By Marty Mulrooney
Alternative Magazine Online recently reviewed Cognition: An Erica Reed Thriller – Episode 1: The Hangman, explaining how “Erica Reed is voiced to perfection (with an authentic Bostonian twang) by Raleigh Holmes, daughter of Robert Holmes, aka Jane Jensen’s husband.” Following on from our recent interview with Phoenix Online Studios CEO Cesar Bittar, AMO is proud to present yet another exclusive online interview, this time with the hugely talented actor, singer and songwriter Raleigh Holmes!
Hi Raleigh, thank you for your time and welcome to AMO!
Thank you for having me!
Can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself please?
Sure – I’m an actor/singer-songwriter currently living in Los Angeles. Born and raised in Seattle. Family, friends, nature, good music and I’m a happy gal.
Your stepmother (Jane Jensen) is a legendary adventure game designer (and author) and your father (Robert Holmes) is an equally renowned video game soundtrack composer – I had the pleasure of interviewing them both last year when Gray Matter was released. What’s it like being part of such a creative family?
All three of my parents are in creative fields and definitely had a hand in me catching the bug. I feel very lucky to have had that around as I was growing up. Dad would take me to concerts and introduced me to many different genres of music and film. They were all extremely encouraging with any artistic pursuit I explored.
Pinkerton Road was recently announced via Kickstarter and it sounds like a very exciting time for Jane Jensen, Robert Holmes and yourself. What’s the main idea behind Pinkerton Road?
Jane is so passionate about the story, and forming the studio out of the Farm gives both of them a wonderful opportunity to really focus on the storytelling and take the games from start to finish. They call the model Community Supported Gaming, (based on Community Supported Agriculture). It allows backers to support and participate in the creation of the studio’s new works.
Cognition: An Erica Reed Thriller – Episode 1: The Hangman was recently released by Phoenix Online Studios. How did you become involved with the project?
Cez (Cesar Bittar) contacted me and asked if I would be interested in auditioning. As soon as I heard the story and got a peek at the beautiful artwork and music I had to go for it.
You voice the main character, Erica Reed. How would you describe her as a character?
Erica plays things close to the vest, but under all that controlled and measured exterior there’s an intense pain and fire for fight, which bubbles up to the surface. She’s got no shortage of gumption.
In my review, I said that your performance was exceptional, encompassing “a gamut of emotions including grief, anger and sheer determination.” How did your previous theatre/acting experience help when it came to voicing Erica?
Thanks for your kind review! My artistic home is The Antaeus Company, a classical theatre company in North Hollywood. Working on classical texts and watching others has really shaped me as an actor. It’s a wonderful place – freedom to explore and take risks. I definitely thought back to lessons learned there as I was working on Erica.
Is she fun to play? You’ve got the Boston-twang of her accent sounding perfect!
She is very fun to play. I love that she’s playful and really, doesn’t have everything together. She has her own demons to fight and plenty of faults to work though.
Throughout the first episode Erica struggles to deal with the loss of her brother while hunting down a serial killer – is it hard to voice a character that goes to such dark places both literally and figuratively?
The situations she’s put in really take you there. I found that the hardest part was the physical pain. All of the moans and groans that come with hits and stabs can be tricky to capture.
Would you say that you are particularly similar to Erica in any way, or is she totally different to you?
We definitely have our similarities. She’s a mix of steady and impulsive, which I can relate to.
What has it been like working with Phoenix Online Studios?
Wonderful! They are all so passionate about what they do. I’m so thankful they included me on this journey.
It must be pretty surreal voicing an adventure game heroine when nearly 20 years ago your stepmother and father were designing this exact type of game during the peak of the genre’s popularity? I actually think it’s pretty awesome!
It’s been awesome to grow up seeing the progress of the industry and the art form grow and change. It’s really fun to now get to take part myself.
Are you a gamer yourself and will you be playing Cognition: An Erica Reed Thriller? I’m also intrigued to find out if you played Gray Matter!
I’m not a huge gamer – though I have played Cognition and many of the games that have family ties.
I’ve been a huge fan of The Scarlet Furies since I played Gray Matter – I truly believe that, emotionally, it took the game to the next level. Who are the other members of the band and how long have you all been playing music together?
Thank you! My Dad, Robert Holmes, is in The Furies. He really spearheaded the core feel of all of the music in Gray Matter. The rest of the Furies are Ian Francisco, Buck Wilcox and Steve Hilstein. (All ridiculously talented!) We’ve been playing together about 5 years now.
What’s your favourite The Scarlet Furies song and why?
Phew – that’s a tough one. I think I’d have to say Gone Tomorrow. There’s something in it that grounds me.
Is it true that the band’s music will feature in the upcoming adventure game Moebius?
If I told you I’d have to kill ya…
I really enjoyed the main theme song of Cognition, ‘The Taking’, which featured your vocals and was composed by Robert Holmes. Will you be contributing more music for future episodes?
I hope so!
What do you like to do when you aren’t singing/performing?
I love spending time with family and friends. I really think there’s nothing better than a good meal shared with good people.
What’s next for you Raleigh?
Writing new music – hoping to continue to explore and produce another album in the near future. Also looking forward to the release of my first film, Crawlspace, directed by Josh Stolberg.
Thank you for your time! I think you’re an amazing performer and I can’t wait to hear you again as Erica Reed in the next episode of Cognition!
My pleasure – thank you! And happy holidays! 🙂
GAME PREVIEW – Cognition: An Erica Reed Thriller – Episode 1: The Hangman (PC)
GAME REVIEW – Cognition: An Erica Reed Thriller – Episode 1: The Hangman (PC)
INTERVIEW – In Conversation With Jane Jensen (Pinkerton Road Studio)
INTERVIEW – In Conversation With Jane Jensen (Game Designer, Gabriel Knight Trilogy/Gray Matter)
INTERVIEW – In Conversation With Robert Holmes (Composer, Gray Matter Soundtrack/Gabriel Knight Series)
GAME REVIEW – Gray Matter (PC)
INTERVIEW – In Conversation With Katie Hallahan and Cesar Bittar (Phoenix Online Studios)
INTERVIEW – In Conversation With Cesar Bittar (Phoenix Online Studios, Cognition: An Erica Reed Thriller)