Hodor, aka Kristian Nairn, plays the Game Of Tones

We quiz the Game Of Thrones star, DJ and guitarist about extra-long guitar straps, unnecessary platform boots and swapping cows for Jacksons.

kristian nairn hodor game of thrones

The moment it all started…

“My mum forced me to learn piano when I was a child, which in hindsight, I’m really grateful for, but around the early 90s I remember sitting up until about 4am watching Raw Power on ITV, and I had just never heard Megadeth before… they had such a unique sound. The guitars were so tight and the rhythms were so crazy, I just thought, ‘I want to do that!’”

The one that got away…

“I grew up on a farm, and my grandfather gave me one of his cattle that he’d raised. He sold one and gave me the money for it – and a cow is quite valuable! And then all of a sudden I realised that because of the cow, I had enough money to buy my first Jackson. To this day, it’s the best guitar I’ve ever played. But I upgraded to a Strat, as I was heavy into Yngwie Malmsteen, and you have to have the Strat. But I’ve never had another guitar like that Jackson.”

I couldn’t live without my…

“I’ve got an ESP, which is really good for playing metal on, and I’ve also got a Charvel, a little Dinky thing with a glittery finish – I’m really into glittery guitars, I don’t know why! But they both have a really different playing style and different sounds, so it’s good to have that variation.”

My signature model would be…

“Well, funnily enough, there’s one in the works! There’s a small guitar company in the UK called Carillion. He approached me, and he’s making a pretty awesome axe for me. I don’t want to say too much, but it may be themed towards something that I’m well known for. You’ll have to use your imagination as to what that is! I’m really excited to see how that turns out.”

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The first thing I play when I pick up a guitar…

“The one that always seems to come out is Satch Boogie. And then I’m also into my harmonic stuff, so I might play Decadence Dance by Extreme. My interest in metal basically stops at around 1990-something!”

The best advice I’ve ever been given…

“Don’t be afraid to diversify. I was determined to be a guitar player growing up and I worked damn hard! But I realised that it wasn’t going to go in that direction, because the stuff I wanted to play wasn’t popular at that time. I liked electronic music as well, but at first I was like, ‘No!’ But then I just thought, ‘Why? What’s the point in hampering yourself?’ And I never really wanted to be an actor, and then Thrones happened! So it’s important to hold on to your dreams, but don’t hold on to them too tightly.”

My Spinal Tap moment…

“I remember I was hosting one of those videoke things, and I was wearing a massive pair of platform boots… and obviously, someone of my size doesn’t need to wear platform boots. And I was standing at the top of this huge auditorium… and I managed to fall down the entire flight of stairs. It was so painful… but it was also incredibly funny. I just remember picking myself up at the bottom and thinking I had the choice to laugh or cry, and I just had to laugh, man.”

My guilty pleasure…

“I don’t feel guilty about anything – I don’t care! I’ve been to concerts by everyone from Deicide to Take That! I don’t think there’s much in between that I would feel guilty about.”

I wish I was in…

“You might think I’d say Megadeth, but I don’t think I would enjoy it. I think Dave would be an exacting commander! I’d have loved to have been one of Ozzy Osbourne’s guitar players, and he always picks the most amazing and unique players. I’ve always had quite a unique way of playing guitar; because my hands are so big, I’ve developed different ways of doing things.”

The first thing on my rider…

“One of the biggest things I need on my rider is an extra-long guitar strap! Because there’s nothing worse than a seven-foot man, a short strap and a guitar that already looks small! You end up looking like it’s a ukulele, and that’s not an attractive look!”

The final season of HBO’s Game Of Thrones premieres on 18 April.

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