Features - Interviews

Belfast Forward: Guerrilla Shout


In the latest installment of Belfast Forward – a regular Thin Air feature look at the city’s emerging creative talent – Brian Coney chats to the team at Guerrilla Shout, a multi-discipline creative visual ideas company set to make their mark in 2016. Photos by Sara Marsden.

Hey guys, first off: the name. How did you come to settle on Guerrilla Shout and does it hold any significance? 

The name was a natural progression from our sister brand, techno label DSNT, which is based around the concept of dissent, an attitude found in early punk labels. We’re a small, agile team who take a ‘guerrilla’ approach.

As Guerrilla Shout we’re able to work with any artists or brands that we love, not just techno, but we still produce content that’s unconventional. Whether it’s visuals, graphics or a music video and no matter what the budget, we’re aiming to subvert the experience of the audience and immerse them in something new.

We added ‘shout’ to credit our ability to get someone’s message or music out there.

You’re based in Belfast and launched back in March. When and where were the seeds of Guerrilla Shout sown, so to speak?

Oisín had been creating visuals and light shows for over 5 years but was starting to take on larger scale projection ­mapping, and animating for ads, music videos and vinyl covers when he met Daniel in 2013.

Daniel came from Chicago to work on the film “Good Vibrations” and then gained experience working on Game Of Thrones. He came back to shoot his own NI Screen funded short “The Light of My Eyes” soon after and it was on that project that we started collaborating, with Oisín animating titles for Daniel’s films and Daniel filming Oisín’s light installations.

Our first major co­project was a visuals show for Headless Horseman at Berlin Atonal 2014 where we met Donna, manager of Oh Yeah Music Centre at the time. With more multi­disciplined projects coming in, starting the studio let us join forces to offer end­to­end animation and film services, and Donna joined in July to help us to scale.

There’s a real multi­discipline clout to the team. Can you introduce each of the members and their respective fortes?

Having graduated in Film at Columbia College, Daniel leads on our live action films as well overseeing narrative and storyboard development for other mediums. Oisín leads on animation, design and light shows, as well as technical research and development and event promotion. Ex­Googler and multi­industry project manager Donna provides an internal ‘client perspective’ and manages our organisational development, operations and sales, with a bit of production thrown in.

When it comes to developing concepts however, we all work together to input ideas, discuss constraints and give feedback until everyone’s happy. Life is easier when we give Oisín final say on our music policy though!

Kristian Glenn, who’ll graduate in Animation from University of Ulster this summer, is our main freelancer. Some interns recently joined to support us in 3D animation and sound design, and we hire a wide range of makers, coders, filmmakers, DJs, VJs and animators on a project­by­project basis.


As mentioned, you’re based in Belfast. Is it tricky being based there, in terms of getting work, opportunities etc. or is moving about from one place to another all part of the job?

There’s a good bit of travel to client and event sites but we love being at gigs, and we’ve also supported many of our top projects remotely, like our ‘Holiday’ lyric video for Akon. Over 15MM people have watched it on YouTube since we pitched for it online, developed the content in Belfast and emailed it to the client for upload.

We really enjoyed working in Berlin and we’re keen to work all over the world but with resources like the University of Ulster’s animation course, the burgeoning film industry and low rents, Belfast makes a great base.

Whilst it’s still early days for GS, there seems to have been a hive of activity happening from the get­-go. Take us through a typical day in your offices, working on a project.

We’re typically late risers if we’re not filming, partly because leaving the office on an ‘early night’ or after an event happens around 2am but partly because of who we are as people. Pretty much every day is a work day though, with Oisín taking an evening off about once every 2 months!

We work on multiple projects at once. On Mondays say, we’ll grab a quick check­in by noon, debrief from the weekend’s gigs, note any learnings then plan out the week. We’ll coach our animation team on their storyboards and technical skills and spend time prepping production for an event of our own, a client event or a video shoot.

As Donna’s updating clients on our progress to get their feedback, Oisín will experiment with new animation tricks while Daniel writes scripts and chooses selects. We constantly send each other style references and new discoveries. We quote reactively every day for visuals, club videos and incoming projects we’d never have thought of, but we also pitch at least once a fortnight for high­end tv ads or music videos for household names. It’s an office tradition to break up long days by getting together for Boojums, beers and an episode of South Park.


You’ve worked at events including RBMA, Body and Soul and AVA Festival. How much preparation goes into operating at events like those?

Festivals are fun but it takes a lot of time to develop the visual content to spec, set­up the projection space, and get to there. We can now say we have as efficient a process as possible, discussing the brief with clients and designing prototypes which are timed out to the music before we get sign off.

What, if anything, do you think Guerrilla Shout offers that other companies of your ilk doesn’t quite cover?

We’re the only studio we’re aware of in Ireland that provides an end-­to-­end service for musicians, including creation and operation of visuals and light shows, production of gig aftermovies and music videos and creation of digital animation and label art. Everything we produce is managed in­house. We have a music background that really heavily influences our work, because we understand the industry itself.

Finally, what projects are you currently working on and what can we expect from GS in 2016? 

At the moment we’re supporting one of our San Francisco­-based partners, Symmetry Labs, to produce 3D visualisations of their amazing lighting project ‘Sugar Cubes’. Daniel’s new short film ‘Divine Intermission’ begins shooting in February and the next release of DSNT will be accompanied by a Guerrilla Shout video for AnD.

We’re also excited to announce two events in our ‘Lumen’ series, which features electronic music with a visual twist. Lumen 002 is in Oh Yeah Music Centre, Belfast on 27 February with AnD, Clouds, Randomer and Borrowed Identity. Tickets are available here.


is the editor of The Thin Air. Talk to him about Philip Glass and/or follow him on Twitter @brianconey.