For awhile now, Jeff Emtman’s Here Be Monsters has been one of KCRW’s favorite podcasts. The Independent Producer Project featured Jeff’s work via UnFictional last year, and Jeff has contributed to both installments of our 24 Hour Radio Race. Starting next week, HBM is officially joining the KCRW family. We couldn’t be more excited for its fourth season to kick-off.
So … what is this thing?
Well, Here Be Monsters is unlike anything you’ve heard before. In Jeff Emtman’s stories, people find their fears and face them head-on. Listening is like taking a playful, deep dive into your curiosity. The podcast is beautifully rich in sound and full of wonder.
But Jeff could probably explain this even better, so we asked him to do just that.
How would you describe Here Be Monsters?
Here Be Monsters is a podcast about everything that my co-producer Bethany Denton and I are afraid of. The things we fear the most are the things we understand the least. We’re trying to get over our fears, and we think that the best way to do it is to face them head on. We’ve done stories on adult circumcision, psychedelic therapy, mothers who eat their placenta, a white supremacist church, a slug orgy and more.
Why did you start the show?
When I was getting close to graduating college, I had an incredible bout of insomnia–I was anxious about suddenly being thrust out into the “real world.” I was 22 years old and still afraid of everything, especially strangers. So I decided to spend the summer hitchhiking across the country. I took a camera and a recorder and headed East from my small town in Washington State. I went down to Mississippi and back. The trip taught me that most people are very kind. But it also taught me that I wasn’t alone in my fear of others–we’ve been taught to inherently mistrust. I got such a strong sense of this underlying fear that I decided to continue working on it once I returned. That’s where the podcast came from.
What did you do before you started Here Be Monsters?
I worked as the News Director of my college radio station, KUGS, for a couple of years. That’s where I met my co-producer Bethany Denton. She and I hit it off creatively and have been working together in varying capacities ever since.
After graduation, I worked a bit as a table-busser, a baker and as a kite-repairman. I eventually applied for a grant through Soundcloud, who awarded me enough money to quit my dayjob for a few months and create the first episodes of Here Be Monsters. I had no idea what I was doing. Those first episodes have an element of chaos to them that I really like.
What can we expect from the show this season?
Bethany and I have a long roster of interesting stories for Season 4 of HBM. Some topics include: converting to Satanism, failing as a mother, being stalked by wild predators, transgender youth, defecting from a cult, flesh eating beetles, talking to the voices in your head, and the hierarchy of value that we place on the lives of animals.
Starting next week you’ll be able to download and listen to the Here Be Monsters podcast at KCRW.com. HBM’s season premiere will also be featured on-air Friday, June 26th as part of KCRW’s UnFictional.
***Update*** The Show is now available here