“Even when I'm filming music or whatever I really don't want to be seen. I don't like being a presence during someone’s performance or pointing my camera in anyone's face,” the simple modus operandi of Myles O’Reilly, who has been producing music led film under the name of Arbutus Yarns for over ten years. The artists he has worked with is a who’s who of Irish Music, Lisa Hannigan, Glen Hansard, Villagers, Imelda May, The Script and many others have led to a catalogue of over 100 music videos, 20 plus documentaries, the creation of the web series ‘This Ain’t No Disco’ with Donal Dineen. At this year’s Quiet Lights Festival he is the Featured Artist, where he will be premiering his latest film ‘Tenore Cuncordu Orosei’ as well as presenting several other of his films.
He credits his artist-led, intimate style with his own personal experiences, “I've been in a lot of rooms with a lot of musicians when they're rehearsing, recording, writing or of course doing concerts. From my own experiences as a musician, I was exceptionally nervous if a camera was in the room with me, if I was on my own in a bedroom I’d do the best fucking version of whatever I was doing but then as soon as anybody else came in - doesn't matter if it was a cameraman or my mam or whoever - the version wouldn't be as good. It just gets a little bit diluted when it gets a bit self-conscious. I gravitate towards the more sensitive kind of artist, and it's a reciprocal thing. I say “forget I'm there”, they can be themselves and then when they see my work, they say things like “thanks for catching me in that moment”. I’m always questioning myself, I just want to get as intimate as possible, I feel their nerves and I absolutely know when I'm stopping them from being 100%.”
That intimate attitude means Myles was never compelled to put himself forward and instead let his films take the limelight, however things have changed recently, “earlier this year The Creative Minds Music Festival asked me to do a workshop about the way I work, I was very nervous doing it but I got such brilliant reactions from people and it was nice to know people want me to do it again.”
The director of Quiet Lights, Jonathan Pearson, has a huge admiration of Myles and his work, “the festival exists to showcase the very best in the new wave of Irish folk and traditional music, and it could be argued that Myles has been the most important person in bringing this movement forward, with his talent and films giving these young artists a platform they wouldn't have had without him.”
Myles is equally complimentary of Jonathan, “I like to say if you go to my website and see one artist there, you're going to probably like them all. I'm aware that there’s some promoters, agents and people out there who kind of look to me and who I’m engaging with. They might look at my canon of work to find acts, but regularly when I’m working with a band they are already on Jonathan’s radar. I’d get onto bands if he commented on a video that I put up of them and tell them to “get in touch with Jonathan, he just commented on your video, he's a good man to know and ask him for a gig, you know, that kind of thing.”.... but then it would turns out Jonathan would have already contacted that band!”
Speaking of contacting bands Myles has built his career and reputation without the sort of ‘social butterfly’ networking you see in the movies, “it is totally my personality to not want to ever network the 'traditional' way. I've never ever emailed a band to ask them for work, because I hate doing that. However do like occasionally having the drinks after an event with people, it's a nice way to just talk, talk and talk, and actually work out if someone turns out to be a bit of a tool or not. If somebody can drink me under the table and still continue to be cool and funny, I know then they aren’t bluffing, everybody shows the true colors after that kind of networking!”
‘Tenore Cuncordu Orosei in collaboration with Ernst Reijseger’’ will be screened at The Kino, at 6pm on Thursday, November 21. For ticket information and more about the festival go to www.quietlights.net.