As part of our series of interviews with creative people in Brussels, we met with Alicia and Alessandro (both 28 years old). The two Bruxellois met at university ten years ago and are about the release the second season of their own, humoristic podcast that will focus on Brussels. “We are antiheroes, but that’s our strength. Everything about our podcast is real and genuine.” We spoke to the duo of podcasters in-between the recordings of their new episodes.
Tell us a bit more about yourself, what do Alicia and Alessandro do in their lives when they’re not podcasting?
Alessandro: Like so many townies who are living the big city life, I wish there were more than 24 hours in a day. I have a more than a full time job so obviously that takes a lot of my time. My friends would probably describe me as an old fogey. You won’t easily find me in a night club at 4 A.M. on a Saturday night. I prefer to stay at home and cook pasta. That doesn’t mean I’m a homebody though. I hit the gym several times a week, I enjoy meeting up with friends downtown for a nice meal and I spend too much money on clothes and short city trips.
Alicia: I have been living in London for more than four years now so when I’m not busy working or sharing my embarrassing stories on air, I like going to the cinema or going out for coffee with friends. I try to make the most of living in this amazing city so I go on walks, visit the city and keep falling in love with it.
How did the two of you meet?
Alicia: We were both born and raised here in Brussels but we met at university. The two of us were studying languages in a very small group so we had no other choice than to get along from the start. It’s hard to realize that this was a decade ago. We are getting old, aren’t we?
Alessandro: I’m still 50 cm taller than you are, so I guess we didn’t change that much after all this time… We both have totally different personalities, but science proved this is the key for better friendships. Our personalities as well as our common experiences and adventures throughout the years were the perfect basis for our own podcast.
How did you start podcasting? Who came up with this idea? What’s your podcast about?
Alicia: If I remember correctly, I introduced Alessandro to a podcast I was listening to a few years ago and since then he’s been listening to various podcasts on his own. One day he came to me with this crazy idea of having our own podcast…
Alessandro: True, I’m usually the one who comes up with crazy ideas. As I was listening to podcasts, the idea emerged to have my own show but I needed a sidekick. There was never a doubt in my mind that this person would be Alicia. Not only because I think that we are a funny duo, but also because she’s the only person I know who’d be capable of taking the role (probably because she’s secretly as crazy as I am). That doesn’t mean that she was convinced right away, I had to work on her…
Alicia: But once convinced, I got hooked by it! We went on a road trip in Italy and that was the perfect occasion for us to record the first season. The first season of our podcast is about some of our memories together and a travel log of what happened during the road trip. We released it last year and our listeners (mainly family and friends) loved it.
Alessandro: And now, we are about to release our second season. The main theme of this season will be Brussels, our hometown. Every episode will focus on a given topic. As Brussels’ natives, we share our thoughts, anecdotes and experiences, without taking ourselves too seriously of course. We tried to make something funny out of it by using a lot of humour and self-irony. But, we also wanted our listeners to learn something and hopefully discover Brussels in a different way, our way.
Why should we all listen to it?
Alicia: Because it will make your bus rides to work less boring! And because the city deserves its own podcast! The theme of this second season is more general than the first one and perhaps more accessible for a broader audience as we focus on a subject that can involve anyone. The episodes are recorded in French, so if you are an expat willing to improve your French by listening to real Belgians talk, you should give it a try.
Alessandro: What I like about it, is its unpretentiousness. We are not famous nor popular, we make language mistakes, giggle too much and probably tell stories that most of the people would find uninteresting. I see ourselves as antiheroes, but that’s our strength. Yet we are ambitious and we hope to gain many new listeners. Everything about our podcast is real and genuine and that’s how we hope to reach as many people as possible.
Could you name two things you like about Brussels and one that you don’t like or would like to change if you could?
Alessandro: We are like most of the Bruxellois, we love to hate Brussels. But being able to live in a small-scale city with an international vibe is probably what I like the most about it, alongside our national pride: the Belgian (!!) fries.
Alicia : I’ve been criticising Brussels quite a lot and I always compare it to London but when I come back to Brussels, I have my tourist glasses on and I’m quite fond of its architecture for example. It’s truly a beautiful city and you can stumble upon some beautiful houses just by walking around a neighbourhood. Also, friends take me to new places and it surprises me… this city has more potential than I thought. I can see that it is a city that tries to renew itself and be a bit more trendy.
Alessandro: I only wish Brussels would develop and modernize itself more. Sometimes, I have the feeling that Brussels has a hard time to keep up with other European capitals, which is a pity because I’m convinced that Brussels has a lot more to offer.
What’s your message for the people living in the city?
Alicia: Be curious, be more open-minded, be nice to everyone and make it a better place for you.
Alessandro: And don’t forget to listen to our podcast.
PODCAAST – Alicia & Alessandro