On February 7, 2016, Emma from WhispersRed ASMR put on a live ASMR session in London. After a relaxing trip in Portugal, Emma has now answered our questions about the event!
Could you tell us about the event?
I was contacted by Thomas Grogan, an artist studying at the Royal College of Art in London. He had been given the opportunity to be involved in the Changing Minds festival to be held at the Southbank Centre. A prestigious venue and a very worthwhile subject matter. However recently he had discovered ASMR videos and was fascinated by the concept of therapeutic use of sound and the whole phenomena of ASMR culture. He wanted to use his opportunity wisely and thought of putting on a live ASMR experience. Exploring ASMR in a live setting is something I have been dreaming of ever since I began making videos so I was overjoyed to hear from him.
What kind of ASMR did you perform?
Well in my fantasy world I see a cozy setting with beautiful acoustics. Dim lighting, aromatherapy, tingly textures and the most advanced sound system. We had a room next to a busy restaurant in the midst if a hectic festival, right by a tourist hotspot on the river Thames. Excited and smiling we went ahead and fashioned what we could within our limits. The ‘performance’ and its structure was based around the environment. We decided to incorporate the building into a guided visualisation using sounds from objects in the vicinity. A chance for the audience to be present at the event without walking around in a crowd but sat comfortably shut in a room with me, wrapped in headphones focusing on every aspect of a specific sound.
How many people were there?
The festival ran for two days which was great for me to use the first day as a practise and to iron out any technical issues. The first audience consisted of Thomas’ fellow students and people visiting the festival. The second day’s audience were ASMR viewers. We had connections for only 18 pairs of headphones and all were taken up on both days, we even had extra on the second day so had to improvise with the sound!
What were your initial thoughts about doing live ASMR?
For me it’s all about community and fellowship. The focus isn’t to try to induce tingles but be there in the presence of the viewer. The ASMR community is so fortunate in that we have been able to find each other via use of the internet, it’s amazing to communicate with people from all over the world and more so to have so much in common. However I think it’s important to remember how to communicate face to face and experience the energy of another person. Being in the presence of a person brings so much more to a relationship and for the ASMR content creator to spend time in person with the community is something all together different. I see live ASMR as an additional event and a way to bring the community together. If tingles are experienced then great, however it’s not the main focus. There is something very unique about the video experience which could never be emulated live and visa versa.
How did you feel right before the show?
Right before we began I could see everyone through the glass door waiting to come in. It was overwhelming to know that people had actually taken the time to travel to the event. I was a big mess of excited and nervous. So I did what I always do in such situations, I threw myself head on into it and broke the ice by meeting everyone at the door. Seeing their smiling faces and feeling reassuring hugs made it all better.
What was going through your head during the performance?
It was amazing, absolutely amazing. Right at the start I was filled with nerves but as soon as I went on into the sounds and lowered my pace and volume I calmed down and felt so comfortable. I loved every minute and could have carried on for hours.
How did the crowd react? Did they have any questions?
Some closed their eyes and some kept them open. They all looked very comfortable and relaxed, it was a lovely sight. At the end we had a Q&A session but we were unable to record it properly for the YouTube video. We had no microphones for the audience and also I felt it was a bit much to ask them to talk on the video. I wouldn’t want to make anyone feel uncomfortable or exposed. It’s hard enough to raise your hand to speak in the first place. The questions however sparked a good chat and we talked about what it’s like to try ASMR live, about the community as a whole. There were some interesting questions about me and the channel too. The overall feedback I received from the session was ‘amazing’, ‘very relaxing’, ‘I liked the sounds’, ‘it didn’t bother me about the background noise, it fell to the distance’. All positive and kind things.
How would you say the general response was in person as well as online?
The general response was awesome. I am very thoughtful about how precious ASMR is to much of the community so I made sure to explain myself during the session and before the video. It was important to me to make sure I explained how I see the live aspect of ASMR and that I’m not trying to make it a huge tingle experience over the videos but that it’s a nice thing to do in addition and for the community benefits.
If you could do it again, what would you do differently?
Given the opportunity we had and the circumstances it came to us I wouldn’t have done anything differently. However it was a great learning experience for me and confirmed some of the ideas I have had in the past. It also confirmed to me that the concept is definitely worth exploring further.
Do you believe that in-person ASMR will become more common in the future?
I do, if done right it can be an awesome experience. Something fun in addition to the videos.
Do you have an opinion either way on the debate of whether ASMR should be private or public?
Personally I think there is room for it to be both. Videos are best enjoyed in a secluded setting and are a very personal experience. However the live and in person aspect is great for those wishing to attend a fun event and meet others who enjoy the same things. I also feel that as ASMR is so therapeutic it would be a shame if those benefits were not shared with anyone in the world who can experience them. The universe is big and we are all part of it. Nothing should exclusively belong to any small group and part of ASMR is about caring and sharing, life is too short to miss out on such a wonderful experience.
You can watch Emma’s live performance below!