DATE: AUGUST 2, 2023
FROM: MARCEE RONDAN/KELLY WALSH
BALI-BASED ALTERNATIVE POP-ROCK TRIO
DEBUT VIDEO FOR
“LAST NIGHT’S KISS”
Bali-based alternative pop-rock trio MANJA–James (vocals, guitars) and brothers Nick Vleugels (guitar) and Mark Vleugels (keyboards)–have just released the video for their new single “Last Night’s Kiss.” Out today (August 2), the playful, imaginative clip alternates between live and studio performances, alongside magical hallucinations and the twists and turns of a boy meets girl storyline; the video reinforces the song’s central theme on the power of fantasy and imagination. Watch the video (directed by Rein Maychaelson and Abby Latip) here and listen to the song here.
“When we heard there was going to be a magic potion that could bring you back in time in the music video, we just couldn’t wait to see how the video would turn out,” James Sukadana says. “The process was super-fun, what with the wacky costumes involved, and the production team were so open to us having fun and improvising on set. We hope that when people watch it, they can feel the energy that we and everyone involved put into the process and have as much fun as we did. Hopefully, this would be a great way for people to get to know the real us!”
“I am so buzzed with the end result!” Mark Vleugels adds. “I’ve always liked the film ‘Groundhog Day’ and themes of mystery in pop culture, so I was very excited when the team came up with the time loop concept in the video. Since we grew up and still live in Bali, we know how much spirituality is tied to the island’s culture and roots. Although Hollywood has added a different spin, we also want to include another, perhaps darker, side to things–mystery and magic–while keeping it fun and quirky the way we like it.”
MANJA: Mark Vleugels (yellow jacket), Nick Vleugels (blue jacket), James Sukadana (red jacket)
“Last Night’s Kiss,” is the first song MANJA had ever written as a band and it was more than five years in the making. Initially inspired by the song “Darling” from American indie-rock band Real Estate, “Last Night’s Kiss” underwent various iterations before MANJA settled on the current version. As they developed the song, they struggled with writer’s block. At one point, the original sketch to “Last Night’s Kiss” was scrapped and reworked into a rock track, a la The Black Keys. “It was fun to play live, but it stuck out like a sore thumb against our other songs. It did not fit into our set at all,” Nick says.
Fortunately, the turning point came when they started working with producer duo Brian Kresna Putro and Enrico Octaviano, renowned drummers for Indonesian bands Tiket and Lomba Sihir, respectively. MANJA returned to the original demo and finally got their mojo back.