Someone You Might Not Expect To Listen To EDM: Kristian Nairn, Hodor In Game Of Thrones
With Game of Thrones kicking off its fourth season on HBO this weekend, it's only fitting for us to feature Kristian Nairn this week. On Game of Thrones, Nairn plays Hodor, who's relegated to saying one word—his name. The only way to get a read on how Hodor feels in the television show is by judging his tone of “Hodor” and his body language. Because of his character, some people might be surprised to find out that Nairn is a very talented DJ. A photo of him spinning did go viral last year, so this might not be a huge revelation for some of you. However, we wanted as many people as possible to know about Nairn's passion for dance music. For this reason, we've featured him in this edition of “Someone You Might Not Expect To Listen To EDM.”
His love for dance music started off at a young age. “I always was a prolific single buyer when I was a kid, and I used to spend pretty much my whole allowance on CD singles—even on random ones I hadn’t heard,” says Nairn. “One day, I happened to pick up two singles. I think it was 1990, and I remember seeing the label 'Champion.' It was Robin S, 'Show Me Love.' The other, I think, was Capella, 'U Got 2 Know.' I also remember playing the Black Box album, Dreamland, to death. I fell in love with the big vocals, hypnotic basslines, and of course, the pianos! Three things I still am drawn to today!”
The effect that dance music can have on people is tremendous. Nairn says, “Dance music has been hugely important. It helped me form my entire social life back in the day. I had so many great nights out with friends, some more into the 'going out' than the music, but we were always together. Standing on the dance floor waiting to hear my favorite parts of my favorite tracks and always wanting to hear more and more new stuff. I think, as a particularly shy kid, music was a great way for me to externalize and express my feelings. I mean, we’ve all had those emotional moments on the dance floor during a breakdown—especially with 90s/00s trance like Above & Beyond, The Space Brothers, etc. Great stuff."
Nairn has a very impressive musical background. He states, “I’ve been playing musical instruments since I was 3 years old, and have always been into the technical side of music, too. So I learnt the ropes of DJing back when I was studying music, then forgot about it for a few years. I was working in a club, Kremlin in Belfast (where I still have a residency), and I remember a DJ rang in sick. I volunteered my services and made a big impression on the management...and I haven’t stopped since!”
Nairn's had a long career as a DJ, but one experience stands out about the rest. He exclaims, “I’d have to say the being on tour with the Scissor Sisters when they were at the their peak was one of the best times of my life!”
Nairn has had a ridiculously busy schedule as of late, which has prevented him from going to many shows. “Shamefully, it's been ages since I saw a great DJ set. I have so little time these days, and when I’m in a club, normally its me DJing!” says Nairn. “The last person to really make an impression was someone who is also a good friend, Grant Nelson. I met Grant when I ran an all-night venue, E Horizon in Belfast. That was a great night. Watching Grant on four Pioneer CDJs is literally a joy to witness. One of the most talented DJ’s and producers around in my opinion.”
It is always interesting to find out someone's favorite producers. When Nairn was asked about his favorite producers, he said, “Eric Prydz...and anything as Pryda too. I’m so into his material it's painful. It just hits me right here.” *points at his heart* “Danny Tenaglia is a god and one of my first inspirations. I love Alan Braxe, and I think Monsieur Adi is going to have an incredible year. Love his music, and he’s also a great live DJ. Also, I love Mr Oizo."
Music has the ability to create strong memories that can never be forgotten—regardless of how many years fly by. “One track I love, and it transports me RIGHT back to a place and time—a great place and time—is Ransom, 'My Dance,'” says Nairn.
In addition to Nairn, there are a few other Game of Thrones cast members whom enjoy dance music. “Finn Jones (plays Loras Tyrell) and Alfie Allen (plays Theon Greyjoy) both dabble with dance music/electronica,” reveals Nairn. “I can’t speak yet for Alfie, but I love Finn’s taste in music. Looking forward to DJing with him sometime in the future!”
We asked Nairn to associate some of the Game of Thrones houses with dance music genres. Here's what he gave them: “I’ll give the Lannisters something shit like Avicii’s country-house. I do love Avicii’s old stuff, I should say. Starks can be emo trance. Let's face it, they need a little breakdown now and then. Greyjoys can be nasty, snarky crunk. Because I don’t like it, or them!”
Nairn has a very busy schedule this year, but he's trying to make it to see at least one DJ spin. “Well, I promised myself that I was going to try to get to see Prydz this year, and I haven’t yet…so I shall try to sort that out!” says Nairn.
Nairn has been listening to dance music for 24 years, and the landscape of dance music has changed tremendously. “I definitely think the dynamic has changed in recent years. I’m not going to start complaining here with the typical DJ moans, but the one thing I believe that has made the biggest difference is the availability of music online,” explains Nairn. “I mean, I used to have to really work to get the tracks I wanted, but now in most cases, anyone can have a similar music collection to any DJ. The exclusivity is gone. But in some ways, that can push us to create our own mixes and edits, so there is definitely a positive way to look at it!”
EDM.com would like to thank Kristian Nairn for taking time out of his busy schedule to speak with us. Be sure to catch the season premiere of Game of Thrones on Sunday, April 6!
Cover photo credit: HBO/Game of Thrones