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Zoe Young Sounds from the Dark Side

Sheffield creator gets to grips with audio production and releases spooky audiobook series.

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Zoe Young had high hopes for her company Young Hangman Productions when it launched just prior to the pandemic, but as the monumental impact of Covid-19 on the events industry became apparent she decided to have a go at audio production, learning from her bedroom and releasing a series of spooky audiobooks via SoundCloud.

Firstly, tell us a bit about yourself and how you've been spending your time during the pandemic?

My name is Zoe. I’m based in Sheffield and I would describe myself as an artistic creator, focusing on the raw emotions in performance and art. During the pandemic I’ve certainly seen a lot of the city and artistically speaking I couldn’t ask for a more inspiring landscape. The artists here are some of the most wonderful. When I haven’t been going to work, I’ve been looking out of the window of my little Meersbrook flat and writing about worlds much different from my own.

You launched Young Hangman Productions just before the pandemic hit. How was this new venture affected?

Well, it certainly flipped things upside down. I came in guns blazing, with plenty of short films lined up and great auditions for our first big live show, which was supposed to happen in July at the Abbeydale Picture House.

But none of that happened as I’d hoped. Although most of the auditions for the show took place, and the performance dates have been rescheduled for June 2021, filming is on hold until it is safe enough to continue.

Like everyone else, I had to learn and adapt quickly. I wasn’t going to let the first year of Young Hangman go to waste, so I decided to make audio productions instead.

You've certainly been keeping busy at home. How did you find the process of learning to record audio, edit and mix sound?

So hard and so thrilling! I would never call myself one of the most technologically adept so it’s really exciting when you crack it and start manically giggling to yourself in the middle of the night because finally, after three hours of playing around with the same 20 second snippet, you did it! You did it.

It’s such a satisfying feeling knowing that with determination and self-discipline you can always find a way to get where you want to be. It still isn’t perfect but I think it’s a constant learning process and I am only using really basic equipment and software for now.

Not only that, but it is so old school where I record. I literally have a mattress put up as a sound wall around the desk in my bedroom and can only record at 2am because I’m on a main road and even then there’s only about two minutes peace between each car coming down. Let’s just say it’s an emotional process, but so worth it.

What is it about the genres of horror and thriller that you find so appealing?

I’ve always had a little bit of morbid curiosity for as long as I can remember, but my love for the darker genres really developed when I first started writing. I was writing darker works as a way of channeling my emotions. It was therapy.

I was allowed to face my fears and express myself in a safe and eventually enjoyable way. While growing up I felt displaced and unusual, never quite fitting in, and I guess horror in particular was a genre that replicated that. It too was different and it was raw.

And finally, where can folks listen to your audiobooks?

https://soundcloud.com/younghangmanproductions

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