For whatever reason, tragic stories resonate with us. Whether it’s Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, or something more recent, we remember them. The Ends Podcast revisits these stories and retells them through great narration and sound quality.
Whether it’s about some Greek tragedy like Icarus or the Jonestown cult, host Kevin Allen has carved a popular podcast from a niche interest.
I got a chance to catch up with Kevin and discuss the podcast origins, his podcasting inspiration, and the future for The Ends. Check out our full Q&A below.
Discover Pods: How did your podcast get started?
Kevin: My podcast was born out of the ashes of another. A buddy and I had been doing the “two friends record their conversation” bit for a while. He took a job in Japan, and his new responsibilities plus the time difference put our podcast on an indefinite hiatus. I ended up with a ton of equipment, a suddenly free schedule, and a strong desire to make something inspired by Nate DiMeo’s The Memory Palace and Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History. So that’s what I started to do.
DP: It seems like you’ve run the gamut of the spectrum of podcasts, from more improvised conversations to fully scripted and thought out storylines. What have you noticed while making the shift?
Kevin: It means I spend more time writing and reading, which I’m actually very ok with. It takes more time, but the content is more “evergreen” as they say. Additionally, going from a duo to a solo act has been different. Not necessarily easier or harder. For example, it’s easy to let a deadline slip due to a difference in schedules in a team project, whereas as a solo act I have a lot more control about what work occurs. But that also means if I get sick or am otherwise indisposed, that’s game over for the podcast until I get better.
DP: Why did you choose a podcast over other mediums?
Kevin: I chose a podcast over other media because it was natural, it was where I drew my inspirations – and I had all the mics, soundproofing, and DAWs. Blogging felt too hollow and transient, and I am in no way suited for video. So podcasting it was.
DP: What’s unique about your podcast?
Kevin: Initially not much was unique, to be honest. I basically tried to mash up Hardcore History and The Memory Palace – short, prose-filled history stories focused on darker themes of finality than the latter podcast. After three more “generic” episodes, I realized I wanted to format these stories like symphonies. Four parts, with distinct emotions, telling a grand and personal story. I called the podcast The Ends both because it sounded cool and it proved to be a good constraint on what stories I could tell – other podcasts in this genre will choose a historical event that is set up to be interesting but the actual story behind it isn’t really a story. They either just end the podcast in a haze, or worse: blame the paranormal.
DP: Who would be your ideal guest to have on your podcast?
Kevin: Guests really aren’t in the cards. I mean, if I got an opportunity to sit down with like Dan Carlin or someone, I certainly wouldn’t refuse.
DP: How has the initial feedback been?
Kevin: The initial feedback’s been great. People especially have been digging the Jonestown episodes, which is validating, because I bet hard on a somewhat significant format shift.
DP: Why do your listeners keep coming back?
Kevin: The stories I tell are somewhat well known, so that familiarity reels them in. I think they keep coming back because of the grand historical arcs coupled with grounded human narratives.
DP: Are there any particular stories you’re itching to tell?
Kevin: I want to tell the story of the Altamont Free Concert one day. My first two series take place in that same time period, so I’ll need to step away from the ’60s and give that decade some room to breathe first. There are some really developed, Greek-tragedy-like stories that took place in fascist Germany and Italy, but I have no faith in my ability to tell those appropriately. Those times are seen, correctly, as too tender.
DP: What’s next?
Kevin: I plan to finish up this second four-part series about the dawn of Soviet space flight, followed by two more stories – right now, probably a story from the war in the Italian alps in 1916, followed by a story from the dying embers of the wild west in the early 1900s, but neither of those are set in stone yet. Then I’ll probably take a break, ending “season one”. After that, season two begins with four more four-part stories. Each season has a secret overarching theme, which I hope becomes clear near the end of their runs.
DP: Where do you want to take your podcast?
Kevin: I want to take The Ends in front of a live audience. I’m not sure exactly how that’d look, but my pie in the sky dream would be to commission an original composition for a four-part story and then perform that somewhere, accompanied by that piece composed specifically for that series. That would be dope.
DP: What are your favorite 5 podcasts?
- Hardcore History
- The Memory Palace
- Planet Money
- Hello, From the Magic Tavern
- Reply All
DP: Where can listeners find you?