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Tuesday 26 September 2023 Dublin: 15°C
# take me to church
A Hozier video made for €1,500 in a Cork house got nominated for an MTV award
Its co-director Brendan Canty of Feel Good Lost told us how it all came together.

Hozier / YouTube

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 told

[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.

hozier gif 1

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

hozier fb Feel Good Lost Feel Good Lost

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.

Hozier - iTunes Festival 2014 - London David Jensen David Jensen

“It’s a real underdog story”

After the recent kerfuffle over Nicki Minaj and Taylor Swift’s VMAs nominations - or lack thereof – all eyes will be on the ceremony in LA this year. It’s a massive boost for Feel Good Lost, who are two guys in their mid-twenties from Cork city.

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.

Big hopes

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.

Read: The Huffington Post said Hozier was British, and was forced to apologise>

Read: Hozier gives touching tribute at Olivia Burke’s funeral by performing last song>

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