Ben (AKA Loyle Carner in his rap career) and his younger sibling Ryan tell LBB’s Alex Reeves about their path to becoming a directing duo at Spindle
Venus and Serena Williams, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, Jedward... These are just a few of the sibling partnerships that have brightened our world with their talents. Now it’s time to add The Coyle-Larner Brothers to that list. The directing duo just launched on Spindle’s growing roster of creative voices and multi-talented artists, with the unveiling of their impressive co-directed music video debut, for Arlo Parks track ‘Eugene’.
The pair are siblings Ryan and Ben Coyle-Larner. Ben is renowned for his work as Mercury, Brit and NME award-nominated musician Loyle Carner, but his multi-disciplinary approach to creative expression has now taken him behind the camera.
Ryan grew up on Ben’s music video sets, even featuring in some, which led to a passion for writing scripts and telling stories through film. His interest in cinematography took him behind the camera as a photographer and also as a DoP on several short films, so he brings the technical chops to the partnership.
I took some time to get to know the Coyle-Larner brothers as they embark on their new career together.
LBB> When did you each first end up on a set filming? And what was that experience like?
Ryan> The first set I was on was for Ben’s ‘Cantona’ video. It was cool seeing all the moving parts and everything coming together - seeing something in your head becoming a reality.
The first thing I directed was a student film (some pretentious dialogue piece). It was super overwhelming due to the time constraints and not having enough crew members to assign specific jobs to - makes you a true auteur though!
Ben> The first set I was ever on was at Pinewood Studios for this film 10,000 BC. Essentially an extra with a line but got to run around in a caveman get up. The green screen blew my mind.
LBB> When did you decide that you'd like to get behind the camera?
Ryan> I’ve always been interested in telling stories, be it writing short fiction or scripts. Film/video is an incredibly powerful medium as there are so many ways to tell stories, so I naturally gravitated towards wanting to make films.
Ben> The same way to be honest. I've kinda always been behind the camera, but people seem to notice more when you're in front of it I guess.
LBB> What was behind that impulse?
Ryan> I guess me and my brother think very creatively and visually, in a way that matches film as a language. When you have so many creative ideas it's only natural that you’ll want to pursue them and make them a reality.
LBB> And when did you start seriously thinking you could direct?
Ryan> When Spindle said they’d help us make the video [for Arlo Parks’ track Eugene], we realised that we’d have the support as new directors to see it through. Though directing has always felt achievable for me - I feel that if you’re having fun with it, it can't be all that intimidating.
Ben> For me, it was actually when my little brother left school. I've always wanted to work with him on films, and never really thought I'd be able to pull it off without him.
Ryan (left) and Ben (right)
LBB> Why did you decide to set up as a brotherly duo?
Ryan> We always talked about films and videos and discussed our own ideas, it only seemed natural that we join forces and make something together. We’re a pretty good combo.
Ben> For real, he's organised and I'm not so we're a perfect team.
LBB> What are your ambitions, both long and short term, in your directing career together?
Ryan> We’d like to keep honing our skills as young directors by working on creative and politically pertinent projects. We’ll just see where it takes us, perhaps with some narrative work on the horizon…
Ben> And shoot the next Harry Potter film.
LBB> With the existing platform you have as Loyle Carner I imagine a lot of production companies would have happily represented you. Why did you go with Spindle?
Ryan> Spindle are good people that understand and support our ideas, and were willing to help us where we needed it. They are simply the right place for us.
Ben> It also wasn't about the Loyle Carner platform, we're the Coyle-Larner brothers. We wanted to be signed on the merit of our work, not my previous work and the promotion it'll give another company.
LBB> Let's talk about your first video, for Arlo Parks. Where did it begin?
Ryan> It began in my office. We were hanging out and discussed Arlo’s song and a concept for the video. We started bouncing ideas off of one another and blocking out the video right then and there. It was clear from that first discussion that we had discovered something special.
LBB> And what was the process of developing the idea like? What was the overall vision?
Ryan> Co-directing is incredibly useful for being creative because you can bounce ideas back and forth constantly. Me and my brother had the same vision.
Ben> My brother is brutally honest with me, which is the most important thing when collaborating on something. We just wanted to make something that gave the audience space to find their own narrative.
LBB> What was the biggest challenge from the production?
Ryan> Honestly, the production was a super smooth process. By the time we got to set, weeks of planning every shot and detail meant we had time to focus on the performance. We were worried we wouldn’t get to shoot everything as we were on a tight shooting schedule; but thanks to our amazing crew, we managed to get everything done.
Ben> Haha! Yeah man, the biggest challenge was deciding which beer to go for once we'd packed everything up.
LBB> Is there any moment from the process or aspect of the project that will particularly stick in your memory?
Ryan> When you spend so long thinking about an idea, it’s incredible finally seeing it coming together. We have plenty of goosebumps moments from seeing the idea being turned into the real thing. Production design was such an important part of our concept, so seeing the splitting bed in action - from our production designer (Charlotte King) - for the first time was a really special thing.
Ben> The first time we saw Arlo and Amelia fall onto the bed from above. Hit me in the heart. Such a tender moment and one I'd seen in my mind a million times in the lead up to the shoot.
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