Interview with CrisperWhisper, one of the early ASMR artists on YouTube

Andrew (full name withheld) is currently a Senior Software Engineer working for a fortune 200 company in Colorado, US.

In 2009 though, Andrew was a college student studying computer networking and also creating whisper videos as “CrisperWhisper”.

He was one of the early ASMR artists who were commonly called “whisper artists” or “whisperers” because these individuals were creating whisper videos before the term “ASMR” was coined and widely used.

In my interview with Andrew he shares how he discovered whisper videos, why he started his channel, vivid memories of the whisper community, and one of his biggest regrets.

Below are my questions in bold, his replies in italics, and a link to his new ASMR channel.

How did you discover whisper videos?

I wish my first video was still around. It talked all about this! My love for whispering videos started with the supreme whisperer himself, Bob Ross. Ok, he never actually whispered, but I would tune into PBS after school almost every day and fall asleep to him talking softly. He would make my whole body tingly and feel so amazing. Then I would fall deeply asleep. I probably started doing this in elementary/middle school.

Years later, when the internet and youtube finally existed, I started looking up Bob Ross videos online. Same thing, lots of tingles, then I would fall asleep. 2009 rolled around and I somehow stumbled upon this guy called Edini76. He did hypnosis videos. He talked in a very low, calming, voice. His mouth would whistle softly and make smacking sounds. His lips were kind of rolled in, like he didn’t have any teeth, and it would create this amazing sound when he talked. All of that combined to give me more tingles than I ever thought possible.

This is his first video that I fell in love with: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F1WV-e3vS90. Soon after that I found big brother whispering videos. That’s when my real obsession with whispering started. The BB videos were good, but not great. They were splattered with real talking that would blow your ears out and there weren’t that many of them.

So, wanting more, I dug deep into youtube to find more videos where people just whispered. It wasn’t long before I discovered people like WhisperingLife and TheWhisperingvoice. I remember thinking how amazing these videos were. The tingles that I got were out of this world.

When I was younger and still in school, I used to be so self conscious about how much I enjoyed hearing people whisper. These people made me feel normal, whole, welcome, and when I started creating videos, home.

Which whisper videos do you remember watching before you started your channel?

Outside of edini, I would watch TheWhisperingvoice’s videos on repeat. His first video, with the picture of that red sunset still evokes a feeling of comfort when I see it. Also his hypnosis videos, the ones with the girl and the swan, were amazing!

His first: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BqO9X9F857w

Hypnosis: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vcwlavS5nwY

What motivated you to start your own whisper channel?

I wanted to become an integral part of the community that I loved so much. Also, at the time, I remember thinking that all the whisperers were European. So, I wondered, could an American kid pull something like this off?

I was a gamer, so I had some basic headset mic that I used to chat while playing games. I used that headset for almost all of my videos as well. I download Audacity recorded myself whispering about how cool I thought the community was and giving details about my life. I slapped a cool image to it in Windows Movie Maker and tossed it up on youtube.

When exactly did you post your first video?

It’s a little unclear. I remember my channel really took off once DanishVlog made a video about me. She didn’t make that video until I posted a video of my full face. That was my 6th video. It was titled: “Whisper – 06 – Twighlight?”. I think a day or two after I posted that video, she made her video about my channel. DanishVlog has since removed that video.

However, there is still evidence of the tribute in her video titled: “WhisperCrustal…”. You can see my name to the right of WhisperingLife. This video was posted on November 23rd, 2010. I don’t remember the order of the tributes, but with this being my 6th video I’d wager to guess my first video was posted either late 2009 or early 2010.

How many videos did you create?

Somewhere around 40 – 50. Once I started showing my face, I had a lot of cuts and edits in my videos. It took me FOREVER to edit my videos so they didn’t go up as often as I would have liked.

What was the exact content in your videos? 

I started out by making basic whisper videos. I would talk about who I was, my family, my day, etc. I would also make sleep relaxation countdown videos. Countdown videos were a huge hit back then. All of those were simply my voice with a static image from the web.

I then made a “panning” video. It was titled: “Panning for Fame”. This video had me whispering from right to left ear. I was using my basic gaming headset speaker so I definitely did not have a professional mic that would do this for me. It was painstaking, but I edited the entire audio track in Audacity to go from the right ear to the left ear at unpredictable times. This created an effect of me walking around the listener. I think it took me a week to create that video. This may have been one of the first, if not the first, right ear to left ear whispering videos. It was a HIT within the community. These type of videos eventually became known as binaural videos.

Soon after that, I created my first video showing my whole face. It was nothing but my face, my tiny little room, and me whispering. Not many (if any?) whispers had done this at that time. It was a big enough step for us to be whispering, but it was a whole other step of bravery to put your face on the internet…while whispering. It made me feel super vulnerable.

Most of my videos involved pure whispering with some jokes thrown in there. I had a sense that people thought of me as the “class clown” of the group. I don’t think comedy had been brought to the whispering community before I started making videos. It seems a little paradoxical but people seemed to enjoy the videos quite a lot.

What kind of short term and long term response did you get to your videos?

Short term, people were very accepting within the community and reception of any video I put out was overwhelmingly positive. The videos all had an initial burst of likes, upvotes, and comments. Chatting with the community on my video comment section was one of my most favorite things to do.

In the early days, I would respond to every comment that I got. It was so much fun. Long term, as I started to slip away from the community, people started posting on my videos asking where I was. It was hard watching people cry out for me to make more videos so that they could sleep, yet I couldn’t bring myself to make another video. The embarrassment was real.

Did you tell others you were making whisper videos?

I didn’t share it with a soul outside of the whispering community. I loved the community and would back them up if anyone would hate on our videos, but I was extremely embarrassed about what I did. I thought other people would think I’m weird. Even when I became a YouTube partner, I never told my parents or my siblings. I was getting checks from google in the mail for this thing that I loved, yet I couldn’t share it with anyone that was really close to me.

The first person I told was my girlfriend, now wife. It took all I had in me to tell her. Even at that, I didn’t give her the full story. She did a bit of google searching and discovered my channel. I was so petrified, I deleted the channel that day. This was 4 years ago in 2015.

Looking back, I wish I had never deleted my channel. My wife has been so accepting of it. She encouraged me to share my story with other people and most of my friends (who were my friends back in 2009/2010 as well) lose their minds, in a good/excited way, when I tell them. I’m not so sure if the reaction would have been the same back in 2009/2010.

ASMR is so much more mainstream now. Everyone I talk to has at least heard the term. Back in 2009 if you told someone you whispered to strangers on the internet, they would have thought you were a creep.

Were you in direct communication with other whisper content creators?

Absolutely! We were all so supportive of each other. There weren’t very many of us so we were all friends. I’ve got pages and pages of conversations that I’ve had with the other whisperers.

The people that I talked to the most were DanishVlog, WhisperCrystal, and one other girl who’s name I can’t remember! Oh man, this is such a bummer, I can’t remember her name! If she ever reads this, she’d probably be pissed. We used to text each other, she even sent me an iphone because she heard I was still using a crappy flip phone. I think her name was katie? Cat? Bleh, I really wish I remembered. Sorry if you’re out there and reading this.

If we weren’t chatting on youtube, in emails, or over texts, you could find us making forum posts on SoothingWhisper’s website that he created for the whispering community. He mad a forum for us all to talk to each other. If I remember correctly, I think only the content creators were were allowed to use it. It would be interesting to see if he still had the data from that site. We used to chat on there a bit. I remember I confessed to the world one day that I wanted to become a comedian on that site. That plan clearly played out the way I had envisioned it.

When did your channel go offline and why?

I had made some of my videos private as the years went on because they talked about crushes that I had and I didn’t want my then girlfriend to see them. Also some of the goofier ones were kind of embarrassing so I made those private as well.

Then in 2015 I fully deleted the channel because my girlfriend (now wife) had done some googling and found it. I was totally mortified. Up until that point, no one in my real life knew I made whispering videos. There was a lot of mental demons that I had to sort through after that event. Now, I wish I would have never deleted my account. So many fun memories lost to the ether.

Do you still consume and/or create ASMR content?

Every now and then I spin up a whisper/ASMR video. ASMRMassage is my go to guy right now. Many years ago, he came out with a white balance card video and I’ve been a fan ever since.

I watch a lot less than I used to. Mainly because I don’t get the tingles anymore. I started not getting them years ago and I would constantly look for new whisperer to give me those tingles. The tingles happened less and less. Then one day, I had a serious brain injury and the tingles stopped all together. I still listen to videos to relax, but the tingles have long since left me.

As of recently, I’ve decided that I want to make videos again. I spent so many years hiding from this community because I was embarrassed but I LOVED making relaxation videos. Getting comments as simple as, “thanks, I finally got some sleep”, would make my day. My silly little videos were able to help thousands of people relax, sleep, and sometimes laugh. I want that again. This time though, I’m not going to be doing it in the shadows.

What do you think about the current content of ASMR videos?

This community has changed a lot! Pure whisper videos seem to be a thing of the past. Brushing hair, tapping things, eating food, comedy ASMR (I’d like to think I started that =P), it’s all good stuff. I don’t really see the point of some things, like ear nibbling/nommin, but I can appreciate that some people probably get some wicked tingles out of it.

One thing I don’t like is how overly sexualized some people have made it. Not because I’m some crotchety old man, but because this community used to be so wholesome and in it for all the right reasons. We never created half naked videos to get more views. We simply created videos to help people relax and be a part of something that we loved. Maybe that makes me a crotchety old man? I don’t know. It just irks me to see people desperate for views so they sexualize their content. But hey, if that gives people tingles, who am I to judge?

What do you think about the rise of ASMR videos?

I couldn’t be happier! Most of the old guard has laid down their mantle. So, even though it’s sad to see that none of my old friends are reaping the reward for all the hard work that we put in, it’s still cool to see that so many people have accepted what we once thought was so weird.

All of the current ASMR artists success is built on the backs of the many whispers who came before them. It’s neat to think that I was a part of helping get this movement started.

What other thoughts in general do you have about any aspect of ASMR?

The community aspect that we once had seems to have disappeared. The whispers all used to be really close to their listeners as well as other whispers. To me, it felt like one big happy family. Whenever a new whisperer would come around, we would all rep them in our videos to get them some support. We were constantly chatting with each other.

I could be that I’m out of touch and this is still happening, but scanning the comment section makes me think it is not. I understand that the community is massive now and some of these things just wouldn’t be practical, but I feel like there’s still room for that nice community feeling to come back.

Check out Andrew’s new ASMR channel: Anu ASMR

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This post brought to you by ASMR University.  A site with the mission of increasing the awareness, understanding, and research of the Art and Science of Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response.

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