Want to hear a scary story? Irrational Fears is betting you do, and is providing the podcast platform to keep you up late at night. Host Anthony has had the idea of bringing the campfire storytelling narrative to podcast form for awhile, however, it wasn’t until he was reading a scary story to his girlfriend did he decide to jump right in.
As he tells it — and I tend to agree — the value of the horror genre on a podcast is a perfect fit that balances presenting the audience with the fuel to make it even scarier by not showing them everything. Because it’s audio-only, the listeners can imagine everything in more detail that subsequently makes it scarier for themselves in a personalized fashion.
I got a chance to meet Anthony and talk to him about how he got the podcast started, why horror in general, and the types of fans the horror genre attracts. See our full Q&A below.
Discover Pods: How did your podcast get started?
Anthony: I have always had a passion for horror, fear and writing. Laying in bed one night with my girlfriend (now fiancé), she asked me to read her a story. Thinking I was being funny, I thought I would read her a scary story from /r/nosleep. About halfway through, she stopped me to let me know that she thought I had a really good reading voice and should read to everyone. I laughed and said, “I could do that. I’ve been wanting to do that for a long time…” I outlined the idea for Irrational Fears to her, as I’ve had the idea floating around for ~10 years at that point, and she was 100% on board and pushed me to get it rolling. I posted the first episode and got really good feedback from friends, so I continued from there!
DP: Your relationship sounds very different than mine. My wife is usually the one making fun of my voice when I sing in the car. Was her comment the tipping point and catalyst for the podcast or do you think you would have done it anyways?
Anthony: I think everyone gets made fun of for singing in the car. It’s just a part of life, right? I’d like to say it wasn’t her comment that was the catalyst so much as her support. Even if I talked like Goofy, I think she would have pushed me to do it because of how much the idea meant to me. I can also say with complete certainty that it would not have happened without her. The idea was bouncing around for about 10 years. So if it hadn’t happened when it did, it might not have ever happened.
DP: Why did you choose a podcast over other mediums?
Anthony: I feel like a podcast is the perfect way to present a written work, especially horror, as fear is just as much an auditory experience as it is a visual one. I like to think that the monsters and situations I describe to you are going to be a lot scarier when you are the one drawing the monsters in your mind. It allows your deepest, darkest fears to paint the picture and truly experience “What scares you” rather than “What I think would be scary to most people.” Which is what a lot of horror movies do.
DP: Where do you source your stories from?
Anthony: We source our stories mostly from /r/nosleep on Reddit. Though we have received submissions from authors of stories they have elsewhere, be it print or their own websites or a different writing platform. Like I said before, we have a very good relationship with the authors we work with, so it’s easy for us to find material when we need it. Though we are branching out quite a bit and doing an audiobook while also working on being the official podcast of /r/nosleepteams! So, plenty of material all around.
DP: What are some of the scariest stories you’ve told so far? Have your listeners chimed in?
Anthony: Wow. Scariest stories? I think for me, it would have to be the Tommy Taffy series. Mainly because of how terrifying of a character Tommy is. A lot of the feedback that we get tends to be about how great Tommy Taffy is (in a terrifying way), and I have to agree. Elias Witherow, the author, has mentioned that we are the only narrators “brave enough to put him on your podcast!” And that is a funny thing to me because horror is about being scared. And Tommy will definitely scare you!
DP: What’s unique about your podcast? Why do your listeners keep coming back?
Anthony: Although we may not be the only horror narration podcast on the market, we are different in a few ways. I like to think that one of the biggest ways is that we are just people. We have a great relationship with both the authors and the community / listeners. We don’t hide behind the microphone and pretend to be creepy scary all of the time. We like to hang out with people and just be real with everyone. We also have a side-show called “Real Talk” where we just kind of… Well… Talk. I feel like it can be a nice break in the routine a lot of the time and really let the listeners who don’t reach out get to know us a little better. Kind of put a face to the voice, so to speak. We also put out a lot of content. In just under 9 months, we have put out over 100 episodes. So our listeners have plenty to listen to always. Whereas a lot of other narrators are putting out episodes weekly, biweekly or whenever they have something.
DP: In my opinion, there are two types of people in the world: those who enjoy the thrill of being scared and those who don’t understand it. What are your thoughts?
Anthony: I would add one other person into that list: The type of person who won’t step foot into a haunted house in a Wal Mart parking lot on Halloween, but loves the idea of fear and Horror as a genre. And I’d say I fit right in there. I have a passion for fear and what makes things scary, but I don’t like to attend Haunted Houses or go to the Fright Dome in Vegas over the Halloween season. But, for the most part, I’d say your statement isn’t too far off. That middle grey area is a very niche group.
DP: What’s next? Where do you want to take your podcast?
Anthony: I would love for the show to continue to grow and continue to do the narrations / Real Talk episodes, but I would also like to expand Irrational Fears into its own network of horror-related Podcasts, Youtube series / channels, blogs, short stories, etc. We are also working on our first Audiobook (with hopefully more of them to come soon) and an audio drama or two that we are writing and hoping to act in / direct in the very near future.
DP: What are your favorite 5 podcasts?
In no particular order…
- Archive 81
- Dude Soup
- The Magnus Archives
- The Nerdynomicon
- Lizardface Radio (Sailor and I play characters on this one, so it’s obviously on my list!)
DP: Anything else you want to add?
Anthony: I am a firm believer that fear is something to be proud of and something that should be on “front street” as my good friend over at the Nerdynomicon Podcast said. I would bet it is safe to say that fear is the reason we exist as the human race, so there is no reason to be embarrassed by it. If there was no fear, our ancestors would have investigated that gutteral noise in the dark cave they passed. They may have invited that unwelcome, unrecognized guest into their homes. They may have never taken risks and found love or success out of the sheer fear of notfinding those things. Our slogan is “What scares you?” to motivate people to share with us what their deepest fears are so that we can discuss and face them together.
DP: Where can listeners find you?
Anthony: We are everywhere you can listen to a podcast or get social media updates!
Homepage – horrorfictionblog.com/irrational_fears
iTunes – https://goo.gl/51h1Ir
Soundcloud – www.soundcloud.com/irrational_fears
Twitter – @What_Scares_You
Instagram – @IrrationalFearsPodcast
Facebook – /irrationalfearspodcast
Reddit – /r/irrational_fears
Patreon – https://goo.gl/2awAt9