Interview: Christian Tierney

Hey guys!

If you were to ask me what I don't like about the entertainment industry, I'd name two things.
One being a lack of gratitude and the other one being the hateful and jealous people.

When you work in an industry which is really fast-paced, it can be tough to stand out and to be unique.
And honestly, I think we all need to work as hard as we can, which is what I'd recommend to everyone.

But a lot of times there is a lot of jealousy going on when people achieve great things.
It genuinely annoys me when I see that happen, so I made it my goal to cheer for everyone who's out there, doing what they love!

One of the people I definitely want you to learn more about is Christian Tierney.

Christian is a photographer and videographer from Dublin, Ireland.
Pairing his love for music with his fantastic photo and video skills, Christian has established a big following online and has worked with some of your favourite artists - James Bay, Gavin James and Rhodes just being a few of them.

I asked Christian some questions about his start in this industry, his favourite memories, his gear and a lot more!

You can read it below!

house in the sand: Hi Christian, thanks for taking the time answer some questions!
To start our little conversation, can you tell us a bit about how you got into music photography and videography?

Christian Tierney: No problem at all! It's my pleasure!
When I was a kid, I used to spend every day skating in my local skatepark which is just around the corner from my house. All of the older guys who I looked up to, used to film videos themselves doing new tricks to show people online. So naturally, I wanted to do what they did.
My dad had a lend of a camcorder from work so I used that once or twice before getting my own camcorder for Christmas to film my own videos, when I was about 12 years old. Over the next two years I got more and more into the filmmaking side of things and started caring less and less about skating.
I watched hundreds of YouTube tutorials to learn how to make my videos look as good as possible. One of my friends who I skated with, was a computer whizz, so he showed me how to use Photoshop.
Then, when I was 14 years old, a musician from Dublin saw one of my skate videos and asked would I make him a music video.
I had always been really passionate about music as well, so I jumped at the opportunity. From then on I decided that I was going to keep making music videos and now, at 19 years old, I'm still doing exactly that. All of my first cameras could also take really high quality photos, so photography just came naturally alongside filmmaking for me, I've never really thought of them as two seperate things.

HITS: You've worked with some incredible artists this far. Do you have a favourite memory from any of the sessions/shoots?

Christian: I'm lucky that I've been able to meet and work with loads of my favourite artists. Some of them have even become close friends, so that's probably the best thing about my job.
There are so many amazing memories.
There's a residential recording studio in the middle of nowhere in the Irish midlands, called Grouse Lodge. That's where Michael Jackson lived and recorded for three months when he came to Ireland about ten years ago.
It's a musical paradise. There's a world renowned studio where countless big names like Muse, Paolo Nutini, Tom Jones, Will.I.Am, etc have all recorded, a beautiful country house, swimming pool, hot tub, sauna, horses, incredible views - it's amazing.
I got to go and stay there with a good friend of mine, Ryan O'Shaughnessy and his band, about three years ago. Those few days hold some of my favourite memories. Staying in the same house that Michael Jackson once did and seeing his signature in the guest book was pretty cool. 

image: Christian Tierney

HITS: Other than 'the big deals' such as James Bay for example, you also work with smaller independent acts - could you share some of your favourite acts whose music you truly believe in?

Christian: There's an Irish artist named Dermot Kennedy and I truly believe that in the next two years he's going to become one of the biggest artists in the world. He's one of the most talented people I've ever met and it's only a matter of time before everyone else gets to hear his music to find out what they're missing.
I've never believed in anyone as much as I believe in him and I'm so excited for his future.

HITS: Are there any acts on your bucket list with whom you'd love to work at some point?

Christian: Loads. I'd love to work with The 1975. Visually and musically they have such an amazing vision and aesthetic, I think they're doing something really interesting and exciting.
I've photographed them before and they've used some of my photos, but I'd love to have a deeper involvement in what they're doing.
  I'd also love to work with Bon Iver. Justin Vernon is such a versatile and talented artist and I'd love to spend some time with him, I think I'd learn an awful lot.
I'm also a big Drake fan, so I'd love to work with him in some capacity one day.

image: Christian Tierney

HITS: You photograph, film music sessions, music videos and interviews - is there one thing you enjoy doing the most?

Christian: I enjoy all of those things in different ways and that's what keeps my job interesting. I'm never stuck doing the same thing because I'm always switching between different media and using different parts of my brain.

HITS: If we were to go through your camera bag, what gear would we find?

Christian: I try to keep my kit as small as possible so I can fit it all in one backpack and carry it anywhere with me.
At the moment I have two main cameras.
I use a Sony a7s II for video and a Canon 5D Mark III for photography.
Ocassionally, I will take some photos on the Sony if I'm in a hurry, because I can send them directly to my iPhone, edit them on there and post them on social media in under a minute.
The 5D can't do that, even though it takes much sharper photographs.
The two main lenses I use are a Canon 24-105mm f4 L and a Canon 50mm f1.4. I hope to upgrade my lenses soon, but for the moment they get the job done well and don't leave me broke. I use a Rode Videomic Pro as an on-camera mic and a Zoom H4n for audio when I'm filming sessions.
I have a cheap, fold up shoulder stabiliser that I got on Amazon that fits nicely in my bag and does exactly what I need it to do.
Apart from that it's mainly just camera chargers, lots of batteries, a portable phone charger (best thing ever), a laptop if I'm travelling and some headphones. A lot of people think that the more gear you have and the more expensive your gear is, the better your photos and videos will be.
That's simply not the case at all.
I've seen people with the best, most expensive gear available who make very average videos and photos, and I've seen people with really cheap gear make truly incredible work.
You can have the best guitar in the world but if you're a bad guitar player, then it's going to sound awful. But if you're an amazingly taletned player, then you can make almost any guitar sound good. The exact same goes for photography and videography.

HITS: The best advice you can give to fellow photo/video creatives?

Christian: This applies to all areas of life, not just creative jobs. Work hard or you'll never improve. Be a nice person because nobody wants to work with an asshole. And be patient because nothing happens overnight. Getting to do what you love as your job is a really difficult thing to do and it takes a long time (I mean years) to get to that point. That's why not many people get to do it.
If it was easy, then everyone would do it. Work out exactly what you love to do and chase it as for as long and as hard as you can.

HITS: Here on house in the sand, we're all about promoting amazing artists. Do you want to give a few shoutouts to anyone?

Christian: As I said earlier, everyone needs to listen to Dermot Kennedy right now. He's arguably the most talented artist in the country and you're missing out big time if you haven't listened to him yet. 

HITS: To finish this little chat, what can we expect from you in the future?

Christian: More of what I've already been doing up to this point; more photos, sessions and interviews with amazing artists on my YouTube channel. I'm directing more official music videos now than I ever have before, so you can expect a lot more of that! I'm also planning to start a podcast soon, so look out for that. I think it will be really fun and interesting. 

Christian Tierney online: Website | Twitter | Facebook | YouTube | Instagram

Big thank you to Christian for taking the time to answer these questions,
and of course for being a badass, music supporting creator!!

Thank you for your visit!

Credits // Text (intro) & Questions: Vanessa Jertschewske | Images, Videos & Answers: Christian Tierney


  1. Brilliant interview. Very interesting read.

    1. Thanks for taking the time to comment! We appreciate it! :)


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