StrangeHouse Podcasts: The Men Behind the Mics

By Alex Wilking
In Culture

It’s no secret that Strange Donuts and Treehouse Networking have some successful business techniques: Both have gained critical acclaim in the St. Louis area in just the past year. Now the men behind the operations, Corey Smale and Wesley Hoffman, have started a podcast to discuss business tactics, positivity and their stories. What started as a conversation between the two has since expanded to weekly broadcasts and feature interviews from LouFest 2014. ALIVE sat down with Smale and Hoffman to learn more about this evolving project.

Photo by Victoria Lafferty

Wesley Hoffman and Corey Smale. Photo by Victoria Lafferty

ALIVE: Let’s talk about StrangeHouse podcasts.

Corey Smale: It came from us just having late-night conversations, usually after we get off Strange Donuts. Just in a parking lot outside the car, kicking it, listening to music and talking about random things. Maybe it’s not all super-inspirational, but I did think there were things that would resonate with people.

Wesley Hoffman: [And] at the same time, still promote our brands and our friends’ brands. Taking those people and having it really be a true collaboration.

Smale: We’re making things happen, but it’s on our own backs. There’s no one else that’s going to help us make the podcasts aside from us and our friends. I think we’re at a point now, just with [Strange Donuts] that we’re comfortable, that’s a stable ground. So now we can do this other stuff — do projects like this.

ALIVE: How did you guys meet?

Hoffman: We both played in punk rock bands, and our bands played shows together a lot. Probably three years ago, we became friends. That’s kind of when these conversations started.

Smale: It’s kind of just a natural extension of what we’re already doing. We’ve done it every Tuesday for almost three months now. It’s really sporadic. We usually don’t have a guest until three days before.

ALIVE: What sorts of guests have you had on the podcast?

Smale: When we did the first two, we didn’t have any guests. Then we went backwards and made sure we had the most integral people as guests. Adrian Walker, photographer and friend, was our first guest. Then we had Michael Hurst from Rukus, because we wanted to hear how Rukus got started and how we’re able to record in this studio.

Hoffman: We recently just had Sean Baltzell of Tower Classic [Tattooing]. He has some really interesting stories.

ALIVE: What kind of stories did you guys talk about?

Smale: The future. Integrated technology into our lives. The way we communicate. Just weird stuff. Audio books, podcasts, inspiration, music, Lil Wayne. Because Tha Carter I, II and III are good albums. And [Baltzell] agreed.

ALIVE: How have Treehouse Networking and Strange Donuts helped the success of StrangeHouse podcasts?

Smale: I think naturally, it’s the way we get listeners. We’ve been more conscious lately as to it not really be about Strange Donuts and Treehouse. If there are big things coming up, we’ll talk about that.

ALIVE: Between LouFest and recording a podcast live at the upcoming Treehouse meeting, it seems that things are really taking off.                

Smale: The LouFest thing was huge for us. That’s success to me, for real. It’s not this huge, long gradual thing. That’s the body of work itself. Success is these moments along the way where it’s going to take us a little bit further.

Hoffman: When we first started doing this, we didn’t have an agenda. We were probably only in this a couple of weeks. That to me is success. We didn’t have a plan, like, “This is what the podcast is going to accomplish.” If we’re able to do LouFest, I feel like that’s the small win that leads to the next thing.

Smale: Hurst [of Rukus] was immediately down with the idea, which gave us a studio, a consistent space, a producer, and an environment. We have an engineer, Dane Dickmann. The way we do this, they really are the ones that made it become more than Wesley and I talking on our phone. That’s already a huge success.

ALIVE: What does the future of StrangeHouse hold?

Smale: We have some big ideas together, individually and with our friends. I think right now [we’re] focusing on what we do have. There’s no limit on what this could be. It has nothing to do with dollars anymore; it has to do with projects. What can we make? Anything.

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