Auditory Nerve | Buzz Blog

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Auditory Nerve

A nerdy conversation with the hosts of the pop-culture podcast

Posted By on July 7, 2015, 10:28 AM

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The  podcasting culture in Utah is growing at such a fast pace, sometimes its hard to keep track of all the new shows. Take, for example, Auditory Nerve—a pop-culture podcast that launched late last year, where four friends with their own nerdy tendencies sit around a table and discuss their favorite things that have been happening in film, television, video gaming and more. Today, all four hosts talk to us about forming the show and the success they've had so far, as well as where they're headed as a show. (All pictures courtesy of Auditory Nerve.)

Ashley Jacobson, Trevor Cannon, Nate Hansen & Kyle Larsen (L-R)
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Gavin: First off, tell us a little bit about yourselves.

 I’m a Marketing Coordinator for FatCats Bowling centers. I graduated from the University of Utah in 2014 with a degree in Mass Communications. I also have an associate degree in TV/Video from SLCC. I’m obsessed with all things sports, and throughout my younger life played three sports all year long: football, basketball and baseball. My true passion is film and video games. I literally cannot consume enough media these days, from TV shows on HBO to all of the huge games on PS4. I guess you could say I’m a closet nerd.

Kyle: [I was] born in South Salt Lake, then made a tragic move to North Salt Lake after the fourth grade. I did the public school thing until I graduated from high school. I did a couple years at Snow College studying theater, but I didn't seal the deal and get my associates because I decided to move back to North Salt Lake and marry my wife, Heather. I have been married since August of 2013. I have been working full-time for Premier Medical Records; we retrieve medical records for insurance companies. No, it’s not as exciting as it sounds. In the fall, I will be starting a graphic design program at the DATC. I am also a part of Laughing Stock at the Off Broadway Theater, which is longest running improv troupe in the Salt Lake Valley. So that just about sums up my life.

Ashley: I have lived in Utah for almost 14 years. I guess I can say that I am the female perspective on our show. I have attended Utah State, SLCC and Weber State over the past six years, and still trying to decide what I want to be when I grow up. I work for a local moving company as a moving coordinator. Currently living in Bountiful with Trevor and our cat, Pepperoncini.

Nate: I was born and raised in Sugar House. I moved to North Salt Lake when I was in second grade. I am a design major who works for Apple. Nerd by day, adventure by night. I am an avid outdoorsman; my obsession is backpacking and nature photography. I love wandering the backcountry of the Utah mountains camping and taking photos. All of the photos used for our episodes are photos I have taken.

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Gavin: How did each of you get involved with pop culture, and what were some major influences on you growing up?

Growing up, my dad always made me watch really classic films such as Jaws, Die Hard, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and, of course, Indiana Jones! So from a young age, I was obsessed with movies. When kids were outside playing, I was inside watching movies. I was always extremely intrigued by video games. I'll never forget the first time my parents got my sister and me a SNES. They couldn’t drag us away from that thing! But as I’ve gotten older and started making my own money, I got really into video games. Not only have I been playing a lot more video games, I’ve started my own blog where I write articles about the games I’m excited about.

Kyle: Ever since I was a little kid, I would make movies with my friends, and spend hours “editing” them to make a masterpiece. They usually were awful, but it sparked my creative spirit. I also acted in school plays ever since the fifth grade, which I feel has led to my fascination with cinema in general, whether it be movies or television. And I have loved super heroes—the X-Men in particular—ever since I can remember.

Ashley: My parents would definitely be my main influence growing up—cliche, I know. They were the ones who introduced me music and movies. I’ve grown up listening to their music and watching their favorite movies. Both of my parents could kill anyone at any pop culture trivia game.

Nate: When I first moved to North Salt Lake, I had few friends. The area I had moved to was newly developed. I grew to love video games. I started playing games on the NES and the Nintendo 64. Once I met Kyle, we started to make amazing (horrible) movies that helped us gain our appreciation for movies. Kyle and I also would hit the comic book store as kids. My true love is movies and everything that comes with it. The hype, the culture, and all.

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Gavin: As you've grown up, what major areas of pop culture are you each major fans of?

I’m a huge fan of popular television shows [like] Game of Thrones, Sons of Anarchy and True Detective. I tell the cast mates all the time, we live in a golden age of television. There are so many great shows out right now, If you look hard enough there is a show for everyone.

Kyle: I would say that I am mostly a major fan of film, and as I have gotten older I have become more of a fan of television series, that is probably due to the recent ability to have access to Netflix and Hulu, and my own cable subscription. There is something about watching someone portray a character on screen that is so fascinating to me. The older I get, and the more I learn about acting, the more I appreciate the talent that some actors have.

Ashley: Growing up I have always loved finding new music. Those unmentionable torrent sites were my best friend in high school. I always wanted to be the one who found something amazing and shared it with my friend first. I wanted to be a radio DJ. Over the years that need has calmed down, and I acquire all my music legally, but there is nothing like discovering new music. Television would be my other love. There is nothing more satisfying (and tragic) as finishing a good television series. Watching a good series is like reading a good book. You just can’t stop, and it is all you think about while you're watching and even after you finish. I will also admit, I really enjoy my reality television. It is guilty pleasure that I just can't do without. Whatev, I love me some Real Housewives.

Nate: I love videogames, movies, and music. Within the hour that I lay down in bed to the time that I actually go to sleep is spent watching game trailers, movie trailers, and searching Spotify for the more and more music. I love finding and sharing things that bring me joy.

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Gavin: When did all of you first meet each other and become friends?

 I moved to North Salt Lake right before fifth grade. Nate lived in my neighborhood and our parents quickly became friends which allowed us to become best friends. In about 8th grade, I met Ashley, who was introduced to me through our mutual friend Heather, who is now my wife. Then once I married my wife, we started spending time with her friends—Ashley in particular, who was dating Trevor.

Ashley: I met Kyle in 8th grade in a drama class, and we reconnected when he married my best friend, Heather. I have been with Trevor since I was 18, and now we are getting married in November. Nate was introduced to Trevor and I through Kyle, and the rest is history!

Gavin: How did the idea come about to start your own podcast, and where did the name come from?

I would say I came up with the idea for the podcast. I’ve been listening to podcasts for about six years and have really grown to love them. The first podcast I started listening to consistently was Podcast Beyond! It's PlayStation-centric, I listen to them on my way to work and I listen to them at the gym. That’s what makes them so good! Doesn’t matter where you are podcast are always great to listen to. So naturally after listening for a couple years, I started to get the urge to start my own. I guess you could say the rest is history, but we are still so fresh and really just starting to figure out what Auditory Nerve is all about.

Kyle: Trevor was the one who had the original idea to start a podcast. He mentioned that he wanted a conversational podcast where we could talk about whatever we wanted. He listened to more podcasts than any of the rest of us, so it made sense for him to be the host of our podcast. He brought Ashley into the project because she provides a woman’s point of view, and she is hilarious. I brought in Nate because he also is a funny guy who had more of an outdoorsy point of view that would be unique for the group. So once we knew that we wanted to have a podcast we got together one night and started to hash out the details. We were trying to decide on a name, and we were throwing around some pretty horrific ideas. We then took to the internet to see if we could get something to spark an idea. I looked up online something to do with listening or the ear, and that is when I saw the auditory nerve. We read about what it was, and when we read that it sends sound straight to your brain, Trevor said, “Sending entertainment straight to your brain.” We knew we had a winner.

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Gavin: What was it like getting all the equipment together and kind of setting up your own studio space?

It has been a great learning experience. Yes, there was the initial shock of the cost of some of the equipment we needed, but we decided if we wanted to take this seriously, we needed to take the leap. If you listen to our first few episodes, you can tell that we didn't have microphones yet, but over time we have been able to add to our collection. We don’t have the perfect set-up yet, but it is a work in progress. We buy what we can, when we can, and we will just keep growing.

Kyle: Well, we each did our own research about what you needed in order to record a podcast. We found that a mic, a USB splitter or extension pack would be useful and that some people recorded while wearing headphones so that they could check their levels more accurately. So I promptly went and bought some headphones that cost about $100, and they have not been used to record our podcast yet. But they are sweet headphones none the less. We just use GarageBand to record, and originally we just used the microphone that is in the Macbook to record, but then we purchased some Blue Snowball iCE USB microphones which helped our quality out a ton. And our studio space is still Trevor and Ashley’s kitchen table.

Trevor: The cheapest we could get and still sound good. But honestly we found really sweet Blue Microphones. They work great for now. Eventually, we hope to have a legit setup with a soundboard and our own personal mics. Right now I’m like a painter; I’m the only one that sees the flaws and small errors. When talking to friends and family, they always say, “Sounds good to me.”

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Gavin: What were the first few episodes like when you started recording, and what did you think of the flow of the show?

The first few episodes were an exciting time. Before we even started recording, we got together and really talked about what we wanted this show to be. We decided what kind of topics we wanted to cover, and I think that really helped us to all be on the same page. It is just easy when we get together. We all have somewhat similar interests, so we can talk forever. Limiting ourselves to about an hour can be really difficult sometimes. I think we have a really good balance between the four of us. Each of us are not afraid to speak our minds and disagree. I think it is always important to get different views so you can learn new things.

Kyle: The first episode was exciting and nerve-wracking: exciting because we were finally getting to create what we had been talking about for months, nerve-wracking because we hit record and don’t stop until the episode is over. So whatever you say goes in the episode, and we were all worried we couldn’t talk long enough to have an entire episode. But after we recorded our first episode, we learned that we could more than fill the time. I believe that in our first episode, we were recording in my living room, and my landlord knocked on the door in the middle of us recording and we all just froze and looked at each other, then Trevor stopped the recording. I talked with my landlord, then sat down and we were all like, “What were we just talking about?” It was pretty funny.

Nate: I didn't really have any real expectations for how the show was going to do. I had never listened to a podcast previously, so I wasn't exactly sure how it would go. I've always been good with talking and I tend to talk a lot, so the podcast flowed really well. The four of us know each other pretty well and are comfortable saying whatever we want, so it's pretty easy for us to flow.

Trevor: The first episode was sort of a train-wreck. We honestly had know idea what we were doing, and I’m pretty certain we had my laptop on top of a laundry basket. We had no idea if our levels were set correctly, and each cast member just started yelling into the mic. Looking back now its kinda funny to think about, but at the time we kept thinking, “We have to get something up, or we will never do the podcast.”

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Gavin: You launched the show back in November of 2014. What was the early reaction like from listeners?

From what I can remember, we were all pretty surprised at the amount of listens we got from the first episode. It was mostly friends and family, but still the result was pretty positive.

Ashley: The most common response was, "What’s a podcast?" So after explaining what we were doing, the reactions we got were positive! We have had a lot of support from consistent listeners. When we tell people that we do a podcast, it seems like people are genuinely interested in what we are doing and are willing to give us a listen.

Trevor: At first it was slow, but then after a couple weeks we really started to get feedback from mostly friends and family. It was really cool to see that finally after all this talking and planning we finally had a show and people were getting information sent directly to the brain. My parents still really have no idea what a podcast even is. Pretty certain my mom called my Google Chromecast a podcast the other day, to which I replied sternly, “Mom, not the same.” Overall, the first couple months were great, but as a group, we have come to realize that this podcast is work and to get more listeners, we really gotta keep plugging it to everyone.

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Gavin: How do you decide what you're going to talk about every episode?

We don’t. We honestly show up each week and just go.

Kyle: Throughout the week, if we have an idea for what to talk about, we bring it up in our group message, and then for about an hour before the show we chat and decide what we will actually talk about. You can normally expect to hear about our thoughts on the latest movies or television shows.

Ashley: Basically we just talk about what we did that week. Before each episode we talk and write a rough outline of the main points we would like to cover. What movies we've watched, new music, television that week and personal stories. Then we just go from there. If we start talking about something we think would be good for the show we say, "Save it!" That is how we keep our conversations honest, and you are getting our first true reactions from each other instead of a scripted response.

Nate: To quote Trevor, "We don't." We all come together and get talking about our weeks, and find things we wanna talk about.

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Gavin: How much of what you do is planned and how much do you do off-the-cuff? And does that formula work out for you a lot or is there still room for improvement?

I would say that the majority is off the cuff. Yes, we have a rough outline of the topics we want to discuss, but we do not know what the others are going to say. We purposely wait to have conversations throughout the week so we can have them on the show.

Kyle: The extent of planning ... is to make a rough outline of main points we want to discuss. As we begin the episode, though, someone usually says something that throws us off course. Eventually, we find our way back to one of our main points through the means of a “Trevway.”

Trevor: Honestly, it has to be off the cuff. I’ve never been good at reading off a script or a teleprompter. So each week I just try to be “ME.” It is the only way the podcast will come off genuine. I can’t speak for the other castmates, but each week I usually let my mood dictate where the podcast goes. If I’m angry, sad or feeling goofy, that is what you will get.

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Gavin: What do you hope to achieve with this show, and where do you see it going over the next year or so?

I really look forward to recording each week. It is something really fun that we have started here. Whether or not we get new listeners, I see us continuing doing this. We all really enjoy this and it is a fun thing we do. We hope that this exposure will lead to more listeners.

Nate: We started the podcast as a way to talk about the things we enjoy, for friends and family to listen. As we continue forward, we hope to gain followers and get other people's points of view on the subject we talked about. I hope to see the podcast grow into something where people send in questions about movies and topics to see what our point of view is.

Gavin: Any plans to bring guests on in the future, or will you mainly keep it to just the crew?

We definitely plan to have more guests on in the future. We have had some great guests so far, and I think they add so much to the show that week. It is always nice to have a new perspective and hear new opinions.

Kyle: We have actually had quite a few guests so far. They mostly consist of our friends who are either funny or would share a unique point of view in our conversations. We definitely will continue to have guests on our show. As our popularity grows, we hope that our ability to have more high profile guests will grow, too.

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Gavin: What do you think of local podcasting these days, and the content coming out of Utah?

I will be honest that I think the podcasting scene in Utah is still kept underground. I have one friend who decided to start a podcast after listening to ours, and I know Nate has a co-worker that has a podcast. I feel that Utah has a unique enough pop culture scene that we have some good entertainment to provide.

Trevor: Not sure I know any other people in Utah that are doing podcast. That may sound rude, but I really haven’t seen or heard of any in Utah.

Ashley: I really wish I had more to say about the local podcasting scene. I would love to listen to some podcasts like ours, and hear their story of how they started. It is definitely a goal of mine to seek out more local podcasts.

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Gavin: Who else do you listen to and recommend people check out?

I absolutely loved listening to Serial, and have enjoyed recently listening to Undisclosed. So if you are into real crime drama, you should definitely check out those podcasts. I also listened to the Comedy Button for a while. If you are cool with vulgar humor, they are the source for you. Other than that I am still delving ever deeper into the podcasting universe.

Trevor: I will just list the ones that I'm currently listening too. I’ve been listening to some of these podcasts for about 2-6 years. So if you get my drift they are pretty good. Podcast Beyond!, Knocking Boots Podcast, We Have ConcernsComedy Button!, Kinda Funny Gamescast, Podcast Unlocked and Game Scoop.

Ashley: Pretty much the only podcasts I listen to are the ones I listen to in Trevor’s car. I really enjoy the funny podcasts such as Comedy Button and Knocking Boots. Also, as Kyle mentioned, Serial. That podcast is just on another level, and if you haven’t listened to it, you absolutely need to download it right now.

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Gavin: Right now, podcasting as a whole seems to have been on a slow rise compared to a few years ago. Where do you see the medium going over the next few years?

As a whole, we feel that podcasting is becoming very popular. Everyone and their cousin is starting a new podcast. This can be dangerous for podcasting. The market is becoming really saturated ..., and we want to make sure that we are unique from everything else out there. We are just a bunch of friends who decided to start a podcast, and we want to be a quality podcast that people want to tune in to weekly.

Gavin: What can we expect from all of you and the show over the rest of the year?

Well, Trevor and I are getting married in November, so wedding planning will be taking a lot of my time. I am really excited about what’s to come for Auditory Nerve. We hope to start expanding our audience and just continue what we are doing.

Trevor: Weddings and vacations! That is what is in the plans for me. Like Ashley said, we are getting married, and that should really top off 2015 for me. For the show, I really hope we can start reaching a different crowd of people. Not that the people that listen now are bad, but we really need to start hitting people that don’t know us and we don’t know them. The rest of the year for Auditory Nerve needs to be getting the word out there. I feel confident in our content, and I feel confident in my castmates. We've got something special; I just hope people get a chance to catch it.

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