Music Video : Gaslighted
Director : Mayuri
Ma’am can you tell us something about the title you have used for the music video? What was the thought behind it?
Sometimes we don’t see things clearly. It may be because we were influenced by people who don’t have the best of intentions for us. It may be because of societal expectations or stereotypes. This would be a form of gaslighting.
The song is supposed to be a metaphor for these experiences and is meant to show that sometimes what we’ve been looking for has been in front of us the whole time.
The ending especially is supposed to imply that there’s a lot of gaslighting in the world today that gets in the way of us finding God, Jesus who has been there in front of us the whole time.
Briefly can you tell us something about the project ‘uncommon love story’? How did you come up with it?
“Uncommon Love Story” is a seven-part video series, based on the eastern notion of the seven chakras. The chakras are considered spiritual power centers in the human body and each video of the series is based on a different chakra.
The goal of the series is to facilitate healing and connection through stories from Banjii & Mayuri’s real life. Each track is a an original song conveying a different story but all connecting cohesively. The videos are shot in beautiful and relevant locations across the United States.
I’ve wanted to tell personal stories as a tool for connection for quite a while. When I met Banjii I realized the power of music as a platform to tell these stories. Music makes it real because it helps you feel the story in your bones not just hear the words. Music doesn’t lie!
We started writing an album of personal songs which eventually turned into videos to add another dimension to the experience which became “UnCommon Love Story.”
“How was this specific story born? We would like to know the story behind the story?
All our stories in “UnCommon Love Story” – the 7 part music video series are based on true life! Edwin actually has this Toy Llama, which Banjii bought him around the same time he wrote the first version of Gaslighted. Edwin protects and loves this llama and takes it around with him everywhere. He asked me once, “Mayuri, how long can I carry around this Llama and still be cool?” This story was our response to his authentic question. A poetic way for lessons to be learned for all involved!
Tell us about the journey of shooting the music video. Would you like to share a couple interesting incidents that you remember quite well?
We shot the video in two days. We checked the weather forecast the day before and it said it was going to rain most of these days. We believed that if Jesus wanted the video made he’d hold the rain back and so we went ahead with the shoot anyway… no rain for most of the two days!
A lot of the footage in the video is us going about our day with a camera following us. The shot of Edwin knocking over the Sprite and grabbing Lorenzo was unplanned and the camera captured his authentic reaction!
What was the entire experience like? Bringing oneself closer to nature, being one with the immensity of it?
It brought the family closer! Creating art is a deeply personal experience and doing it as a family has been the greatest joys of “Uncommon Love Story.” We had to work through communication styles, roles, expectations and it helped us understand each other better. It now translates into our real life too!
Why do you think one must explore the abundant beauty around us, how beautiful do you think is the world with all its mysteries, little secrets buried in the opulent treasure of nature?
For us, our environment is an extension of our inner experience. Every part of the world has its own history, its own story to tell. And our adventures take us to places that want to tell the same story that we are trying to tell at that time.
Nature is talking to us, we just need to listen! At any moment we are subconsciously reacting to our environment and the environment is reacting to us. So once we view nature as a part of ourselves, we appreciate it more, we care for it more.
The first song of the album, Copper Lines, was inspired for the most part by the location, Sedona, Arizona. I visited it in 2019 and the stories of the land, the beauty of the landscapes, the tree in. Desert, the spring below, all made their way into song lyrics.
Tell us something about the exemplary cinematography in the video. One couldn’t take his eyes off the screen, even for a second.
Thank you so much! We appreciate your encouragement! We didn’t use too much technique and just went with instinct. When we showed up at a location it was like, “okay, how does this place make us feel? Where is the energy powerful?” And we just followed that feeling, that energy.
We relied a lot on natural lighting and the natural landscapes of beautiful Georgia for the cinematography and to capture the story. We want people to see that all of the divine beauty is already here, on earth. We just need to see it that way!
Enlighten us about the song. Is there a story or two behind the birth of the song that you would like to share with us.
This song has two distinct parts. The first half is a question, a yearning, a desire for salvation. Banjii wrote the first half of this song 4 years ago when he was going through a difficult time in his personal life. This is why he named it so.
We wrote the second half of the song together, as Banjii and Mayuri, following our union, as a response to the first half, a solution, a resolution. Truth, love, and trust have set us free. They have cleared our eyes and have helped us see past the gaslighting.
Can you comment on the profound nature of the lyrics? The song drives one into the domain of contemplation.
That’s the goal! We are happy to hear that! The songs on this album are personal stories and the outcome of a lot of personal introspection and contemplation. The lyrics are a depiction of our internal and external true experiences and the lessons learnt from them.
How powerful do you think is the visual medium? Do you believe the most amount of positive impact can be caused by it ?
Seeing things for what they are is defined as enlightenment. Clarity. The visual medium of storytelling is a wonderful tool to help audiences see things a certain way. Whether it is about possibility, or about reality, it is expands the consciousness of the audience. They can experience people and places that they may never meet or visit but it creates a similar effect of travel, connection, community.
The story refers to the intimate proximity people develop towards certain objects , companions in this case , Llama. Would you like to say something about it? Could you also tell us something about the theme of grace as heard in the song?
While Edwin owns this Llama in real life and loves it very much, we used this “llama” as a metaphor for anything that we are closely attached to. Especially the people that we are attached to. When we love someone so deeply, we want to protect them and take care of them at all costs. And that can turn into a codependent relationship. Sometimes the best way to protect someone is to believe in them, to empower them, teach them, to lead them towards a life of trust and love.
Love, Grace, Forgiveness we called these out in the song as ways to heal from the suffering, the gaslighting, the feelings of not being protected or safe. Easier said than done of course. Relying on God and Jesus is one of the ways to get there…as we depicted at the end of the song.
How impressed were you by the performances in the music video?
About the children, we couldn’t ask for better costars. There’s zero complaining and a hundred percent trust. Their work ethic at the age of 12 and 14 exceeds some of the adults we’ve worked with and it’s so rewarding to teach them the process of creating music and film through actually doing it with them.
They’re free and not inhibited and most importantly they trust. Their trust is an honor that we don’t take lightly. It allows for very beautiful, authentic and efficient work in front of the camera. We were very pleased with the outcomes!
Finally ma’am, talk to us about the potent impact of music videos today and how they can change our perspective about a world so colourful and diverse, so full of mirth. So that we may feel secure in it, feel protected, believe that our loved ones are safe (Llama) even if they are not with us, they have found comfort in a different home?
What a sweet question and this is the essence of what we were trying to say! We view these music videos as short stories that get messages of transformation, change, love, faith across in minutes. People have short attention spans these days.
This song was about protection, as you said, and hopefully being with us in the short 5 minute or so journey as we searched for protection for our loved ones, the audience felt some of the same feelings that we did and learnt some of the same lessons.
The world is colorful and diverse! So much more than we realize! We are on a journey to discover this ourselves and we are hoping to take the community along with us on this journey of self and world discovery.
Thank you for interviewing us and your thoughtful questions! We appreciate you very much!