wouldn’t figure out what is real.”
A project of passion and purpose, The Life I Know is a visual invitation and introduction into legacy-making chapter of The Itchyworms. Celebrating 25 years of hits across generations, this was the perfect context to set the steps, sprints, and strides the band has successfully stacked over the years. Warming up to their next great years ahead, Jazz Nicolas, Jugs Jugueta, Kelvin Yu, and Chino Singson are set to shape Filipino pop culture consciousness still.
Whether one is coming of age or coming to terms, The Life I Know is more than just a dream sequence or a soul-stirring segment in Sesame Street. As it cuts deep at every play or listen, it becomes more meaningful, proving very well why this orchestration of The Itchyworms, as well as of its diverse discography is an imprint we all will keep coming back to time after time.
The Itchyworms are also set to release the 25th anniversary single, Eto Na, a music video to their title track, Waiting For The End To Start, a mockumentary chronicling their official ‘untrue’ story, and Worms Upon A Time podcast.
CONTINUE READING: THIS FILIPINO COLLEGE STUDENT DREW REGULAR STREET VENDORS AS SUPERHEROES