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Funeral DJs, lightsaber ASMR, Howard the DucK

The Auralnauts (Craven Moorhaus and Zak Koonce)

A colorful illustration of Michael Tucker underneath the words "Follow Friday: Michael Tucker"
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Craven Moorhaus and Zak Koonce owe it all to Bane. Craven, an audio designer, and Koonce, a comedy writer, teamed up as the Auralnauts in 2012 to dub over scenes from The Dark Knight Rises.

"Because [Bane] had a mask on, and you could make him say whatever we wanted, so we just changed the context of everything that was happening and we turned him into this weird fitness freak," Koonce says. "And then he just raps to this audience who is clearly not expecting it, and is not into it."

Nine years later and 300,000 subscribers later, they've made dozens of videos dubbing over TV commercials, Boston Dynamics' robot tests, and many, many Star Wars movies. On today's Follow Friday, the Auralnauts talk about four great accounts they follow online: A YouTube essayist who unpacks the hidden layers of pop culture; "the most wholesome troll that exists in the world"; a dorky ASMR expert with a "connected universe" of characters; and an Instagram account that curates "so bad, it's so good" music.

You can get a fifth follow recommendation from the Auralnauts — as well as our past and future guests — when you back Follow Friday on Patreon, starting at just $1 a month.

Follow us:

- Auralnauts on YouTube
- This show is on Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok @followfridaypod
- Eric is on Twitter @heyheyesj

Theme song written by Eric Johnson, and performed by Yona Marie. Show art by Dodi Hermawan.

Thank you to our amazing patrons: Jon, Justin, and Elizabeth
Full transcript of this episode
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ERIC JOHNSON: Today, on the 25th episode of Follow Friday, we're going to talk about Batman, toxic masculinity, funeral DJs, a bad experience on OKCupid, lightsaber ASMR, Tommy Wiseau, Howard the Duck, and much more. That's in a minute with the Auralnauts from YouTube.

But first, I want to tell you about the LightningPod newsletter. This is my weekly-ish email update on the podcasting industry and what I've been working on. I am frequently talking about what's happening behind the scenes with Follow Friday, and I'm also sharing my insights on the podcasting industry. Just this week, I got kind of angry and wrote about a sleazy ad for a podcasting company that pissed me off. You can get future hot takes and not-so-hot takes for free by subscribing to the LightningPod newsletter at lightningpod.fm/newsletter.

[theme song]

ERIC: I'm Eric Johnson, welcome to Follow Friday, a podcast about who you should follow online. Every week, I talk to creative people about who they follow and why. This is a guided tour to the best people on the internet, led by your favorite writers, podcasters, comedians, and more. You can help me make Follow Friday for as little as a dollar a month at patreon.com/followfriday, or you can help us out for free by leaving a review on Apple Podcasts.

Today on the show are Craven Moorhaus and Zak Koonce, also known as the Auralnauts. They make parody videos, where they dub over existing movies and TV commercials and other things to make them weirder, funnier, and sometimes more musical. I looked for a clip to splice in here, so you could get a sense of what their videos are like, but everything just works so much better if you can see it as well as hear it, so do go check them out. I would recommend starting with their video, 'How to Make a Blockbuster Movie Trailer'.

CLIP: [Portentous music] "Have you ever wondered … about this particular thing?" [whoosh] "Because it turns out that that thing is real."

ERIC: You can find Craven and Zak on YouTube, Patreon and Twitter @auralnauts, and on Instagram @auralnautsofficial. Craven and Zak, welcome to Follow Friday!

CRAVEN MOORHAUS: Thanks so much Eric, it is great to be here.

ERIC: Thanks so much for coming on the show. Anyone who hasn't been to your channel before, they're going to see a lot of Star Wars videos when they go there. Which I think is how I first found you guys on YouTube, was some of your dubbing over Star Wars videos. So explain what you do with those movies and why so many of your parodies start there.

ZAK KOONCE: We started working together on these things because Craven had a lot of things to say about Tom Hardy's Bane voice when the original Dark Knight Rises came out. I don't know if it's because it was just so silly on its surface, or as a sound designer, he had things, but he just reached out to some friends to see who would be interested in partnering with him and just come up with some jokes. Also, to find somebody who could do the voice.

I was already brainstorming with him on jokes we could make, then I was like "I think I could maybe do the voice too, let me practice it like in the shower," where I have got a weird echo effect. And we were able to find it, and I just made some silly Bane dialogue.

Because he had a mask on, and you could make him say whatever we wanted, so we just changed the context of everything that was happening and we turned him into this weird fitness freak who was….

ERIC: He was very into was it strawberries?

CRAVEN: Yeah anywhere he could get fiber, sure.

ZAK: Strawberries, good fiber. And then he just also raps to this audience who clearly wasn't expecting it and is not into it.

BANE: [rapping] I'm Bane! Yes! That's my name! I declare martial law and you all complain! I laugh when you ask why I wear the mask. I'll explain: It's because I'm Bane! Yes! That's my name … [fades out]

ZAK: Then after that, it kind of hit way harder than we had anticipated, so then we were like, well what else can we do? And we were just trying to brainstorm some ideas and we were like well, we all love Star Wars, and it is kind of timeless, so if we wanted to just redub something else for the fun of it, that would be a good place to start.

ERIC: There's a lot of other characters with masks there, too.

CRAVEN: That was also at a time when Star Wars was sort of coming back onto the map in a bigger way than it had been for quite a while. We were just a little bit ahead of the curve on the hype that was going to be surrounding the films, and we also had some bones to pick with the Star Wars franchise. So we love it … we have a love/hate relationship with that franchise, just like anyone else, especially now that the whole film arc has been done and complete. It was a good fit for us to jump on that and just take it to whatever space we exist within.

ZAK: I think from what I remember, if I remember correctly, a lot of our jokes around the idea of what our parody was going to be based around, we started with the prequels, but I think we were talking about the whole series overall. The prequels and all of the subsequent media tends to romanticize what a Jedi in kind of almost fan-ficy ways, and a lot of the newer stuff kind of feels idealized, blindly.
When we watched the original Star Wars: A New Hope, Obi-Wan is kind of a d**k. He's like, I'm a Jedi, we're a peacekeeping force, and then he goes into a bar and immediately starts s**t with somebody and settles it very violently. He's the first one to resort to violence. This other guy was like poking at Luke and he was threatening him, but it hadn't really escalated to violence yet until Obi-Wan showed up, and just chop these dudes into pieces, and then they just went back to chilling. So we're like, everyone's wrong about what a Jedi is.

ERIC: It's a "civilized" weapon.

ZAK: Yeah, they're actually disruptive, kind of like bullies.

CRAVEN: I think it is safe to say that Zak and I both are both having Star Wars nightmares by this point.

ZAK: Yeah, we're over it. We see the fan responses to people either ruining or making the franchise better, and we are just like "Is it better? Do we need any of this at this point?" It is a little sad, and it feels a little oversaturated for us, but again we also owe everything to Star Wars footage. We enjoy it, we grew up on it, we love it, and then commenting on it has maybe jaded us as a little bit, but we have not forgotten.

ERIC: Well I'm going to make you talk a bit more about Star Wars in a second. Let's talk about who you follow online. Everyone else can follow along with us today. Every person the Auralnauts recommend will be linked in the show notes and in the transcript at followfridaypodcast.com.

Before the show, I gave you both a list of categories and I asked you to tell me four people you follow who fit in those categories. We're going to start with someone you both follow who you say "makes you think", and that's Jonathan McIntosh, who runs the YouTube channel Pop Culture Detective Agency. You can find him on Twitter, Instagram, and Patreon @popdetective. I am also a big fan of this channel. Jonathan has also done videos about Star Wars, specifically the Jedi and droids and stormtroopers. So, Craven, do you think you could explain what he does and why Pop Culture Detective videos make you think?

CRAVEN: I think in a broader sense too, just pop culture in general is our space. And I think sometimes, people do not give pop culture its due in terms of analysis of what it's trying to achieve, and what some of the goals and visions are for these television series, or films. He just does this incredible job of unpacking films, and television, covering politics and masculinity, be it toxic masculinity or other presentations of masculinity, are strong points for him. And his videos are just so rewarding and insightful and sometimes give you an unexpected perspective on what pop culture is really achieving. Like Zak said, I think the first one that we saw was his analysis of The Last Jedi, and that was really interesting to us because that film, specifically, is so polarizing to Star Wars fans. It was interesting to hear his take on it and break it down in a way that I know I hadn't considered before. His analysis sort of elevates pop culture to me, personally.

ERIC: It's been a while since I saw his Last Jedi video, is that the one where he's talking about why the Jedi shouldn't exist?

ZAK: He followed up with that one, but then I think to start his thesis, it was about why … a pop culture explanation behind why the people that did not like the movie didn't like it. People use the term "subverted expectations" now almost mockingly, but it is just storytelling. Like if you don't subvert expectations, then your story is predictable and then it's not enjoyable, but they're saying it as if it's this poisoned well now.

But it subverted, though, on such a huge level, in a way that was extremely impressive to us, but it just messed with people's brains in a way that they definitely weren't prepared for. It was showing that it was still a hero's journey, but it was just not the cookie-cutter hero's journey that we have all grown up with, and our muscle memory was built around. It was a hero's journey where the heroes needed to be humiliated a little bit before they could actually grow into better people, and in this film in particular, that all came at the behest of female characters.

And people were like … that is just not how pop culture presents itself. Female characters are always either something to be obtained or something to be overcome. To show that they were wrong, and everyone was helping each other, to uplift each other, and people just were so upset by that.

I remember Craven and I went and saw the movie and we came out of it being, "Oh my God, I can't believe they did this, this is like the best change in direction for a Star Wars film we've ever seen." And then we could hear how badly people were reacting, we were genuinely shocked and confused.

ERIC: Me, too.

ZAK: So then we started reading what people… I was like oh, this is bad, these thoughts that people have are incoherent, it's just angry ranting, they're not even sure how to say what they're thinking. And maybe that what they're thinking doesn't even make sense; it was strange. If somebody just doesn't like something, that's fine, but I was having a hard time figuring out why people didn't like it other than just like "boys rule, chicks drool." You know, that seems to be what it came down to, but the Pop Culture Detective puts those things into words so much better than any of us can.

CRAVEN: Well he does it in a way, too, that locks in the idea in a way that's sort of undeniable. Film analysis is ubiquitous on YouTube, like everybody has a …

ERIC: A take on The Last Jedi.

CRAVEN: Yeah, and a lot of them are just rants and raves for two hours straight, just listing things they don't like, and that's not an analysis, you know? His take on it, as Zak eloquently described, the idea that these female characters take on a very different type of role in the film than are typical of so many female characters in the industry. But the way it's presented is so brilliant, it's the idea that you have three male protagonists and they each have a clear female protagonist that are teaching them something over the course of the film, as they fail, and that's brilliant and undeniable, too.

The way he lays out his case is completely rock solid to the point where that's what makes a good analysis a good analysis. That, to me, is like the main takeaway with his work is that he's getting through to the real meat of the thing and delivering these pieces that they get you thinking, and they forever change the way you perceive that thing. I do not know, I find it amazing.

ERIC: So the way he talks about pop culture, does that affect the way you watch everything? Like, are you applying the tropes he's talking about in The Last Jedi video to other stuff as well, has it affected the way you watch things?

ZAK: For me, it doesn't really affect the way I watch things. What I find he does is putting things into words that I've had trouble putting into words; like, ways I've already felt. It is one of the reasons why I put him for us to be inspired because it makes me like "Oh, I'm not the only one, I am not crazy, I'm not the only one that feels this way about the media that I consume."

Some decisions that are polarizing are important decisions that I think history will look back on as big, important moments. He presents us with ways to say something to someone that disagrees with us, like he provides us with a script, almost, that is just a better script that I could come up with. Because we're in our emotions when we have these conversations, we try not to but it just happens.

Emotions get involved, they get hot, they get heated, and then you've got two people who are failing to make any sense at each other. We're suppressive-firing each other, no accuracy. At least he gives me a little bit more accuracy when I talk about these things with people.

ERIC: The one I have referred to the most is WALL-E as Sociological Storytelling, I don't know if you remember that one, but I highly recommend that one because it really is a very elegant metaphor. He really reads WALL-E as an elegant metaphor for the idea that in situations where there is oppression happening, if you just do nothing, you're taking the side of the oppressors, right? And he connects this very heavy political idea to the Pixar movie in such a beautiful way.

CRAVEN: The other thing, too, is that when we're overdubbing something, we're also trying to bring our own perspectives on those things, those same topics to some level. In a way, it helps us to take the same approach when we're trying to overdub something and bring an extra layer to it of context that we feel is important. We're trying to share it our own ideals through our overdubs, even though it's done this comedic way or silly way.

Just for example, in the way that we present Anakin, we feel over the course of the series, kind of aligns more with how he should have been perceived, which is very dangerous, scary, masculine individual, [as] opposed to somebody that makes you just fall in love with instantly. He is not the kind of man that a woman, you would think, would fall in love with it. He's weird, manipulative, super toxic. He's a murderer, but it's like this love story. So in a sense where we're trying to also inject our own ideas, not to the point where it topples over into preachiness or something like that. But Pop Culture Detective also helps to think on that level as well, when we're working on our own pieces.

ERIC: Well that was Jonathan McIntosh, you can find him on YouTube at Pop Culture Detective Agency.

Craven, let's move on to someone you said "makes you laugh", and that's Michael Cunningham, also known as Sir Michael, who is on Twitter @Michael1979. Michael is the author of a book called How to (Almost) Make Friends on the Internet. Do you want to explain what he does that prevents him from actually making friends?

CRAVEN: Michael is probably the most wholesome troll that exists in the world, he is extremely trollsome. And it's kind of hard to wrap my head around what it is that tickles me about his work so much, but I think it's something about the intersection of how he interacts with the real world and then follows up with people in this digital way.

He's always putting up flyers and sort of baiting people with these very innocuous things in the world, and then they will take the phone number off his flyer and text to him. The way that he lines up his gags, he's the kind of person that you might think that he's a real person doing and acting the way that he is except that he posts his comedy online, and that's sort of the giveaway that he is a comedian.

But he comes off as this innocuous dolt that takes people down a path when they start interacting with them. And the joke is in how long it takes that person to finally catch up to the idea that he is messing around with them or that he's insane. The punchline just is always this perfected piece of comedy. I have to imagine he is just a genius, but it's always so harmless, too, in the way that he is working with people.

So to me, my philosophy is that the world isn't quite interesting enough, just as it is in general, and I always appreciate a bit of absurdity, kind of catching you unaware, and I think he's giving that to people. It's almost like a gift because people just get into this sort of doldrum of life.

Some of my favorite moments are when I read something and it makes me laugh, because of how absurd it is, and then the greatest disappointment is when I realized that I've misread that thing, and it actually says something really boring or lame. I love absurdity, I love things being twisted in a way that's wholesome and ridiculous.

So everything he does, whether it be these flyers that catch people and get them interacting with him where he takes them down these forking paths. He seems to have an answer for everybody. When they're responding to him, he seems to have some way of understanding where the conversation is going to go and a joke everywhere along the road, to get to his final destination.

ERIC: That's the thing, it seems maybe he has a final punchline in mind, but the way he gets there, it's not like he delivers the punchline right after the first person responds. It's a little bit of baiting them along a pathway to where he wants them to go, it's very impressive.

CRAVEN: It's incredible how he does that, he's incredibly deft with how he achieves that. Then he does something else that I love so much: After he has his punchline, there's always like another joke right behind it.

And I've seen him do that so many times, I just figure it's part of his strategy. And that includes something as simple as, he tells his punchline in a chat space, and he'll include in the image the little bit after that. that says "You've been removed from this chat." And he's done things like that so often and he always buttons things up with an additional joke, and that I just love so much.

ZAK: The best example of that was when — you referred to me, of course — which is probably his most popular post, the funeral DJ bit.

ERIC: I haven't seen this one, what happens in the funeral DJ bit?

ZAK: He offers his funeral DJ skills, and he's like "I will play tasteful music, everyone will feel good." And he makes a really bad taste, but good case for being a funeral DJ. He's like "I'll bring turntable decks, which I will have soon." But then after this, he's like "My mixtape is attached," there's a physical tape taped of things, and he's like "Please bring it back, it's my only copy."

And then right below that, almost out of frame, is a second post on a bulletin board that says "Need DJ turntables my new funeral DJ gig." So the whole punchline has been laid out in this post, there's this little subtle one in the corner of the frame, just barely, almost out of the shot.

ERIC: That's great. I want to do a little staged reading for one of Michael's Facebook exchanges. I sent you guys the link for this one. So this is a Facebook post in a group, looks like a local community group, and Craven, I'm going to have you play Michael, and Zak you will play Zeke, who has one of the unsuspecting marks in this.

This starts with a woman named Cindy who posted in this community group, "Has anyone here met their partner through an online dating site and not Tinder, etc., actual dating?" And so the initial response is from someone named Laura who says yes, she met her partner Charlie. They'd been in a relationship for two years. "Happy to answer any questions about it." So then, enter Michael.

CRAVEN: "But it's not always a positive experience. Greg, who's the manager of the hardware shop where my uncle works was telling me recently about a bad experience he had on OkCupid, and he definitely wouldn't recommend it."

ZAK: "Well if Greg from hardware says it is bad, it must be bad. Greg's word is gospel, don'tcha know?"

CRAVEN: Then Michael responds, "Zeke, not sure why you felt the need to join in this conversation with an unhelpful comment, but I don't appreciate you making fun of Greg. He's been through a lot in his life. So being made fun of online is the last thing he needs."

ZAK: "Please tell me how I was making fun of hum, I do not know who he is or what his life is, I was joking about the way you spoke about him, like everyone knows who Greg is and go by what he said."

CRAVEN: And then Michael explains who Greg is. "Greg is the manager of a hardware shop and he had a very bad experience on OkCupid, I mentioned that in my posts."

ZAK: "Yes you did, but it had no meaning because nobody knows who Greg is or what the hardware shop is or what his experience was."

CRAVEN: "His experience was that he had worked in various hardware shops for several years beforehand, so he was actually very well qualified for the job, if that's what you're worried about."

ZAK: "His experience on OkCupid, not his work experience," (Laugh and cry emoji three times).

CRAVEN: "Oh, OK, sorry. I misunderstood what you meant."

ZAK: "No worries, I'm laughing here." (Laugh emoji).

CRAVEN: "Laughing at Greg?"

ZAK: "No, of course not."

ERIC: And then a new character, Sadie, enters: "What's the bad experience you had on OkCupid?"

CRAVEN: "Not me, Greg, he had a very unfortunate experience a few days after he joined OkCupid and it still affects him now."

ERIC: "Can you say what it was?"

CRAVEN: "He forgot his password to the site, and he hasn't been able to log in since."

ZAK: (Thumbs down emoji.)

ERIC: Oh my God. I'm so impressed, he clearly knew what the bad experiences was going to be, but it's just such a maze to get there, that's brilliant. Yeah, so to your initial thing, what you were initially saying about him, Craven, I think you called them like the nicest internet troll. I think in my mind, trolls are kind of in that same category as pranksters where a lot of it is like making someone else the fool, making someone else feel bad or embarrassed or whatever. And I think what really works about Michael's comedy is, a lot of it he's playing the character who…

CRAVEN: He is the fool.

ERIC: Yeah exactly, he's the fool. As you said, among people who do this sort of trolling online, this really seems to be the best form of it possible.

CRAVEN: Absolutely.

ZAK: I saw an interview with Johnny Knoxville recently, and he was talking about what he thinks what he make them different from the current crop of pranksters and physical comedy, like trolls like that.

ERIC: What makes Jackass different?

ZAK: Yeah, and he goes "Because we were just messing with each other." None of our antics ever involved anyone else in a way that made them look dumb or put them in danger. Anytime there was a public stunt, it was just them making fools of themselves around other people and making them feel awkward about it. It's so mean-spirited out there right now, just to get the clicks.

CRAVEN: Yeah, I feel like we all need a little bit more Sir Michael in our lives.

ZAK: Yeah, Sir Michael is the one.

ERIC: Absolutely. Well, that was Michael Cunningham or Sir Michael, who is on Twitter @Michael1979. We're going to take a quick break now, but we'll be back in a minute with the Auralnauts, Craven Moorhaus and Zak Koonce.

Today's show is brought to you by Follow Friday on Patreon. If you like this podcast, then supporting it on Patreon is one of the best ways to let us know. Here's how it works: First, you choose how much you want to donate every month — it could be as little as one dollar, or more if you can spare the change and you're feeling generous. Then, you'll get bonus minisodes every week with extra follow recommendations from our guests. Here's a clip from last week's bonus episode with Freddie Wong.

FREDDIE WONG: "Let me tell you right now, if you want to improve your Twitter timeline forever, follow Alex. Follow illustrators because what you get instead of just terrible, stupid hot takes, from idiots, what you get instead of that is you get art on your timeline."

ERIC: To hear the rest of that minisode and another one with the Auralnauts coming later today, head on over to patreon.com/followfriday. That's patreon.com/followfriday.

Welcome back to Follow Friday. Zak, I asked you to tell me about "someone you're embarrassed to admit you follow", and you said Fred's Voice ASMR, and he's on YouTube, Twitter and Patreon @fredsvoice. He's also on Instagram @fredsvoiceasmr. I suspect a lot of people already know what ASMR is, but why don't you start by sort of explaining the concept of it and then why you follow Fred's channel, specifically?

ZAK: ASMR is, I think it's called like Auditory Sensory Meridian Response, or something like

ERIC: Yeah, Autonomous Sensory…

ZAK: Yeah, Autonomous. So it's brain tingles is the layman's term people use, and it's something that I've experienced my whole life, and apparently either you do, or you don't, there's no real in between.

I remember being a kid going to like the dentist or the doctor's office and being like, this should be miserable, but for some reason I enjoy it and I can't explain why, and it's just personal attention. You're just being the center of attention, and it's also involving somebody performing a complicated task as part of that.

So you've got a whole industry now of people who provide like simulations of this in order to evoke that response that makes you feel good. Like for me, it helps me go to sleep, it calms your brain down, it makes you relaxed, and then I pass out with my laptop still open, running these videos. It's very, in appearance, similar to porn. When you have it open and someone else walks in the room, you have some explaining to do.

For me … Fred's got a great voice. His name's Fred's Voice, you'd better damn well have a good voice, but it's just his cadence. When he speaks, he knows exactly what he's doing. He's honed it, he's been doing it for a really long time, and he's refined not only his sound, but also his characters. He has like a whole connected universe of these characters, some of them are a**holes, it's really funny. He's got a lot of great comic timing and just improv and themes and they all just work for me.

Like if he puts a new video out, I'm like, oh cool, I'll be able to sleep like a baby tonight because this man is talking me to sleep. So if you walked into the room and if I was just in bed watching Fred's Voice as a guy looking at the camera in a costume, there's a moment of embarrassment where I have to explain to you that everything's fine. I'm not going to be on some kind of list because of this.
But I feel there's a lot of people trying to get in on this because it looks like easy money, and what I've learned from bad ASMR is that it's not for everybody. You actually have to have some talent to be good at it, to know what people are looking for, to be able to execute that with some level of craft and acting talent, improv talent, just pure setup and scripting. There's a lot going on there that not everyone's going to be able to do, and he does it very well.

I have a few that I follow, but in general, there are not many people that if I see a new release, I'll click it, no questions asked.

ERIC: And he's one of them?

ZAK: Yeah, and he's a huge nerd too. He looks like budget Thor, like a lot of people say that to him, he knows that, he's like this big dude, but he's also like this giant dork. He's like way into Star Wars, he'll have videos that's like "Me putting together an X-Wing from Legos," you know.

ERIC: Oh, interesting. So it's in the clicking of the bricks coming together or just things like that.

ZAK: Yeah, just him performing a task, for some people that's just all they need, just watching someone doing something quietly, without being a creep about it.

ERIC: So you're not just listening to the audio of him doing something, but you're watching whatever the visual component of each of his videos is, and that helps you as well?

ZAK: Yeah absolutely. For instance if he does like a barbershop thing, it's like moving the scissors, yeah, it's a whole package, and explaining it to somebody who just will not have a responsiveness, just won't help at all.

ERIC: Yeah, you have it or you don't, right.

ZAK: We've actually made an ASMR video on our channel, it was Kylo Ren ASMR, and it's like making fun of it, but not in a real…People that like ASMR goes "This is legit ASMR," so it's still a comedy video. He's doing Kylo Ren stuff, he's like asking you where the map is, but like on both sides of your ears.

CRAVEN: He's sort of hitting you with attention. It's the same idea of getting you with attention, but his goal is to find out where the map is, so he keeps probing with his powers and with whatever he's doing while he's giving you all of this attention.

ZAK: He shaves you, he gives you a shave at one point, a lightsaber shave, but with like shaving cream.

ERIC: Oh, my God.

ZAK: Because you got to shake up the cream, that liquid part is part of those responses, one of those triggers.

KYLO REN: "This won't be a typical shave. I have something else in mind. But don't worry. When I'm finished, you're really going to turn some heads. This is going to be the closest shave you've ever had. [lightsaber ignites] DO. NOT. MOVE. [shaving sounds] That's it. Thaaaat's it. You're doing fine. [lightsaber noises and shaving sounds]. Just a little more along the jawline. And now the other side. [lightsaber noises] I'm giving you a really nice shave-up. How do you feel about goatees?"

ERIC: So Craven, do you also like ASMR videos? Do you also get this response?

CRAVEN: I do not get the brain tingles, but I have my own set of odd ideas on consciousness, so I get it, I understand it and sometimes I really want to have the brain tingles, like I would love to experience it, just so I can see. I'm all about a cerebral experience, but I don't get them, it's like a part that's missing from my brain, I guess. The chemistry is just not there.

ZAK: There are a genre of ASMR videos that are called "Fixing your tingles" or something like that, where they're like, "We're going to break you. If you don't have ASMR response, this video is going to do it for you." Ironically I've never watched one because well that's not me.

ERIC: Yeah, you don't need that.

CRAVEN: Do you remember there was a phase where they were binaural videos that claimed to give people a sort of super weird drug high? And there were clips of people listening to these audios and then bouncing around their room, just losing their minds?

ERIC: Binaural is where you have a microphone where it's best to simulate the human ear, right? Or where the human ear is, like it's supposed to be like 3D sound?

CRAVEN: Well there's that type of binaural, but then there's also binaural audio frequencies that are slightly different frequencies in your left and right ear that are straightforward tones. And by changing the frequencies in your left or right ear, the idea is that by connecting them together in the center, as your mind is processing them, they can directly affect your brain chemistry. And by doing different hertz levels, supposedly give you a different type of response, but I never got anything from those either. So something about the way I'm hearing sound is not directly … which is funny, because I'm like such an audio guy.

ERIC: That's what I was going to say it's because both of you are audio designers, you both work so much in sound, I was wondering if maybe both of you would have the same set of reactions to these videos.

ZAK: Well, here's the funny thing, I am not an audio designer by trade, that's Craven's background, I'm more of just a comedy writer. I've picked up some tricks and knowledge by working with him for so long, but yeah I'm totally … a total dumbass when it comes to that kind of thing. So maybe that ignorance is what helps me have the tingles, I don't know. He knows too much, he won't be fooled.

ERIC: So you mentioned all the characters there that Fred's Voice ASMR does, is that typical for like the really best ASMR creators? Are they this creative, where they're doing all these different characters? Because I was looking at the comments or one of his videos, and he has like a ton of followers, tons of fans, and they were referring to characters from other videos, like showing up and wanting them to show up, like cross over into this video.

ZAK: I don't know how important it actually is for like a creator, but for him, it's become part of his identity, is that he will present a new character, it will fit into this world that he's built somehow.
If it's like "rude something," like "rude hairstylist" or "rude iPhone repair center…" It's always like, he's built this area of town where all the shops are run by rude a**holes and they all know each other, and they've all heard about you.

They're like, "Oh, I've heard about you. You're the ragamuffin that comes into the suit shop, who isn't really high class," it's like he's negging you. For some people, that probably is a little bit of a turn on I would imagine. Even though I say these things aren't supposed to be pornographic, being negged by this hot dude is probably doing something for somebody, but to me it's just funny, and the things that happen and accompany that are what I'm there for.

And he always has like a character built around whatever the trigger of that video is. Like, if it's a barber, it's going to be the sounds of like the metal scissors and the water bottle shaking, and if it's iPhone repair guy, it's going to be the sprays, you know? So it's like what character can I do to frame this scenario, this excuse to make these sounds.

ERIC: That's fascinating, and like I said, I'm not in this world, but just watching a bit of his videos, I just find this completely fascinating stuff, so that's a great follow recommendation.

ZAK: We had a brush with him. I feel bad, where it's like ships in the night. He left a comment on our Kylo Ren ASMR video, and he was like, "I'm a huge fan, I love you guys' music, this is amazing." But I lose track of comments on videos after they kind of age out, and I noticed the comment three years after he made it.

So it was like, "Oh we dissed Fred!" And then I reached out to him because we have a character in mind, his voice is great for it, let's collaborate with him, and he never wrote back. So I was like maybe he was what's the word? Chagrined, is that how you say? Gave him the grin, the chagrin. Yeah so maybe he was like "F these guys man, they dissed me on that Kylo Ren comment," I tried to give him some props with my verified…

CRAVEN: Well maybe this is our chance to cross the aisle.

ZAK: I'll make amends with Fred, yeah.

ERIC: Absolutely. Well that was Fred's Voice ASMR, who's on YouTube at FredsVoice. We have time for one more follow today. Craven, I asked you for "someone you have a love/hate relationship with," and you said Catatonic Youths. They're on Twitter and Instagram @catatonicyouths. I am not even sure if I understand what this account is doing, so maybe you can enlighten me.

CRAVEN: Well I don't know if you're going to have much luck there because I'm not exactly sure what they're doing, either, but it is a destination for me, I won't lie about that. I love Catatonic Youths.

It's really a curation of music of independent artists, and it's a mix of good and bad music, probably more bad than, than good. But it's the so bad, it's so good type. And in terms of the love/hate, why I love and hate it so much, it's sort of like how everybody has a love, hate relationship with Tommy Wiseau and The Room. There's something about it that cuts through and it's bad, but there's also something that's sort of untouchable there, and this site basically just is musical act after musical act that touches that magical space.

What fascinates me as a musician and producer myself, is a lot of the featured bands on the site are really excellent musicians, but they're like approaching their music a little bit too far in a certain direction. Like maybe they're missing a certain mark somewhere, and it's just some really mind-blowing ponderous stuff sometimes. I don't know how to explain it.

ERIC: They're checking a box in a way, they are creating something where it's like this is what a music video is supposed to look like, or this is what this genre of sound is supposed to sound like. Am I getting it, they are …?

CRAVEN: They sort of do that, but I think a lot of the musicians on there are doing that. In their attempt to emulate something they're kind of going too far in that direction until it becomes almost like self-parody. But I get the impression on everyone that's curated part of the curation process is that the bands are sincere, so that's always another thing. Like going back to Tommy Wiseau, the idea of his sincerity being there is an important factor in what makes him who he is, right?

ERIC: Right.

CRAVEN: Sometimes I feel like to push the needle in music or any other artistic space, you need to just give your all, you really need to push as far as you can as an individual, without shame. That's another factor here is that I really get that impression from as part of their curation process that they're choosing artists there that the one thing that they refuse to do is they may be a really good or really bad, but they're not going to be mediocre.

Mediocrity is like the death of all things. So, that's why I love it and hate it. I'm inspired by what these artists are doing that I've found there. I've actually looked up a lot of the artists that are featured on the site and they're all truly doing their own thing in their own way, and I just love that.

So sometimes I'm like laughing at what I'm seeing or what I'm hearing, sometimes it's so insane what some of these artists are doing. But other times I'm just truly impressed, and that's a good takeaway for me as an artist. As a musician, sometimes when we're approaching something in terms of production, I just want to push the envelope and I want to put something outside of just the space that's comfortable and push us a little bit further. So that's the sort of big takeaway from it.

ERIC: I think the Tommy Wiseau analogy really unlocked this for me. I mean I literally have a signed The Room poster out in my living room here. I'm a big fan of that, I've seen that too many times. I think the thing is there are so many mediocre movies that come out every year that are completely forgotten, but what has made The Room and Tommy Wiseau so famous — literally globally famous — is I think just like you were saying the sincerity, the effort. You can really see that at some point, maybe not anymore, but at some point, there was the intention to make an Oscar-worthy movie here. It just kind of went awry, many, many steps along the way.

CRAVEN: Right, and like you said you have a signed poster, that says it all, that's amazing. I also have watched it too many times and sometimes it's difficult for me to explain to people why I have watched it so many times, you know? I kind of feel like we need more of that in the world, you know, sincere offerings that just go so far off-map that they are actually moving the needle and that's kind of refreshing to me.

ERIC: Yeah, last year I watched Howard the Duck for the first time, the George Lucas-produced movie from the 80s.

ZAK: Oh, boy. Yeah.

ERIC: And people often group that with The Room, it shows up in a lot of lists, "Worst movies ever," it gets a lot of hate online. And I think there's kind of a similar thing there, where it's not very good, but there's so much effort, and craft, so much of an attempt that went into that movie. I liked it more than a lot of even some of the more middling Marvel movies where it just feels like they're kind of paint by numbers, right? Where it doesn't feel like there was actually as much effort that went into it. I do respect and admire anyone who's doing something creative where they are trying to do something different, even if they miss the mark.

ZAK: I felt attacked when it came out that Howard the Duck was a bad movie because I watched it a lot as a kid, and I was like, this is a fun, goofy, sci-fi movie. And there was like "That's one of the worst movies ever made." I was like, "Excuse me? Did you not see the stop motion animated scorpion space death lord, that was the guy from Ferris Bueller?"

ERIC: Yeah, he like morphs into this wild monster.

ZAK: It's a slow horrifying morph into that creature as he was like coming apart, kind of like Vincent D'Onofrio for Men in Black, but that was the original version of that. He was sucking energy out of like cigarette lighters in the truck and it was gross.

The movie crossed a lot of weird lines — visually, sexually, it was kind of raunchy, but it was clearly still a kid's movie, and I love all of that for it. I think the best example, and I'm never going to shut up about it, of inspired-bad, that moves the needle, and just mediocre-bad that doesn't do shit is the Mortal Kombat movie franchise.

ERIC: I've not dipped into any of that … where should I start with Mortal Kombat movies, what's your recommendation?

ZAK: The original Mortal Kombat movie, that's the only one you need to watch because it was made by a guy who really tried to make an awesome Mortal Kombat movie, and it's so bad for so many great reasons. And then they tried to make a new one that was just awesome, but tried to own the badness when it was trying to own it, and it just didn't do any of it well. And it's mediocre, it's mediocre at best, and I think that one is going to go away in a way that the original will not.

ERIC: Well for the musical version of what we're talking about, that's Catatonic Youths, they're on Twitter and Instagram @catatonicyouths.

I want to thank the Auralnauts for coming on the show and sharing their follows today. Before we go, let's make sure the listeners know where to find both of you guys online. So Craven and Zak, where do you want them to follow you?

ZAK: I think just straight to the YouTube channel is probably the most helpful. Auralnauts, over on YouTube. My suggestion is always to just sort by "most popular" and just go from there and it'll all start to connect together eventually.

ERIC: Eventually, you will get to the "Kylo Ren reacts" videos, and here you will lose an entire evening as I once to just watching all of those.

ZAK: He's got a whole cottage industry over there, react videos.

ERIC: Best of vlogger on YouTube in my book. Well, follow me on Twitter @heyheyesj and this show on Twitter, Instagram and TikTok at @followfridaypod. Follow Friday's theme music was written by me and performed by Yona Marie. Our show art was illustrated by Dodi Hermawan. That's all for this week, this is Eric Johnson reminding you to talk about people behind their backs, and when you do say something nice, see you next Friday.

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ERIC: The episode is over, but there is more Auralnauts coming to you later today when you back Follow Friday on Patreon. Go to patreon.com/followfriday and back us at any level, starting at just one dollar a month. You'll get bonus minisodes every week, including an exclusive fifth recommendation from this week's guests, the Auralnauts. That's patreon.com/followfriday. Check it out! And thank you.

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