On 12 March the Gold Coast will be hosting Australia’s first live ASMR event at HOTA with one of the world’s most popular ASMRtists, WhispersRed. This one-hour live interactive experience will see WhispersRed whisper, poke, crunch, stroke and squeeze in order to create sounds which relax and evoke a tingly, deeply calming ASMR sensation.
This unique, spine tingling event was announced as a part of HOTA’s OUT LOUD FESTIVAL and will also include an exclusive ASMR workshop on 14 March. We asked WhispersRed a few questions about the global phenomenon that is ASMR and what we can expect from this Australian first.
For our readers who are unaware, can you please describe what ASMR is and what it means to you?
ASMR stands for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response. It is a relaxing physical sensation and calming feeling in response to soft sounds, soothing nurturing actions and soft-spoken voices or whispering, due to the relaxing nature of the physical sensation and the various ways we can communicate it. ASMR for me is a mediative practice, a way to communicate kindness and a way to ease stress and anxiety in ourselves and others.
Can you briefly describe what a ‘trigger’ is and which are the most popular triggers with your fans?
A trigger is something which causes the physical sensation. Common ASMR triggers are soft speaking, watching slow movements, soft sounds made with various objects and receiving kind personal attention like a facial, either in person or virtually through a screen.
When did you make your first video and what inspired you to do so?
I first joined the ASMR community when it was quite small – albeit worldwide – due to whisper videos online. To be a part of the community was to have a YouTube account and make videos for others and use the comment section and Facebook groups to communicate and form friendships with likeminded people. I made my first video in July 2013 after running an ASMR group on Facebook for many months.
Looking back did you ever think your videos would receive millions of plays?
I didn’t expect the ASMR community on YouTube would become so big and I never thought my videos would receive so many positive comments and views. My aim was just to have a way of better communicating with others in the community and try something new.
Your videos also attract thousands of comments, what are some of the most interesting and heart warming comments that you’ve seen over the years?
When parents use the videos to have quiet time together and to soothe their child to sleep it’s wonderful to see. There are many people that use the videos to receive positive affirmation through difficult times and to know that there is a community of similar people out there with similar sensitivities to life. It’s comforting to know that something so simple as connection, nurturing and sound waves can bring so many people together and have such a big impact on our lives. In a world full of new technology, destructive events, ways to feel separate and different from others. It’s important to know that simple human connection is still an important aspect of our nature for health and wellbeing.
If you could pinpoint just a few things, what would you attribute the global success of ASMR to?
ASMR has always existed for as long as human beings have but quite simply it would be the digital age. As we now have a way to communicate it all over the world. We seem to be waking up to who we really are as sensory beings and our role as caretakers of ourselves, each other and of this planet. We’re discovering ourselves through listening and noticing how our environments make us feel. ASMR among other current movements, trends, events has a small part to play in that. More and more people of all ages are using it for their wellbeing which shows us that more people are taking responsibility for their health both mentally and physically.
Where do you draw inspiration from when making new ASMR videos in 2020?
As a technique for delivering ASMR and triggering the sensation, videos have evolved into a therapy for many. I believe that by now all of the main triggers have been discovered and explored so now it is a matter of the creator realising they have a responsibility to deliver them with purpose and intention and expand on ways to communicate them. Usually I make videos in response to my own environment, viewers comments and expand on ideas I have had in the past to deliver relaxing sounds and personal attention.
Evolving from the live experience, where would you like to see ASMR progress to in the future?
I am starting an ASMR academy to train spa professionals so that ASMR treatments can be listed alongside others on treatment menus all over the world. There will also be workshops for people who would just like to learn hands on ASMR techniques and practise for themselves and others in their lives. ASMR videos are one way to trigger the sensation but it has always existed and can be delivered in other ways offline which is how most of us have experienced it before the internet arrived and from birth.
Based on the reactions that people have to ASMR do you think that more scientific research needs to be done into the positive effects it can have on people and how we could potentially harness ASMR for health benefits, etc?
Scientific research is being done every year and growing. It takes a long time for research to be published so we see new papers coming out slowly. Yes we could have more detailed research coming out but as ASMR videos become more popular and awareness grows so will the funding. However seeing as ASMR isn’t a ‘product’ as such, is a natural occurrence and cost free in nature. Funding from the commercial sector isn’t very likely.
You have recently released your first book titled ‘Unwind Your Mind’. Tell us a little bit about it?
Unwind your mind is an explanation of what ASMR is, a history of how the videos came about and how awareness has grown, detailed information of what the triggers are including why and how they are communicated and how we can all utilise ASMR techniques very simply in our daily lives.
What are you looking forward to seeing / doing on your first visit to Australia?
Meeting the Australian ASMR community! I have had many requests over the years to visit and bring an ASMR event to Australia so I am most excited to be doing that. The beauty of the country is definitely a pull for me and I am interested to visit any sound healing centres. I also have a fellow ASMRtist and friend named Dmitri (MassageASMR) who I haven’t had the opportunity to meet face to face. One of my first stops will be to meet him and hopefully work together.
What can we expect from the live ASMR experience at HOTA on March 12?
Every live experience I have been involved in has been very special and this will be no exception. To see ASMR experiencers and their friends and family altogether in person is truly wonderful. Our intention will be to provide a calm, relaxing and sensory space for the audience to become totally present and experience sound in detail. It will be an audience / stage format, very comfortable with attention to the smallest of details, as is tradition with ASMR and how I aim to present my videos. Afterwards there will be a meet-up to give us all the opportunity to chat and share experiences.
You are also holding an exclusive workshop on March 14 at HOTA, what will people be learning with you here?
This will be a smaller even more intimate event with a larger focus on interaction from all attending. We will be experiencing an ASMR sound bath, an interactive ASMR spa both receiving and giving treatments plus other fun and relaxing activities.
ASMR Live! with WhispersRed
Session times: Thursday 12 March, 6pm – 7pm, 7.30pm – 8.30pm, followed by ASMR Meet Up at 8.30pm
Venue: Indoors at the Outdoor Stage, HOTA Home of the Arts
Tickets: $35 (on sale Tuesday 14 January, 9am)
ASMR Workshop with Emma Smith aka WhispersRed
Times: Saturday 14thMarch, 10am-12pm
Venue: Basement, HOTA Home of the Arts
Tickets $50, limited to 50 people (on sale Tuesday 14 January, 9am)