By Erin McCalla
Outlook spoke with Kristian Nairn about music, his life as a DJ, Game of Thrones and his status as a bear icon, and here’s what he had to say:
“Hodor, hodor, hodor… hodor? Hodor. Hodorhodorhodor. Hodor.”
Actually, the openly gay actor who plays the hulking yet sweet, mono-word speaking, Bran-carrying Hodor on HBO’s Game of Thrones, spoke hundreds of words with us. And, actually, not one was Hodor.
Nairn will stop in Columbus at Park Street Saloon on Tuesday, April 14, as part of his Rave of Thrones tour. The six-week DJ’ing tour will take him from the UK to LA and back again. He’ll also be in Pittsburgh on Thursday, April 16.
Erin McCalla: What came first: music or acting?
Kristian Nairn: I’ve been involved in music since I was a very young child; acting definitely came later. It’s interesting to me because when I got the [Game of Thrones] role, the questions were, “So you’re a DJ and musician, do you think you can handle acting?”
And now as the show has grown, people forget that you had a life and career before! It’s just the way it works though.
EM: How do you describe your set?
KN: Bass heavy, chunky house music, I guess!
EM: Were you kind of excited that Bran and Hodor’s storyline wasn’t included in the upcoming Season 5 because you got the opportunity to pursue DJing?
KN: I was both excited and a little sad. It’s like a big family on GoT and it’s been weird not being involved and seeing everyone regularly.
EM: Obviously you aren’t shying away that you play Hodor on GoT with the title of your tour – have any of the other GoT cast members attended your sets?
KN: They have. Finn Jones [Ser Loras Tyrell] and Dan Portman [Podrick Payne] have definitely been to a few. [laughs.] You definitely see the odd face pop up and it’s always wonderful to see them. They are great at hiding in plain sight in the crowd when a lot of people have dressed up.
EM: You’re an icon in the bear community, and everyone knows how… enthusiastic Game of Thrones fans are. Do you get more GoT fans or bears at your shows?
KN: I don’t know about that! I would never think of myself that way. I’m just happy anyone is even remotely interested in what I am doing. The crowds genuinely are a real mix of people! The house fan music contingency has definitely grown since the beginning of the tour, and that pleases me greatly. I love seeing people from so many different social groups come together and party.
EM: You were in Cleveland in December, and you will be in Columbus in April. Do you get much a chance to enjoy the cities while on tour? Is there something you like experience or do in each city you visit?
KN: I often joke that I’m going to write guidebooks to the world’s hotels and airports. I don’t really see much at all unless I have a two- or three-day stop, which is rare.
EM: What DJs have inspired you? What musicians are you listening to now?
KN: People like Eric Prydz, Green Velvet, Danny Tenaglia have been very influential for me. My taste in DJs goes right across the board from spacey, floaty techno to main room house or trance.
EM: Speaking of trance, I think you do such a fantastic job of conveying emotion as Hodor, especially since you only get one word to speak. It has to be hard to do! Tell me a little about your acting background.
KN: It definitely has its challenging moments but it’s really dependent on the scene. My background is more in love performance and some cabaret-style work. Strangely, acting, live performance and DJing and music work all feel the same to me. I guess it’s just a performance area of my brain.
EM: Were you a fan of George R.R. Martin’s novels before auditioning for Hodor? Have you read them all?
KN: No, I wasn’t; I hadn’t heard of the books at all. My mom is a prolific reader, though, and she nearly fainted when I told her what I was auditioning for. [Laughs.]
EM: Have you done a Comic Con? Do you have any interest?
KN: I have done many, many comic cons from the end of the earth and back again. Being a geek myself, it’s like being in paradise; I always make sure that I over-pack though, so that I have no room to spend cash on merchandise!