Giramor has been one of the more – pardon the pun – instrumental contributors to the mod, from providing original music to voicing a number of NPCs great and small. Much of his work may often go unnoticed – from the bard songs like Wolves of Jorrvaskr to quest music for The Children Fair and Honor’s Calling – but they add volumes of emotion and depth to the scenes, and for that reason he will never go unappreciated, at least not by me.
He was kind enough to do an audio interview and answer questions from Audrey the British Robot, because to be honest I can’t stand the sound of my own voice.
He also provided a transcript of the questions and answers below, if reading is more of your thing.
Introduce yourself as much as you are willing. You know, name, location, belly button type, whether you snore in your sleep.
My name is Zeca, that’s spelled Z.E.C.A., and I live on the eastern coast of the United States. As for my belly button type, I believe the proper term is “innie,” and for snoring in my sleep, I don’t know.
Tell everyone a little about yourself, how you got into acting/composing, what your goals are if any.
I’ve always been into voice acting and composing; ever since I was pushed out the womb, I was just like “Let me make voices, let me make music!” My goals at the moment: I’m currently persuing a personal computer specialist degree, and in the long-run, I have a girlfriend in Australia who I’d very much like to go visit one day, and eventually marry.
Explain to everyone the source of your accent. How do people react when they meet you? What do people who know you think about it?
My accent is something I’ve accrued over time. Over the years I’ve spent time listening to different people and their accents, whether it was online acquaintances or someone in a film. Being the type of person I am, I always loved imitating voices, and that’s all there really is to it. Often I get asked “What’s that accent?” or if I’m British, Scottish, Australian.
One time I was going through a Dunkin Donuts drive-thru, and I ordered a coffee; I think I might have had somewhat of an Australian accent on, as the fellow caught on and he said “Pull up, mate!” in an awfully terrible Australian accent.
Recently I was at the library and I was checking out Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien, I’m sure most of you have heard of it, and the lady behind the counter said “You have an accent! What is that accent?” and I messed with her and told her I was British when I’m really not. I’m sure my British accent is actually quite terrible, and if it’s so bad that it offends anyone, I do apologise.
How did you find out about the mod project?
Voice acting for a game in The Elder Scrolls series is something that I had wanted to do for a long time; I think ever since I discovered the series back in 2001, 2002, whenever Morrowind came out. And when Skyrim rolled around I thought “Alright, I have the equipment now, I have a decent plethora of voices – why not give it a shot?”
So I posted an advertisement on this voice actor’s resource thread, where various voice actors could post their resumes as well as samples of their work, and I posted on there, and I believe Kris came along and he said “I’ve got this project going on – any and all of you if you’re interested, go and check it out”. And that’s how I found out about it – I loved the writing, and instantly I was hooked, and I think Kris was hooked on me…no homo.
What sort of character do you typically role play?
If by roleplay you mean text roleplay, I don’t do that sort of roleplay; however if you mean by game roleplay I generally play (specifically referring to Skyrim) an argonian, usually like a warrior class, kind of like a beserker with heavy two handed weapons, or just sword and shield type stuff – and my personality in games is usually along the lines of very gray, very neutral – I do good deeds. I will always be the first one to do the ‘right’ thing.
However! I will not hesitate to kill someone (an NPC, that is) if they manage to piss me off; I’ll not hesitate to kill them whether it’s in private or out in the open, and if the guards come after me then I’ll not hesitate to kill them either, and anyone else that comes after me I’ll not hesitate to kill them, and then I don’t know…maybe one of the Skyrim kids looks at me the wrong way, I’ll not hesitate to kill them and I just go on this super rampant killing spree until next thing you know, there’s an entire village or town or city full of dead people; it feels kind of weird admitting that, but that’s the kind of character I usually play.
Besides gaming, what other types of addictions do you prefer?
Ah, I’m into reading, writing stories, as well as writing music. Usually when I read, I make a point to write down words I’ve never seen before, and then I look up their definition and memorise them – my friends often refer to me as a human dictionary – I’m not sure if that latter point counts as an addiction, but that’s all I can really think of at the moment.
Have you played the mod? If so, do you have a favorite character? If not, why are you such a horrible person?
Yes, I have played the mod; I haven’t been playing it too much recently. I only recently reinstalled Skyrim because I had a bout with my computer where I had to reinstall the entire operating system and subsequently I lost a lot of my data. But I recently reinstalled Skyrim, and I got the mod back, and I had played it before, and while I was playing it before, let’s see…a favourite character.
Well excluding my characters, I would have to say Olivia, the one that gives you the quest where you go and find Jadro’Ra. I know this is connected to my character, but! Olivia, I really liked her, and I wouldn’t say that it’s because I liked her too much as a character, or that she had any huge role, or that I identified with her. I liked her a lot because her voice acting, her voice actor, whomever it was (forgive me for not knowing off the top of my head), her voice actor did a very good job.
When I originally spoke to Olivia, I was so very convinced by the voice acting that initially I thought it was a regular NPC that was part of the base game, but that was not the case. Amazing job with the voice acting, I enjoyed it very much.
Someone teleports into Skyrim and pulls out a real life magicka potion. It’s unclear, however, if the potion will have any effect, given magicka does not exist in our world. That same person offers you the chance to trade it for a health or stamina potion instead. What do you do?
What would I do? Well first I would flap my hands in terror, and then I would ask for a health potion instead, being a little bit more practical and a little bit more suited to my type of character that I play.
It’s safe to say Skjarn is polarizing. Some people have a real angry, visceral reaction to Skjarn’s arrogance, others find the hyperbolic nature of his comments to be incredibly amusing and somewhat charming. What are your thoughts on Skjarn and characters of his ilk? Why do you think people react so differently to the character?
That’s an interesting couple of questions. My thought on Skjarn and characters of his ilk…it doesn’t seem like the kind of person I’d like to hang out with; I’d say that I dislike him in a way. In fact, my reaction to Skjarn is like an agglomeration of the two antipodes that you just listed, where some people are very angry, and they’re pissed of by him and other people find it pretty funny and charming – I’m in the middle of that.
I just try and take his character as being somewhat satirical; after all, it’s just a game and it’s not real, and while well-written characters can certainly evoke the feels, I try not to let characters like Skjarn get to me.
Talk about some of the other roles you’ve done. Any favorites among the group and why? Who would you like to have a beer with? Which two are you taking down a dark alley? Who would you generally stay away from?
Well all of my roles are my favourite – I enjoyed voicing all of them – Jadro’Ra, Zarlak, Rongeir, Kjen (if that’s how you pronounce it). For a favourite among the group, I’d have to say Zarlak. Just the way he was very wise and intelligible, and the way he talked, it kind of gave me shivers, doing that voice; when you just walk up to him and he’s like ‘Welcome to my humble abode, Dragonborn.’ that just…UGH. -slams desk- I love it! and the whole beard thing, I think that helps him. Besides him I’d say Jadro’Ra was very cool to voice, a very emotional character.
Who would I like to have a beer with? Probably Jadro’Ra, being a khajiit and I’m partial to that. Which two am I taking down a dark alley? If you mean that in the way of ‘whom would I like to kill?’, probably not, I would probably kill Kjen and Gren. Who would I generally stay away from? Skjarn, definitely Skjarn.
Given their genetic differences, does Rongeir have a point about his daughter? Or do genetics have nothing to do with what constitutes incest?
No, Shelur is his daughter and there’s absolutely no doubt about it.
You’ve done a ton of music for the mod, including Wolves of Jorrvaskr and new favorites like A Warrior’s Life. Talk about your musical background, and some of your inspirations for the tracks.
As far as musical background goes, I started off with the guitar, as I briefly mentioned earlier; later I got into the keyboard, and when I got my 8-track recorder, I pretty much got to recording just about everything, though most of my early songs were shit – in fact, I often think of all of my songs as shit, but some I like better than others.
I can say that A Warrior’s Life isn’t shit as it’s based around two songs that I’m really quite fond of – it takes its melody mostly from The Minstrel Boy, which is an old Irish folk song by a guy named Thomas Moore – I’ve always enjoyed that song. The chorus where I sing the “A Warrior’s Life, through and through”, is somewhat based off of the song Go The Distance from Disney’s Hercules; I recall distinctly as a child not enjoying Hercules (apologies to Herc fans out there) – but regardless it seemed to fit the song, so I went with it.
To that point, what are your musical influences and tastes?
Influence and tastes kind of fall into the same area of musical ubiquity; I have always tended to listen to just about anything and everything, and though I have my preferences, and some artists which I absolutely refuse to listen to, I can honestly say that there’s something for me to like in every genre; I dislike music based on individual songs and artists (presuming they do nothing but pump out shitty songs), not on genres – I think that being musically diverse is important, not just for a musician, but for everybody.
If you had to undergo one challenge to save a loved one’s life, and you had a choice of arm wrestling or a spelling bee, which would it be?
Being somewhat of a grammar Nazi and physically infirm, and with the amount of reading I do, I’d say spelling bee, always.
You do a variety of voices and accents for the mod. Talk about how you developed your range and how you give your characters a distinct voice and feel.
I imitate characters and people I hear quite frequently, and then I record the impression and play it back over and over until I either get it right or add so much of my own twist that it’s acceptable; this is also how I taught myself how to sing.
I do my Khajiit voice by actually pinching my Adam’s apple betwixt my index and middle fingers, and it adds a sort of vibration that I can’t seem to get without doing it. My old man voice, like I do with Zarlak, is done by lowering my voice to as low as it can possibly go (way down here), and then forcefully straining my vocal cords as I speak, kind of like what you might do when you’re shouting, or winded, or constipated…it seems to work pretty well.
What kind of recording equipment and setup do you use? What are some of the difficulties you’ve encountered while recording?
My microphone is an AKG Perception 200; it’s pretty decent, though I don’t have a pop-filter for it. If I speak or sing too close to it, for whatever reason, it starts popping, crackling, and making a wind-like noise which sounds like I’m in the middle of a tornado – let me try to simulate it now <NOIZES>…nope – <popping sound> that’s the noise, yep.
It kind of inhibits me from doing voices that are much lower and rough, but it can usually be worked around. It doesn’t plug directly into my computer, but rather through my old BR-900CD 8-track recorder; that has a stereo line-out which is plugged into the back of my computer.
What sort of roles would you like to do in the future?
I’d like to voice more Khajiits, and I’d really like to voice an Argonian or two – it doesn’t really matter to me what kind of Argonian it is, so long as I’m not voicing a prostitute.
Plug any work you’re doing. Where else can people hear your talents?
Oh, sure. It’s not the most active thing in the world, but I have a youtube channel over at www.youtube.com/sirmakazi it would be totally awesome if I had a couple more watchers, and would be a good impetus to start uploading more content.
Honestly, I’ve been planning to upload all of my music there, but I haven’t gotten around to it yet – there’s a lot going on at the moment. I also play games like Chivalry, GTA IV, Kerbal Space Program, Skyrim, Warframe, and Minecraft to name a few – I’d definitely love to upload videos for those. Hey, if you subscribe, I’ll bake you some cookies and take a picture of them! I hope to see you there.