An Interview with Dan Zappulla of the NoSleep Podcast

0 0
Read Time:10 Minute, 9 Second
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is AM-Radio-logo-10-1024x774.png

Continuing our series of interviews with members of the NoSleep Podcast family, we have our third interview for you guys with none other than Dan Zappulla! Joining the show in early 2016 and the later end of season 6, Dan has lent his voice to nearly 250 episodes of the show and shows no sign of stopping! We get a deep dive into what the show means to Dan, how he became a part of the NoSleep family, and his time on the show among many other things. To get a good idea of Dan’s talent for suspense and terror check out Season 16 Episode 8, the story titled There’s Another House Beneath Our Basement. Enjoy!

Anthony:
Dan, thanks a lot for doing this interview with us today, this is a project I’ve been all too excited to be a part of in interviewing the cast of the NoSleep family and I’m glad you’re here to join us with this! I hope this past year has been kind to you and your family with all this craziness that’s been going on. How’ve you been holding up these past couple of years?

Dan:
Thanks for having me! I was very excited to talk to you after reading your interviews with David and Brandon. The past year or so has been quite the journey for so many of us. Our family was lucky, in that we’re all still together and feeling well. We’re hoping to keep that streak going.

Anthony:
Let’s start with an easy one, how did you become part of the NoSleep team?

Dan:
Sheer luck! So let’s travel back to 2016…I had listened to NoSleep for a few years, and for some reason, I felt like I’d be good at the whole “voice acting thing.” I decided to take a shot in the dark and email David Cummings to see if he needed any help on the voice acting side of things, and my timing apparently couldn’t have been better. I sent him a short demo and things just kind of snowballed.

I was very, very shaky at first. My equipment was subpar, for one, and my voice acting skills were almost non-existent. David took me under his wing and gave me pointers as we went along, and here we are five years later!

Anthony:
What about horror interests you? What are your earliest memories of horror? There are so many different variations of the genre from psychological to body horror and slasher to just creepy ambient campfire stories. For me, it’s stories about uncanny people that are just slightly “off,” abandoned places, and the paranormal.

Dan:
I’ve always been drawn to psychological horror — anything that can make me feel “off-center.” I’m not much into quick scares and spooks; everyone’s tried their hand at those by now. Give me something that makes me rethink reality for a few minutes. That kind of thing really gives me chills. 

Anthony:
After finding the show roughly 6 or 7 years ago all the voices and stories seem to blend together but your voice is one of the ones that pop out to me as solely yours much like Graham Rowat and David Ault’s voices. Is there any preparation you do to get your voice the way you need for certain characters or is it more of getting into a certain headspace?

Dan:
It really depends on the role I play in the story — I don’t mean “role” as in, which character I’m playing, but the job I have as either a narrator or supporting part. If I’m the narrator, my job is to guide that ship from beginning to end and let the characters themselves shine through. If I’m a supporting character or playing a character in the story in addition to being the narrator, there’s a bit more room to explore. In all cases, I read through a story twice before sitting down to record, and I almost exclusively do so later in the night. It’s much easier to get into a creepy story when it’s dark outside.

Anthony:
Let’s dig deeper. You joined the show back in 2016 and have a history with music and theater, can you tell us a bit about your time with those and what led up to you joining the NoSleep family?

Dan:
So I was trained on the piano at a very young age — maybe 4 or 5 — and I picked up the guitar a few years after that, so I’ve been doing the music thing for a while. I started up with theater in high school and competed in a few state competitions here in Massachusetts, which was incredible. I still have very fond memories of those productions. After high school, I got back into music and traversed the Boston music scene for a bit with a few bands, and for some reason just dropped all performance art for nearly a decade after that. Getting into voice acting was me relighting that flame that had gone out.

Anthony:
You’ve been a part of roughly 240 episodes and you’ve also been the narrator for around 66 of them to date. I know this is a tough question but are there any stories that you narrated that have stuck out to you that you?

Dan:
One in particular, yeah: Henry Galley wrote a fantastic piece called The Art of Transubstantiation, which we performed back in Season 10. It’s stuck with me since then and is definitely in my top two or three favorite stories. I won’t spoil it for those who haven’t listened, but it has a terrific twist near the end.

Andrew:
What are your favorite types of characters to portray? Are there any you find difficult to do or get into?

Dan:
I love characters that are drastically different from me in some way; someone from a different part of the world, a different age, life situation, whatever. That’s not to say I don’t love playing the occasional guy from Boston with a wicked New England accent, but the steeper challenges are more fun.

Anthony:
Here’s another easy one. What are some of your favorite horror movies, video games, podcasts, books, TV shows, do any of them influence you when you try to get into character to record a story?

Dan:
That’s such an interesting question because we all define horror a little bit differently. For example, last year I was obsessed with The Last of Us Part II. It’s probably the best game I’ve ever played. Some people may not consider that a traditional horror game, but to me, there are strong elements of horror in an experience like that, because of the dire depths to which Ellie’s life sinks. The quick scares of the “clickers” don’t ring true as horror in my book; the real nightmarish aspects are the loss and challenges of the characters in that world.

Anthony:
I’ve really been loving the introduction of the themed seasons recently, The Lost Highway and the Video Store from Season 13 and Season 16’s Book Store, and of course the introduction of the Nosleep’s Twitch channel, live shows, etc. What’s it like being part of something so large and loved?

Dan:
It’s very, very cool, and a constant reminder of how lucky this team is. We are so fortunate to be in this spot with such a supportive and loving fanbase. It’s not something we ever take for granted; we know that we have to be on our game every week because it’s what our listeners expect and deserve.

Anthony:
So, with season 16 underway, what are some of your favorite stories from this season? How about past seasons? Is there any story that has stuck out to you in particular?

Dan:
My favorite story from this season came from episode 11, which was recently released. It’s a really cool thriller by Michael Squid called The Hidden Television Channel. It’s one of those stories that tears the main character apart, mentally and emotionally. Kyle Akers did a terrific job narrating it.

Anthony:
2020 going into 2021 has been tough on us all, but, there’s something about getting lost in countless hours of horror stories that Nosleep provides, when there are already horrific things happening around us, why do you feel we go searching for more horror to consume?

Dan:
It’s an escape. It may seem counterintuitive to seek out something in the horror genre, given the state of the world, but there’s a certain level of comfort in it, too. We all know that it’s fiction going into it, which allows us to just sit and become immersed. It’s freeing. 

Anthony:
Here’s one I ask everyone, what kind of equipment do you work with when you record? Do you usually act against another performer to make the recording more natural for stories that involve other narrators?

Dan:
I use a Rode NT1A microphone coupled with a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 interface. I do all of my audio capturing and editing in Logic Pro on macOS.

I’ve actually never once worked with another NoSleep actor before a performance; it’s one of the cool nuances of our show. We all know each other so well by now, we have a good feel for the kind of performance each voice actor will turn out. So, I’ll sometimes alter my performance a bit based on who else in the cast, but we won’t actively go rehearse anything.

Anthony:
And another one we ask everyone. With you being trained in music, what kind of music do you like and/or like to play and what instruments? Do you collect any music? Vinyl, cassettes, CDs, tapes, or are you all digital?

Dan:
I love, love, love Blues, Rock, and Folk. I’m primarily a guitarist, but also play the keys, drums, bass, and a few other things. I have a huge music collection, ranging from vinyl to CDs and cassettes. I mostly listen to music digitally now but try to keep my physical collection updated as well.

Anthony:
What keeps you inspired to keep up with the stories you do? You seem to have a consistent “schedule” for lack of a better term with the show with at least one story every or every other episode.

Dan:
I still love it, first and foremost. Being on the NoSleep Podcast is one of the great joys of my life. We always keep each other driven, too. From Brandon to our producers, our behind-the-scenes teams, to the voice actors, we all know that we’re working with really talented folks, so it keeps us motivated each week to put out our best work. And of course, we do it for our fanbase. Our listeners are incredible and have fostered such an amazing community. We’re nothing without them.

Anthony:
Dan, thanks a lot again for doing this with us today, is there anything else you’d like to add or say before we end this?

Dan:
On the podcast side of things, thanks to everyone who supports the NoSleep Podcast. We have so many great things in store for you going forward. 

On the music side of things, I’ll (finally) be releasing my first album in 2022, so be on the lookout for that! It’s a cool mixture of Blues, Folk, Rock, all those genres I talked about before. It’ll be available on all major streaming platforms (Spotify, and so on). I’ll be tweeting out a bunch of updates between now and then.

And thank you! This was a lot of fun. It’s so important to have music present in our lives, and you guys are doing your part to make that happen.

Dig this? Check out the full archives of A.M. Radio, by Anthony Montalbano, here: https://vinylwritermusic.com/a-m-radio-archives/

About Post Author

Anthony Montalbano

Anthony Montalbano grew up in New York and North Carolina. Anthony is a baker by day and a contributor to the Vinyl Writer cause by night. With a passion for podcasts, Pop Punk, video games, and more, Anthony brings a unique and fresh perspective to the team. Anthony's column is a catch-all for the things he loves most, and he wouldn't have it any other way.
Happy
Happy
0 %
Sad
Sad
0 %
Excited
Excited
0 %
Sleepy
Sleepy
0 %
Angry
Angry
0 %
Surprise
Surprise
0 %

Average Rating

5 Star
0%
4 Star
0%
3 Star
0%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%

Leave a Reply

Social profiles
%d bloggers like this: