April 23rd, 2024

Ethan Tobman went to great heights with Grammy winner Allison Russell for a Juno nod

By David Friend, The Canadian Press on March 19, 2024.

Grammy-winning singer Allison Russell consults with director Ethan Tobman on the set of the music video "Demons" in Prague in a handout photo. They are nominated for music video of the year at the Juno Awards. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Ethan Tobman **MANDATORY CREDIT**

TORONTO – Ethan Tobman has worked on music videos for Taylor Swift and Beyoncé but he wanted to make something special for his childhood friend and Grammy winner Allison Russell.

With his music video directorial debut, the Montreal-raised production designer took Russell to new worlds, transporting her to the desert and even tossing her off the edge of a cliff using green-screen technology.

The stunning visual moments punctuate Russell’s “Demons,” which is nominated for music video of the year at the Juno Awards this weekend in Halifax.

Tobman says in the video he wanted to explore the emotional landscape of somebody who has learned to embrace their demons.

The director and singer both grew up in Montreal where they were in the same circle of friends.

But it took two decades for their paths to converge again and they decided to work together on a video for a track from Russell’s 2023 album “The Returner.”

Tobman says the experience was a thrill and he hopes to return to directing in the future.

“I’ve essentially gotten to watch some of the greatest directors of music videos and movies over the last 20 years,” he adds.

“It makes sense to explore a different style of storytelling where … I work more closely with the actors.”

As for his work with Russell, he’s especially pleased with the timing. Few musicians are afforded lavish videos these days, he said, and hers comes at a time when the world is starting to acknowledge her unique musical talent.

“It’s really exciting to put the first jewel on a crown,” he added.

– Watch Allison Russell’s “Demons” music video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vE_weDj8cgM

Listen to The Canadian Press playlist of 2024 Juno Award nominees on Spotify: https://bit.ly/Junos2024

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 19, 2024.

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