While Midnight Shine’s latest music video for Leather Skin was shot in 2018, the idea for it was first inspired in 2000. Back then, Midnight Shine frontman Adrian Sutherland saw the captivating beach video for Coldplay’s Yellow and dreamed of someday making one of his own on the desolate shorelines of his Northern Canadian home. This long-held dream finally came true last October.
Adrian, his wife Judy, a video crew of three, and a boat filled to the brim with production gear took off from the isolated Cree community of Attawapiskat, Ontario. They headed out on the Attawapiskat River to the frigid open waters of the James Bay, traveling north for 90 minutes before finally reaching two tiny landmasses.
The Twin Islands are rugged, remote, and uninhabited by humans except for the occasional hunting boat stopping to rest or wait out the ocean tides. Even though the area is traditional territory of Ontario’s Mushkegowuk Cree, geographical maps set the Twin Islands within the boundaries of Nunavut.
Not only was this particular beach challenging to get to, it was even more difficult to be at. Once the video crew landed onshore, they had merely two hours to get their footage and get off the beach – or be stranded until the next tide rolled around 24 hours later. The boat also had to be pried away from the beach continuously, with the ever-receding tide and fierce nautical winds constantly threatening to run them aground for good.
All of this, because it’s exactly where Sutherland wanted to make a 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 stunning James Bay shoreline while temperatures hovered near zero Celsius.
With spectacular footage from the Twin Islands cut together with dusky shots on the dusty streets of Attawapiskat, Leather Skin shows both sides of Adrian’s life – the pursuit of music in the contemporary world, juxtaposed with his simple traditional life out on the land. His favourite place. Truly.
In the end, Leather Skin just might be the most remote music video ever shot in Canada. Maybe even the coolest music video, too, after a heavy dose of unexpected weather ended up tying the footage all together in the most unbelievable and serendipitous way.
ABOUT THE VIDEO:
Leather Skin is executive produced by Adrian Sutherland (Attawapiskat), with his manager RoseAnna Schick (Winnipeg) producing a
nd co-directing, and Cliff Hokanson (Vancouver) directing and doing cinematography. The video was made possible with support from Canada Council for the Arts and Air Creebec, with launch partners Outdoor Canada Magazine, Canadian Musician Magazine, 106.5 ELMNT FM in Toronto, 95.7 ELMNT FM in Ottawa and the 2019 Yorkton Film Festival.
ABOUT THE SONG:
Leather Skin, written by Adrian Sutherland, is a song about resilience. It’s about developing a ‘thick skin’ and not letting others knock you down – a theme many undoubtedly 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, which was released in the spring of 2018. Performing on Leather Skinis Adrian Sutherland, Stanley Louttit, Zachary Tomatuk, Zach Sutton, and Tim Vesely.