A Hozier video made for €1,500 in a Cork house got nominated for an MTV award
HOZIER – OR ANDREW Hozier Byrne as he’s known to family – is an Irish music phenomenon these days, but two years ago he was just another musician trying to make it big.
That was when young Cork director Brendan Canty, of Feel Good Lost (which is Canty and co-founder Conal Thomson’s project) stumbled across Hozier’s EP online. The song Take Me To Church had just 300 or so listens, but it impressed Canty, who tweeted about it.
“I guess at the time I had a name for myself making music videos in Ireland,” Canty toldTheJournal.ie.
[His management] contacted us [Feel Good Lost] literally 20 minutes after the tweet, asking us did we want to make the video.
They pitched an idea based on the Russian Olympics and oppression of the LGBT community, and the project was go.
Together, Feel Good Lost and Hozier collaborated on ideas for the video, which turned into a black-and-white story about men in love and the thugs who want to hunt them down.
Now the video has been nominated for two awards in the MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs), which are among the most well-known and celebrity-packed pop music awards in the world.
“I always felt that it was good enough to go global,” said Canty of the video.
“I know some things are good enough to go global but don’t, but this one… I always felt the song was special, and I knew the video [was], considering the content of it and how we dealt with it. I thought if we do this right, it could be pretty big.
Jesus, I could never have predicted it to be so big.
Low budget, big dreams
Take Me To Church had a budget of €1,500 and was very much a DIY affair, with friends donning hoodies and scarves to play homophobic thugs, and family members stepping up to offer their homes to be used.
“Everyone pretty much did it for free, bar the actors,” said Canty.
They filmed at his aunt’s house; his uncle helped build the bonfire; the apartment scenes were filmed in the actors’ apartments; and they sneaked into Iniscarra dam.
In the big leagues
It took weeks to plan the video, and two days to film it, but the impact has been long-lasting.
Now, nearly two years after they filmed it, Feel Good Lost’s video has been nominated in the VMAs’ best direction category, alongside pop heavyweights Mark Ronson and Taylor Swift.
Hozier, meanwhile, has been nominated for the video in the best rock video category, and has to beat the likes of Arctic Monkeys and Florence and the Machine.
Canty didn’t even know about their nomination until he was approached by a website for an interview.
It’s lovely, it’s a real underdog story and it’s just quite nice. Considering what the video has done for us and what it did for Hozier, it really is nice for us to get a mainstream accolade.
Feel Good Lost are currently working on a few projects, including a new video for Irish band Le Galaxie, but Canty is hoping they’ll get to LA for the VMAs ceremony. If the video wins the best rock category, Hozier will pick up the gong.
But if it wins for best direction, Canty and Thomson will be the ones getting to go on stage. It would be, said Canty, “a bit random”, but they’re hoping their lucky streak will continue.
The VMAs will be hosted by Miley Cyrus and broadcast live on 30 August.
I’m going to keep today’s entry short and sweet in reflection of today’s activity. An early start was required this morning and after last night’s careful packing of bage, by 8am we had squashed everything into the car and were on our way to Edinburgh again to get to the airport. (Our original flight to Cork from Glasgow had been cancelled, requiring this additional hour drive across the country and rendering our Glaswegian airport accommodation rather useless.)
By 10:30 we had dropped off the rental car and made our way through the security of Edinburgh airport. Taking it in turns we all had a look around, doing some shopping as we filled the two hours before our flight. After having lunch we head towards our gate and (depending on one’s predisposition) admired/worried about our tiny Aer Lingus plane. Personally I was comforted by the smaller size of the plane, it makes more sense to me that something of lesser weight is more likely to stay up in the air (and this lighter weight helps in my adoption of Dawn French’s technique of imagining you are holding the plane securely in the sky for the duration of the flight). Taking off at 12:50, we admired the view of Scotland by air on this rare, sunny day as we saw the mountains from this different, but just as magnificent perspective. The clouds soon obstructed our view, so I finished Salinger’s “Franny and Zooey” before starting and laughing the entire way through the introduction of David Sedaris’ “Me Talk Pretty One Day”. The flight was only around an hour long and Irish countryside soon became visible out of the window shortly before arriving in the delightful town of Cork.
Sorting out various issues with the new rental car occupied a fair bit of time, before we eventually drove out to our hotel, the Blarney Golf Resort of all places (it did really make me want to try golf though). It was about 3:30 when we arrived and we all collapsed for a little while, and then a little while longer, and soon any plans of exploring were replaced by exhaustion. The furthest we managed that night was the hotel bar for dinner… I had spent the afternoon reading Sedaris’ book and laughing to myself until thirst all around meant I was sent down to the bar to get some drinks. Getting a Coke for Dad from the bartender with his delightfully Irish accent, also led to my impulsive purchase of half a pint of Guinness. Because I’m in Ireland. I should try it right?! Wrong. Back in the room I gave it a go but basically my facial expressions after that first sip suggested that I was drinking molten tar. And the few half sips I took sporadically throughout the evening retained the same expression. (Jared on the other hand, because of the whole “Well, we are in Ireland” attitude, also tried it but without the same disgust - which makes me think he’s lying.)
The rest of the evening was then spent reading, and dare I say watching Dr Who panels from Comic Con (all I will say is, I don’t know how many times I ended up watching that video of M. Gomez telling the fairytale about the troll), before falling asleep.