EDITOR’S NOTE: Stephanie’s schedule prevented her from finishing the role Fjona, which has since been cast by Alice Bell. Her voice will live on, however, through the NPC Alisen, and her songs will live on through the countless bards that play them.
Bards are cool. This is an undeniable fact. It’s mostly because they play music. In a mod full of hundreds of thousands of words, music provides a simple yet elegant diversion. Music does not require a PhD to unscramble complex metaphors, or even require half of your attention. It doesn’t even require an understanding of the local language. It transcends language. As a wise degenerate once said, music is like, poetry for the soul, man.
There have been two such poets that have lent their talents to this mod, and together they have provided the soundtrack that sits in the column to the right. The invaluable Arisen1 not only composed Dusk on Anvil Harbor and many of the vanilla instrumentals, but she also has voiced a handful of characters, including all of the mod’s children. On this day, she lent her time to answer questions from yours truly, and not all of them inane. Just most of them.
Introduce yourself. You know, name, location, belly button type, whether you snore in your sleep.
Not too much to say about me. I’m just a young woman from the southeast corner of the USA, who happens to be interested in the arts. I started out voice acting from back in the day when I used to make flash animations, and have kept it as a steady hobby since then. Besides voice acting, I am into any other art, like digital and traditional art, animation, 3D modeling, writing and music composition. It’s hard to name a favorite. I just love them all!!
Hmm…and as for belly button type, I’m an innie, lol. And I’ve been wondering if I’ve been a snorer for my entire life. Maybe if I set up a recording device next time I sleep…hmm. :)
Let’s start with the music. Talk about your background and training, if any.
I’ve actually been singing since I was just a toddler. In fact, I could make up my own harmonies at age four. I am self taught on the piano, and have been tinkering around on it since I was little. I feel like musical talent sort of runs in my family; even my parents first met in chorus class.
I was involved in a lot of choirs and music theaters growing up, so that’s where I honed my acting/singing skills.
Also, when I was 15, my dad introduced me to Adobe Audition. And that was the first DAW I worked with, and the gateway for me to learn and build upon my skills as a composer.
What are some of your favorite video game music songs/soundtracks of all time?
Growing up, I loved Disney soundtracks more than anything else. And I still do, really. I had the pleasure of meeting my all time favorite Disney composer, Alan Menken, and almost had a heart attack after shaking his hand. But to be honest, all I listen to are soundtracks…from pretty much everything. However, I listen to orchestral metal from time to time too. I’m a long time fan of the band, Nightwish. :D
What software, instruments, cowbells and whistles did you use to make the vanilla and original music?
I used FL Studio and good ol’ Audacity to mix, record and compose all of the pieces for the mod. And for the drum and flute, I played on a djembe and a bamboo flute.
If you could have one wish, but in exchange every piece of music you will ever hear forever is sung by Lurbuk the Orc bard, would you wish for something, or just wish this deal had never been made?
I think that poor Lurbuk’s talent is underrated, and with some proper vocal coaching, he could actually become famous!
However, in exchange, I would wish for the ability to shape-shift(because I’ve always wanted to be a shape-shifter) and I would require that I became Lurbuk’s vocal coach, to ensure he would never sing one sour note again. :)
Talk about how difficult it was creating the accompanying instrumentals for Luaffyn’s Band, and your overall happiness with the result.
As far as performing…that was the easy part. Luckily, I had the different parts mostly down in one take. As far as the editing though, that is where it got a bit more complex. Certain things like changing pitches to match the original music, and also removing unwanted sounds. It’s a somewhat tedious process, but I am happy with the end result. :)
For “Dusk on Anvil Harbor” I basically gave you an apple and a bag of flour and said, “Here, now you make pie.” Talk about the process of cooking this musical pie.
Well, first I studied and gathered information from an existing piece as a template. I listened to find the BPM(beats per minute) of that piece, and then tried to replicate its overall tone using my own melodies. Once I had the beat and base melody down, the rest of the process was very simple, and quite fun to make.
Let’s move on to acting. Everyone loves Beatrice and Urzub, but voicing a nonsensical character like Beatrice must have been challenging. Talk about what difficulties you had, and what you enjoy about her, if anything at all.
She was a very fun character to act, but at the same time, challenging. She jumbled many words into the same sentence a few times, so it was tough bunching so many consonants together, and then trying to make it sound eloquent at the same time. But it was a fun challenge, and I really enjoy her character. She kind of does her own thing, and doesn’t pay attention much to what Urzub thinks about it. Kind of like myself, actually.
Having voiced Thorolf, Henrietta, and Morrigan, I think it’s safe to say you are my go to child voice. Do you enjoy doing child characters? How is it different than performing an adult role?
Child voices are as equally enjoyable to me as the adult roles. They allow for me to put on a voice that I never knew I had, and it really brings out the whole creative aspect of voice acting. Besides that, it’s actually too much different from an adult role. :)
Cats, dogs, or Dwarven spiders?
Cats, all the way. Not even dwarven spiders can compare! I mean, it’s not even a close match. :D
If you’ve played the mod, do you have a favorite character outside the ones you’ve voiced, and why? If you haven’t played the mod, why are you such a horrible person?
Haha! It’s hard to name a favorite, because I really enjoy every one of them. But, I have actually developed a nice bond with the character, Qa’Dojo. That crazy Khajiit is one of the coolest followers I’ve had. :)
What type of character do you typically role play?
When role playing with friends, I generally go for something random, like a traveling, singing minstrel warrior, lol.
If dragons could sing, what would be the effect of a musical shout?
Oooh, that’s a tough one. First of all, I might just die of happiness were there ever to be a singing dragon shout. If anything, not only would it shatter glass, but it would also shatter bone…and maybe a few buildings as well. :D
What other projects are you working on? Where else can people hear your talents?
I’ve been working on vocal for a music collaboration. But besides that, I have a few voice acting projects, as well as a fully voiced follower mod that I’m currently working on. So, I will have a lot of stuff to present in the near future. For anyone who wishes to listen to my music, you can go to my Newgrounds account here or my Youtube account here.
Do you have a favorite alchemy ingredient?
I think I like jazbay grapes the best, just because of their name…sounds almost musical. :)
What do you think of the curriculum at the Bards College in Solitude?
It is just way too easy. I think it’s because (speaks in high elf voice) they will let anyone into the Bard’s College nowadays.
Is banging your head against a desk in a slightly rhythmic manner considered music?
Only when accompanied by a few painful “ouches” that just happen to be in tune. :)
What other instruments would you like to see in Skyrim?
Ooh…too many to count. At the very least, we need a harp and a dulcimer. But what I really would love to see in the game is a bagpipe! :D
What kind of mic do you use and what difficulties did you run into making your recording environment?
I use MXL 990 condenser mics for most of my recording. As for the environment, it took years to create a perfect recording studio environment in the basement, and most of the stuff that we have is too technologically advanced for me to use. So for me, the recording process is quite simple. I just plug in my computer into my mixer and I’m good to go.
What sort of character type, mod or elsewhere, would you like to voice/play next?
I hope one day to voice a sexy seductress/temptress mod. I just love putting on that sexy temptress voice. :)