#CMPremiere - Midnight Shine's "Leather Skin" Music Video

We're thrilled to be part of the rollout for Midnight Shine's beautiful new video for "Leather Skin," fresh from its world premiere at the Yorkton Film Festival. Check it out right here in our latest #CMPremiere.

“I’ve always wanted to share my culture and share my experiences through art, and this was a great opportunity to do that,” begins Adrian Sutherland, the frontman and principal songwriter for heralded rock outfit Midnight Shine, talking about the stunning new video for “Leather Skin.”

While the video was shot in late 2018, the inspiration behind it dates back nearly 20 years, to the year 2000. That’s when Sutherland first saw Coldplay’s now-iconic video for their breakout song, “Yellow,” and was compelled to someday make his own on the desolate but dazzling shorelines of his community in the Canadian north.

At last, “Leather Skin” turns aspiration into actuality.


For the shoot, Sutherland, his wife Judy, a three-person video crew, and a boat filled to the brim with production gear took off from the isolated Cree community of Attawapiskat, ON, and headed north to the frigid open waters of the James Bay, finally reaching their intended destination: two tiny landmasses known as the Twin Islands.

The Twin Islands are rugged, remote, and uninhabited by humans, save 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 – lest they 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. “It’s a beautiful place to shoot, with beautiful beaches and all sorts of things,” he enthuses. “And being up there, they were able to capture the musician Adrian Sutherland at home in Attawapiskat, but there’s also the other side of me, of course, which is the traditional hunter.”


In the end, “Leather Skin” just might be the most remote music video ever shot in Canada – maybe even the “coolest” one, too, after a heavy dose of unexpected weather ended up tying the footage all together in the most serendipitous way…


Leather Skin was executive produced by Adrian Sutherland (Attawapiskat), with his manager RoseAnna Schick (Winnipeg) producing and co-directing, and Cliff Hokanson (Vancouver) directing and doing cinematography. The video was made possible with support from the Canada Council for the Arts and Air Creebec, with launch partners Canadian Musician Magazine, Outdoor Canada Magazine, 106.5 ELMNT FM in Toronto, and the 2019 Yorkton Film Festival.


“Leather Skin,” written by Adrian Sutherland, is a song about resilience – 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 and comes from Midnight Shine’s third album, High Road, released in the spring of 2018. Performing on “Leather Skin” are Adrian Sutherland, Stanley Louttit, Zachary Tomatuk, Zach Sutton, and Tim Vesely.

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Andrew King is the Editor-in-Chief at Canadian Musician. He is also a co-host of Canadian Musician Radio and NWC Webinars’ series of free music and entertainment industry webinars.
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