Kristian Nairn – aka Hodor – is more than just a one word wonder: he's a thumping house DJ
When Game of Thrones actor Kristian Nairn announced his nationwide Rave of Thrones DJ tour, Melbourne reacted in several ways. Ecstatic joy from fans who’d always dreamed of wearing their silver Daenerys wigs on the d-floor. Eye-rolling from GoT hipsters who’d been “reading the books for years, man”. Confusion from the non-believers. Dismissal from dance music fans who assumed Nairn was another deluded celebrity DJ, à la Paris Hilton at Ibiza.
A quick trip to Nairn’s SoundCloud page would’ve revealed the truth: the Northern Irishman has been spinning deep, melodic house for longer than Bran Stark’s been warging into his direwolf. His sets are less about bangers and more about slow burning funk-infused jams and smooth vocals.
“Music is definitely my first love,” Nairn explains, speaking with a measured intelligence that viewers might miss in his portrayal of loveable, monosyllabic Hodor. “I was a very shy child and music was definitely the most important thing in my development.”
Nairn’s romance with house began over 20 years ago. As a regular on Belfast’s underground club circuit, he eventually became a resident DJ at Kremlin: one of the city’s biggest gay clubs. Between filming, you’ll still find him on the decks every week – and if you’re lucky, you might also bump into a couple of his co-stars. "We film in Ireland, and a lot of [the cast] party in the club I’m resident in,” he says. “It’s always nice to pick out my fellow cast mates on the dance floor!”
In the years before he partied with the Stark family, Nairn’s acting experience was limited to theatre. He landed the part of Hodor after a casting director remembered him from an audition he’d done for the British comedy Hot Fuzz (a part which, incidentally, went to Rory McCann who now plays Sandor ‘The Hound’ Clegane in GoT). At the time, many of his DJ friends didn’t take his burgeoning acting career very seriously (“a lot of them still don’t!”) – and that’s the way he likes it. Bizarrely, Nairn’s real problem now is proving himself as a DJ. “I’m like, ‘Really’?” he says, chuckling. “I get it on Twitter… and obviously I try not to read comments online because it’s self-destructive.”
Not that he’s bitter about it. He can’t really deny that he’s capitalising on his HBO fame (after all, he didn’thave to make his tour GoT-themed), and nor does he want to. Nairn is actually stoked that he gets to combine his dream of touring Australia and putting on a costumed party – although you might want to leave your sword at home, for safety reasons. Nairn is set to unleash a straight house set, but he’ll also invite visual artists including Sydney’s Ego to bring Westeros to the Prince Bandroom.
Charmed as we are by Nairn’s passion for unadulterated house music, we can’t resist the obvious question. Has he ever attempted to do a house remix of the GoT theme song? “I did try to do a bootleg at one stage, but I was vastly unsuccessful,” he says, forlornly. “I love classic music, but I don’t know – it didn’t work!”