If you’re yet to listen to Philip La Rosa, first of all, where have you been? The Fremantle-based artist has built a small empire within Western Australia and has incrementally been releasing singles over the past couple years – a journey that has been long, but fruitful!
Like any piece of visual art, the story is up for interpretation. “Baggage” is a mental health anthem, and there has been no better time for it. Orchestrated during Western Australia’s semi-lockdown, the state of the world globally has rested on many shoulders, and true to form for any artist, Philip La Rosa has channelled his creative instincts into a positive outlet which all viewers can relate to.
“It all started with a super emotional catchup with someone who I now call my best friend. It was the first time we had caught up properly, and I found myself being completely honest and laying all my past traumas on the table – I had nothing to hide, and it felt awesome. I got quite emotional and ended up breaking down in front of someone who was considered a complete stranger at the time … it was the power of vulnerability, and was so rewarding … then writing began.”Philip La Rosa, on the concept behind “Baggage”.
The Independent Press Co sat down with Philip La Rosa and teased a few insights of the music video from the local artist.
What was the creative process behind “Baggage”?
“Everything just kind of happened organically. I listened back to the voice memo I recorded the first time the idea came to my mind, it’s crazy how much the song evolved since my finger first hit the piano key. I went into the studio with a verse and a chorus and developed the rest of the song with The Banton Brothers over in Sydney. The writing and recording session went over 2 days… with a whole lot of tears! I poured my heart into this song. If you listen carefully throughout the song, the producers left some of my outtakes in – sighs, trembling voice, sniffs… it’s all there.
Every part of this journey is in that song. A mixture of sad and happy tears as I reflected on the past traumas that got me to where I am today. Even that intro you hear. It wasn’t something I had written into the song from the start, we were discussing the meaning behind the lyric “no need to hide behind open doors” and as soon as we heard it out loud, we had to include it. It was the last thing we added before leaving the studio.
The idea of the music video was me wanting something simple and symbolic. When the idea was hatched, it was for the cover art of the song, then I started thinking how it could work as a music video. Enter Angelo Di-Benedetto. I pitched my cover idea for the song and said I wanted it to flow with the music video. Then he put his hand up to shoot the music video too. He made it look the way it looks, the lighting, the wrap, the amazing shots. He is a visual genius. The night I got home, I edited a tiny bit of the music video to Angelo, who then gave me free reign to edit the whole thing with his footage and special effects.”
What has been the best part of making “Baggage”?
“Honestly, it is so hard to say. The two days in the studio with the Banton Brothers was epic and super rewarding! Recoding the music video was also an amazing day – so much love in the room with our small crew. I love being hands on, so the fact that Angelo let me edit my own music video was amazing! Ugh, I can’t decide!”
What can we expect to see from Philip La Rosa in the near future (an ep, perhaps)?
“There is an LP coming … but as a typical creative, with no pressures of a record label, I feel like I’ll be fine tuning and tweaking forward, it’s hard to know when to stop working on a song and to just release it. But I do have a few more singles up my sleeve for 2020!”
Lighting and editing are the strongest components of this video’s technical ingenuity; combining deep pink and cold blues in a neon aesthetic, parried with YouTube-style cutting, really draw the viewer into the song’s message. Visually eclectic is the use of clear wrapping that encases La Rosa in montage moments, with graphics and iconography that symbolise “baggage” and “fragile handling”. It also alludes to pressures, expectations, and responsibilities which have wrapped him up – and his pilgrimage in tearing away from them, to become “free moving” in the darkness.
“Baggage” is a strong message, and allegory, and a piece of artwork all wrapped up for your viewing pleasure. Be sure to check out the music video, stream the song across all major platforms, and give La Rosa some love on Facebook and Instagram.
by JOSHUA HALL HAINES
Editor-in-Chief of the Independent Press Co.