Svår @ döda is the name of a new Swedish podcast by Hugo Anderholm and Fabian Sigurd that premiered this week. The phrase 'svår att döda' is Swedish and literally means 'hard to kill'. The podcast centres on real-life stories from people with near-death experiences.
The first episode features a graffiti artist called 'Ligisd' who comes close to meeting his maker after a terrifying event in the subway tunnels of Stockholm. The podcast–makers Hugo and Fabian tell me that they hear a lot of stories of people almost dying that send chills down their spines. They made this podcast as a way for them to share the stories they have heard, from people who are hard to kill.
I caught up with Hugo to ask him if the world needs another podcast and if the podcast is safe for people with a crippling fear of death.
VICE: Hi Hugo! How did you come up with the idea for this podcast?
Hugo: Winter sucks and people need the inspiration to cope with it, so this is an attempt to make it a little brighter. I'm fascinated by how you can turn bad experiences into good ones, finding power in the biggest setbacks in life. To have a near-death experience symbolizes that power for me in a compressed way. This made me think of doing a podcast about just that. I also love thrilling stories and a good near-death story hits that spot for me. It's something about stories being real that grabs my attention.
Does the world need another podcast?
Fuck no. What the world need is people taking climate change seriously and doing something about it. Also, people need to understand that we are the biggest problem if we ever want to change the world for the better. But hey, that's a different topic. However, I really think we're bringing something new and interesting with this podcast. It's something I want to listen to anyway!
I also think saying fuck you to death is the ultimate thrill. I like thrills.
Where did you find all these people that almost died? Is there a support group on Facebook?
It's actually not that hard to find people who experienced a near-death experience. Just ask your friends! You'll see that a lot of people either have had one themselves or know people who've been in accidents or in situations where they've feared for their life. The hard thing is to find stories that are noteworthy and interesting. I mean, it's not that exciting having an episode about somebody who drove into a tree.
I actually have one of my own: two years ago when I first started bicycling in the city, I accidentally cycled onto a motorway and got so panicky that I jumped off the bike and pressed my body towards the railing of the motorway. I was standing there crying for 15 minutes while cars drove by really fast, just inches from me. I was so sure I was going to die. In the end, a bus driver stopped and picked me up along with my bike. When I got home I noticed that my sweat smelled of fear. Would this story be a good fit for your podcast?
Highways are dangerous! I had a similar experience with my Ciao moped when I had just moved to Stockholm. It was scary because I needed to cross the road to get off the highway. It was tricky to find a gap where I could get the moped to accelerate over to the other side. Anyhow, you got me thinking. If we ever decide to release a perfume under a 'Svår @ döda' brand, I think fear would be the perfect fragrance.
What is the coolest near-death story you've ever heard?
I talked to this guy last summer, who had been traveling in Asia. He had met a couple of dudes who he travelled with for some time. After a couple of days traveling together, they were out drinking in the middle of nowhere and suddenly the guys started stabbing him. I think they stabbed him 12 times or something and then just left him to die. So he had to drag himself for hours before getting to a road where somebody found him and took him to the hospital. He was in a coma for days. That's really fucked up. I've tried to get hold of him for the podcast but without success.
WTF. I think that beats my bicycle story. What's your obsession with death or escaping death anyway?
Well, I love the idea of rather than succumbing to your odds, you manage to win over them. I also think saying 'fuck you' to death is the ultimate thrill. I like thrills.
My friend (ehrm..) suffers from severe mortal angst, is it safe for her to listen to this podcast without getting an anxiety attack?
Don't be afraid of having anxiety attacks. It's not like you will die from them.
Svår @ döda is a monthly podcast in Swedish and can be found on Soundcloud, iTunes and Podcaster. Visit their website for more information. If you want to share your own near-death experience, you can e-mail Hugo and Fabian on email@example.com