Have you ever felt like there were multiple people in your head, constantly at odds over how you should think and act? If so, you might see – or, more accurately, hear – yourself in Soft Voice, a new dark-comedy thriller podcast that upends much of the conventions of audio-forward art by placing the listener in the role of the protagonist. In Soft Voice, a young real estate agent (Naomi Scott) negotiates her life with Soft Voice (Bel Powley) and Dark Voice (Olivia Cooke), two internal forces that influence her to alternately repress her desires and pursue them recklessly. The experience of listening to Lydia as she tries to damp down these voices and find herself is equally disconcerting and powerful. This week, Vogue caught up with Powley, Scott, and Cooke via phone to discuss Soft Voice, working remotely, and their personal favourite podcasts. See the full conversation below.
Where are the three of you based?
Olivia Cooke: We’re all in London at the moment.
How has the last year been for you all? I mean, difficult, obviously, but…
Cooke: I’m glad it’s nearly over, that’s all I can say.
Naomi Scott: I’ve been up and I’ve been down.
Bel Powley: Well, we managed to do this podcast over lockdown, so at least we got something done!
Scott: Oh, speaking of… congratulations, Olivia, on Sound of Metal, which has just been nominated for an Oscar!
Yes, that’s so exciting! Congratulations, Olivia.
Cooke: [Laughs.] Thank you!
Powley: She’s very humble, but she’s brilliant.
Scott: I’m obsessed with you in that movie.
Can you tell me a bit about how ‘Soft Voice’ came to be?
Cooke: Well, James Bloor, who wrote and created Soft Voice, had the idea a few years ago. We’ve been friendly for quite a few years, and when he told me about this podcast that he was doing – this was in the early days of narrative-driven podcasts that weren’t true-crime or interviews – it sounded really interesting, because it was all about consciousness and the idea of the devil and angel on your shoulders.
Scott: James has such a singular voice in his writing, and the tone of it was just so funny and specific and kind of British, as well, which I love.