Upside of Maybe’s new music video for their single ‘Rainmaker’ shines a light on one of the darkest chapters in Canadian history, the residential school system. The video tells the tale of the harsh realities that were on-going until the 1990s when the last school closed. In doing so, it’s also kick-started an Elmira boy’s acting career.
Having played music in Upside of Maybe for the past 15 or so years, and in Washcoin for 12 years before that – most of the band has been playing music with each other in some capacity for the past 30 years – Michael Bannerman says this new track has made more waves than most.
He wrote the track after taking courses while working in the mental health field.
“I had taken some courses on basically how to treat individuals that had gone through the residential school system. The experience was a real eye-opener,” said Bannerman, noting it was a chapter in the country’s history that was often skipped over in school when his generation was growing up.
Having been so emotionally impacted from his reading, Bannerman knew he wanted to share some of these stories and represent what had happened as best as he could, being fully aware that he had to tell the story without culturally appropriating the situation.
Wanting to work with the Indigenous community to help properly tell the story through song in the studio, Kitchener-based producer Andy Horrocks of AME Recording Studio connected the band with another act he recently produced, Okama.
The two groups decided that a music video for the track should be made, but it had to be completed properly. They helped fund in part through Kickstarter, where they raised $2,500 towards filming.
Over two cold November days, the filming took place in part at the last closed residential school, Woodland Cultural Centre in Brantford. Other locations included a Polish hall in Brantford and the Bellemere Winery in London.
When crafting the video, the crew knew they wanted people of indigenous background to fill some of the roles; Bannerman was looking for a young boy with a native background when Sarah Weber, who worked on set as a nun, showed him a picture of her son Tyson-who was the exact person Bannerman had envisioned to take the lead role.
Tyson Marton from Linwood says the film day was a fun new experience for him.
“The clothes they wanted me to be in, I got them and everything that we bought was way too small for me. We had to go to the closest store and we had to buy all this stuff,” he said of the behind-the-scenes experience, noting that although the day didn’t run as smoothly as it could have, he had a great time, despite his hesitation about performing in front of a bunch people.
“I don’t really like to do stuff in front of a lot of people. I’ve never really liked doing school plays or doing, like, Christmas concerts, whatever. I’ve never really liked doing that,” he said, adding that “if another music video opportunity came,” he would take it.
The young performer is a fan of the final result but feels he could have done better on screen, as many actors do.
“l like how everything went, and everybody that was in it. Again, it turned out really good. But at first, when I first watched it, I think this is kind of [happens to] most people – I don’t know … I think I could have done better.”
When he’s not starring in music videos, Marton enjoys water sports in the summer and sledding in the winter, as well as playing video games with friends.