Coauthor Hurcheon Films
Bio: A compact production company set up by A D Cooper in London creating award-winning short form content.
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Spring on the strand new orleans. BIOGRAPHY Beneath The Eyrie They’re out at the old church, the locals said, hiding in the shadow of the one-armed cross. Holed up in cabins crawling with critters, firing up the organ every morning, wailing songs of curses, death, witchcraft and unsatisfied spirits late into the night, on guitars embedded with their own dead teeth. Pixies, they call ‘em, out there in the wilds of Woodstock, beneath the eyrie. “It felt a bit haunted, ” says bass Pixie Paz Lenchantin of Pixies’ four weeks at Dreamland Recording Studio, in the frost-bitten run-up to Christmas 2018. “We could’ve been filming a Blair Witch at the same time. The aura was thick. There was definitely a fifth member inside the church. ” The making of the third new album since Pixies reformed in 2004 was cold on the bones, but warm on the marrow. After three decades beset with upheavals, splits, trials, and tribulations, Pixies was finally a band at ease with itself. Their first era - when Charles Thompson IV returned from a student exchange trip to Puerto Rico, dropped out of college, renamed himself Black Francis and, in January 1986, convinced his ex-University of Massachusetts Amherst roommate Joey Santiago to start a band with him - redefined alternative rock and set the dynamic blueprint not just for grunge but underground guitar music for decades to come, but it was as fiery and turbulent off-record as on. Even as Francis turned his Pentecostal upbringing, flair for all things Spanish and interest in the seedier, more violent Biblical tales and mythologies into gruesome yet melodic punk noirs on seminal early albums Surfer Rosa (1988) and Doolittle (1989), and indulged his sci-fi obsessions on the silvered savagery of Bossanova (1990) and Trompe Le Monde (1991), the band fought and fractured. By 1993, the combination of Francis’s rabid roars and saccharine pop babbles, Santiago’s rattlesnake guitar squirms, Dave Lovering’s brutalist drumming, and Kim Deal’s cat-purr basslines had made them influential, era-defining indie rock giants. But they were Pixies no more. Re-emerging in 2004, Pixies rode back into a town they’d designed on a wave of dark jubilation, headlining festivals such as Reading & Leeds and gathering plaudits like shrunken heads in a bag. Their first new song in thirteen years, “Bam Thwok, ” topped download charts in 2004, but there were still rocks in the road ahead. Reluctant to make a new album, Deal left the band in 2013, so Pixies’ sensational sonic sprawl of a comeback album, Indie Cindy (released as three EPs in 2013-14, then compiled into an album) was recorded with Jeremy Dubs of Bunnies on bass, and toured with Muffs singer Kim Shattuck stage left. Lenchantin, boasting A Perfect Circle, Queens of The Stone Age and Zwan on her immaculate indie rock CV, replaced Shattuck for the 2014 tour, becoming a fully paid-up Pixie in 2016, in time to record the abrasive sixth album Head Carrier (2016). That album saw long-term producer Gil Norton replaced by Tom Dalgety (Royal Blood). “That was quite invigorating, trying something new, ” says Dave, and its tour saw one last rattle off-road. “We coasted over it, ” Dave says of Joey having to leave the tour to enter rehab in 2016. “It was a wrench thrown in, but as usual we just picked up and carried on, for the better of Joe. Joe’s been a trouper, he’s been nailing it, so it’s been wonderful. I’m glad it all happened actually. ” “When you don’t drink there’s a lot of clarity, ” says Black Francis, himself trying his hand at sobriety for a while. “So when he stopped drinking… you got more of Joey. As a non-drinking musician, Joey’s a lot more in control of what he’s doing, the execution is so much more crisp and immediate. ” With Joey back in the fray, his Pixie claws cleaned and sharpened, the band regrouped - “stronger than ever, it feels like a real family, ” says Paz - and resumed their relentless touring schedule, taking in a co-headline tour with Weezer in summer 2018 (“Everything about it was fantastic, ” says Dave, “it was a circus”) and live residencies in New York and London, immersed in the early Pixies artwork of Vaughan Oliver, to celebrate the 30th anniversary and deluxe reissue of Surfer Rosa (Dave: “A joy to play, those songs are like riding a bike”). Meantime, new sounds started bubbling out of the cauldron again. A handful of songs that hadn’t stewed quite long enough to make it onto Head Carrier were still in the mix. A clutch more came together during three weeks of pre-production rehearsals up near Charles’s place in Massachusetts, spring of ‘18. A few more ideas span themselves out of sound checks, spidery little critters. By the time Pixies wended their way to Woodstock that winter, they had half an album pulling them this way and that, like will-o’-the-wisps coming in from the woods. All sonic intentions, as is Pixies’ way, were left unsaid. “There’s no speaking of music, ” says Paz; what would come would come. But there was a sense of freedom in Dreamland’s ghost-thick aura, of a consolidation period, completed and horizons thrown wide. Indie Cindy had been an exploratory, transitional foray out of their comfort zone, imagining what music Pixies would have been making during their decade stranded on some faraway planet of sound - by turns frenzied, glacial and sci-fi serene. Head Carrier had taken them, in Joey’s words “back to Pixie-land”, a dense, inward-looking record, by Pixies for Pixies, nodding to Surfer Rosa and Doolittle as Dalgety pushed everything into the red. This time, even as they joked and cooked and meshed creatively like never before in their communal house - “It definitely felt really solid as a band, ” Francis recalls, “we arrived as a band, intact” - each Pixie brought their own secretive piece to the puzzle. “At one point I thought that we were going for some kind of western sound and I kinda ran with that for myself, ” Joey reveals. “I was into Ennio Morricone again, a grown-up version of surf music. Anytime I could put a western twang on there, I’d try my darndest to do it. ” Paz, encouraged to contribute songs and lyrics during wine-fueled late night writing sessions with Francis emerged with two songs, “The Long Rider” and “Los Surfer Muertes, ” dedicated to a surfing friend and “legend in the water” called Desiree who died catching waves while Paz was recording Head Carrier: “It was a fluke, ” she says “the fin hit her and she drowned. It’s in a light spirit - she couldn’t think of a better way to go. ” And as for Francis, who spent most mornings teasing melodies out of the church’s organ, he allowed himself one word of dark guidance. “Before we embarked on the record I said to Tom ‘I don’t know, but maybe this record is gonna have a more gothic feel. ’ When we arrived at the studio, it’s a kinda spooky, gothic kind of a place, so if something suggested lyrically or musically something gothic, we made it more gothic, because that was the improv word that had been thrown at us. Anything that suggested gothic, we totally embraced it. So the record overall has that kind of a vibe. Every song fits that category. It’s a little bit darker. It’s elemental; it’s moon, sky, water, tree, earth, ice, wind, spirits, animal spirits, death, battling or grappling with something, with forces, some of them seen, some of them unseen. ” How dense the macabre? Francis even brought along a four-stringed guitar he’d had custom made with a large molar he’d recently lost embedded in resin in the headstock, roots and all. “I think it’s cool, ” he says, “but most people I show it to find it gross or weird. ” No wonder Pixies emerged from Dreamland with a record - Beneath The Eyrie, named after the bald eagle’s nest – or “eyrie” - that Dave spotted in a tree by some abandoned railroad tracks just behind the studio - that reads like a dusty book of eerie folklore tales, full of black arts, Byronesque imagery, death, and its aftermath. “On Graveyard Hill, ” the cranky new wave “Debaser” that was Paz’s third co-write on the record, pictures a witch called Donna casting a fatal curse - or is it a love spell? - on her unsuspecting lover. “This Is My Fate, ” (“a Twilight Zone episode, ” according to Charles) portraits a drunkard riding the mule trains out of Harmony Borax in Death Valley, high on mandrake root. The dreamy alt-pop limbo of “Daniel Boone, ” inspired by Francis almost hitting a reindeer on a foggy drive to the church, imagines a spirit rising from the wreckage that might have been, bound for reincarnation. Most Coleridgean of all is “Silver Bullet, ” a visceral Morricone gunfight theme left over from Head Carrier, in which a “man condemned” wanders the night, hunting out a duel to end his internal torment. “It’s become more doppelganger, ” Francis says. “Right after the song was done my daughter was like ‘silver bullet? This is a werewolf song. ” After she told me that it did take on that kind of aspect to it. Whether it’s literally a werewolf I don’t know, but it’s definitely one wrestling with oneself. ” Supernatural beings abound. The furious, frustrated punk searching the streets of “St Nazaire” for a “selkie bride. ” a Gaelic seal woman who can return to the sea if her seal coat survives her romantic liaisons. And then there’s Black Jack Hooligan, the Scottish sprite telling the tale of how his girlfriend became known as “Catfish Kate. ” “This is a story from my childhood that I inherited from my father, ” Charles says of the album’s breezy, infectious track. “I told the same story to my kids when they were younger. Kate’s up there in the mountains of South Dakota or wherever in the 1800s, she’s living in the world of Native Americans and fur traders and soldiers and wanderers. She falls into the river one day, she’s taken into the river by a giant catfish, she wrestles with the catfish. There’s a gothic feel to that, this woman battling with a monster-sized catfish, emerging from the water wearing the skin of the catfish as her new robe with the blood dripping – ‘I am alive, I battled all night long with the catfish, and I won, I ripped him open. ’ She’s victorious. ” Here, and throughout the record, a painful subtext is at play. Black Francis has recently undergone a divorce, the lyrical impact of which he was unaware of as the songs came together but is blinding in retrospect. Compulsive album opener “In The Arms Of Mrs. Mark Of Cain” speaks of being content in a cursed relationship (note the piano reprise from “Motorway To Roswell” at the end). “Ready For Love” is as blatantly, brutally romantic as Pixies have ever dared to be. The bitter, snarling “Bird Of Prey” might be told from the perspective of what Francis describes as “an unsatisfied spirit riding a Calèshe like the ghost-riders in the sky - ‘I am here to haunt again because I am not satisfied, ’” but linger too long on lines like “you’ve stolen my tomorrow/So I come for it today/You stole it when you stole my yesterday” and even Francis admits it’s a divorce song: “I didn’t necessarily know it at the time but I do now. It’s a song of longing I guess… it’s about the loss of love. ” Death hangs heavy over Beneath The Eyrie, not least on the deceptively jaunty campfire closer, “Death Horizon, ” Here’s a vast millennium of endings. Short term, it’s the death of a relationship. Medium term, the extinction of humanity by its own carbon smothered hand. And long term, the death of the Earth in a supernova fireball. A near infinity of horizons, each darker than the last. “Here we are standing on the seashore looking at the horizon, ” says Francis, “and even though the sun, for all of our lives represents life, we know from our knowledge of the stars that one day that star disappears. That star blows up or implodes or whatever stars do when they finish their cycle. That usually means the end of everything in its orbit. We already know what the end of the story is, so there’s that more cosmic finality. There’s the death of the here and now and the things that are important to us in our current lives, then there’s the death of humanity, and then there’s the ultimate one - at the end of the day it all goes up in a supernova anyway. If you were gonna add a fourth level to it, it’s also the death of the record, isn’t it? It’s like ‘you’ve heard everything, you’ve heard all of the stories, you’ve heard the songs, you’ve experienced everything, the record’s over now’. ” Beneath The Eyrie recaptures the rabid velocity, boundless invention and vivid, enveloping aesthetic of Pixies’ legendary early albums without feeling the need to recreate them. Instead the band toys with new wave, ragtime, Gallic noir, western psych, doom rock, Weezer pop and the vaudevillian cabaret they only hinted at on “Mr. Grieves. ” “We can do any kind of song, it doesn’t matter if it’s reggae, ska, jazz, Europop, we can make an attempt at it, ” says Dave, and the creativity in full flow now that Pixies are a solid family again is evinced by the fact that eight or nine songs from the album’s demo sessions will be released as a companion album. “There are at least two of them that I really like, ” says Dave. “I wish they were on the album. One or two of them might be better than the record so it might take off! ” For the first time, we’ll get a peek behind the curtain of Beneath The Eyrie too. Journalist Tony Fletcher miked up the band and studio for the entire month to document the making of the record for a podcast series called “It’s a Pixies Podcast, ” premiering in June. A podcast liable to bury Pixies’ reputation as glowering devils forever. “In our later years, we joke and play around way, way, way more than ever in the past, ” Dave says, and Joey agrees. “People are gonna be surprised how not precious we are making a record. There’s a lot of buffoonery and Dalgetafoolery going on. People probably think we’re really serious about making our craft but, to us, it’s one big fun-fest. ” There they were, Pixies, out at the church with the one-armed cross, cackling into the night. Weaving music that grips like a spell, crushes like a curse.
Spring on the strand island. Spring on the strand band. Spring on the strand park. Spring on the strand inn. Spring on the stand d'exposition. Spring restaurant the strand. Spring constraint roblox. Spring on the strand theater. Spring on the stand. So, David, you seem to be the sort of gentleman that slips luxuriously into his pants one sleeve at a time, just like anyone else. But what's the dark secret, hmm? Who is the real David Cummings, lurking beneath the surface? Tell us a little about yourself. [DC] I'm a recently-turned 51-year-old Canadian bloke encased in a thick layer of body fat who resides just north of the city of Toronto. I'm married, childless, and hairless (but not necessarily in that order). A former musician in a world-famous band you've never heard of and a software developer who created brilliant programs you've never used. Despite a public persona to the contrary, I am just a boring suburban guy who works in his basement studio/office to produce audio horror programs. Oh, and since this is going on the Internet I'm required by law to mention I have two cats. When did you initially become interested in horror? [DC] When I was a wee lad I was given a large photo-laden book of horror movies, "A Pictorial History of Horror Movies" by Denis Gifford. Rather than burning it to stay warm during the harsh Canadian winter I became engrossed in it. The concept of conveying horror through movies - and by extension through performance - sowed the early seeds of the love of horror. From there a book about ghost stories based in my home province along with novels such as "The Amityville Horror" and "Ghost Story" by Peter Straub cemented horror as my favourite genre of literature/entertainment. What is the most terrifying thing you have personally experienced? [DC] As someone who has made a name for himself in the realm of ghosts, demons, and the paranormal I am sadly not one who believes in those things. A hopelessly rational skeptic, I cannot claim to have had any terrifying experience in that realm. The terror I've experienced is along the lines of near-death experiences, like the time I jumped into a seemingly slow-moving river above a waterfall only to feel the water pulling me towards the edge. Only by managing to get a toe-hold on a rock was I able to stop myself and make a panicked, thrashing swim to the shore. I'd like to personally thank that toe for allowing me to be here today. How did you first discover NoSleep? [DC] Back in 2011 I decided to make a novelty account "MikeRowPhone" (sounds like 'microphone') to record short silly audio comments on Reddit threads. One thread involved a fake bloody crate made to look like a serial killer was disposing of it. I replied as a serial killer admiring the work and that got a response indicating I should try out for a new podcast idea being proposed on r/Nosleep. I did and that's how I found out about Nosleep and the subsequent podcast. "From stupid nonsense to something bigger" - that'll be on my tombstone. What NoSleep stories and/or authors have had the biggest impact on you? [DC] This falls into the "too many to name" category. There have been so many stories I've loved and authors I wish I could have loved if not for the restraining order. The talent on r/Nosleep continues to astound me. From the podcast perspective, I can think of a few stories which impacted me from the perspective of audio production and how they helped drive the podcast forward in its style and "voice". ETAOIN SHRDLU from our tenth episode. This one inspired me to go beyond simple storytelling to create the audio effects of the mysterious phone calls. I love how this one turned out and how it freed me up to be more adventurous in terms of audio production. The correspondence series, released on Halloween 2011, also in our first season. At the time a daunting attempt at a multi-actor, full production audio adaptation of a largely text-driven series of stories. It was intense, graphic, and our most labour-intensive production to date. Even though it was almost universally panned for being awful it opened my mind to a broader style of production. The Whistlers series. We produced this for our Season 5 finale. At almost 2 and a half hours in length it was another daunting production. Featuring a tour de force performance by Jessica McEvoy, it is easily our most popular production to date. This episode launched the podcast into another realm in terms of production quality and audience size. It was our most-downloaded episode at the time and I believe was responsible for the marked increase in our audience size. We wouldn't be where we're at today if Amity Argot's brilliant story didn't come along. Apart from narrating and composing music, what other creative mediums do you enjoy? [DC] I spent a few years as a professional photographer before realizing I was only decent at it and not passionate enough about it to be doing it full-time. This was in the pre-digital age and long before the brilliance of Instagram filters made everyone a world-class photographer. I still remember how to develop my own black & white film and print photos. Strange to think that my passions have gone from the darkroom to telling stories about dark rooms. I also fancy myself a bit of a writer and have some experience in that area. I have quite a few stories floating around in my head that I'd love to have the time to develop into scripts for the podcast. I'll just have to get the guy who runs the podcast to approve them but I hear he's a bit of an asshole. Walk us through your typical process when putting together an episode of the podcast. How do you choose stories, and decide who performs them? [DC] The process has changed quite a bit from the early days. It seems like decades ago when I used to be responsible for most of the stages of podcast production. I would scour r/nosleep to find the stories, assign them to narrators (or often just perform them myself due to lack of anyone else), create the music, buy the donuts, produce the stories, and release the shows. These days things have become more streamlined with much more talented and knowledgeable people assigned to their particular task. Our story editor Gabrielle Loux does the hunting for stories and gets them in shape for audio adaptation. She also accepts direct submissions which she evaluates and edits. From there I choose which stories will make up a particular episode and cast the voice actors. My amazing administrative assistant Violet Rodriguez oversees the scheduled for the actors and producers with their tasks. From there our producers Phil Michalski and Jeff Clement work with our composer Brandon Boone to bring the adaptations to life. I create the story introductions and host the show. Somehow each week it all comes together to create over two hours of audio horror storytelling. I am so grateful to work with such a talented, prodigious, and sensuous team. How does someone interested in becoming a voice actor, illustrator, or composer for the show apply? [DC] At this time, we're pretty much locked down for all our various roles. If a voice actor or illustrator came along who is incredibly talented I would likely make an exception but we currently have a great roster of contributors in all the areas of our production and therefore we're not actively seeking new ones. Besides, there's only so much gruel to go around for all those staving mouths. What is the most challenging aspect of running the podcast? What's the most rewarding? [DC] Even though we have a large team doing the bulk of the production work these days I find myself continually challenged by an overwhelming amount of day-to-day work. Administrative, business, all takes up so much time. Along with that are some other projects I am getting involved with. Helping produce new podcasts like "Darkest Night" and other upcoming series keeps me busy and away from the cutthroat games of mahjong held deep in the backrooms of Chinatown noodle houses. The most rewarding aspects are when I click the final button signaling a new episode is done and released. Knowing that dozens and dozens of work hours from people around the planet have gone into the episode, that I'm happy with how it turned out, and that most fans will likely really enjoy it is by far the most rewarding feeling. The NoSleep Podcast is currently downloaded over two million times a month, has been praised in numerous media articles, as well as been awarded the prestigious 2014 Parsec Award for Best Speculative Fiction Anthology Podcast, amongst others. What do you attribute the overwhelmingly positive reception of the podcast to? [DC] My stunning good looks. Outside of that I would say I stumbled upon the magic formula of reintroducing the thrills of old time radio horror to a new audience and did it with a very powerful form of horror storytelling: the "campfire" story. Nosleep's first-person style of writing and the "it might be real" aspect of the tales lend themselves to a most impactful style of horror entertainment. We also came along when podcasting was relatively new which allowed us to learn and make mistakes under the radar of most people. It took us 2-3 years to really hit our stride and when we broke big we were established and in a good position for a larger audience. If we tried to launch the podcast today with our early bare-bones style of lo-fi productions we'd quickly get buried into obscurity. As it turned out, as soon as a larger audience started discovering podcasts we were there with a polished sound to captivate listeners. The NSP announced it'll be touring the United States in spring 2017, performing live narrations of NoSleep stories. Are you able to give us any information on what the touring process will entail? [DC] The focus of the tour is to interact with our fans and let them see some of the people they've grown to love from only their voices. We have faces and bodies, you know? And not just the ones buried in our basement. So we'll be introducing ourselves to the audiences, having fun with them and them settling in to a radio drama style script(s) written by the great author Michael Whitehouse. That story will run close to an hour and after that we'll do some short "greatest hits" style stories and perhaps take some Q&A from the audience. Contrary to rumours, public decency laws will prevent any pole dancing or erotic body art performance by Peter Lewis. After the show we'll meet the fans and there will be all manner of autographs, selfies, handshakes, and inappropriate fondling. We can't wait to tour the great land known as America. You recently worked as a producer on the critically acclaimed horror audio drama podcast Darkest Night with NoSleep authors /u/BLOODWORTHooc and /u/Red_Grin. Can you tell us a little about Darkest Night, and your involvement with it? [DC] My manager, Alex Aldea, is the driving force behind "Darkest Night". He's a gifted podcaster himself and has a passion for creating cutting-edge productions. He approached me with the idea of creating a horror-based binaural audio series. Through a partnership with Neumann microphones, Alex was given a Neumann KU 100 binaural microphone (Google it and you'll see it looks like a dummy head with microphone ears. Honest. ) It creates an authentic audio recording with a "you're there in the room with them" atmosphere. I suggested the writing team of Christopher Bloodworth and Jimmy Juliano and gave some creative input along the way. I also performed in the pilot episode. It's been amazing to see the team Alex put together with many top-notch actors performing in the series. We're looking forward to a Season 2 of Darkest Night and potentially other similar series featuring NoSleep writers. What story narration are you most proud of? Do you have any personal favorite stories, by yourself or other voice actors? [DC] Another "too many to name" answer. I love roles where I can play characters outside of my normal voice. Like my old English guy character on our Christmas shows. Anything which lets me stretch and use my voice like a costume. Actors love being able to put on costumes to transform themselves into someone else so voice actors use different voices to do likewise. A recent performance I'm quite proud of is from S8E01 called, "The Pancake Family". I play an older ex-cop recounting an unsolved case. It takes place in an interrogation room so I just set up a portable recorder and acted the part as if I was in a bare room. It's a very intense story and it allowed me to really "find the character" (he said, sounding like a pretentious actor). The final production done by our brilliant Phil Michalski made it into a powerful and disturbing story. Other highlights are stories like "The Mummer Man" performed brilliantly by the inimitable, irascible, incorrigible Peter Lewis and "A Seaside British Pub" - and pretty much anything else - performed by the stellar Erika Sanderson. Each of our voice actors have stories which I consider stunning performances. Again, we're just so lucky to have such a formidable cast. How do you think the atmosphere of NoSleep has changed in the years since you first joined the community? [DC] As r/nosleep has grown exponentially in size it has changed in the way anything changes when experiencing such enormous growth. There are more voices pushing and pulling the style and mood of the subreddit, more voices swaying changes to the rules and formats, and certainly more voices writing stories. More stories mean more poor quality stories, of course, but it also means there are many more wonderful stories. r/nosleep is attracting some authors which have talents far exceeding what some people still infuriatingly consider a "creepypasta" forum. Amidst the din of all those people sharing their stories and opinions there are people crafting some of the finest horror writing available these days. I'm just so proud to be able to partner with many of them and adapt their writing to audio for our audience. They're also really nice people who smell wonderful. Do you have any favorite listener reactions to your narrating? [DC] Like any performer, I have a lot of hilariously scathing negative reactions. I've been told on many occasions that my voice acting does, in fact, "suck donkey balls" and that I need to stop acting lest I evoke some sort of plague against all of humanity. But don't let my mother's opinion of me sway you. I have enjoyed comments from a number of women - and some men - who tell me hearing my voice stimulates a rush of blood to nerve endings in their reproductive organs. It's always flattering to know I can help people with their cardiovascular requirements. But beyond my ability to either repulse or arouse people with my voice the most gratifying reactions are from those people who have told me listening to our stories has helped them through tough times and given them a sense of comfort and solace. It's humbling to think we've been able to make someone's life just a little bit more bearable through our work. Are there other genres of literature besides horror you'd like to narrate someday? [DC] Despite there being no evidence of this in my answers, I desperately want to believe I have comedic talent. I would love to create or act in a scripted comedy podcast. I adore the old BBC radio show, "The Goon Show" and would love to create something akin to that for a modern audience. I'm screwed up enough to be a comedian so what not try, right? Tell me I'm funny, daddy. I'll make you love me! What are your short-term and long-term goals for the podcast? [DC] Short-term goals would be to keep doing what we're doing. I'm very happy with where the show it at now and want to continue to produce high quality episodes. We'll always try some new things and play with formats and styles here and there but for the most part we're now doing the kind of show I've always wanted to do. Long-term goals involve the creation of the NoSleep Podcast University, selling NoSleep Podcast-brand steaks, and then the inevitable run for the Whitehouse. If that fails I'll probably stick to growing the show the best I can, perhaps doing more touring, and exploring how to collaborate with NoSleep authors to adapt their writing to not just audio but also into the realm of TV or features. The possibilities these days are seemingly limitless. Before making the podcast your full time career, you worked as a software developer, and prior to that, you were a professional bass player and musician. What impact, if any, did your time as a musician have on your work composing for the podcast? [DC] Being able to lay down some nasty phat funky bass lines which rock the immortal soul with their thunderous groove helped me understand the transcendent glory of art and experience the glory of what it's like to boogie down. Woe be to any soul who cannot claim knowledge of such ethereal wonders. Certainly having a solid grasp on the fundamentals of music has helped me transition into the role of composer. Learn the basics, kids! Scales, chords, modes, are all tools in your tool kit from which you craft music. Thus, having all that knowledge and experience made crafting music for the podcast an easy transition. Working in the studio when digital recording was coming to the fore gave me the skills which helped me ease into the role of producer. So knowing how to create music and record/produce it effectively while taking advantage of the stunning array of new digital music like samplers and synths made it easy to create music which was surprisingly effective on the podcast. [Editors Note: Take a deep, slow breath through a preferred nostril. Things are about to get interesting in our, OH MY GOD, HAS BROKEN OUT OF THE BRACKETS... COMMUNITY QUESTIONS! Blessed as he is with the sort of vocal chords that can really make a person say "Don't ever sneak up on me like that again! " we went to some fairly shameful lengths to include snippets of audio magic from the man himself. Strap on your acoustic devices now! Audio Version of Community Questions Here! Transcript Below: David Cummings. [DC] Peter. David, David, David. So good of you to come and allow me to address you informally thrice. How is your whole situation? I know, the things? How are they? [DC] Peter, simply put, I only have one thing and it is marvellous. Thank you for agreeing to meet me here, in my cell, my cozy little hovel, despite the conditions. You knoow, I’ve always felt as though I belonged more here in my cell than outside of it, and the authorities, as you know, have soundly agreed with that assessment. Still, despite my current incarceration, there are topics about which the public is literally smoldering with the desire for enlightenment. Shall we dig into a few of them now? [DC] I am undeniably shivering in antici- From /u/Clarimonde: Is there a specific type of horror story that you're automatically drawn to? [DC] -pation! Well, I'm an old-school guy so I'd say any story taking place in an old school. Basically, I love good old haunted house stories. Stories where people are in places either familiar or new where strange noises and occurrences are taking place. It's the "waking up at 3am to the sound of footsteps in a heretofore empty attic" kind of story that sucks me in and raises the goosebumps. And then spits me back out leaving a thin coating of unidentifiable slime. Is there any aspect of the horror genre that you would still like to cover on the NSP? [DC] We've certainly covered a lot of horror subgenres on the podcast. The two broad categories, one being the supernatural or paranormal and the other the more plausible "humans doing bad things to other humans" kinds of stories. We've gone pretty dark, we've done some stories in the horror/sci-fi realm, we've done fantastical fairy-tale type stories, we've done creepers, and sleepers, wackos and psychos, we've done flim-flams and shim-shams and motorized bike-O’s. Babies and children both good and quite evil, we've made people jump like they're Evel Knievel. We've done stories 'bout people who are down on their luck, we've done stories about people who don't give a friend a helping hand when they most desperately need it. So, when push comes to shove I usually fall over and then say that there isn't an aspect of horror we haven't done and that we're open to any and all types of horror stories for the podcast. What is your favorite dessert? [DC] I have two actually. First would be a heaping bowl of chocolate-covered frosted circus peanuts with a drizzle of caramel-coated cotton candy and frosty vial of insulin. The other being a warm bowl of my wife's homemade apple crisp with a light drizzle of delicious Grade-A Canadian maple syrup as is the custom 'round these parts. It's heavenly and sinful at the same time. From /u/Wondrous_Sound, our own maliciously maned, magnificently unmaimed maestro of mayhem: If you could travel to anywhere on the planet in an instant. Where would it be, and why? [DC] You accept questions from anyone, I see? Assuming this instantaneous quantum-level travel doesn't leave be bereft of clothing and shamefully naked on the other side I would love to travel to my ancestral homeland of Scotland. Preferably the isle of Islay within staggering distance of some of the finest whisky distilleries on god's green earth. I'd love nothing more than to don my kilt and fondle my sporran as I sip from the aqua vitae - the "uisge beatha" - the one true water of life. And then it's home again for supper and tucked into bed for a good night's sleep. From /u/NocturnalPatrol: Have you ever thought about re-adapting stories from earlier seasons when the actual production quality was much lower than it is now? [DC] Yes, I have thought about it from time to time and maybe one day a story or two might get adapted to a new glorious level of production. But for now, I don't feel we need to delve into the past to change stories. We'll likely stick with new stories produced the best we possibly can at the time of their adaptation. From /u/kneeod: How many times a day do you get mistaken for Mike Rowe's phone? [DC] Times a day? I'd say it averages out to about once a year. In fact, although I had heard of that Mike Rowe fellow I didn't realize he was so popular until people started commenting on my user name. I didn't realize my attempt at a homonym would cause such distress, confusion, and unsightly use of the word "homonym". From /u/xylonex: What is your favorite episode of the NoSleep Podcast? [DC] You might as well ask me who my favourite child is? Well, I don't have children so this is a very difficult question to answer. If I did have children and those children turned out to actually be episodes of a podcast I would clothe them in little pink dresses. And before being hauled away to a mental institution I would proclaim there are many of our episodes which I'd put in the pantheon but for myriad reasons I'd have to put our Season 5 finale - our production of "The Whistlers" in the top spot. That one takes the cake and eats it, too. From /u/manen_lyset: How has the production of the NSP changed since the early seasons? Has it gotten easier? Harder? [DC] On one hand, it's gotten exponentially harder due to the influx of Canadian authors on the show. All their added U's and references to hockey and those dam beavers make the stories a nightmare to edit. But on the other hand, it has gotten noticeably easier thanks to a great production team consisting of our senior producer, the genius (and rumoured robot) Phil Michalski who handles the bulk of the productions, our fearless Canuck Jeff Clement who is brilliant at audio magic (and can handle the insufferable Canadian writing) and our composer, the Cincinnati swoosh who uses Brandon Boone as a writing instrument. They have raised the bar, had a few drinks, and made the production easier and undeniably better since the days when I did most everything on the show. If you were stranded on a dessert island with all the members of the NSP, which one would you share Cream Pie Mountain(*) with? (According to Manen, in the footnotes here, this is probably not a euphemism. ) [DC] Oh, I know where you're going with this one, you sneaky little vixen. I know the kind of answer you want to hear. I'll be explicit: I would share Cream Pie Mountain with [ redacted] and would spend hours [ redacted] with my tongue and [ redacted] while [ redacted] slowly rubs my [ redacted] and then [ redacted] and [ redacted] show up and start [ redacted] while upside down. It would conclude with a fantastic [ redacted] as we collapse on the ground, entirely spent from strenuous [ redacted] and sinful consumption of that sweet and creamy [ redacted] dessert. Sure, it's a lot of calories but sometimes you've gotta treat yourself, right? [ redacted] right, you do. From /u/AsForClass: What secrets do you have for maintaining such a sultry voice? Sucking lemons? Yellow Tang? Surge? I guess what I'm asking is should I be drinking my own urine? [DC] I have discovered through arduous trials that urine, be it mine or imported, has little to no effect on one's voice. No, I find that simply by using my voice everyday and treating it like any muscle that I can keep it ready to go at a moment's notice, whether it's answering the phone, cursing after stubbing my toe, or reading aloud from my favourite book, "The Naughty Nurse and the Hernia Patient". From /u/bellalugosi: Do you wear the Santa costume when recording the Christmas episode? [Okay, now how do they know about the Santa costume? I was a mistaken impression, that that was special between know what, we'll talk about it later... ] [DC] No, no, Peter. You're thinking of that other costume. The leather one with the [ redacted] and the straps for the [ redacted]. As for the Santa Costume, I rarely wear that or anything else while recording. Voice acting requires getting in touch with the deepest, most vulnerable parts of your inner and outer being. Clothes only restrict me and prevent me from reaching those itches which are longing to be scratched. And the beard gives me a rash. From /u/atticusjackson: What are your ideal scotch drinking conditions (by a warm fire, over the bodies of your slain enemies, etc... )? [DC] Scotch, my good man, is not something one “drinks”. Scotch whisky must be savoured slowly, coaxed onto the tongue, lovingly swirled over the entire complement of taste buds as the glorious vapours tickle the olfactory senses before the intoxicating liquid smoothly glides down the throat leaving behind that warm antiseptic sting which evokes memories of the wind-blown shores of the Scottish coast and settles into your belly igniting a fire which burns brighter than any flame and will stir one to courageous acts of passion and valour and exultation! Oh, and never drink it with ice. From /u/MikeyKnutson: I really need to know who your favorite James Bond is. [DC] Definitely, 007. That's my fave. That ol' 007 rascal is always up for it, amirite? Yep, don't give me 006 James Bond or that crazy 008 Bond guy. I'll stick with my tried and true 007 from Scotland and sleep better for it. From /u/feyedharkonnen: What got you started on narrations? Was it a love for the Radio Play Dramas of old? What's it all "Aboot"? [DC] It was absolutely listening to old horror radio when I was a kid. That stirred my love of horror and made me dream of being in those plays. Being a villain or a hero or the damsel in distress (although those desires only showed up during my tumultuous puberty). I was also curious, is Strange Brew a national treasure, and is there really anything better than Maple Syrup and Molson Golden? [I have to be honest with you. I, Peter, as an American, understood exactly seven of these words, so you’re going to have to carry this like all of the others] [DC] I feel it's only right to answer this question by speaking Canadian. "Oh, jeez, eh? Take off ya hoser with yer flippin' stereophonic-typing of us Canuckleheads, eh. I mean lord thunderin' yuz think everyone knows aboot dem Molson Golden pancakes with the maple syrup chasers, eh? Yuz keep that on the downlow, keep yer stick on the ice, take it one day at a time, keep the puck outta your net, put the puck in their net, stay within yerself and keep yer head on a swivel out der, eh? " Thanks for the question. From /u/danzappulla: Which one of your Italian-American, Boston-area male voice actors would you say has the most sex appeal? [DC] No, Peter, it's pronounced “Zappulla”. You know Dan. He's our only Italian-American, Boston-area male voice actor. So the choice is easy: it's Dan the Man Zappulla. Danny Zaps. Dandy Dan the Candy Man Zappuddin' and Pie. Disco Dan the Zap-Zap Man. Danny Bug Zapper and the Poohbahs. Dashing Dandelion and Help My ZipperZapper's Stuck Pooooolah. Danny Boston Baked Beans and the Wicked Hahd Zappatriots from Hahvahd Poolah. That's him. [ Mmm, how about that Dan? ] From /u/Human_Gravy: Who was your favorite Spice Girl? [DC] Cinnamon. Who is your favorite member of the Backstreet Boys? [DC] The cute one. Bonus Question: Who is your favorite culinary celebrity? [DC] The cute one who cooks with a lot of cinnamon. From /u/Elias_Witherow: Who are some of your favorite non-Nosleep authors? And scares you? [DC] Ha! It's adorable that you think I can read. No, I am quite illiterate I can assure you but that doesn't prevent my man servant Umberto from reading to me in fractured Spanglish. When he does I enjoy the works of Stephen King and Joe Hill. P. G. Wodehouse and Arthur Conan Doyle. And the autobiographical war memoirs of Spike Milligan. As for what scares me - besides being in the same room with Peter - I'd say I'm most creeped out by tales where things are just slightly not what they should be. A person who is otherwise normal but with one feature that is "off" and unsettling. A house with a door that doesn't appear to lead anywhere. A familiar song which you suddenly notice has a word in it you've never noticed before despite hearing it a thousand times. That kind of "your world is cracking" theme gives me the willies and the wonkas. From /u/survivalprocedure: Are there any stories you've narrated that really hit you personally and made it easier to portray the emotion of the narration? [DC] Ha! It's adorable that you think I have emotions. No, in truth I am a highly emotional ball of blubber but since most of the characters I portray are either in the midst of being terrified or the ones doing the terrifying I don't find it as easy to get emotionally connected in a "resonates with my soul" kind of way. Playing a villain or a victim is more of a detachment for me. I do recall a story we did for S3E16 called, "Fred. " It's a brilliant story of a man who suffers loss at what he thinks is dark entity pursuing him. It has a surprisingly emotional punch and I found portraying his sadness and stoicism very moving. I know I shed a few tears when recording that one. David, my dearest, my ONLY friend. Thank you so much for being here with us today. It showed a lot of courage and trust in me, and I am genuinely touched. Is there anything else you'd like to say to our captive audience, before we bid them farewell? [DC] Yes. First and foremost, I want you to return that [ redacted] I loaned you. And make sure it's clean! Lastly, I want to thank you and the entire team at NoSleep Interviews for letting me expose myself in this manner. I have genuinely enjoyed coming up with words and putting them in the proper order. Our thoroughly bottomless thanks to David Cummings for stopping by to share his wit, wisdom, and maple recipes with us. If you'll excuse me, I will now retire to the fainting-couch-room before I succumb to the swooning. Do you need more Cummings in your life? Do I even have to ask? Satisfy those primal urges by catching up with the NoSleep Podcast. Tweet into the air furiously, and have it land near him. Or just exclusively haunt HIM once you've bitten that inevitable big one. Oh, he'll also be stopping by for a LIVE AMA session tomorrow, Tuesday, January 3rd from 3-5 pm EST in the Official OOC Chatroom, if you'd care for something a little sooner than your death. Be there, quell the burning of your questions. Then, I guess bed rest would probably be in order. Join us again on January 16th as we dive back into the authorial realm for a brief dissection discussion with /u/Christopher_Maxim, right here on NoSleep Interviews.
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