Last year, we witnessed Autotelic become one of the most sought-after local bands as they hopped from one stage to another, playing songs that have grown on everyone who came to watch them. Just looking back on their Papunta Pabalik album launch last year at a very jampacked B-Side, it’s amazing to see how huge of a crowd would come together to sing and dance along to their anthems.

While there’s no question as to how incredible the past year had been for Autotelic, 2017 looks quite promising as well-- especially with the band kicking off the year with a brand new music video. There’s just no stopping the momentum of one of the local music scene’s fastest-rising bands with the release of their visual for “Laro”, definitely one of the fan-favorites off their album Papunta Pabalik. As of writing, the video has already garnered more than 25,000 views-- and that’s just a couple of days after its online premiere.

Watch the video here before reading on (spoilers ahead!), in case you haven’t seen it:

“Ito na siguro yung track na damang-dama namin,” Autotelic’s Josh Villena tells PULP Magazine when asked why they picked this song in particular to make a video for. “Naniniwala kaming ito ang pinaka-relatable song namin dahil maihahalintulad siya pang araw-araw na pamumuhay natin.” And true enough, their audience sought to understand the song (and even illustrate it, literally) in a myriad of ways. Just look at the band’s previously released lyric video for the same song, featuring fan-submitted artwork-- each a different interpretation of the song’s words, in one way or another. “We weren't expecting to receive that amount of artworks. Nagulat kami sa dami ng nagpasa at lahat ito magaganda. Ang sarap sa puso na makitang naglaan sila ng oras at effort para gumawa ng sarili nilang concept”, says Josh.

Another person who saw the song in a different light was director Jiggy Gregorio. Not only did he see “Laro” other than a sawi anthem for all the brokenhearted folks out there whose hearts have been played with—he also portrayed it in such a way that would make you rethink whatever interpretation you have of the track through its video. Although Josh tells us that the band had a concept as early as the recording days of Papunta Pabalik, it was Jiggy that brought the song to life through the music video.

“Noong nasa studio lang kami, masyado kaming natuwa sa process ng pagtrack ng song, na naglabasan ang kanya-kanyang concept for  the song. Gusto namin maging very heart-warming ang video. Pinaganda lalo ni Jiggy, pati kami pinaiyak niya (laughs)”, Josh recalls. Jiggy, a self-proclaimed fan of Autotelic, tells us that he and Josh have been talking about collaborating on a music video since 2015. So when drummer Gep Macadaeg hit him up about the project, he dropped every project he was working on and just listened to the song endlessly.

Jiggy fumbled with his thoughts, trying to come up with something. And upon dissecting the words, he came up with all sorts of ideas. “I listed all possible concepts including an underdog dodgeball movie type AND even an ‘ENGKANTO’ concept,” Jiggy tells us as if he couldn’t believe it himself. “Then I kept going back to what Autotelic really is—IYAK and SAYAW. So I immediately stitched Josh's words to a completely different narrative, but with the same themes. So the concept for LARO became three generations with three different meanings of ‘laro’, literally playing during their kiddie era, playing with hearts during the middle aged era, and finally playing with death.”

Josh felt thankful for the positive reactions from those who saw the video. “Parehong goal namin ni direk Jiggy na makita nila ang song sa iba't-ibang aspeto, na ang konsepto ng "Laro" ay hindi lang iisa, at nagbabago ito habang tayo ay tumatanda. Depende talaga sa context ang magiging kahulugan niya. Ang sabi nga namin, tuwing napapanood namin ang video, gusto lang namin puntahan mga mahal namin sa buhay at yakapin sila (laughs)”, he says.

This explains the flurry of crying emojis all over the net when the video premiered on MYX. It seems nobody truly expected the tragic ending. “I always tell myself that if I'm able to move people with my videos, then I think I've done my job. I wrote in a way in which the last parts of the video would be totally unpredictable. Everyone expected a generic love story and I'm not doing that to them, they deserve the best story and visuals”, said Jiggy. His favorite reaction? A tweet that read “Sino papabaranggay ko, napakasakit!!!”

With the way people were moved by the video, the band is off to a great start this 2017. The “Laro” music video signals another year of being touched by Autotelic’s endearing “iyak-sayaw” brand of music, and makes all of us wonder about what else might be in store for the band and their fans this year. “Hopefully, ngayong 2017, makapag-perform kami sa mga out-of-town venues at sa mga school campuses. We also have 2 music video projects to work on this year. By February or March, balik na kami sa drawing board for songwriting”, Josh tells PULP, satiating our curiosity.

Watch out for PULP Magazine's upcoming feature on Autotelic!

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