We love pods here at Helio and as a result we have recording studios in both Helio GT30, Helio Kungsholmen and in our brand new, soon to be opened Helio Hornstull. One person who regularly stops by to record pods is the Jack of all trades; Christian von Essen with his dream project Heja Framtiden, where he has now interviewed a total of a hundred people on the subject.
Christian’s dream guests are Barack and Michelle, he’s played in a punk- and rock band since he was a teenager and he meditates by playing the acoustic guitar both at home and at parties. We welcome this future-freak on Friday as he makes an appearance at this fall’s first Learn@Lunch! We roasted Christian about his podding and his immense interest for the future.
Hello Christian! What’s your favorite thing in the world?
My answer to that is pretty cliché. Meeting new people that I click with is absolutely amazing. Developing my own concept, doing exactly what I want in life and feeling like it’s appreciated by others – that’s hard to beat. I’m starting to take a closer look at Ikigai!
You’ve said that your name is “pronounced Krishan, for some reason” – but what is the reason? Do you have a Danish heritage?
My parents were supposed to travel to England in 1979, but they only made it to Copenhagen. I was born there in the pouring rain, more than 2 months too early. That’s why they thought that I should pronounce my name “Krishan”, which for me is a double-edged sword – it’s fun to have an original name, but really annoying having to explain yourself on an almost daily basis. When someone says “Krist-Jann” it’s like nails on a board. It’s my little curse in life. But then it’s fun to run a pod where I can say the name. I have become a little extra fascinated by names as a result of this.
Has it always been your dream to start a podcast?
Ever since I started consuming pods about 6-7 years ago, I’ve thought that it’s a pretty natural step to take as a “media man”. Me and photographer Joakim Lloyd Raboff even tried to start a travel pod remotely in 2014, but the sound was too bad. 2015 is when I decided that I wanted to make an interview pod with a futuristic theme, and since then I have become completely obsessed with it.
Your podcast is a branch of a platform with questions about the future that was founded by Tobias Wahlquist and Mårten Skånman. How did you get in touch with each other?
I started talking about my idea with everyone I met and ended up getting shoved in different directions. Eventually it was the PR-expert Edit Künstlicher that put me in contact with Mårten. It turned out that he work with pods AND had created the Facebook page Heja Framtiden in order to spread future-optimism during times of heavy Swedish Democrats support. We went out for coffee and decided to use the name and page in order to start a future-pod. It went really fast after that – Tobias had equipment and editing skills, and they pulled their separate contacts in order to fix the logo and vignette. Vi actually recorded the first episode here at Helio with Micael Dahlén during the fall of 2017 and released it in January 2018. You could say that Mårten and Tobias put on my training-wheels and pushed me out of the bird’s nest, which I am forever grateful for. I have done everything myself after episode five, but our deal is that I will put some away for charity when Heja Framtiden starts getting lucrative. Maybe we’ll create a Heja Framtiden-scholarship to someone who needs it.
You’re meeting with experts, scientists, trade-icons, writers and visionaries and discuss the future from different perspectives. How do you look at the future?
I’m pretty tired of negativity and dooms day headlines. The world has never been better and I think that we will experience a fantastic development on many levels in the future. But at the same time, we need to cooperate more in order to solve the problems we are facing. I hope that my talks will be able to contribute to a better understanding for the world and where we are heading.
In what way have your vision about the future changed after all these talks?
I have become a lot more convinced that we create the future together and that nothing is impossible. Every action counts. I guess I thought that the talks about the future would be a lot more about technology. It turns out that most people would rather talk about people and how we can develop together in order to create an even better world.
What do you do when you’re not working with the pod?
I mostly do freelance work as a writer, editor and copywriter. Right now, I’m producing costumer pods and hold lectures, as well as take assignments as a moderator. The idea is that I will be able to live off of Heja Framtiden-related activities in the future. First is theme-magazines and talk show events, but after that I would like to write a book. And maybe web-tv.
Have you checked out our new pod studios at Helio Kungsholmen yet?
Absolutely, it’s a really cozy and well-equipped studio that’s perfect for when I help my client Stockholms Djurklinik to produce their own podcast. But I like hanging out at GT30, maybe because there are more people moving around here.
What do you think is important about the environment to make a guest feel safe when recording a podcast?
I think the central setting of Helio GT30 has been a part of it in order to get guests there more easily. It’s an inspiring and cozy environment, while at the same time the dark pod-cave makes it so that you can really shut out the world. This leads to good conversations – often it’s almost like a therapy session. I think I also have a relaxed and de-weaponizing way that helps me to quickly get into good conversations.
What should you think about if you want to start a podcast?
To not tie yourself into knots. All you have to do is just start and then keep going. I used to think that people’s jaws would drop when I released the first episode, but it takes a long time to build your platform. Make sure you have good audio. Find guests that haven’t been on every other show.
Who is the guest of the next episode of Heja Framtiden?
We have a whole lot of good guests coming up: Konrad Bergström, Alper Aydemir, Arash Gilan, Susanne Birgersdotter, Magnus Lindkvist, Rodrigo Graviz, Lasse Lychnell, Sofia Breitholtz, Alán Ali – only to name a few.
If you could pick one interview that stands out or that means a lot to you which one would it be?
Episode 74 with David Roberts was very special. I almost didn’t know anything about him and missed his entire lecture. Then we were locked inside a room together for half an hour. It was a bit of a tentative talk that gives you goosebumps because he’s so wise. My dad has listened to the episode 3 times.
What can we expect from your lecture at Helio GT30, a couple of peeks at the future perhaps?
Partly, but it will particularly be about the lessons I have learned from all of these talks. Later I would like to tweak the lecture towards different trades, but this time it will be very wide range – and hopefully a bit entertaining.
If you could give everyone in the world 5 tips for how we could make the future as good as possible together, what advice would you give?
1. Ask more questions, even to the stranger next to you on the bus. 2. Read more books, preferably different genres. 3. Find something that feels deeply meaningful to do – at work and on your time off. 4. Support initiatives that encourage tree-planting and girls’ education. 5. Accept that you know very little. So, stop taking yourself so damn seriously.
Finally, Christian. Have you ever seen a psychic?
No, but I would love to interview one on the pod. Let me know if you know someone good!
If you want to read more about Christian’s lecture, you can do so HERE. If you’re also curious about the future, you should listen to every episode of the pod HERE and if you have any tips regarding psychics, then Christian is very much looking forward to your DM. You find him on Instagram via @hejaframtidenpodcast and us via @wearehelio.