TFI Interview with Ryan Drummond - English voice of Sonic

Interview Data:

  • Interview Date: 29 September 2000
  • Interview Topics: Voice acting
  • Interview Source: TFI external.png

Interview by Josh AKA Knuckles Echidna @ TFI (The Floating Island)

Image from foreverplaidsd.com/TFI

Ryan: Thanks for the interview! I hope the fans enjoy it! If I missed anything, just let me know…

sonic_2000_sep_29.jpg

TFI: Have you ever really got a chance to play the game yourself? And if yes, what did you think about it?
Ryan:Yes, I did get a copy from Sonic Team when it was completed and I think it’s a great game! I got to see most of the animation while we were in the studio recording the voices, so I knew it was going to be really amazing. I love the speed of the game play. Believe me, I’ve spent more than a few hours running that hedgehog all over the place! I still have yet to clear some areas. I’ll get to it sooner or later because I want to hear how all the voice work turned out!

TFI: Do you see any similarities between yourself and Sonic, and if so, what?
Ryan: Well, for starters, we’re both blue. KIDDING! Interesting question. I really can’t think of too many similarities. Sonic is hyper beyond belief and I’m pretty low-key in person. Also, the voice I use for Sonic is not close to my real voice at all. For those who want to hear what I really sound like, go get the game BLUE STINGER for Dreamcast and listen to the lead character, Elliot. They just used my normal voice for that one.

TFI: Do you own any of the Sonic Adventure merchandise?
Ryan: Actually, I do. Quite a bit of it. But I didn’t buy any of it, actually. Friends and fans from all over have sent me all kinds of Sonic stuff. It’s amazing how many different things you can get with Sonic on it!

TFI: Do you do any cartoon character’s voices on TV? How old are you? When’s your birthday?
Ryan: At this time I don’t do any regular voices for television. There’s always talk of doing something, though, so keep your fingers crossed for me! When schedules work out, I’m sure we’ll come up with something.

And since you asked, I’m 27 years old. Born January, 10th, 1973 in Lima, Ohio!

TFI: What about that ‘upcoming level download’ for Sonic Adventure?
Ryan: Here’s where my hands are tied, I’m afraid. I can’t spill any Sega secrets! What I CAN say is that right now everybody is working on Sonic Shuffle, which I’m sure most of the fans know about. We’ve already recorded all the voices for that. There’s also a lot of work being done on Sonic Adventure 2, but so far it’s all that amazing animation. We haven’t done any voice recording for that yet. That’s about all I can say. Sorry!

TFI: Have you heard Jaleel White’s voice from Sonic Underground? What did you think of it?
Ryan: Yes, I have heard Jaleel’s work for the Sonic Underground series. He’s a talented guy. I haven’t talked to him, but I’m sure he probably likes his voice better than mine, and I like mine better than his. It’s just two ways of seeing a character. It’s apples and oranges, really. What matters is whom the fans like, if you ask me.

TFI: If more Sonic games are made, will you still be the voice of Sonic?
Ryan: Most definitely, unless something comes up that can’t be worked around, but I don’t expect that will ever happen. The people at Sega are great and we all get along very well. There’s a lot of mutual respect when we work together. They appreciate what I bring to the game and I am constantly amazed at all the great work they do. Count on me providing the voice of Sonic for a long time. ;)

TFI: Who’s your favorite Sonic character?
Ryan: Well, I’ve always had a preference for Sonic even before I did the voice for him! Now I like him even more!

TFI: How big of a Sonic fan are you?
Ryan: Grading on what scale? ;) If I had to guess, I’d say I was in the moderate range. I like to keep up with what’s going on in Sonic’s world, and I love to surf through sites like yours where I can find out what the buzz is. I don’t play the game everyday for hours at a time if that’s what you’re asking.

TFI: What’s your favorite Sonic game?
Ryan: I do love the classics, but I think Sonic Adventure has the highest entertainment value yet! Seeing some of the preliminary animation for SA2, though, I think that will probably be even better. I can’t wait to start working on it!

TFI: What made you decide to become a voice-over artist? Are there any future projects you’ll be working on?
Ryan: Good question! My backround is really as an actor and a singer. In fact, if you come to San Diego (CA), you can see me in a show there called “Forever Plaid. I sing a whole lot and do another character that’s REALLY different from anything else I’ve done. Check out www.foreverplaidsd.com for details! Fun for the whole family! Ok, enough of that plug. ;) So being from a theatrical backround, voice training has been a part of my education from day one. I learned all about breath control, pitch, vowel placement, etc.. It’s always been fun to see what I can make my voice do. I was VERY lucky to meet the right people in the VO business. It’s an INCREDIBLY hard thing to get into. There are a lot of people who would like to do what I do and many are really good at it. I give thanks every day that I had the good fortune to meet the right people at the right time and have really great auditions! It took time and patience to get where I am now.

As far as “future projects” go, I am lucky enough to be working in VO very frequently. I seem to average a new videogame or some kind of software about once every 2-3 weeks. So my voice, in various forms, is out there quite a bit. That’s the great thing about VO, if you do it well, someone can hear your voice three times with three characters and never know it’s all you! For example, Hank Azaria from the Simpsons TV show. What a talented guy! He does about six voices on that show and you’d never guess that it was all him. He’s an idol of mine. I hope to keep doing more and more VO. I never get tired of new projects!

TFI: Did you get to meet Yuji Naka?
Ryan: Yes, I did, at the recording sessions for Sonic Adventure. What a brilliant man! Very friendly and personable and just SCARY smart. He’s very clear in his visions of what the game should be. It’s always a pleasure working with him.

I hope the fans enjoy this! Good questions! Let me know when it’s up on your site so I can take a look at it.

TFI: How did you become the voice of Sonic and what state did you do it in?
Ryan: Like many things in the entertainment industry, I had to go through an audition process. Before I went into the recording booth, I didn’t know what kind of voice to use. I just kept staring at Sonic’s picture on the wall and thought, “Now if I were playing this game, what kind of voice would I expect to come out of this crazy, blue hedgehog?”. Then I walked into the booth and out popped this voice I didn’t even know I had in me! The audition went VERY well and 15 minutes later, they came out to the waiting room and told me I was going to be Sonic. I was in shock. It was such an honor!

The auditions and the recording sessions were down in Southern California. I live in San Diego, myself.

TFI: SA2-What about new characters? And the Evil Sonic? And will all the old characters be back?
Ryan: Here again, we have secrets I’m not allowed to divulge! The internet is really the best place to find all the newest info. Sometimes I see things on Sega.com or fan-sites that I didn’t even know about! When the Sonic folk want the public at large to know something, they’ll get it out there on the web somewhere.

TFI: How long did all the VO work take?
For Sonic Adventure, it took me one long weekend to do all the Sonic takes. I’m not sure how long it took everyone else because I rarely saw them. We were all in the studio at different times. I think I probably took the longest, though. I think I had the most lines.

TFI: Will you sign my guestbook? ;)
Ryan: Sure thing! I’ll sign it when I get back to California!

[Image from foreverplaidsd.com/TFI]


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