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History

Here you can learn about the history of Audio Epics:

how it came to be from a hobby from a hobby long ago to a company…

Long, long ago, in the age of wonders…

Once upon a time in a garage somewhere in Belgium, two young friends called Domien and Olivier decided to tell fantasy stories and record them on tape, using the junk collected in the garage to add sound effects. To add a flavour of grandeur to their hobby, they decided to call themselves DreamGate Studios.

history

Stephanie Cuyt (Myrilia), Domien De Groot (writer-narrator) and Peter Van Riet (music composer)

That first story, created as long ago as 1997, was called De Oude Tijden van Felinon (translation from Dutch: The Elder Days of Felinon). Set in a world where a peaceful catlike people called Felinors were at war with the brutal Orcs, the story was told entirely with the voices of the two boys.

They had so much fun making this that they later on decided to continue their stories of Felinon with a longer, more epic audio drama. De Saga van Felinon (The Felinon Saga) turned the fantasy into something more futuristic. Set 3000 years after the original story, the Felinors still battled the Orcs, this time using spaceships and laser guns rather than just spears and swords.

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Peter, Domien and Stephanie in Antwerp, Belgium

After the Felinon stories were done, Domien and Olivier decided to try something new. Necropolis was a science fiction tale about 5 soldiers sent to investigate an abandoned and ghostly city planet. There they encounter a curious new life form. Heavily influenced by James Cameron’s Aliens, the story was a lot of fun to make.

In the following years, more voice actors were added and several new audio dramas were made.

De Fantoompijnen (translated The Phantom Pains) was a Star Wars parody where princess Gizella, leader of the rebellion, fell in love with General Asbak, a three-eyed fish monster.

De Kathedraal van Crimsitha (translated The Cathedral of Crimsitha) marked a return to fantasy as well as a technological advance for the small team. Now recording on a computer, with sound effects added in postproduction, a lot more became possible in terms of realising the environment. Inspired by Arthurian legends and the medieval architecture of their native city of Antwerp, The Cathedral of Crimsitha told the tale of a noble knight, his naive servant, a sarcastic wizard and a cynical mercenary as they tried to win back the city of Crimsitha from a demonically possessed statue and its summoned army of undead criminals.

After all the high adventure, the team desired to try out a new kind of tale on a smaller scale. The year 2000 saw the release of the much darker What Evil Lurks in Darkshire, the first entirely English-spoken audio drama. Featuring only two voice actors, it was a more intimate tale. The style was gothic, but it was closer to gothic drama than gothic horror. Set in the year 1782, What Evil Lurks in Darkshire chronicled the journey of a lonely coach driver as he transports a mysterious prisoner through a forest rumoured to be haunted. There, he encounters a being of enormous power that tempts him to give up the unhappy life he is living in exchange for a cursed but glorious existence.

What Evil Lurks in Darkshire met with such enthusiasm from a small group of devotees that the team decided to continue the adventure in Dolor and Bloodhood  and And The Twin Angels Fell, released in 2002 and 2003, respectively.

In 2004, Domien yearned for more light-hearted fun and set out to write a ridiculously over the top space opera, full of wisecracking anti-heroes, motorcycle-driving mutants, dinosaurs and giant robots operating on human brains. The Archbishop was a return to the epic style with a dash of silly mixed in. It was also the first audio drama to feature the voices of Stephanie Cuyt and Niklaas Reinhold.

Things became more quiet around Dreamgate after The Archbishop. The team decided that it was time to take it to the next level and create something truly special: an audio drama created with as much professionalism as they could, including an original music score. This audio drama eventually became De Wezens van het Woud (The Will of the Woods). Before it was released, Olivier left the team to focus on other projects and the name changed from Dreamgate to Audio Epics.

Working on The Will of the Woods De Wezens van het Woud, a magical fairy tale for all ages, featured original music by Peter Van Riet and Vincent Pichal. It was finally released in 2007 and distributed on a small scale on CD and received very positive reactions in Belgium and Holland. There was even a school that centered its Halloween activities around this audio drama, with teachers dressing up as characters from the audio drama.

After De Wezens van het Woud, Domien decided the time had come to get to work on a creative dream project: a dark fantasy epic in a detailed, highly atmospheric universe called Witch Hunter. By far the most complex and ambitious writing project he had tackled, Witch Hunter took a while to get made. The final production, backed by rich sound effects and an incredible music score by Peter Van Riet, was at last released online in episodes, under the new title The Witch Hunter Chronicles.

In 2007 Domien met Eline and they started a relationship. She had acting and writing experience and was immediately warmed up for Domien’s hobby. She produced a second edition of De wezens van het Woud (the Dutch version of The Will of the Woods) and actively participated from then on as a voice actress and director for Audio Epics, leaving Domien more time for writing and sound editing. They got married in 2015.

In 2011, The Witch Hunter Chronicles received an Ogle award, it was featured on various podcasts and was broadcast in Canada and the USA. It also made The Audio Drama Directory’s staff recommended list

In 2013, Audio Epics released The Will of the Woods. It was more than just a translation of De Wezens van het Woud to English. The script, music and sound effects were all altered and improved and the original cast was brought back to speak their parts in English, with a few new voices added into the mix as well.

Our award for The Will of the Woods

In June 2013, it was announced by Great Northern Audio’s Jerry Stearns that The Will of the Woods had won the Gold Ogle award as the year’s best fantasy audio drama production. The Will of the Woods has also been broadcast on internet radio stations and podcasts such as The Sonic Society, Radio Drama Revival and Midnight Audio Theatre.

Audio Epics - recording the Will of the Woods

In 2014 Audio Epics was founded as a small family business. The company creates audio drama / dramatized audiobooks but also offers writing, editing and translation services to customers. You can hire us for text and audio in English and Dutch.

In August 2016, our dramatized audiobook, Witch Hunter, was  nominated as a finalist in the Parsec Awards for the categories ‘best speculative fiction story’ and ‘best new speculative fiction podcaster/team’.

In the fall of 2016 The Fairy Tree was released by The Owl Field. It was a professional cooperation with Audio Epics since it was Domien who wrote the script. It was an awesome project for us to be involved with.

The Fairy Tree is an interactive narrative that is the audio drama equivalent of a ‘choose your own adventure’ book. The story has multiple endings and the listener chooses his or her own path. It has a full cast, sound effects and a cinematic music score. Moreover, it’s in 3D audio, so the sound is amazing and cannot be compared to any other audio drama.

In August 2017 The Beast of the Western Wilds, an exciting spin-off to Witch Hunter was released as a Kindle e-book and paperback on Amazon.

We hope to be able to finish the dramatized audiobook this year! Check our website, Twitter profile and Facebook page for regular updates!