You have probably heard of the term ‘ASMR’. As an abbreviation of Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response, it exposes listeners to all kinds of sounds that provoke feelings of satisfaction and relaxation. It is also one of the most popular contents on YouTube. With the COVID-19 outbreak, many listeners who are ‘staying at home’ search for ASMR contents with unique and distinctive character. The Hanyang Journal was able to interview three popular ASMR artists currently on YouTube. Judy ASMR, ASMR Rappeler, and ASMR Yeonchu are all creators who are known for their own original contents and unique sounds. Judy ASMR uploads many fantasy role-plays with concepts that many are familiar with, such as Harry Potter or Little Women. ASMR Rappeler is known for opening up her depression and issues with insomnia that she experienced. ASMR Yeonchu uploads a wide range of different sounds in an effort to help the audience find their own sound or “trigger” which will help them relax. Listen to these three people’s fascinating lives as successful ASMR YouTubers.
1. Judy ASMR
Q. When did you first experience ASMR?
A. It was about seven years ago, around 2012 or 2013. Back then I had insomnia, so I slept very late. My friend realized that I had trouble going to sleep and recommended ASMR contents to me. At that time there weren’t many ASMR videos in Korea, and many of the clips on YouTube were by foreigners. I tried listening to a few clips and I thought that the sounds were relaxing to hear. Since then I started listening to ASMR every day.
Q. Your original content is inspired by Harry Potter and Little Women which are loved by countless listeners. Are there any other series or contents you are personally interested in trying?
A. Although it’s flattering to hear that those are my originals, they are indeed series that many of my subscribers anticipate and love. I have recently watched a series on Netflix called Anne With An “e”. The overall atmosphere of the series was heartwarming, and I was captivated by the main character ‘Anne’ who I found very attractive. I thought that maybe making a series based on the lovable and warm feelings would be an idea. Otherwise, since I majored in piano, I would also like to try making pianobased contents into a series.
Q. Just by glancing at your creations, I can tell that you put in effort to come up with unique and special contents. Where do you usually get your inspiration?
A. I am personally interested in cultural arts, so I visit different places to experience music, art, film, and festivals. I think it is these experiences that help me come up with creative ideas. Though I am a person who gets inspiration from the most unexpected moments during mundane routines. These days I think many of my ASMR videos are inspired by movies or books. My mind is occupied by the fascinating settings, characters, and scenes when engaging in the small fantasized realm in my palm. Upon reading or watching books and movies, I am urged to recreate what I am watching into ASMR and start thinking about the background, music, story, and characters that I want to express. I think it is this part which makes my life as an ASMR creator exciting.
Q. Are there any videos that you are personally fond of or you want to recreate?
A. Every one of my creations is the result of my effort available at that given time and space. I think it is this belief that makes all of my videos so special to me. There are definitely clips that lack in quality but that doesn’t mean that I want to fix or recreate them. Even those videos are special in terms that they show the improvements that I have made and what I have been through to become the Judy today.
Q. If you weren’t an ASMR creator, what kind of clips do you think you would film?
A. I also film Vlogs that feature my daily routines. I actually have another channel for uploading these Vlogs called Judylog. I have great affection for this channel as much as I love my original ASMR channel. On the Judylog channel, I usually upload videos featuring my travels or daily life. I like filming nature or everyday life. It may not be special but it is this normality that makes the video warm and beautiful. If I had not filmed ASMR, I think I would have uploaded such clips.
2. ASMR Rappeler
Q. Although you are now a very wellknown YouTuber, the start must have been tough. What difficulties have you faced as a YouTuber?
A. I think the biggest challenge was to overcome the pressure of having to show people new content every week. In preparation for each video, I have to purchase all the props, write the scripts, and prepare the costumes all by myself which is sometimes demanding. But as I love making new videos, these difficulties are nothing compared to the happiness my work gives me!
Q. What are the most memorable moments you’ve had while making these videos? Or what are the moments that cheered you up?
A. I think the comments saying that they were able to overcome their depression and anxiety issues help me the most. When I see comments like “I had a tough day, but this video made my day,” makes it worth creating the video. I think these comments help me keep going and continue making new videos with different content every week.
Q. As ASMR is becoming more popular every day, it is becoming one of the most competitive areas of content. Are there any secrets to coming up with new ideas?
A. This may sound weird, but I’ve enjoyed having bold thoughts since I was young. I never had anywhere to express these thoughts, but by becoming a YouTuber, I was able to change these bold thoughts into new ideas. These ideas were able to become new content to make the videos. So, I don’t think there is much of a secret. I just had a lot of weird thoughts and somehow becoming a YouTuber enabled me to elaborate on these thoughts. For example, looking at people that have anger issues, I wondered what the feelings inside them looked like. I imagined the anger inside them and how it must look. This led me to make surgery videos about taking the anger out of them. These thoughts work as a continuous cycle connecting to each other and end up as a creative idea.
Q. Changing your job from a dental hygienist to a YouTuber wasn’t an easy decision. Were there any events that made you want to become a YouTuber?
A. Being a dental hygienist didn’t fit me well. I like creating new things and hate repeating the same work. Doing repetitive work as a dental hygienist was one of the biggest causes of my depression. When I saw my first ASMR clip, I decided to become an ASMR YouTuber. Watching ASMR videos, I felt as if I were in a different world which made me feel comforted and excited at the same time. I wanted other people to experience the feelings that I was having, so without any hesitation, I bought a mic and started recording my first ASMR video.
Q. Among the ASMR YouTubers, you are the only one that truly expresses issues related to depression and anxiety. Were there any difficulties that you faced during this process?
A. In order to sympathize with the issues of others, I thought it would be best to tell my story first. Telling people how I dealt with my own issues, I believed that they would find the keys to solving their own problems. Actually, I am not really good at sympathizing with others. I just like talking about my problems. The same goes for the reason I share my personal problems. People listening to my problems will think, ‘Rappeler has also gone through many problems.’ This will let people know that they are not the only ones suffering from problems. Also, the stressful experiences that I have faced might be similar problems that others might eventually face in the near future. Therefore, I thought that sharing my own thoughts would help them at the end of the day.
Q. Many college students are facing difficulties due to an overload of school work which sometimes leads to depression. Can you give some advice to them?
A. I also faced those problems as a university student. I would like to tell them some of the things that I would say to myself as a university student. Firstly, all the difficulties we face are like little dots. Looking at it as a big picture, it will eventually be an amazing painting. Just work hard with this in mind. A dot is just a dot. It won’t be anything bigger than a dot in the future. These dots in the future will end up at the certain place where you are aiming for. So, don’t stress out too much. Secondly, I would like to say “trust your own instincts.” We have strong instincts when it comes to deciding important matters. I did not know this as a university student, but now I realize that these instincts are pretty accurate. When you feel like it is wrong to go to a certain way, please don’t go. On the other hand, when you feel like this is the right way, don’t hesitate and just go for it. People always make choices throughout their lives. The instincts you feel in decisionmaking processes are quite correct.
3. ASMR Yeonchu
Q. What part of ASMR attracted you to its field?
A. I found ASMR videos to be very helpful. They helped me relax when I was stressed out. Since I liked watching them so much, I also wanted to be someone who could help others by capturing different sounds.
Q. As an ASMR YouTuber, what is your goal?
A. My main goal is to give comfort to people watching my videos. Just as I was comforted by watching ASMR videos, I want to do the same for my audience. I also want to refrain from making same videos all the time. ASMR inevitably accompanies an overlap of the same sounds so I am always trying to come up with different triggers. One of my other goals is to keep every one of my clips unique with new characteristics that make them special from my previous clips.
Q. Do you have any habits after starting your life as an ASMR creator?
A. When filming contents, I have to be aware of the smallest sounds. Since the content’s main purpose is to trigger feelings of relaxation through sounds, I became very sensitive to sound. In my daily life, I started listening carefully to sounds around me, noting every rustle that could potentially become a source of my content. I also grew a habit of talking softly.
Q. As an ASMR YouTuber, do you have a favorite sound you like listening to? Also is there any content on your channel that is especially special to you?
A. It’s hard for me to pick just one sound I like since it changes from time to time. I have always been fond of the chattering sound. The sound of people having a conversation makes me calm. I have received positive feedbacks on the series Invisible Trigger which made me happy. Though I can’t conclude that the videos with the most comments or views are my favorite. All my videos represent the time and effort I had put in to create them, so it is difficult for me to choose a favorite. All of them are my favorite.