Indigenous rockers Midnight Shine have just released the video for their song Leather Skin — and they’re sharing behind-the-scenes photos exclusively on Tinnitist.
Although Leather Skin — the group’s third video — was shot in 2018, the inspiration for it dates back to 2000. That was when Midnight Shine frontman Adrian Sutherland saw the beach video for Coldplay’s hit Yellow, and dreamed of one day making a similar film on the James Bay coastline near his Northern Ontario home.
Last October, that’s exactly what he did. Adrian, his wife Judy, a video crew of three and a boatload of production gear embarked on a 90-minute boat ride from the Cree community of Attawapiskat, heading north along the Attawapiskat River to the open waters of the James Bay. Traveling in an isolated region unknown to most Canadians, they eventually reached the Twin Islands — a place that’s rugged, remote and uninhabited by humans. Even though its traditional territory of Ontario’s Mushkegowuk Cree, geographical maps set the islands within the boundaries of Nunavut.
Not only was this desolate beach challenging to get to, it was even more difficult to stay at. Once landed, the crew had merely two hours to prep the cameras, get their shots, and get away — or be stranded until the next tide would come around 24 hours later. The boat had to be pried away from the beach continuously, too, with the ever-receding tide and fierce nautical winds constantly threatening to run them aground.
They endured all of this, because it’s exactly where Sutherland wanted to make his music video: “I often think about going to my favourite place,” he sings in Leather Skin, peering into the camera as he strolls along the gorgeous James Bay shore, while temps hovered near 0° Celsius.
EXCLUSIVE PHOTOS: Click on a picture to enlarge
With footage from the Twin Islands intercut with shots on the dusky dusty streets of Attawapiskat, Leather Skin portrays both sides of Adrian’s journey – making music in the contemporary world, juxtaposed with a simple traditional life out on the land. His favourite place. Truly.
The Leather Skin video is executive produced by Sutherland, with RoseAnna Schick producing and co-directing, and Cliff Hokanson directing and cinematography. The video made its worldwide debut on May 23, kicking off the Opening Night program at the Yorkton Film Festival.
Written by Sutherland, is a song about resilience. It’s about developing a ‘thick skin’ and not letting others knock you down – a theme many can relate to, including Sutherland himself: “I’ve been through so much BS in my town, and in my life, but I’ll keep getting back up no matter what. I’ve always fought my way through bullying, even as I got older. All of that gave me thick skin,” he says.
Leather Skin was produced by Tim Vesely (Rheostatics) at The Woodshed Studio in Toronto. It’s from Midnight Shine’s third album High Road, released in the spring of 2018. Performing on Leather Skin along with Sutherland are Stanley Louttit, Zachary Tomatuk, Zach Sutton, and Tim Vesely.
Check out Leather Skin and the band’s exclusive photos above, watch their previous videos for I Need Angels and Heart of Gold on Tinnitist, listen to the rest of High Road below and connect with the band via their website, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.