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Q&A: We catch up with Crumlin musician and actor Chris Condie

By Andrew Johnston

The Crumlin-based musician and actor shares his duties as the drummer in local heavy metal band RBOTN with life as an extra in the hit show Game of Thrones.

Q: Your band has been around for several years. What's the history behind it all?

A: I met Gerry (Mulholland, lead guitar) and Joe (McDonnell, bass guitar and vocals) at the Belfast Art College. They had been playing together for a few years, and we had our first practice in January 2002. I loved it, and we've been a band ever since.

Q: The three of you have stuck together for more than a decade now. What's your secret?

A: We focus on our music and like to have a good laugh together at practice every single week. It also takes a lot of sacrifice and patience, something we're now experts at.

Q: You supported ex-Judas Priest frontman Tim 'Ripper' Owens in Belfast. How was that?

A: Incredible gig! We were excited to meet Ripper. He was in Judas Priest when I first discovered them and we have a lot of respect for him. It was a privilege to be given the chance by the Distortion Project to share a stage with 'Ripper'. We got to meet him and have a chat. Good times.

Q: As well as playing music, you do extras work, including as a Wilding in Game of Thrones. How did you get involved with the show?

A: I signed up to (local agency) Extras NI a few years ago, when Your Highness was about to start filming. I got a small role in that, which led to a few parts in season one of Game of Thrones (left). Recently, I've had a small part in the film Dracula Untold, and in season four of Game of Thrones my face had an 'extreme close-up'. Extras NI give us regular chumps a chance to be a part of something huge with good, life-long memories and stories.

Q: Has it inspired you to pursue acting in a more formal way?

A: I have actually been looking at acting classes and stage combat classes, but I just don't have the time to dedicate to it 100%. The band is a priority over anything else.

Q: Have you been recognised in the street yet?

A: Yes, I have! I was spotted on Great Victoria Street by the beautiful Rose Leslie, who plays Ygritte in the show. We were on set, sitting beside each other for a scene a few days previously. My beard and hair are similarly styled in real life as they are in Game of Thrones, so it was easy for her to recognise me!

I see a lot of the stars from Thrones around Belfast all the time. I bumped into Kit Harington and John Bradley (Jon Snow and Samwell Tarly) while out for lunch last week. They're two nice gentlemen.

Q: So what's next for you and for RBOTN?

A: Well, I shot a scene for Game of Thrones season five a few weeks ago, and I'm just waiting for the call to do some more. Band-wise, we're doing incredibly well with our current single release and are focusing on getting some recording finished for an anthology CD and a vinyl release. We have plans for overseas gigs in the New Year, starting with a UK and Irish tour supporting the Swedish heavy-metal band Portrait. We're working hard with the help of our manager, James Loveday, to take over the world!

  • RBOTN play Voodoo in Belfast on Sunday, February 1. For details, visit www.thedistortion project.com

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