Thematic new music videos accompany the record.
I guess I’m a director now?
While I’ve been a part of a lot of music videos over the years, had never fully written and directed any before. This was fun. And a good challenge. A big part of the behind-the-scenes work on this Touching project is pushing myself to build new skills – in the studio, as a songwriter, behind the camera, with actors, with different musicians than I’ve worked with before.
Most importantly, these new music videos would have been impossible without the very talented team I had supporting the project. You may recognize DOP Tyler Funk’s skilled camera work from the Isolation Blues videos. Ben Stouffer and Ryan Offenloch filled out the camera + lights team as super pro’s. And to all of the actors: the heartiest of thank you’s! We dug into some powerful emotions and strong physicality in a very short amount of time, and all of them came prepared and ready to dive in. Grace, Justin, Ron, Heather, Christa + Sophie are my stars. I loved working with them.
The boxing ring concept came out of a lyric from Tony Called The Muscle – “I’ll never fight you in the middle of the ring.” For these new music videos, it felt important to tell a series of connected stories that helped pull the album narratives together. There are themes of conflict and resolution, fear and hope, regret and optimism. The boxing ring felt like the right place to tell those stories.
You can check out the whole record here.
We shot all of the new music videos at Winnipeg’s historic Burton Cummings Theatre. Its a beauty of a place, and there’s something about the imposing angle of the 2nd balcony which makes it feel like the audience is on top of you – when there’s an audience. I’ve presented concerts there in the past – by Daniel Caesar, Seu Jorge, Mavis Staples, The Flaming Lips and a bunch more – and its easily my favourite place to see a concert in town.
All three new music videos in glorious black and white
I have long loved the work of A.G. Rojas, especially his video for Florence + The Machine’s Hunger. And I’m not sure I ever would have seen it if it wasn’t for my kid. When he was barely a year old, I was driving him to daycare one day and had that album in the car and he really latched on to Hunger and wanted to hear it over and over and over again. In fact, for a couple months that’s pretty much the only thing he would let us play on the way to daycare.
One afternoon I took him to my old studio (Paintbox Recording) to hang out and explore some instruments together, and he asked if we could listen to it and so I looked up the video. And lo and behold, its SO BEAUTIFUL. And the warm, deep, smokey black and white that creates a separate, little world in the video is just so poignant and impacting. Its kinda always just stuck with me as a style I wanted to deploy for my own music.
Really glad Tyler and the team were into it. Really glad The Burt had the available time for us to move in for a few days. And really glad Boxing Manitoba and Pan Am Boxing were so helpful. Couldn’t have made these new music videos without em.
I like that for both Isolation Blues and littleworlds we’ve been able to make little series out of our new music videos. I get a kick out of trying to make art that connects and expands and extrapolates upon itself a bit more. Excited to see what we can do next.