Dean Byrne (Musician & Filmmaker)

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Born (1982-03-22) March 22, 1982 (age 42)
EducationJuilliard School
AwardsStockholm Culture Awd

Dean Byrne (born September 28, 1986) is a musician, filmmaker and writer from Dublin, Ireland.


Dean grew up in the Dublin suburb of Tallaght. He was creative from an early age but it wasn't until the age of 14 that he started to play the drums, having been directly influenced by Brian Downey's playing on Thin Lizzy's Live and Dangerous album. Under the tutelage of renowned Irish drum teacher Tony Sherry, Dean quickly developed a love and talent for the instrument, learning to read and write music notation and later enrolled in the Trinity College of Music, London, completing all 8 Drum Kit Grades in 2008 with distinction. In 2013, Dean completed a Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) Degree in University College Dublin, majoring in Music & English. He later returned to U.C.D and completed a Master of Arts Degree in Film Studies. Dean plays Sonor Drums[1] and signed on to endorse the brand in 2015, becoming the first Irish artist to do so. In 2020, Dean signed to the Andrea Roche Agency as a commercial model[2]. As of January 2024, he is writing his first book on the history of Irish Horror Cinema.

Neon Stars

Formed in 2004, Neon Stars was an indie-rock four-piece featuring Dean on drums, as well as Gavin Glynn (guitar & vocals), Joe Price (guitar) and Kevin Heaney (bass)[3]. Influenced by the likes of Arctic Monkeys, Bloc Party and The Strokes, they quickly developed a cult following on the Dublin music scene due to their high energy gigs and refreshingly honest and raw songwriting[4]. The band released a self-titled E.P. in 2007 including the tracks Never Seen It Coming[5] and Me and the Boys[6], and went on to play the famed Whisky A-Go-Go in Los Angeles in 2010. In late 2010 they disbanded, with Dean and Gavin later becoming founding members of the band Leaders of Men.

Leaders of Men

In 2010, Dean got together with former bandmate Gavin Glynn, as well as Brian Ashe (vocals), Edward Porter (guitar) and Darren Lindsay (bass), who had all previously been part of Dublin-based bands, to form Leaders of Men[7]. The band were heavily influenced by bands such Interpol and The Walkmen and proceeded to write music personal to them, without regard for commercial intent[8]. Dean was heavily influenced by film scoring and so brought that to his songwriting and arrangements. At their first ever gig in March, 2011 in The Workman's Club, Dublin, they signed with manager Stephen Curran of MCD. In August of that year, the band won the Play-on-the-Day Battle of the Bands competition[9] run by Ireland's foremost music publication Hot Press Magazine, celebrating the win with a critically-acclaimed, sold-out show at Whelan's, Dublin[10], and followed-up with a stellar performance at the Guinness Storehouse on Arthur's Day 2011[11], on the same bill as The Saturdays, Stereophonics and Paolo Nutini[12]. In October 2011, they released their first E.P. - The Debut Collection - to critical acclaim, and they performed live sessions on Irish television shows The Vanilla Sessions[13] (TG4), and The Morning Show (TV3) to promote the E.P, as well as a feature slot on German national T.V station RTL. In 2012, they performed at the Hot Press Music Show[14] in the RDS, Dublin, as well as at the Phil Lynott Exhibition[15] in St. Stephen's Green, Dublin, and the first-ever Longitude Festival (2012). They released their second E.P. that same year - A Trick on Confidence - recorded in Westland Studios, Dublin with Alwyn Walker. The E.P. included the tracks The Game Ends Here[16], Early Influence[17], Broken Drum and Superficial. The band were invited to return to play at Guinness' Arthur's Day 2012 alongside Jake Bugg, Amy McDonald and Mumford & Sons at Whelan's in Dublin. In 2013, they recorded two tracks with producer Ciaran Bradshaw - Fear and Made to be Brave - which became popular hits on their live set. They soon ventured to the U.K., performing at Notting Hill Arts Club, London, as well as prominent billing at Longitude 2013, Electric Picnic 2014, Indiependence 2012[18], 2013[19] & 2014, and Reading & Leeds Festival[20], 2014, which was broadcast on BBC.

In 2014, the band signed to Universal Music and Big Life Music Publishing in the first ever-joint venture between the two companies, under the guidance of Jazz Summers. They soon enlisted the services of producer Cameron Blackwood to record the E.P. Alexander House (2014), which was widely well-received[21]. This E.P. featured their first official single release under Universal for the track For Want of a Better Word[22], which reached the Irish Top 50 charts, as well as the songs At Ease, She and In Case the World Forgets Me. Following this, they were invited to play as the support act for the bands Frightened Rabbit, Gomez, and Royal Blood (on their first-ever Irish tour).

The band later recorded tracks (as of today unreleased to the public) with producers Gethin Pearson and Dan Austin. The band parted ways in early 2016 to pursue individual projects.

Session Musician

Dean's work as a session musician began before Leaders of Men were formed, but took a necessary backseat due to the bands schedule. In 2010 he was drafted by Irish band Ham Sandwich (band)|Ham Sandwich to perform on their Irish tour[23], as a last-minute replacement for their drummer who had taken ill. In 2016, he returned to the session music scene as an in-demand drummer and musical director part of various bands, trios, orchestras and tributes. Dean performed Karl Jenkins' Adiemus (1995) with the Diva Voce choir and orchestra at Whitefriar St. Church, Dublin in August 2016. In September 2016, Dean performed at Electric Picnic with the band My Sweet Beloved, which was broadcast on Irish national television station RTE2. In 2018, Dean played the Windmill Lane Live Sessions[24] with duo Glenn & Ronan, as well as with Wild Youth in King John's Castle, Limerick[25] supporting The Coronas. His work as a session drummer has taken him to the U.S., U.K., Europe and the Middle East. He recorded the drums for the track Forever Young, for the film of the same name (2021), by Adam Weafer. In 2024, Dean will perform in Germany, Denmark and the Middle East with internationally-renowned acts Wow Party Band, Pop Gods, as well as tribute bands This is Tom Jones[26], Made in Jersey (Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons)[27], The Bootleg Beach Boys and Beatles for Sale.

Music Videos & Filmmaking

In 2011, Dean wrote, produced and directed the music video for the song Happy Here (2011)[28] by Leaders of Men. At the time, the band needed a video produced at low-cost and Dean had an idea ready to go. He hired actor Emmet Kirwan to star in the video, which was shot in Tallaght. Dean acted as producer for the subsequent videos for the songs The Game Ends Here (2012) and For Want of a Better Word (2014), as well as the writer, producer and director for the video for the song At Ease (2014)[29]. In August 2018, Dean relocated to Los Angeles, to learn and immerse himself in the craft of filmmaking. Dean soon secured an internship with Real Art Daily Productions. There he worked as Assistant Director for the music video for the song My Dirty Heart (2019) by award-winning songwriter Natalia Bortolotti[30], as well as production assistant on the web-series Americans Abroad. He later secured an internship with Cinekat Filmworks, working as production assistant on the award-winning short films Portals (2019) and Not a Match (2020)

Dean returned to Ireland in 2020 due to the covid pandemic and began work on his own short film - The House That Was Not (2023)[31], an adaptation of the short story of the same name (1898) by Elia W. Peattie. In June 2023, Dean began production of the film, hiring actors Tom Kerrisk and Calla Hughes for the lead roles of Bart and Flora, respectively, and also securing the services of Irish filmmaker John Farrelly as Director of Photography and Editor. The film was a completely independent production, financed by Dean, under the banner of his newly-formed production company YDB Films. Production was completed in October 2023, and is due for public release sometime in late 2024. As of January 2024 it is being reviewed for inclusion in a number of film festivals worldwide.


Extended Plays

As Drummer/Songwriter

2007 Neon Stars Neon Stars
2011 Leaders of Men The Debut Collection
2012 Leaders of Men A Trick on Confidence
2014 Leaders of Men Alexander House


As Drummer/Songwriter

2005 Neon Stars Break Down
2005 Neon Stars Start to Change
2005 Neon Stars Still the Same
2005 Neon Stars Talking to Walls
2005 Neon Stars Risk
2007 Neon Stars Never Seen It Coming
2007 Neon Stars Monotony
2007 Neon Stars Me and the Boys
2007 Neon Stars Kid Presentable
2007 Neon Stars Count to Ten
2008 Neon Stars Better Off
2008 Neon Stars Kick in the Face
2008 Neon Stars Take It All Away
2009 Neon Stars Shot Down
2009 Neon Stars Too Cool to Dance
2011 Leaders of Men Bite Your Tongue
2011 Leaders of Men Up Against The Wall
2011 Leaders of Men Happy Here
2011 Leaders of Men Who's Waiting For Me?
2012 Leaders of Men Broken Drum
2012 Leaders of Men Superficial
2012 Leaders of Men The Game Ends Here
2013 Leaders of Men Fear
2013 Leaders of Men Made to be Brave
2014 Leaders of Men At Ease
2014 Leaders of Men For Want of a Better Word
2014 Leaders of Men In Case The World Forgets Me
2014 Leaders of Men She[32]
2015 Leaders of Men Drinking
2015 Leaders of Men Eyes Don't Change
2015 Leaders of Men Disappear Here
2015 Leaders of Men What's Going on in My Mind
2015 Leaders of Men Message to my Friends


2021 Forever Young Drummer
2023 The House That Was Not Music Supervisor

Notable Venues Played

  • The Workman's Club, Dublin
  • Whelan's, Dublin
  • The Olympia Theatre, Dublin
  • Vicar St., Dublin
  • Aviva Stadium, Dublin
  • Croke Park, Dublin
  • The Academy, Dublin
  • RDS, Dublin
  • INEC, Co. Kerry
  • Limelight, Belfast
  • Oxegen Music Festival, Ireland
  • Electric Picnic Music Festival, Ireland
  • Longitude Music Festival, Ireland
  • Milk Music Festival, Ireland
  • Indiependence Music Festival, Ireland
  • Notting Hill Arts Club, London
  • Reading & Leeds Festival, U.K.
  • Fugslo Koncerter, Denmark
  • Whisky A-Go-Go, Los Angeles
  • Crowne Plaza Hotel & Convention Centre, Oman

Television and Media Appearances

2011 The Vanilla Sessions TG4 Leaders of Men
2011 The Morning Show TV3 Leaders of Men
2011 Music Weekly RTL Leaders of Men
2011 Guinness Arthur's Day Live RTE Leaders of Men
2012 Guinness Arthur's Day Live RTE Leaders of Men
2012 Live at Lillies YouTube Leaders of Men
2013 Guinness Arthur's Day Rewound[33] RTE Leaders of Men
2013 Longitude Live[34] RTE Leaders of Men
2013 The Sunday Sessions with[35] YouTube Leaders of Men
2014 Two Tube[36] RTE Leaders of Men
2014 BBC at Reading and Leeds Festival BBC Leaders of Men
2016 Other Voices Live at Electric Picnic[37] RTE My Sweet Beloved
2018 Windmill Lane Live Sessions YouTube Glenn & Ronan


2011 Happy Here Music Video Writer/Producer/Director Leaders of Men Gepetto
2012 The Game Ends Here[38] Music Video Producer Leaders of Men Gepetto
2014 For Want of a Better Word Music Video Producer Leaders of Men Crooked Gentlemen
2014 At Ease Music Video Writer/Producer/Director Leaders of Men
2019 My Dirty Heart Music Video Assistant Director Natalia Bortolotti Real Art Daily Productions
2019 Americans Abroad Web Series Production Assistant Real Art Daily Productions
2019 Portals Short Film Production Assistant Cinekat Filmworks
2019 The Set-Up Web Series Background Shots Productions
2020 Not a Match Short Film Production Assistant Cinekat Filmworks
2021 Forever Young Short Film Production Assistant/Background/Soundtrack
2023 Anniversary Feature Film Background Lions Gate Films
2023 The House That Was Not Short Film Writer/Producer/DIrector YDB Films
2023 Out Like a Light Music Video Production Assistant Anamoe Drive


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  4. "artists on IrishUnsigned: real music with an Irish accent". Retrieved 2024-01-12.
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  6. Neon Stars: Me and the Boys, retrieved 2024-01-12
  7. "Leaders Of Men Biography". Retrieved 2024-01-12.
  8. Her (2014-03-06). "Her Irish Artist Of The Week… Leaders Of Men (Gentlemen)". Retrieved 2024-01-12.
  9. Newsdesk, The Hot Press. "Leaders Of Men take Arthur's Day title". Hotpress. Retrieved 2024-01-12.
  10. Fitzpatrick, Craig. "Leaders Of Men, live at Whelan's". Hotpress. Retrieved 2024-01-12.
  11. "Arthur's Day", Wikipedia, 2024-01-12, retrieved 2024-01-12
  12. "Arthurs Day 2011". GoldenPlec. 2011-09-26. Retrieved 2024-01-12.
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  14. Newsdesk, The Hot Press. "WATCH: Leaders Of Men @ The Music Show". Hotpress. Retrieved 2024-01-12.
  15. Newsdesk, The Hot Press. "Leaders Of Men for The Philip Lynott Exhibition". Hotpress. Retrieved 2024-01-12.
  16. Newsdesk, The Hot Press. "WATCH: New video from Leaders Of Men". Hotpress. Retrieved 2024-01-12.
  17. Newsdesk, The Hot Press. "The Hot Press Storeroom Sessions: Leaders Of Men". Hotpress. Retrieved 2024-01-12.
  18. Leaders of Men @ Indiependence 2012, retrieved 2024-01-12
  19. LEADERS OF MEN @ Indiependence 2013, retrieved 2024-01-12
  20. Newsdesk, The Hot Press. "Leaders Of Men confirmed for Reading & Leeds". Hotpress. Retrieved 2024-01-12.
  21. McFee, Edwin. "Leaders of Men - Track Review". Hotpress. Retrieved 2024-01-12.
  22. darren (2014-01-27). "LEADERS OF MEN". Whelan's. Retrieved 2024-01-12.
  23. ham sandwich words live @ button factory 30/10/10, retrieved 2024-01-12
  24. How Is It - glenn&ronan, retrieved 2024-01-12
  25. Wild Youth - Give Me Some Of Your Love, retrieved 2024-01-12
  26. This is Tom Jones - Tribute ft. Danny Roman, retrieved 2024-01-12
  28. Leaders Of Men - Happy Here (Emmet Kirwan), retrieved 2024-01-12
  29. Leaders of Men - At Ease (Official Video), retrieved 2024-01-12
  30. "Natalia Bortolotti | Songwriter Producer Talent Coach | Los Angeles | United States". Music By Natalia. Retrieved 2024-01-12.
  31. Byrne, Dean, The House That Was Not (Short, Horror, Western), Tom Kerrisk, Calla Hughes, Edel Sinclair, YDB Productions, retrieved 2024-01-12
  32. LEADERS OF MEN - SHE (OFFICIAL VIDEO), retrieved 2024-01-12
  33. RTÉ TWO WEB EXCLUSIVE: Arthur's Day Rewound - Leaders of Men Interview, retrieved 2024-01-12
  34. Leaders of Men play Early influence at Longitude 2013, retrieved 2024-01-12
  35. Leaders Of Men - Please Come Home For Christmas (Live for The Sunday Sessions), retrieved 2024-01-12
  36. Leaders of Men 'For Want of a Better Word' (Live), retrieved 2024-01-12
  37. My Sweet Beloved - Call Off Your Dogs, retrieved 2024-01-12
  38. Leaders of Men - The Game Ends Here (Official Video), retrieved 2024-01-12

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