Thrills, Pills and Belly Laughs

Honeymoon Studios' latest podcast takes you to a Johannesburg nightclub in the 90s

Words: Dylan Muhlenberg | Illustration: Bennett Atkinson

While interviewing Markus Wormstorm at his Honeymoon Studios for edition #014's My Desk story, we were privy to a podcast that he was busy working on. 

Unlike the earlier work that he’d produced with Lauren Beukes and Max Du Preez, this was with a relative nobody, a guy going by the name of Aaron who worked as a small-time hustler in the 90s.

“Aaron's changed his whole shit around,” Markus tells me while setting up some chairs and microphones in studio one, where he’s about to record a string quartet. “He used to roll deep. He’s all suits and ties now. Super clean-edge. An actuary, actually.” 

Now if you’d listened to the other podcasts you’ll know that it’s not only the fascinating subjects that Markus invites into his studio. Also present is the host with the most, Mark Penwill, who went to Oxford and speaks five languages, and who serves as the perfect foil to the varied studio guests.

In this case it’s the clash of Mark’s public-schoolboy persona with Aaron’s frenetic mile-a-minute street smarts that makes for such a great listening experience.

But wait, there’s more, a third character and one that resonated with us immediately - the sound of the 90s. 

“I tried to be true to the era. With the music to some extent and then the goings-on of the time. You know, being outside a club, standing in a parking lot, and hearing that bass thud in the background. I’m being a bit cheeky using a track illegally, the laughing song, but it’s just so right that it’s impossible not to use it. And we’re not making any cash off of this, so…”

Markus says that the trick with the podcasts that he’s doing is letting the narrative communicate the edit. He needs to listen to it over and over in order to find the narrative points that lead from one thing to the next. This was easy when working with Max du Preez, who has written a book on the subject that he spoke about, but with Aaron everything was jumbled, with so many different characters jumping in and out, which is why it took a month to cut it down.

“The hardest part was getting Aaron to shut the f**k up. There were so many layers to it. He’s one of those guys who will tell you a story, and then another story inside of that story, opening a vortex. He spoke for four hours. The podcast was edited to just under ten minutes. We’ll probably make another two episodes using the rest. First I wanted to outline the most important characters.”

You can keep checking in with Honeymoon Studios for the follow up instalments. Right now, click the podcast below and meet Aaron.