Anyway, I'm not making this shit up, we actually took a huge fucking party bus courtesy of Arron & Sailor Jerry and Melanie Kaye PR from Toronto all the way to Hamilton to see The Falcon at Club Absinthe. Oh, and guess who rode up with us on the fucking party bus? Brendan Kelly, along with a bunch of journalists who were doing interviews while having a fucking party on a bus. It was a really cool experience and I'd be really happy to tell you all about it the next time I see you. Why can't I tell you right now as I'm typing this shit out you ask? Well aside from my feet falling asleep because I've been sitting cross-legged on my bed in the same position for so long transcribing the below interview and I have to pee but am too stubborn to move until I finish this, in the aforementioned interview you're about to read Arron talks a lot about sharing experiences and stories in person being kind of a lost art if you will.. and he's totally right I want to honour that notion by encouraging all three of my readers to reach out to me and engage one on one out of respect to what Arron was talking about... so please, read on.. read on.. READ ON.. READ ONNNNN.. *sung like the end of Aerosmith's "Dream On"... *
Arron: It was pure fluke, I was just in the right place at the right time drinking with the right people. That's all it was!
Where were you drinking?
A: At the time the woman I was with, who I'm no longer with, she worked for the company that looked after Sailor so I went to a company party, got drunk because it was a free party and had conversations with the right people, only because they were asking me where it belonged.. where does the brand live, what should we be doing, who should we be talking to.. I mean, I don't consider myself an influencer but they did. I'm not that important I don't think at all.. people may want to hang out but it has nothing to do with me being any sort of like, I don't know, part of a hierarchy of where I understand or trickle down to anything else.. But I had those conversations, I don't them where the brand should live and breathe and how it would be successful because of the like minded individuals who carry the ethos of the brand and after that they were like do you want a job!
Was rum your drink of choice before this?
A: I mean I always drank Sailor Jerry, my drink of choice is really.. I mean to be honest it could be anything! It depends on where you are and the mood and what you're doing. But I'm a huge fan of Tiki culture and a huge fan of Tiki bars and that is rum, and my rum of choice in a Tiki drink was always Sailor Jerry, at least since '08.
How do you build a connection when you're trying to get people involved in the scene or culture that you're part of working with Sailor Jerry?
A: A lot of what my job is and what I get to do is just hosting right, I'm just connecting people with other people or connecting them with the brand and providing an experience. This is a very small version what we did tonight, normally there would be two of these buses and they'd be full and I drag them around and I give them an experience and I'm grateful that I have the opportunity to do that. It allows us to connect on a more intimate level. Everyone taking Uber's and finding their own way out doesn't have this, despite this bus not being full it still provided a memory and an experience, one that you'll share, you'll definitely have a lot of offline conversations about this just because it's different. When was the last time you were on one of these buses?
A: There you go, right! It just adds to it. Yes it didn't have 60 people in here getting wild but it still has an important place in the night.
You throw bush parties as well, were those your idea?
A: Yeah it was just a concept I had, I mean a lot of the stuff that I like to do is based on nostalgia, the things that I enjoyed when I was younger and the things that I wish I could have done, and we kind of bring that stuff to life. I mean, the biggest thing that I like doing besides the bush parties is doing shows that are free.. so you get a really great act and they come in and they're free and anyone who would have to hum and haw about spending the money now gets to go.. you're just constantly providing experiences.. there's nothing better than having a job that allows you to create memories for other people, like positive ones anyway.
How do these ideas come about, is there a team sitting around a table brainstorming with you in their office or is it just you deciding what you're going to do for the brand?
A: It's more organic than that, a lot of it comes from my day to day and what I feel is missing or I think I would enjoy, I'm no different than anybody else so the things that I would like to do are the same things that a lot of other people would like to do, so that's a lot of where it comes from. I mean, I ride a lot so I spend a lot of time on my bike, especially up north when the weather is nicer anyway just ripping around on a Harley and a lot of points of clarity show up where you find those gaps and things you'd like to experience or what you haven't seen in a long time, that's kind of where these ideas birth from.
So you basically just hop on your bike and travel all over Ontario..
A: Oh I've been all over Ontario, I've been all over Canada on it, I've to the US on it, that's a pastime! And I've done stuff where I've taken people and ridden across the country, and that was again born from just going you know I haven't done that and I think there's some really cool people out there interested in doing that and I should take them with me, maybe we'll get something interesting out of it maybe we won't BUT it will be a story to tell.
That's like the "On The Road" era mentality decades ago where people would just get on the road and just do whatever you were drawn to but nowadays nobody feels like they can accomplish that..
A: Yeah, everyone is now so trapped by everything. The majority of people are trapped by how long their phone lasts, if the charge dies they stop doing whatever they're doing. They won't go out and disappear into the woods for a day or two because if that phone dies and they can't tell anyone about it then a lot of people feel like it didn't happen. Those analog experiences are more important than the ones you can share online. When you can sit down in a bar and just tell somebody about what you did, or sit down at someone's house and share that story.. people are going to realize the validity of that is much stronger than what you can do online. There's nothing wrong with online and it has a place but I feel like a lot of people have lost touch with just kind of letting go, letting that battery die and not worrying about sharing it.
Always ask yourself the question 'if I don't post this picture did I really go to this show'!
You're not really experiencing life fully when you're looking through the lens of a camera..
A: That's just it and that's the best part about when I'm looking for things to do or things to bring out and have people experience, a lot of them aren't attributed to the shareability, they're more about the offline conversation that you'll have about it and they're always in places that you can't plug your fucking phone in! All the people that come to the bush parties, it's like the second thing out of their mouth: first is 'where's the bar' and the second is 'where can I charge my phone', third is 'is there wifi' and the response to the first questions is always 'right there' but for the ones that follow are always like you need to shut the fuck up, it's not an issue! Just enjoy your time, take it in.
People are always living for other people online but if you subtract the phone and the internet you're actually going to do something for yourself that will stay with you..
A: Yeah, and to have an honest experience that forces you to literally tell somebody, not share it, not like it, not tag someone, but actually go 'do you know what I did the other day?' and engage, get back to that world where you share on a verbal level rather than on a digital level.
It's pretty much at the point where you ask somebody what they did last night and instead of answering with words they just whip out their phone to show you instead..
A: And the greatest thing about pictures that's been lost, like back in the day people would share slides of what they did, and people now they just throw up an album online but you're missing the experience of sitting down with somebody and literally going through the photos and talking about where you went and what you did so I mean let's go to a place with no cell signal and where there's no wifi and take those pictures so when you get back you have to go 'look at what I did!'.
And drinking is such a social thing where you should be talking to each other and meeting new people instead of just taking pictures or texting..
A: I mean the hardest thing you watch is some people are out and their hands are full, one with a drink and the other is with their phone... let it go! Enjoy!
So what were you doing before you took this job and what made you want to leave to do this?
A: I was working in film and then I worked for a marketing company for a little bit after I left film and the only reason I took this job is because they were interested in me cultivating my ideas and kind of bringing them out.. so that was really all it was, just an opportunity to share, and again I'm not anything special but I enjoy what a lot of other people enjoy and I'm not fortunate enough to like host those events where people can sit down and enjoy what they want to enjoy!
Do you ever get awkward having all the attention and pressure on you for these sorts of events?
A: Only when people think that I'm something more than just a person. It doesn't happen that often, like I said I've never built a fame or had a fame, there are people out there that might have seen me somewhere or heard of me and might be a little extroverted about having the opportunity to engage with me, that's only awkward when they think that I'm above them, I'm not.. I'm a peer. I'm just lucky.
What do you have coming up after this night?
A: After this, uh Backyard Ax Throwing League (BATL) has got a 10 year anniversary so we're going to do some stuff with them and then I spend the rest of the time just like connecting with entree people, so like bartenders and back of house, just taking them out and hosting them and letting them have a good time.. kind of thanking them for all the great shit they do for me when they're working.
Huge thanks to Arron, Sailor Jerry, and Melanie Kaye!