We interview those behind the ongoing widely available podcast Cemetery Confessions on The Belfry Network and highlight its history and purpose. With each episode hosts The Count and Trae and special guests tackle deep and lengthy discussions of the goth community.
The history of the podcast
The early origins of Cemetery Confessions can be traced to a highly engaged YouTube community. The Count recalls, “Long before I started Cemetery Confessions I was running a DJ podcast, just about 11 years ago at this point in time. My passion then was DJing and I wanted to share that passion with as many people as I could. As time went on I became more and more interested in sociology and any field studying how individuals form behaviors and beliefs, and function within a broader social and environmental context. YouTube was where the really interesting conversational goth content was being produced at the time. This was back when reply videos were a function, so you had a fairly engaged community making content exploring the goth experience. In 2013, just after the birth of my son, I started making YouTube videos about culture, society, identity, community and so on.”
It was going quite well after a year, but the twenty minute video format became limiting.
“After looking for alternative dialectical mediums, the podcast was born.”
A community and knowledge-driven purpose
The goal of this podcast is aligned perfectly with the mission statement you can find on The Belfry website. Community, knowledge-venerating discussion, lifting up myriad voices in the community, all on a dynamic medium to reflect how things shift over time.
“Not all goths have a local scene, and not all goths with a local scene are social enough to form friend groups. I know what it’s like to be isolated, and to feel isolated even when surrounded by others,” The Count explains.
“I wanted to recreate that intangible tingly effervescence I felt as a baby bat standing in someones kitchen at a house party talking about literature and culture and philosophy with great music as our backdrop. At the introduction of each episode we called ourselves ‘The number 1 goth talk podcast’. This was an aspiration from the beginning, as well as a snarky joke about being the only goth talk podcast.”
To uplift other voices, different guests are invited on to each episode. This has always been the approach.
“I knew if I had something to say, so too would other goths, and I felt a curated locus for robust discourse around the identity we hold so dear was something that needed to exist outside of books, magazines and other more static and fixed mediums.”
Recognizing perennial conversations and blazing new trails
The discussion topics are as long as they need to be in order for everyone to consider things fully. The topics themselves include recurring ones like subcultural splintering and what exactly people believe goth is. It doesn’t stop there when other important topics may not see broad enough discussion elsewhere and should be addressed; episode titles such as “Goths with Disabilities”, “Is Goth Apolitical?”, and “Goths of Color: Representation, Agency, and Marginalization” accurately reflect conversations that need to be had.
“These days I think the controversial topic is more political. I always wanted the show to have a unique perspective by covering subcultural issues through the lens of academia. Online discussions are certainly relevant to the show but some of my favorite episodes are the interviews or discussions about topics no one is talking about on other platforms,” The Count explains.
An ongoing legacy of connections and hope
Is the purpose of the podcast to convince the listener of something? Not specifically, when guests have open discussions where they express eloquent disagreement while presenting a healthy variety of perspectives. What motivates the hosts to keep this going is feedback from multiple Discord and Patron members which lets them know that Cemetery Confessions has served exactly the intended purpose. That purpose is to build a wider community and help goths across borders feel included, even healed in some cases, with assistance from these discussion.
This feedback, says The Count, “[Revolves] around being isolated and lonely and finding comfort and inspiration in discovering Cemetery Confessions. I’ve heard from goths that went from not knowing anyone else in their area to vending and going out every weekend, partly because the show helped give them confidence. A number of people, both brand new baby bats and goths in their 50s, have contacted me about all the new music they’ve been turned onto because of the podcast which is also something I’m proud to have played a part in. Likely the most emotionally moving email I’ve received came from a listener who lost their child during pregnancy, and wanted to share how listening to a specific episode over and over again was helping them to deal with that loss. Hearing that Cemetery Confessions had played some part in healing through a trauma is something beyond what I ever envisioned us playing a role in, but that feedback has been incredibly humbling and engendered a sense of pride and determination to keep me pushing the quality of the show.”
Cemetery Confessions can be heard across many podcast apps including iTunes, Podbean, and The Belfry Network App, as well as on Spotify, YouTube, and The Belfry Network website. For more reading, check out our other Podcast Spotlight features.