Christopher Hogg, Department of Media Arts, has been working on 'Cassie and Corey', a drum and bass musical podcast. The podcast focuses on young people who may be increasingly susceptible to anxiety during these uncertain times, and aims to help by talking about the issue. We recently caught up with Chris to ask what to expect from the podcast and about the creative process.
1. Could you tell us a bit about yourself and your role at Royal Holloway?
I am a lecturer in Creative & Social Media. In my heart I am a teacher, and my creative work is my research. I teach Creativity, Entrepreneurship and Digital Marketing to students in Media Arts. I see my role as that of teaching the skills we will need to navigate the 21st Century. This year I also had the absolute privilege of teaching the MA in Playwrighting at Royal Holloway. I got the chance to do my favourite thing in the world – teaching about storytelling in the digital world. My writing desk is firmly placed at the corner of digital and human.
2. You have been busy working on ‘Cassie & Corey’, a drum and bass podcast that was released on Sunday 19 April. Can you tell us a bit about it and what listeners might expect?
I’ve been working on Cassie and Corey for a couple of years. I started as a 30 minute play at Theatre 503 – which is the home of new writers in South London. They sent me to speak to the NHS about what life was like in the Borough of Wandsworth. I ended up speaking to the head of ethics at St Georges, and she opened my mind to the issues of adolescent mental health problems. Specifically how bad body image in teens opens the door to depression and anxiety. I realised I wanted to write a play that helped teens feel better about themselves. It came out as a comedy. A comedy about Eating Disorders. The Drum and Bass came later when I met the All Girls DnB crew – Girls Take Action.
3. Can you explain what role you played in creating the podcast, and how long the process took?
I was writer and producer. It is difficult to be anything else when you are getting going. You have to be everything. But I tell you, in lockdown it has been a blessing to have something that I love to focus on.
It has taken about four years to get Cassie & Corey to a large audience, where it can have an impact. However, it really got going when the Arts Council invested £15k. Money gave it the validity to spend all the hours necessary to make it the joy it is. Girls Take Action had never been paid for writing music before. They found it mind-blowing. I was so happy to be that conduit.
4. What do you enjoy most about being a part of the Royal Holloway community?
Royal Holloway is a good place. Simple as that. It inspires on so many levels. Above all I find it a kind place. It isn’t just the building, it is the people and they’re commitment on so many levels.
5. We know that times are challenging at the moment, how do you like to switch off and pass time outside of your work?
I have been cycling hard each day for my hour. That’s how I manage my coronavirus anxiety. I have lost 32 lbs. I am in shock.