Behind the tiger's eye
T H E R A P Y
Song written by: Josué "JQ" Quiñones
A Tiger Eye Focus Film and Just Quality Production
Nathaniel: How did you come up with the concept for the Therapy Music Video?
JQ: I actually didn't come up with the concept myself. After I released the album, I was at my partner's house one day and one of her girlfriends came over with her partner, Raeliss Marrero. It turns out, he's a singer and producer himself. It was the first time he and I met and of course, we started talking music. He was playing a few of his tracks with me and then I started playing my album. When Therapy came on, he was like, "Yoooooo!!!! I got a fire concept idea for the music video to this song! You could use it bro." Then, he told me the idea of playing both roles as the Counselor and the client, or Counselee. He was like, "Yo! It would be like you counseling yourself and giving yourself advice!" I immediately agreed and thought the concept was fire! I asked him if he was cool with me using that concept and he said yeah. So, viola!
The Therapy music video is the second collaboration between Tiger Eye Focus and Josué "JQ" Quiñones. This is the story behind the production of the video as well as a Q & A between him and Tiger Eye Focus creative director Nathaniel Jimenez.
When JQ first reached out to us, he was prepared with the concept and ready to go. After hashing out various essentials such as budget, dates, and location, we got together and made magic happen. Let’s take a look Behind the Tiger’s Eye into the concept behind the song and the video.
After discussing logistics for the production JQ reached out to a mutual friend, John Jones, who had access to the perfect space. John helped us tremendously by getting clearance and locking in the location for the set.
The office setting was crucial to the production as it was the basis for the concept and provided the right energy, feel, and aesthetic. The entire production happened over the course of two days. We typically start our days early and end at responsible times. This particular production ran from 7-8 hours on the first day and about 5-6 hours on the second day including food breaks.
On location, we had a production team including Nathaniel Jimenez, JQ, John Jones, Alexander Ortiz, Abubakar Kolia, Kenneth Gell, Quanison Wright and Joel Velasco. The first thing we did when we assembled was design the set. The team moved the seating around and set up posters as well as other decorations to add a little extra JQ flare to the Counselor's office. Alexander, Abubakar, Kenneth, Quanison and John all supported as production assistants, providing grip and lighting support, as well as sitting in as a Counselor or Counselee depending on who JQ was playing on set. Joel Velasco provided his eye for the professional behind the scenes photography that was captured during our first day of production. He also served as a character sit-in.
The Therapy music video attempts to provide viewers with an experience in therapy. In this particular project JQ plays the Counselor and the Counselee. To bring forth his vision for the video, it was important that we used some of the best tools in our arsenal. Each scene was recorded using the Panasonic Lumix GH5 and Voigtlander lenses designed for the MFT mount. For lighting we used one Aputure 120d MKII as a key light and two Aputure Amaran H198s to provide some kicker or hair light.
Getting up bright and early to shoot allowed us to take advantage of the natural light from the windows on location. Audio for the introduction was recorded using a Sennheiser MKE 600 paired with a Sound Devices MIX-PRE 3 via XLR cable.
Consistency in framing within the scenes where JQ is in frame playing both Counselor and Counselee was essential. We placed some colored tape at the center of the GH5 screen to make sure that JQ's body didn't cross the center of the frame. We kept the GH5 mounted on our trusty Manfrotto tripod with the Manfrotto MVH500AH Fluid Video Head was crucial for getting the effect we wanted.
To tackle the idea that JQ would be playing two roles, Counselor and Counselee, we took some time to design the wardrobe of the two characters as well as their overall presentation in the video.
The Counselee is dressed in a black JQ Logo hooded sweatshirt with a matching dad hat, olive pants and a super fresh pair of the Air Jordan 1 Rertro High OG "Reverse Shattered Backboard".
This was intentional as the Counselee was meant to look and feel darker than the Counselor. The hat cast a shadow over his eyes, which helped to portray a character protecting himself from outside influences, or even sometimes from within. It also helped to make a clear distinction between the characters, as well as ease JQ’s transition between them.
We added posters to the scene as well to give the office more character. The decorative additions to the scene brought the therapeutic energy we were seeking to bring forth.
For the Counselor role, JQ chose a burnt orange knit sweater with a classic pair of navy blue pants to complement the brown shoes we originally planned on having the character wear. Honestly, we forgot to use the brown shoes - just a happy mistake. You’ll see the Counselor sporting the same pair of Air Jordan 1s. As JQ puts it “the characters are truly one in the same; it’s a beautifully unintentional representation birthed from the art.”
It was fun working with one act playing two characters. JQ was able to adapt his mannerisms and demeanor in order to fit the role of each character. The two perspectives gave us the flexibility in how we would portray the song as a music video. This project also gave JQ an opportunity to show off some of his acting abilities too.
Nathaniel: How did the song come to be?
JQ: Well, most of the songs were honestly written and recorded within a matter of hours. Once I had solidified in my mind that I wanted to create the Self Care project, I wrote down a list of different topics, words, and ideas that I wanted to address or talk about. I knew Therapy had to be one of them! There was no way that I would have a project about mental, emotional, and spiritual wellness and NOT talk about Therapy. By the time I got to this song, I think I'd already recorded about 4 songs for the album and I noticed most of them had a slower pace, a lower tone, and a lower mood. So, I wanted something to bring the listeners back up. I wanted something to lift their energy and make them feel good. I started cycling through beats and when I landed on that one from DreamLife Beats, it hit me immediately. The chords and that horn in the beginning just instantly lifted my spirits. Then, when the beat dropped... I went crazy!! I started bobbing my head, bouncing up and down in my seat, and eventually mumbling stuff to the melody. I'd say about 5 minutes in, the idea for the chorus smacked me in the head and I lost it again! I started going crazy singing the chorus, "I thank the Lord for this Therapy!" From there, that was it. I spent the rest of the night just feeding off those emotions and writing the verses, making sure that I was intentional about what I said in regard to Therapy and its importance, but also having fun. The song was done later that night, or really early the next morning, I can't remember.
Nathaniel: How did you create the perspective of 2 voices in the song?
JQ: You know, I actually didn't create the two voices intentionally if I'm being honest. I was just flowing with the emotions that were sparked from the music and the topic/idea of Therapy. When writing the song, I just wanted to talk about Therapy and say everything I thought, felt, and experienced in relation to it. I think after listening to it and thinking about how it would fit into the concept for the video is when the idea of where the 2 voices came out. I guess it was a subconscious thing right? I felt like I was just me the whole time writing it and hadn't thought about playing 2 characters. But, it worked nicely for the video, didn't it? That's the beauty of art, like Therapy, you don't always know what's going to come out of it. But in the end, it's magnificent and will likely produce more than you imagined going in.
JQ co-directed the production while Nathaniel operated the Panasonic Lumix GH5 with his favorite manual Voigtlander lenses. We came together with the goal of having fun, while being professional about our work and creating engaging art. We set goals and we accomplished them together, as a team!
Nathaniel: What was your goal with the project including the song, video, and campaign?
JQ: There's actually a few layers in terms of the goal for this song. First, I really wanted to destigmatize Counseling and Therapy, especially among men and within communities of color. Oftentimes growing up, especially as a Latinx man, I often heard the message "We don't talk to people about what happens at home." Or, "We don't do therapy/counseling. That's for crazy people." I'm sure it still happens on some level today. There's this assumption and stigma that if you're going to Counseling or Therapy then something must be severely wrong with you; but that is far from the truth. I certainly believe that mindset is changing, and I wanted to ensure that I helped to push that change forward. Therapy is such a useful tool in our healing and growth processes. It truly helps us to unravel so much of what we've kept inside from such a young age and recognize the way it's shaped how we think about, walk through, and see life. It also helps us to recognize how some of the thought patterns and behaviors we've grown so accustomed to and used as a way of survival or success in one season of our life, no longer, or can no longer, serve us in this season or our next season of life.
Therapy is essential for our health. Painting, listening to music, or a night stroll at the beach can be therapeutic and help release tension. A lot of the time though we need a therapist to support us through deep healing and this music video helps us break down the discomforts of going to a Counselor.
As JQ stated:
JQ: I wanted to give a bit of insight into what Therapy has done for me, not just what I would say is Traditional Talk Therapy, but music as well. I wanted to share what it was like for me before therapy as well as what it's been like for me since I started traditional talk therapy. Specifically in the second verse, I share what it's like to have held onto trauma and pain from childhood. I also address the need to heal, especially as someone who seeks to help others. We can't help others to heal if we ourselves aren't good and looking to heal. I feel like it's so much more powerful when you are leading by example. And with the chorus, I'm playing on the idea that the song itself is therapy for me as well. It's helping me to open up, be honest, and face some of my very own challenges and struggles that I've held onto. So, "I thank the Lord for this Therapy!"
The healing process is not always easy. Everyone's process is different. Building self awareness helps the healing process and a Counselor can help with that. Independently, some people go for a swim, some people ride a bike, some people practice yoga or boxing to relieve stress, and of course to get the blood flowing.
JQ: I wanted to show with this song that therapy can take many different forms. Traditional talk therapy doesn't necessarily work for everyone! Actually, I do believe it can be helpful for everyone. But, not everyone is ready for that. So, I believe it's important for us to seek healthy therapeutic outlets that are unique to us, and help us actively engage in the healing process from our past traumas, as well as cope with the current hardships we're experiencing in life. I wanted to encourage listeners to really pay attention to how they interact with their pain. Do they look to express and heal, do they stuff it, do they mask it? I also wanted to name other therapeutic outlets that could be useful.
JQ: I wanted destigmatize therapy, but also normalize the experience; that's why we did the intro scenes. To give a quick snapshot of what it's like when you go see a Therapist. It's really not this big scary thing. In my experience, it's very much like going to your regular doctor for the first time. You make an appointment, you show up, you fill out some paperwork, and you wait until they call you. With the rest of the video, I also wanted to play on this idea that we sometimes need to be our own cheerleaders. In my experience, some of my mental, emotional, and spiritual struggles are the result of my own negative thinking. Of course, there's a pattern that goes all the way back to childhood, but I also have the power to begin changing those patterns. So, I really like the concept of playing both roles in the video because I believe it illustrates the notion that we have to engage ourselves in the healing process. I felt like it visually empowers viewers and communicates the need to sort of coach ourselves or give ourselves advice; talking ourselves up as opposed to down.
Releasing the music video for Therapy required an in depth campaign building process. We needed to talk about JQ's goals for the music video, and how we could best convey the message he is seeking to spread through word, music and moving image. Producing this music video became more of a journey to create something that people could resonate with.
We hope that the visuals we created make the idea of therapy feel more as an active practice in our lives as opposed to something you need only when you’re in pain.
Health is wealth, and taking care of your mind is just as important as taking care of your body. Have you ever thought about therapy? Have you ever been to therapy? How do you take care of your mind and spirit?
It’s just another day in the life of “the Concrete Jungle’s Production Company.” Thank you for reading and thank you for supporting Tiger Eye Focus. To learn more about Josué "JQ" Quiñones visit www.successisalifestyle.com
Watch the Official Visual for "Therapy" on YouTube by clicking the THERAPY button.
TIGER EYE FOCUS