Interviews: David Kaye (June 2013)
David Kaye was introduced to "Transformers" fandom in the unforgettable "Beast Wars" series. There, he voiced a version of Megatron very different from his Generation One namesake. Since that time, David has gone on to voice both an Optimus Prime and Megatron (one of the few voice actors to have done so) and was most recently heard in "Transformers Prime" as "Hardshell". I caught up with David to see what he's been up to since our last chat many moons ago!
1. Since BWTF last interviewed you, you've been on several "Transformers" programs including "Animated" and most recently "Prime". Can you believe all these years after "Beast Wars" you're still involved in "Transformers"?
I DO miss it and especially working with all the cast. Great times and I'd do it again in a heartbeat! I'm just thrilled that I was given the opportunity to play such iconic characters and I want to thank anyone and everyone who had a role in giving me the chance to play.
2. Some fans may not realize that while you are known for voicing villains, you were Optimus Prime in "Animated"! Can you tell us about that audition and how it was playing the lead hero Transformer for a change?
I was back an forth working in Vancouver and LA and had heard about a reboot of the series. I reached out to Sue Blu and told her I'd love to work with her again and to have a look out for the reads I was going to submit. The sides came through the agency and of course I gravitated toward to villains right away. Megatron being first up. Also read for a few other characters including Lugnut. Never even submitted an Optimus prime read. I mean, how could I!! That would be weird, right?! During the callbacks at Cartoon Network in Burbank I figured "here we go again" Megatron returns ! Fun read in the booth and then Sue asked me to give Optimus a try as they hasn't quite found what they were looking for yet. After the first couple of takes, the energy in the room shifted and Sue had me read a couple more times and I was beginning to feel a shift in the force, as they say....or somebody says... I dunno. Two weeks later I got the call.
3. Please tell us about landing the role of Hardshell. What was it like recording with the cast of "Prime"?
The audition came across my desk and if course when anything transformers related shows up my heart rate bumps up a bit due to my history with the franchise. An Insecticon! I pinched my checks a little to give him mandibles and gave him a bit of a 'royal' flair. Tons of fun to do. During the record I had to keep my cheeks pinched so my face was a little sore after that !! Working with both Peter and Frank was a thrill too!
4. In the past you've also been involved in radio and live action work. What have you been up on those fronts the past couple years?
Been very busy since I last saw you Ben. Been working with the cast of the new marvel series, Avengers:Assemble a the voice of JARVIS opposite Adrian Pasdar's Iron Man. A semi regular on The Regular Show, just wrapped Xiaolin Chronicles, a reboot of the popular Xiaolin Showdown series a few years back and currently working on Ben 10: Omniverse as villain Khyber plus a bevy of other aliens including Socksquatch, Cannonbolt and Heatblast among others. Plus we're just ramping up the feature film Ratchet and Clank which will hit theaters in 2015 worldwide. Ill be reprising my role as Clank of course opposite James Arnold Taylor as Ratchet. I'm still pretty slammed up with radio and television affiliates in a daily basis plus have been working with AMC, ABC, FX, Sundance channel and Fox recording promos for the networks and beginning to do more work for movie trailers which for me is a dream come true. I absolutely LOVE it!
5. "Transformers" turns 30 in 2014, when would you say you first got the sense that this series would continue to live on to make its 30th Anniversary?
I didn't really know until after my first convention in Rochester NY with Venus Terzo how big this franchise was and is. The fans are the reason we do this stuff ! I can never thank them enough
6. What can we look forward to from you in 2013 and beyond?
More of the same!