Anime

Meeting Steve Blum (Eirtakon 2013)

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So in the world of voice acting there are a few names that really stick out Frank Welkler, Dee Bradley Baker and of course Steve Blum. Steve has been in everything  from Cowboy Bebop, Samurai Champloo, Mass Effect 2, Big O, Gurren Lagann, Wolverine, Great Teacher Onizuka, Ben 10 and Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox to but that’s just the tip of the ice berg. He has one of the most prolific voice acting careers and an instantly recognizable voice, so I was more than a little nervous when I got to meet him.

David: Ok. I think I’ll start with a simple one. Out of all the voices you have done who has been your favourite character to voice?

Steve: I don’t really have a favourite character it’s like choosing children or choosing which finger to cut off.

*BOTH LAUGH*

David: Yeah I’ve tried that a couple of times (Holding up my hand to show off my collection of band-aids).

Steve: I wouldn’t recommend it, yeah…

David: Yeah that’s understandable it’s ok.

Steve: They all hold a special place in my heart.

David: OK. Well you’ve played a good variety of characters.  How do you go about taking on each role?

Steve: Ah, I basically do what they tell me. They put a script in front of me and they give me a description of the character and say go and that’s about as much preparation as I usually get. Unless it’s a classic character like Wolverine or Star Scream we have some legacy to work off and a little bit of lead time that we can study. But most of the time I jump right in and uh, just kind of go for it.

David: Over the past few years things, you’ve done many animated voices and over the past few years, it’s really sprung and become a major movement (Steve: Um hum).  You know when  maybe about ten years ago it was very sub culture now its main culture, do you find that’s affected you at all in any way?

Steve: Well Anime for me is actually dwindled down considerably since I’ve started and, uh,  a lot of it has gone to other states and other countries for dubbing so my work in Anime has really died down considerably. Umm, but it’s nice to see that it’s still alive and well in the fan community and based on conventions like this it continues to grow and flourish and in the States Toonami has come back and after four years off the air and I think that’s a great testament to see what the audience is out there and hopefully it will come here to Ireland too

David: Hopefully. We used to have it and then it vanished. I can’t remember what happened.

Steve: It’s up to the fans really to get it back on the air. You have to contact your local version of Cartoon Network to get them to pick it up again.

David: And last year you won a Guinness World Record if I’m correct?

Steve: Yeah that was kinda weird.

*BOTH LAUGH*

David: How did you feel about it?

Steve: Ah hah. It was a huge surprise actually! I don’t keep track of my career, I don’t keep track of my credits, that sort of thing… So when Guinness contacted me I actually had to go and research through IMBD and sit with my agent and it uh took us several  months to weed out which ones were correct. Which ones were incorrect. Which ones I could verify. Which ones I could remember. And, uh, this ceremony was quite anticlimactic, cause I was supposed to do at a convention called E3 in LA and I wasn’t invited to E3 so I couldn’t get in. And so we had to find an alternate place to do the ceremony, which ended up being at Nickelodeon. They were gracious enough to do that while I was recording Avatar, Legend of Kora. And we were running an hour and half late that day, sitting in the lobby waiting. And finally the guy had to go, he had to get back to E3 so he stood up and said ‘on behalf of Guinness , congratulations’ and he was gone. And that was it. So it was a very surprising thing, as a child I tried to get a Guinness Record by, you know, pogo sticking and hop scotch and , you know, picking by nose longer than anybody else, and then all of a sudden this happens by itself it was, it was very surprising…

David: It was meant to be I guess.

Steve: Yeah!

David: I was actually there at, umm  ah, Comic-Con (2012) the year, Avatar ah Korra went there actually..

Steve: Yeah..

David: I still remember, the ah.. You were I think,  near the front of the crowd and as soon as they mentioned your name there was quite a cheer. I remember a friend of ours that was sitting beside me who doesn’t watch Anime, doesn’t play video games and he was just sitting there going.. ‘Who’s this? What’s this Steve?

Steve: Was this at the Legend of Kora Panel?

David: Yeah!

Steve: Yeah, they didn’t invite us up on the panel..

David: They should have!

Steve: D Baker, who played my brother on the show,  we were invited into the room but we had to, sneak into the room basically, there was a mix up there. So we were sitting dead centre in the room and they, we stood up and they gave us a little shout out. So it, it was fine.

David: Big, big cheer from everyone like.

Steve: Yeah, that was, that was nice. It was nice!

David: It was a good day there

Steve: Yeah

David: Umm. I’ll end it with a simple but stupid question. Out of all the characters you’ve voiced who do you think would win in a fight?

*BOTH LAUGH *

David: Last man standing.

Steve: Ah… probably Leeron Littner from Gurren Laggann. Because he’s sneaky and plays dirty.

David: Ok that’s’ a good answer.

Steve: Yeah!

David: I’ll accept that as an answer.

Steve: Yeah it makes, makes all the other characters uncomfortable.

David: No problem.

Steve: Yeah.

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You can listen to the audio from this interview in our Podcast section.

Eirtakon was held in Dublin at Croke Park from 22-24 November 2013. Eirtakon is the largest and longest-running anime and manga convention in Ireland, held every year by the DCU Anime & Manga Society.

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