What It Sounds Like When People Connect

Why Erica Heilman’s Rumble Strip Conversations Sound Like No One Else’s

Pick an episode of Erica Heilman’s independent podcast Rumble Strip. Odds are, one of the first things you’ll notice is the intimacy of the conversations. Rumble Strip is usually composed of one-on-one interviews, but even in group interviews or solo monologues, Heilman leads her discussions about questions of serious human import with an existential bluntness. She reaches early for serious, searching questions, often revealing much of herself in the process.

Heilman sees interviews as uncontrolled events, almost like chemical reactions, mingling not only each person’s words, but also their movements, and their tone.

“When you meet somebody for the first time you’re animals in addition to having a conversation! You're also two mammals figuring each other out. We're gestural creatures, and tonal crunchers. There’s all of this learning from another person that you can actually hear in an interview—it impacts the sound of an interview. So if you're only paying attention to the questions and the answers, you're missing half the fun. It's dynamic between people that you hear what is not said, and what is stumbled on, or what is very deliberately left out. That's all part of the show, or part of the interview.”

That part only represents the beginning, Heilman stresses.

“It's an entirely different thing in the moment it's happening as the edited show in the end. But that's what the sculpture of editing is all about: to make this [...]

Timber for Podcasters requires free signup.

These are the best of the best stories on Timber. They’re free, but we’d like to be able to keep in touch in exchange for reading them. We won’t spam you or sell your email. We’re a business, and we pay writers well. Our connection with you is what makes this worth it. Thanks!

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.