I'm nominated for two VMAs for directing Hozier's 'Take Me To Church' video: Here's what you need to know 7 years ago

I'm nominated for two VMAs for directing Hozier's 'Take Me To Church' video: Here's what you need to know

Brendan Canty of Feel Good Lost got some massive news this week in the form of VMA nominations for directing Hozier's world-famous Take Me To Church music video. Canty and his co-director Conal Thomson are up against Arctic Monkeys, Taylor Swift and Kendrick Lamar across the categories of Best Rock Video and Best Direction.

JOE.ie sat down with Brendan so he could tell us what this means for him.


So Brendan, we heard you got some good news this week?

It’s been crazy and totally unexpected. I have absolutely no idea what happens next.  We're actually trying to figure that out at the moment. I haven't booked my flight yet but I will when I know what’s going on. A few of the lads are already planning to book theirs' though, so it’s going to be fun!

Any thoughts on what you’ll wear? Traxedos are cool.

Traxedos are cool when you want to look formal but still maintain an above average level of comfort and flexibility but I think I’ll go with something else this time. It seems to be a tricky one… a blurred line between wearing a nice suit and looking smart-casual (said in a fast whisper). Still to be decided.


Has Hozier been on to you since yesterday?

Yeah, he texted me this morning to congratulate us. Lovely guy.


How did the idea for the Take Me To Church video come about?

The original idea was written by me and Emmet O’Brien. It was about the suppression of intelligence in a totalitarian-type state. A lot of the scenes were very similar: trying to hide information, soldiers coming after them, people being dragged, a burning. Andrew [Hozier] really liked it but suggested that we base it on the situation in Russia where homosexuals are being ostracised and attacked. So we took that idea and rewrote the story around that.


236 million views – that’s a bit mad, can you believe it?

It’s really hard to believe. It’s over 300 million if you count the Vevo video. To put that in context that’s well over half the population of the USA. I can’t get my head around that. 300million people have seen my cousin's bedroom getting trashed. Pretty funny.

How has it changed your life?

It jump-frogged us onto another level really. Before then we were building our business really nicely and were becoming quite well known for doing what we do. This gave the narrative side of our film making a real platform. As a result we got an agent in London and a lot of people were getting in touch looking for us to make videos etc. Also, the experience of being able to watch and analyse how Hozier went from being pretty much unknown to becoming one of the biggest stars on the planet has been invaluable to our business (we also run a label).


What kind of doors does the nomination and the video open?

You never know! Which is the fun thing about it. But it definitely will. The exposure for us will be incredible, it’s a great thing to be able to put in the bio.

Is this the proudest achievement of your career so far?

For sure. The video has done so much for us so it’s really special for it to get an acknowledgement at this kind of level.

Who are you most hoping to be sat beside?

Hopefully I'll be next to Conal, with whom I directed the video. And I hope to be next to Hozier obviously, as he had a big part in the creation of it. My buddies have their heart set on going also so if I can orchestrate them some seats next to me that would be pretty unreal. Have to sort out my own seat first though, haha.

In honour of the Taylor Swift and Nicki Minaj beef, would you like to talk smack about any of your fellow nominees?

Like the Irish military when it comes to conflict, I will look to take on a peacekeeping roll at the awards. Extinguishing fires and uttering phrases like “come on now, we’re all friends here” and “he’s not worth it, you’re better than this."

What would winning mean to you?

It would mean an awful lot for me and for everyone that worked on it. Our ethos has always been to work with good things and good people. We heard a small Irish song that we loved, came up with an idea for the video and brought together a team of talented friends and family to help make it.

From Adam (the producer) sourcing Eastern European football scarves for the thugs to wear, to my uncle lighting a massive (and probably illegal bonfire) in his field, to the heated discussions on what makes better blood… brown sauce or ketchup (we realised it didn’t matter as it was going to be in black and white anyway).

This video was totally DIY so the fact that two years later it’s up for two MTV VMA awards is beautiful. It would mean so much to win because it’s a proper underdog story and a great example of what is possible when you have the right idea, the right execution and the right people.

What are you working on now/next?

I’m working on some short film ideas that I have currently. On the music video front, I’m working on a video for Le Galaxie and a new one for Young Wonder. I’ve been collaborating with another incredible Irish talent, Gavin James, recently, so hopefully I’ll get to work on his next video too.

Brendan's work can be found on his website, Feel Good Lost.