Cariboo artist Sam Tudor returned to his high school at Lake City Secondary School Williams Lake Campus for his latest music video for the song Joseph in the Bathroom.
Tudor is a musician and filmmaker currently based out of Toronto and Vancouver who attended school at LCSS and grew up in Gavin Lake Forestry Camp, just an hour outside the lakecity. Coming into town for school and other reasons was like going to the big city, which in retrospect he admits is now kind of funny.
Growing up, Tudor pursued both his love of music and film in the lakecity community. As a child and teenager, he made several films for fun with his brothers with an old VCR and because he was not “technically good enough” to get into a music program, he chose to pursue filmmaking out of high school.
“I knew that I wanted to do something in the fine arts so I applied to UBC’s film program, so when I got into that I was pretty excited and took it as a sign as that’s what I should do,” Tudor said.
It was at film school he met his friend Lucas Hrubizna who directed his most recent music video Joseph in the Bathroom.
While he jokes that he’s not a “famous rock star yet” Tudor has enjoyed success in the music scene, in part thanks to the community of fellow artists he’s built up around himself that inspire him to keep doing what he’s doing. His musical sound is “weird folk,” Tudor said, explaining he tends to write pop songs that he then performs with jazz musicians into free jazz creating a sort of “art-pop.” When they perform together as a band, he said they just perform under his name which he said is a bit weird.
Read More: Sam Tudor releases new music video
For the song Joseph in the Bathroom, Tudor said he wrote it while thinking about high school and specifically the “people and kids who kind of fade into the background all the time.” When he was in high school, he remembers working really hard to not be one of those students, to the point where he sacrificed friendships with such students in the name of being more popular.
“I don’t want it to be (interpreted as) a preachy song, some people have seen the video and thought it’s about bullying but I don’t even think it’s even necessarily about bullying, more of this observation how I had this privileged position in high school and others didn’t,” Tudor said.
Both he and Hrubizna though it’d be cool, when it came time to shoot the music video, to do it in the school that inspired it using current students as actors. After receiving a grant from the Canada Council of the Arts, he was able to bring an entire crew of filmmakers up to Williams Lake and shoot the production over a weekend last October.
This was done in partnership with LCSS Counsellor Kim Nowotny who gave them access to the school and helped them find actors for the production.
Together they put out an open casting call in the school for students and selected Abby Roy and Kristian Volkmann to play the main roles of the video.
“It felt very real walking through the song while we were making the video itself. It was so close to home, it was literal, the hallways we were filming were the hallways that inspired the song, we were working with kids in the LCSS community, it was great,” Tudor said. “Generally it felt really nice to come back to a community that was really important to me.”
Living in big cities has given Tudor an appreciation for the cosiness and overall authentic vibe the lakecity has, which was something he wanted to share with the world through this music video. Despite the surrealness of the video, Tudor said he likes to think it captures that authentic feel as well.
Thus far, Tudor said that it’s been rewarding to see all the work he and the crew put into the music video pay off and resonate with people. He’s already received feedback from people telling him it spoke to them, which, as both the song and video are a “slow burn,” feels gratifying to know people understood his message. Many people who live in bigger cities come from smaller communities like Williams Lake, he reasons, making the video relatable across the board.
“Even though the video shows a negative aspect of high school, we couldn’t have done it without the support of Williams Lake,” Tudor said.
Roy is a Grade 11 student involved in music at LCSS and said that she got involved with the production in part to start opening doors for a future career in modelling. Roy is a fan of Tudor’s music and applied to be an extra and was surprised when she was cast as the lead female roll in the video.
“It was really overwhelming, but in a good way. There were so many new things and the camera equipment, it was kind of weird having the camera follow me around,” Roy said.
Volkmann, meanwhile, played the titular role of Joseph and the Grade 10 student said his two favourite subjects are drama and music. He hopes to pursue acting as a career path after high school and saw the shoot as an opportunity to gain some experience. Much like Roy he didn’t expect to be cast in a leading role but jumped right into it willingly.
“I think the best part was actually meeting Sam Tudor in person because I listen to a few of his songs and I really like him, so it was an honour to meet him,” Volkmann said.
A student filmmaker, Grade 12 student Nate Ives, also got to shadow the production team throughout the shoot and served as an extra in the video. He said working behind the scenes gave him a good idea of what drives production and how much work goes into making everyone run like a well-oiled machine.
“Art is kind of the way we tell our stories and if we want our stories told we should get into arts, drama and keep building (the artistic) fire in town,” Ives said.
Given the chance, all of them said they’d take part in such a production again and were happy to have been a part of it. Tudor wanted to thank both Roy and Volkmann for the trust they put in him and his team throughout the shoot.
The music video was officially released on April 16 and can be viewed now on Youtube and Vimeo.