Kristian Nairn, known best for his role as Hodor from the hit series Game of Thrones, is hit DJ currently on a worldwide tour. We caught him before his show at the Queen Margaret Union during Freshers Week.
Glasgow Guardian: It has been 2 years since you played here in the QM, what has changed since then?
Nairn: What has changed in my life? Well, I’m dead, obviously in the show, so I don’t think we can have a bigger change than that. Everything has just gone crazy, to be honest. I have literally been to the four corners of the planet probably twice since the last time I have been here, and I just have great memories here. Scotland has treated me amazingly well this time, like it did last time, and I just love Freshers’ for the crazy people.
Glasgow Guardian: How does Freshers’ differ to your venue back in Ireland?
Nairn: Oh completely different. Any sort of weekly nightclub is very different to Freshers’. Freshers’ people are so enthusiastic and just completely over the top – there’s no boredom. In a weekly residency you get the same people and the same music, it’s very different at Freshers’ and I absolutely love the energy. People in America don’t get Freshers’. They’ll say, “what are you doing after this?” and I’ll say “University gigs” and they’ll say “oh really? Sounds crap.” No, no, it’s really not. There are thousands of people at these gigs
Glasgow Guardian: You mentioned your death, how hard was that to keep a secret?
Nairn: I kept it a secret for over a year. It was extremely difficult. Oh god, it was more that I was terrified because I have a huge mouth and I have a really hard time not telling people stuff. I told my mother, and I know I can trust my mother, hopefully. That was the only person I told and we talked about it for a year to keep me happy. But it was very difficult. People tried [to get me to slip up], but I managed to keep my trap shut.
Glasgow Guardian: So what’s it like not to be on the show now?
Nairn: I live in Belfast so there are people coming and going from my hometown, so I still get to be a part of it, and also the reverberations are still being felt. Every day I still get tweets and texts saying “fucking hell I just saw what happened to you”. People are still freaking out, man. I still feel like I’m part of the energy that is Game of Thrones. So obviously I’m still doing Rave of Thrones and I’m still doing publicity so I still feel like I’m part of it.
Glasgow Guardian: I’ve seen you say in other interviews that you don’t get sick of people shouting Hodor, but what about people shouting “hold the door”?
Nairn: It’s not that I get sick of it but I never actually said that in the show, it was the other actor, that’s not actually my line. He got more words than I did, which is quite rich. After my doing it for five years, not that I’m bitter, (*whispers* I am bitter). Yeah it’s Hodor guys, I’m not the one that [said] hold the door, but I don’t mind at all
Glasgow Guardian: Do you enjoy when people shout Hodor while you’re onstage?
Nairn: Yeah, it’s going to replaced by “oi, oi, oi, fucking, oi” or some other chant, there’s going to be a chant so it might as well be my name. Haha, well it’s not my name.
Glasgow Guardian: How has your tour gone so far, you said you’ve gone to all four corners of the world?
Nairn: It’s been nuts, I just did my biggest ever gig there in Dallas, there were 4,000 people there and it was in a huge arena, that was one of those check yourself moments, this is where I’ve got to. It was very surreal, and literally the next night you can be playing somewhere random in the middle of Iowa and there’ll be maybe 35 people there and a hamster and you go from sublime to ridiculous and that’s the way it goes but these days it’s mostly 2000+ venues and I never thought, never dreamed that would happen.
Glasgow Guardian: Did you not expect to become as big as you did?
Nairn: I’m not going to say no because I was always trying, I was 35 when Game of Thrones came along and I had just run out of ideas, I didn’t really know what my next step was. It’s just what happens and it is what I keep telling people: just keep doing what you’re doing, something will happen
Glasgow Guardian: As well as your tour you have a few singles out, are you working on an album?
Nairn: Well, as you know I’ve been trying to work on stuff but I’ve been on the road, so it’s been a bit difficult as you can imagine, I get a break after Christmas so hopefully I will go into the studio.
Glasgow Guardian: We really look forward to it. Would you say Game of Thrones has influenced or changed your music in any way?
Nairn: No, it’s Game of Thrones; I don’t play the waltz, it’s not my style. I will probably play the remix of Game of Thrones as like a nod, but that’s about it.
Glasgow Guardian: So what would you say has inspired, influenced your music?
Nairn: My influences come from all types of music; I’ve played in heavy metal bands, played in electro-pop bands, I’ve played classical music – all my musical influences come into one. House is such a broad sphere of music, it’s all over the place and I like that, I don’t like to keep it in one style. You’ll hear tonight I will probably go into about four different types of house music. Really the house music I play is influenced by people like Danny Insignia, you’re far too young, he was a Detroit, Chicago, New York style Greek DJ who played the most amazing underground house music. It was all centred around the bassline, which I love. I’m just really pleased that house music is so big at the moment, although it’s becoming a bit samey. It’s very corporate right now, but it will go back underground again and that’s when it will get better again.