Belfast techno royalty Phil Kieran has composed the music for the film Nightride. A tense and dark humoured watch with an excellent soundtrack to fit the atmosphere.

Phil Kieran has been involved in some other music for film and media projects. Recent projects  include creating original score for ‘Rough’ directed by Declan Lawn and Adam Patterson. It won an IFTA in  2021 for Best Short, a Golden Dragon for best short fiction at Krakow Film Festival and was long listed for a BAFTA last month. He created the score for the popular Radio 4 documentary ‘The Northern Bank Job’ narrated by Glenn Patterson, a film version of Prime Cut Productions’ play ‘East Belfast Boy’ that Phil also created the original stage soundtrack for and Phil has been creating an interview and video archive about the evolution of dance music in NI called ‘The Shapes Between Us’. A short version was premiered last year but it is now, excitingly, being developed into a feature length film.

Nightride tells the story of Moe Dunford who plays a drug dealer desperately trying to complete one last deal before going straight; it’s a tense, dark humoured watch. What really sets it apart, besides the music, is that It’s filmed in one take in real time with Moe driving as he’s acting. It was during lockdown so the streets were empty. A lot of the score Phil created is diegetic, coming from the car stereo or spilling our of nightclubs on the Belfast streets giving the film a hyperreal feel. Moe’s already received nominations for best actor awards for his role.

Phil says :‘Its a natural transition, I mean, I’ve been making music and DJ’ing in clubs for 20 years. What is a DJ’s role? if not to give shape and a voice to a night, to create continuum and momentum. The best DJs bring people on a journey, they give shape to a night out. We curate emotions. Sometimes, we use music’s power to create something hypnotic, subliminal, a sense of transcendance, other times its chaotic, energetic,euphoric. Storytelling in films requires the same. When I’m DJing I love playing longer sets, they have room for a narrative to play out; for build-ups, anticipation, in -the -moments, peaks and aftermaths. I produce music hoping it can be used by other DJs but also by anyone who wants to enhance an experience or a feeling.

My music has been used on lots of tv and films but it’s a special experience being able to d the design the music, minute by minute, for a film. During lockdown I really dedicated myself to creating cinematic music; my recording studio is based is in the Strand, the oldest art deco filmhouse in Ireland, so even my surroundings are inspiring. I started composing for short films like ‘Rough’  but I feel like I’ve been waiting a long time for the right feature film to come along. When I read the script for Nightride and heard the aspirations around making the film I knew I wanted to get involved’.

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