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Club Angst

When she was only 16 podcastmaker Sofie Steenhaut had her first panic attack. Anxious-depressive symptoms followed. During the pandemic she heard on the news that more and more young people are experiencing anxiety and depression symptoms. It inspired her to do something with it using the medium she loves the most: podcasting.

"I wanted to tell the world all about anxiety, and let people with symptoms of anxiety know that they are not alone. I wanted to create some kind of a club, a club that I would have loved to be a part of back when I was 16. Club Angst was born."

─ Sofie, podcast creator

How to start a club

Sofie teamed up with our golden audio duo Nicolas and Stef and creative producer Ella. After a lot of experimenting with different tones of voice they decided to incorporate meme culture to tell the story. Audio engineer Stef and Sofie worked hard find the right balance between keeping the topic light and funny, while not losing its seriousness as well. Nicolas tried to find the same balance in the music he made for the podcast.

”The overall vibe is fun, energetic and playful: Sofie is on the road, creating her club, making friends. But at the same time there is danger lurking around every corner: the panic attacks and anxiety.”

— Nicolas, composer

New members

Sofie interviewed youngsters, parents, friends, her partner and several experts in the field. She noticed how recognisable all the stories were. Pieces of her own puzzle even fell into place after hearing other people’s journey. Sofie also felt that everyone was relieved to be able to openly talk about it. At one moment Sofie asked sound engineer Stef to open up about his own experiences with anxiety in the podcast.

"At first I had doubts, but then I remembered that I learned to cope with my own symptoms by talking about them with the people around me. Talking about my anxiety in this podcast felt like I would be doing the same, but this time on a macro level. I hope it inspires people with anxiety to open up about it too."

— Stef, audio engineer

Under pressure

During the making of the podcast the team had to invent and plan so many things and then had to fit all of that in an extremely complex productional puzzle. During the process Sofie started trusting producer Ella with more editorial choices as well. They shared the ambition of making something that has an impact. And that ambition kept them from giving up.

Club angst is a vibe

Graphic designer Paulien Verheyden (first picture below!) could relate with the topic of anxiety. She told us that because the podcast hits so close to home for her, she was very happy and eager to design the artwork for Club Angst. For each of the episodes she designed a beautiful and unique tile. Each of the characters representing someone of the club. Enjoy scrolling through them below!

The club kept growing

After 6 months of hard work it was finally there: the eight episodes of Club Angst were officially released on VRT MAX & Canvas! Excellent reviews in De Standaard & De Morgen and interviews with Studio Brussel and Radio 1 followed and the podcast reached the top of the charts! Sofie received a huge amount of personal messages by people dealing with anxiety symptoms thanking her for making this podcast and to open up about this topic. They are all part of Club Angst now!

"Club Anxiety is a incredibly clever and fresh sounding piece. The sound design was skilful, fresh, rhythmic and incredibly innovative. The narrator is incredibly accessible, you feel like she is talking to you.
It brings up deep emotions that hit hard at a complex truth and make you pause, then suddenly it makes you laugh aloud."

— Prix Europa Jury

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