How I Podcast: In conversation with Lauren Abedini of “SHE/HER/THEY with KITTENS”

August 17, 2021
We’re talking with podcasters from all walks of life about their creative process and why audio is one of the coolest ways to tell a story.

You might’ve surmised by the show title that its host and creator, Lauren Abedini (aka KITTENS), is a cat person—or as she puts it, someone who “loves cats a bit too much.” [Ed. note: That’s not possible.] But that, of course, merely paws at the surface of “SHE/HER/THEY.”

 

“I’m half Persian and full gay,” says KITTENS, whose podcast features conversations with people who transcend identity expectations. “The main focus starting off was to chat with LGBTQ+ women, femme, and nonbinary musicians/artists—and it’s expanded to include guests who are entrepreneurs, creatives across all media, actors, or just trailblazers in their respective professions.” 

 

We caught up with the DJ and producer about recording her show via Zoom, her social media-promotion strategy, why Ashley Graham’s “Pretty Big Deal” inspires her, and much more!

What motivated you to start a podcast?

It all started with a playlist I actually made on Spotify. I knew so many LGTBQ+ women and gender-variant artists that were doing amazing stuff, and [I] felt like there should be a dedicated space for them to be highlighted or discovered. The playlist got such a great response and got me thinking, “I know so many of the artists on this playlist and I’m one myself…wouldn’t it be cool to record some conversations between us all highlighting our journeys with identity, life, and creativity? Maybe that’ll inspire some people.” So basically after that I just texted a bunch of my friends to ask if they’d be down to be guests and we went from there!

What's your show's format and how did you decide on it?

It was important for me to have audio as well as video for this since I wanted to make sure people who don’t understand English as well or are hard of hearing felt like they could fully engage and feel the energy between my guests and I. Conversationally, I knew I wanted to hit a few specific topics with each guest but not have redundant or rigid interview vibes—so I have a handful of questions that each one gets asked, but for the most part, I try to let the conversation flow organically.

What's your recording setup?

For season 1, I did all my recording at once, remotely through Zoom, without checking the quality of sound and video after—rookie mistake!—and it turned out subpar, so I really had to go into repair mode to make what I did have feel a bit cleaner. Now that I’m working on new episodes, I’ve upgraded my situation and learned from mistakes. Everything’s still remote—which I prefer, honestly…so much easier to schedule and prep—so I have my equipment at home in my music studio. I’ve got a Canon G7x hooked up to my computer via Camlink so the visuals are crispy; a nice little mic that I’m able to record backup audio from into Ableton; and AirPod Pros so I can hear my guest without having intense over-ear headphones on.

How do you promote your podcast?

Across all the social media platforms. Instagram Reels and TikTok have been amazing for sharing promo clips from episodes. Twitter is great because I can get people to submit questions for future guests or get their input on who else they’d like to see. Also I’m grateful all my guests have been sharing on their socials as well.

What's one thing you wish you knew about podcasting before you started?

I wish I knew a bit more about recording audio/video before I started season 1. It was in the beginning of the pandemic and I thought I could just hit ‘record’ on Zoom calls. I didn’t use headphones so there was a lot of audio bleed, and the room I was in gave so much reverb. Thankfully, I knew about this program from iZotope called RX 8 that’s used for audio repair by a bunch of my musician friends—so that really helped me salvage the funkier audio bits. But yeah, definitely make sure you’re in a room that’s not going to give you a bunch of reverb and use headphones!

Why did you want to use audio to tell your story?

The guests that I have are all super-creative artist types or established business people who don’t always get super-candid and open about these topics. They may share their experiences and journeys through metaphors in their music or not at all, so it was important for me to create a safe space to have these conversations. I really want the listeners to feel like they're overhearing a candid conversation between friends versus a rehearsed interview with their role models. In sharing these vulnerable things, the hope is that whoever is listening feels they can relate in some way that makes them feel empowered and seen in a real way.

In sharing these vulnerable things, the hope is that whoever is listening feels they can relate in some way that makes them feel empowered and seen in a real way.‍
What's a podcast that you look to for inspiration?

The main one I’ve been looking to was Ashley Graham’s “Pretty Big Deal.” She has a really great flow with her guests and touches on raw topics in a way that just feels really casual and safe. Also, I knew she had a big production company handling every aspect, so I figured it’s good to see what the people with the most help and biggest budgets are doing!

What's your favorite Anchor feature?

Honestly, it’s just super-easy to use overall. The whole interface is very user-friendly and makes the process of uploading and scheduling very stress-free.

What’s your favorite thing about your podcast?

The fact that people get to hear their favorite people who seem like they’ve got life all figured out share the real stuff they’ve had to deal with in life and how they overcame it…but in a relaxed way. So many interviews just have the same questions and people have very premeditated answers, so something about the informality and organic flow of each conversation helps with relatability, I think.

What's your best podcasting advice?

Just start it. Don’t get hung up on not having all the fancy equipment or sponsors or whatever. Aim for a B+ instead of stressing out thinking you need to start off with A+ material. It’s OK to leave room to grow, but you can’t grow if you never start.


The opinions expressed above are those of the interviewees and not Anchor or Spotify.


How do you podcast? Let us know on Twitter and Instagram. If you’re looking for more tips, check out the previous edition of How I Podcast, and if you want to start your own, try making something awesome with Anchor.

Learn more: Inspiration