Jero Villar Directs Soul Clap's
"Back 2 Love"
In early 2021, at the height of the pandemic, our old friends Eli and Charlie of Soul Clap reached out with an exciting new project.
Soul Clap’s new LP “WTF” (World Transformational Force) is a concept album that takes place in a world suffering through a climate apocalypse and deals with the arrival of a mysterious intergalactic force that turns things around by replanting the seeds of art, love, and inspiration.
Back 2 Love would be the first single off of the album and needed a music video that would help set the tone and articulate this core idea of humanity finding its way through catastrophe with art.
This project marks our 5th collaboration with Soul Clap so over the years we’ve developed a lot of shared references and creative shorthand.
One reference we kept coming back to for this project was the video or Sigur Ròs’ “Vaka” in which a group of gas-masked school kids play merrily against the backdrop of a soot-covered nuclear disaster.
In the first few minutes of our kick-off zoom call (remember…covid days), we were honing in on a concept: two dancers, wearing gas masks (thank you Sigur Ros), would make their way above ground and toward each other across a post-apocalyptic hellscape, ultimately finding each other and celebrating a human connection amidst the ashes of their dying world.
We’d be fairly limited on budget and there would be no way to actually create even the smallest patch of post-apocalyptic hellscape, so we had to rely on….
Location, Location, Location
We’re pretty sure it was EP (back then, just plain old Producer) Pedro Brehm who had the idea to “just shoot everything against a brutalist backdrop…feels "apocalyptic-y.”
Boom…dancers in front of a brutalist backdrop…felt “apocalyptic-y” enough to put it in the treatment.
Our original thought was to shoot half of the video in Yonkers and half in CDMX, both of which have an abundance of brutalist architecture (and conveniently where our offices are based), but quickly realized that because of budget constraints and a great stroke of inspiration, generosity, and luck, we’d shoot exclusively in CDMX…
Dancers & Story
Early in the process, Jero had reached out to friends and collaborators Ana Elisa Mena and Roberto Rodriguez… and, boy, did they answer the call.
Ana Elisa, the Prima Ballerina of the National Mexican Dance Company, and her husband Roberto, a top Latin American dancer himself, happily graced the project with their talent, energy, and art.
Ana Elisa and Roberto were absolutely brilliant to say nothing of the handicap of a 5lb gas mask and coveralls weighing things down.
The dancers are literally pulled out of the world’s physically low places, and out of their crouching postures, by this transformative force, which leads them not only to each other, but to a literal higher place. For this project, we tried to get as close to pure emotional storytelling as possible: no words, no pretext, just an empty space and a couple of dancers baring their souls.
Shooting mid-pandemic presented its own set of logistical and practical challenges, for us and the rest of the crew. But, we made it work in spite of the rolling lockdowns and other COVID-related setbacks.
One of our toughest tasks before us was to find a set that would do our story justice. We wanted a big space that was also manageable and had a bit of character. Ultimately, we decided on a furniture factory that offered just the right “apocalyptic-y” vibes and lots of space for our dancers to explore.
Director of photography Francisco Iñigo masterfully sculpted the hauntingly wondrous natural light, and to complete the aesthetic, liberally applied the smoke machine.
And, as a finishing touch, our colorist Gavin Rosenberg represented the transforming emotional states of the dancers beautifully by slowly warming up the color spectrum as the story progresses and the characters approach each other, so that by the end of the video, the viewer, along with Ana and Roberto, is transported to a much warmer world.
Artist: Soul Clap
Label: Fools Gold Records
Production Company: Cave 76 Productions @cave76productions
Produced by Jeronimo Villar-Uribe & Pedro Brehm @brehmpedro
Post-Production Coordinator: Lizzie Minges @iiitslizzie
Associate Producer: Sophie Epstein @sophie_epstein
Director of Photography: Francisco Iñigo @franciscoinigo
Location: Duco Lab @duco_lab
Wardrobe: Sandra Weil @sandraweilstudio
Plant video @lenpo.mx
Equipment @filmclickmx and @franciscoinigo
Color: Gavin Rosenberg @ YEAH post house @yeahposthouse
VFX: Pedro Brehm @brehmpedro
Executive Producer: Gabe Munitz-Alessio @gabemafilm