BEHIND-THE-SCENES: On the Set of "A1Day1" with Warm Brew - Q+A with Serk Spliff and Ray Wright

I was on-set this past May when director Topshelf Junior collaborated with an original screenplay concept by Warm Brew for their video "A1Day1" shot in West Los Angeles. The first scene I arrived on-set for happened to be the controntational fight scene between the two rival groups in the video - featured guest Alexander Spit and his on-screen beau (played by Arnelle Lozada) and the Warm Brew crew. The two separate groups, in Montague and Capulet-esque fashion, were dressed in opposite attire (and styled by our Fashion Editor, Leslie Corpuz). 

I had a chance to delve deeper behind the concept and making of the track with Warm Brew:

Can you tell us how you guys came up with the concept behind the video and the rivalry that we see between Alexander Spit and Arnelle versus you three? There's definitely a Romeo & Juliet vibe, even down to the style of the outfits that the two groups are wearing.

SERK SPLIFF: “On a lonely night of channel searching we stumbled on Baz Luhrmann’s rendition of Romeo and Juliet. Outside of the story, the way it was filmed was intriguing, almost like a dream sequence. We decided to put our own little spin on it, keep that forbidden fruit theme to it but have it be more about your dedication and loyalty to those closest to you. Alexander Spit was first in mind when it came to down to "casting;” he looks like the leader of some sort of counterculture already and in many ways he is. Arnelle [Lozada] who plays the sharpest part of the love triangle did a great job riling people up to really sell that rivalry. In terms of the aesthetic, we wanted people to see the contrast in the two sides rather than go in deep in character development. It's easy to see through the outfits we were wearing that the two sides were rivals.”

RAY WRIGHT: “Truly I hadn’t heard about it until the Mayor told me the whole Romeo and Juliet idea and I thought that it was great. My main thing was not putting performance shots in. I felt that it was time we all tried something different but not too different. Just a little Westside love story that turns into, how far will you go for a homie or loved one?”

Manu gets stabbed! What was the hardest scene for you guys to film? And on the other side, which scene did you three enjoy filming the most?

SERK: “Yeah, Manu had to kill his character off and make the viewer feel for the 5'2 giant. That scene was cool. We all did a good job of playing off that emotion, from the killers to us, it seems like it really happened. Definitely going to get some tears out of folks. And it led to the scene in the car really well. Ray has a scowl that'll tear you apart and I’m wearing a genuine look of remorse. The hardest scene was probably the opening scene in all honesty. It was the first scene we shot all day and it took a bit to get in the groove. We started a little stiff but once we had a bit of that liquid courage in us, it started to flow a lot better.“

RAY: “Yeah, they [Alexander Spit and accomplice] came and got him real quick [in the video]. I feel like the hardest scene was the first. Like Serk mentioned, we were all trying to get into that acting mode and really show emotion. It’s a difficult thing to do, but the three of us have always had a love for film and acting and anything stage-related so it just felt right to try and portray. My favorite scene to film was probably the backyard scene: we all finally just took a deep breath for a second. Not having much of a budget and doing everything in one day can take a lot of energy. 

How was it working with Topshelf Junior for this video? Had you guys worked with him before? 

SERK: “Topshelf is a special talent, truly. The way he sees things and his ability to clearly communicate that to where you completely understand what he's going for is amazing as well as his willingness to listen to what you've envisioned yourself and meld it with his own. This is our third video we've shot with him: started with "Wanna Get High" then "Can Ya Blame Me" and now "A1Day1". We're gaining a rapport with him and a sense of trust that he's going to give his best. It was an honor working with him on this one specifically because it was out of all of our comfort zones, but with the trust that we all have in each other came something special.”

RAY: “Danny's the man. He puts everything into what he does and you see it in his work. We definitely will be workin’ with him in the future, stay tuned...”

"A1Day1" is one of our favorites from the Ghetto Beach Boyz album. How did this track come about? How was it working with Racella?

SERK: “Well Ray had started on it and with the three of us being friends the way we are, it’s a song that had to be made. [It’s] an ode to all friendships and true loyalty. Manu and I recorded to it, but felt  like it'd be more intimate coming from one voice to really give you that feeling of appreciation. While we were recording at Red Bull Studios, Racella came by and added that soulful female voice that really tied it together. Racella is great, a talent second to none really. As a musician and as a person she's a joy to be around, so it made the song feel like we all wanted it to.

RAY: “‘A1Day1’ really came about through our DJ, Al B Smoov. We all were kind of at a rough point in our musical careers trying to find ourselves and at that time we just sort of resorted back to what felt best, which was a soul and funk feel. He made the beat and it just felt right to give it a dope melody that was about some real shit. The track talks about some specific homies but  it’s also really to anyone who has someone ridin’ for em. As long as they holdin’ you down, do the same, because the universe can feel that. Good things come to people who watch out for their folks. Racella came in and killed it and it was basically a wrap. It’s just a track to let everyone know there are still good women out there and loyal people in general.”

Exclusive behind-the-scenes photographs from the making of "A1Day1" below:

View the official video for "A1Day1" here

All photography by Diane Abapo

Follow Diane on Instagram at @dianeabapo


Diane Abapo Founder and Editor-in-Chief at SUSPEND Magazine.