Back in August 2013 my son Brendan Canty was telling me about a music video he had been working on that he was really excited about.
He had done a video for a guy called Hozier and he felt that the song was really strong and on top of that they had a cracking, possibly controversial concept for a storyline. The song had been ‘out there‘ for a while but this video might just take it to a new place. Brendan was really excited about it as he believed he had produced a special video.
As always he pulled in a bunch of talented volunteers (check out the cast below), family and friends and both he and as his partner in Feel Good Lost, Conal Thomson gave it everything. He reckoned it was his best work to date (strangely I disagree – he has done even better in my view).
I remember that day in the Fuzion office in September when he showed us the finished product. He was right, it was a really powerful, brave, fantastic, thought provoking music video. “This is going to huge” was the collective view.
Brendan uploaded the video to YouTube that day and sure enough the views came tumbling in almost immediately. Every day we watched the numbers rising and rising and then the media started featuring it. I remember at an early stage the US online news platform The Huffington Post reviewed it. Wow!
16 months later across all video platforms ‘Take me to the Church‘ has been viewed over 100 million times, Hozier is a world wide music star and the rest is history.
We were travelling back from Dublin by car last week with Brendan and I was asking him about his work with Hozier. Hozier is a great guy who always credits Brendan/Feel Good Lost when he is asked about the video but for some reason they have not worked together since.
I find this incredible – surely the collective team that struck gold on this video should work together? I pressed Brendan about this. He was asked to do the next video and between the jigs and reels between Brendan, Hozier and the record company they couldn’t settle on a concept.
In the end he was asked to produce the video but he wasn’t comfortable with the chosen concept so he declined. I find this to be incredibly brave and I must admire his artistic conviction. This was after a huge conversation I had with with Brendan that went something like “Are you totally nuts??!!“.
“An approach like ours would probably be considered to be too risky for him now. He is huge and he probably wouldn’t be allowed to do anything like what we did on the ‘Take me to The Church’ video as it could damage his following“.
I understood what he was saying but it didn’t stop me asking “But, isn’t that what brought him all the attention in the first place?”
Why is it that when we have nothing to lose we take risks but when we have it all to lose we end up playing it safe?
..are we all playing it too safe?
The Volunteers and some background info..
Notes from the director:
Brendan Canty: “As Take Me to Church is such a powerful and thought-provoking song we felt the video needed to be the same. We wanted to create something that challenged the audience and made them sit up and really think.
“The song is about sexuality, humanity and liberation, so after many discussions between us and Andrew (Hozier) we came up with a concept drawing on these themes and on the current situation in Russia – i.e the widespread ostracisation of homosexuals and the widespread condoning of their torture and murder. It was a real challenge for us and with a story as big as this, and a subject so topical we had to get it 100% spot on.
“The casting was crucial and our two leads (Daniel Coughlan and Emmet O’Riabhaigh) and the main thug (Patrick Sheahan) gave phenomenal performances in this video. With the help of them, the rest of the amazing cast and crew, Roger and Niall at Rubyworks and Andrew (Hozier) I feel we nailed it.”
- DIRECTOR: Brendan Canty
- PRODUCTION COMPANY: Feel Good Lost
- DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY: Brendan Canty
- DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY: Conal Thomson
- 1ST AD: Emmet O’Brien
- PRODUCER: Adam McCarthy
- PRODUCER : Emmet O’Brien
- PRODUCER: Damien McCarthey
- DIRECTOR’S REPRESENTATION: Chloe Page
- Emmet O’Riabhaigh
- Daniel Coughlan
- Patrick Sheahan
- Christopher O’Flaherty
- SPECIAL THANKS:
- Diarmuid, Aidan & Val O’Donovan
- Niall and Roger at Rubyworks
- Caoillian Sherlock
- Denise Heffernan
- David Maloney