From where I’m standing, part of the reason why Irish music is in such terrific nick these days is because of the countless promoters, bloggers, photographers, filmmakers and all-round creative folk helping musicians get their songs out of the wilderness and onto our headphones.
One such man is Brendan Canty, whose Cork-based production company Feel Good Lost Films is responsible for about 70% of the kick-ass visual trippery that made made me go ‘Holy Crap!’ this year. In just 12 months, Canty has produced music videos for Irish artists Daithi, Mark Geary, Sacred Animals, Owensie, J2DR, Hush War Cry, Moths and Jape as well as international beatmakers like Sun Glitters (Luxembourg), Boy 8-Bit (UK), Clams Casino (US), Wintercoats (Canada), Slow Magic (US), Panda Bear (US) and Broken Social Scene (Canada).
“I established Feel Good Lost this time last year.” Canty tells me, “I wanted it to grow into a collective of Filmakers, designers and musicians. So far, it’s me and my best buddy Conal Thomson.”
They may not be long in the business, but Feel Good Lost Films have already racked up enough material to get them noticed by the Cork Film Festival, who asked them to curate a night of live music and visuals in the Pavilion earlier this month.
“We run a Feel Good Lost DJ and visuals night in The Pavilion every Friday night and as part of that night we are allowed to promote a gig once every month or two. For our first gig we had Toby Kaar and Moths playing and it was a great success. It was always going to be hard to top that, so I had to call upon the three other best producers in the country to fill the bill AKA Solar Bears, SertOne and Reid.
Thankfully, for those who couldn’t make it down to the show, Feel Good Lost Films recorded it for our viewing pleasure. Two clips have surfaced so far; one of Northy electro hop whiz SertOne performing a selection of tracks from his phenomenal WIDTS mini-album, and one of Wicklow duo Solar Bears, debuting a new track from their forthcoming second LP.
The lovely Mr. Canty was kind enough to talk me through the concepts for both…
SertOne, WIDTS mash-up, live at the Pavilion, Cork.
“SertOne is without a doubt one of the nicest, friendliest and most easy to talk to dudes I have ever met, so he was an absolute pleasure to work with. For a geeky looking fellow he has so much swagger and that really made for a distinctive shadow with the gangsta cap and the glasses. I noticed his shadow whilst projecting on him at the gig and thought it would make for a cool video. So the next day we projected our visuals on to him and filmed his shadow from different angles. Then I did my usual thing in the edit.”
Solar Bears, Komplex, live at the Pavilion, Cork.
“Solar Bears are great dudes. Very laid back, respectful fellows and open to any ideas. For example, we thought white T-shirts would be great to project onto, so I ran over to Penney’s and bought two plain white v-necks (they’re cheaper than round-neck!) and they were well up for wearing them. Solar Bears are great operators, its easy to tell how they are making such a name for themselves.”
If Feel Good Lost Films have a signature look, it’s vibrant, emotive and effortlessly professional, so it comes as quite a surprise that Canty and Thompson operate with a strong D.I.Y ethic.
“Most of my footage is filmed by myself and Conal. We are a lot quicker at shooting then most production companies as we shoot on very light equipment. Having said that, it’s still pretty time-consuming but it never feels like work, it’s our passion. We try to shoot all our own stuff but on occasions we sample some footage but always add effects to try and make it our own.”
With Feel Good Lost still very much in its toddler years, it’s easy to see why Canty feels an affinity with bedroom musicians.
“Electronic music is the music that I listen to most these days. It inspires a lot of my visuals. I’ve worked up a bit of a reputation in the scene by doing videos for the likes of Moths, Clams Casino and Slow Magic. And when you make a few good videos in a certain genre it helps you to land more videos. I’ve just finished videos for Keep Shelly In Athens and Blackbird Blackbird, both bands have been a favourite of mine in the last year. Pretty excited about them.”
Most of Canty’s films are based on nature. What is it about the great outdoors that appeals to him so much?
“Nature is the most inspiring thing on the planet. It’s filled with total blissful magic. I’m inspired by beautiful moments every day, I let myself get lost in those moments and try to think of them as videos. This sort of thing happens all the time and really inspires me. My latest video for Blackbird Blackbird is based on one of those magical moments that I was lucky enough to capture.”
We wait with breath that is bated…
In the meantime, here are The C Word‘s five favourite Feel Good Lost productions, thoughtfully explained by the man himself.
Broken Social Scene, Guilty Cubicles
“Part of a college project, this was my first “experimental video” which really helped me find my style. The song is from the gorgeous album Feel Good Lost. I tried to sum up that phrase in the video. I adored the results so much that I ended up coining the phrase as my work name.”
Sacred Animals Vs Owensie, Cat And Mouse
“A murky evening around my estate I felt captured the mood of this song perfectly, so I grabbed my camera and went out to shoot. The footage of the cheetah was taken from a shoot we did in Fota Island Wildlife park!”
Clams Casino, I’m God
“Again, the inspiration behind this video was nature and how we experience it. I also wanted to practice my editing skills, cutting and adding effects to the beat.”
“When you mirror certain footage where the camera is panning inwards or outwards you get this bizarre 3D effect. I used it with some clips from the mountain episode of Planet Earth (my favourite episode). The results gave off a very trippy effect, which also acts as a kind of metaphor for plate tectonics I think.”
Jape, The Oldest Mind
“The track is all about cherishing and celebrating life and youth, its about an old mind looking back on life. I wanted to have three generations of a person all singing these lyrics. I wanted it have trippy visuals and colours to match the style of the music and to represent the mind and memories in a way.”
Of course, the really devastating part of all this is that Canty is still only 22 years old.
“The goal is to keep moving onwards and upwards,” he says. “This time next year I want to be making music videos for bigger bands with bigger budgets. And I want to have made a short film or two. I also want Feel Good Lost to expand into more of a collective. Hopefully we’ll be starting a music label soon too. Watch this space…”