Professional SpotlightSpotlight

We met Ariana Austin after work one warm Washington, D.C. evening last spring. The conversation was meant to last just half an hour, but we ended up talking for over two. So when we say that Ariana is generous with her time, spirit, and energy, we have the proof to back it up. We talked about everything from why she decided to study English Lit in college, to how she manages her time as an entrepreneur and team leader. As the Founder of Art All Night, she knows how to tackle projects from start to finish and bring entire communities together. By carrying over her skills and talents from all parts of life, we are inspired by Ariana’s courage to dive right into her passions and turn them into a fruitful career.

Name: Ariana Austin
Education: B.A. English Literature, Fisk University and M.Ed, Arts in Education, Harvard University
Location: New York City
Follow: Twitter / French Thomas

Carpe Juvenis: How do you define ‘Seizing Your Youth’?

Ariana Austin: Being curious; for experiences, for people, traveling to different places, studying what you want. Honoring that openness while relatively free of responsibility.

CJ: You majored in English Literature at Fisk University. How did you determine what to study?

AA: I have loved to read and write since childhood – I just followed my passion.

CJ: You spent some time at the University of Oxford. What were you studying and how was that experience?

AA: I studied “postcolonial” literature — a contentious term for literature from formerly colonized nations. It was very intense — the most rigorous academic experience I’ve had but a first-read of some of my now favorite novels, and a nuanced look at the most difficult of topics: who has power and who does not.

CJ: What was your first job out of college?

AA: When I graduated from college, I had a press internship on the hill, worked part-time for the Oxford Study Abroad Program (that I went to as a student), and in a boutique.

CJ: You founded Art All Night. Please tell us more about the organization and what your roles as Founder and Creative Director entail.

AA: Art All Night is a nighttime arts and culture festival. I founded the festival in 2010 after having lived in Paris and experiencing the original “nuit blanche.” My work involves sketching out the big picture for the night, then securing venues (many are vacant or non-traditional art spaces), cultural partners to curate them, managing the overall artist call, and working with galleries and more established spaces to open their doors late.

ArianaAustin_4

CJ: What does a day in your life look like?

AA: Depending on what two or three projects I’m working on every few months is different. These days my schedule is to work from my apartment in Brooklyn. I’m working on two projects – Draw NYC – a wonderful initiative designed to get New Yorkers drawing in public space and Art All Night. Typically: I try to keep to a regular schedule and work from 10am-6pm. In the morning, I get to action items, conceptual work, and priority meetings and calls, and in the afternoon emails. Around 4pm I stop for a tea break, it’s relaxing and a nice way to break up the day; I know I still have another 2 hours to get things done.

CJ: What should a teenager or young adult who wants to run their own company do to set him or herself up for success? What’s the first step he or she should take?

AA: Start before you’re ready. Start a precursor to a business when you have that initial passion, even if you’re not sure of the exact structure. Organize around that spark and be flexible with changing course. Create something that is yours that you can grow and build and learn through. Have fun with it.

CJ: Was there ever a moment that greatly influenced or encouraged you to jump into entrepreneurship?

AA: During graduate school, I went on a trip sponsored by the Harvard Innovation Lab to NYC to meet with cultural entrepreneurs. We met with really great people: Arianna Huffington, Diane von Furstenberg, the founders of Rent the Runway, and more. I spent that week really critically thinking about starting a culture business. I hadn’t expected to do it this soon, but I knew it would happen someday. It feels good to have invested in it fully from the very beginning.

ArianaAustin_2

CJ: How do you deal with and overcome tough days?

AA: With big projects, this is hard because often a lot rides on one day or one event. I try to isolate the source of the stress (is it related to getting something done, asking for something specific, variables beyond your control etc). If it can be handled, I just do it. If I need extra support, I talk to family and friends to help figure out a solution. But there is something to big projects where 48 hours or so before you have to be kind of Zen-like and let it go and be in execution mode. You work as much and as hard as humanly possible, but then there are situations where you have to let go – learning that will make a happier producer. Also, at the end of the day when I’m done, I’m done. I need those hours to go out or be home, have a glass of wine and recharge for the next day. I’m almost always refreshed and ready to go after a good nights sleep. 

CJ: What is something in your life – professional or personal – that you’re working to improve on and how are you doing that?

AA: Personally: keeping up with friends and family more consistently. 

CJ: How do you measure success?

AA: I am a very focused person so I have a couple of key goals and everything I do should feed into those goals ultimately. Success for me is getting things done at a steady pace and producing at a high quality both professional and more personal projects, that I’m happy with my work and so are my clients. Beyond that, being content and finding joy throughout the day. 

CJ: You’ve traveled quite a bit and moved for work – what is the best travel and moving advice you can share?

Take your spirit, leave your baggage. I wrote it in an article once and have since tried to follow my own advice.

CJ: What advice would you give your 20-year-old self?

AA: Wise words from Kanye West: Steer clear of “opportunities” and focus on dreams.

Ariana Austin Qs

Image: Morgan West / A Creative D.C.

CultureLearn

read

These are the articles #TeamCarpe read and loved this week. What did you enjoy reading?

Travel

10 tricks that travel writers swear by. You, too, can learn their secrets.

Creative

Graphic designer Annie Atkins created an entire world with props in Wes Anderson’s Oscar-nominated film, The Grand Budapest Hotel. How cool does her job sound?

Be Amazed

Vietnam-based artist Adam Tran created stunning origami models of prehistoric creatures. Very impressive.

Watch

PBS created a documentary on Dr. Atul Gawande’s book, Being Mortal. Gawande explores how doctors talk to patients about death and dying and the struggle it entails.

Write

There are so many great health benefits to writing. Try writing daily!

Apply

Thinking about your summer internship already? Maybe one of these 25 highest rated companies for internships might be of interest.

Rethink

Get ready, because in spring 2016 there’s a new redesigned SAT in town.

Image: Carpe Juvenis

Professional SpotlightSpotlight

Erik Fabian has always enjoyed performing. As an artist working in performance, installation, and conceptual art, Erik is interested in the interaction between people and how “space and circumstances around that interaction shape your experience.” Erik is a graduate of the Master of FIne Arts program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and his experience at grad school greatly changed his work.

While working as an artist, Erik is also the Director of Brand & PR at Moleskine America. Erik tells stories about the Moleskine brand’s values while also inspiring people to create more. We’re definitely inspired – as huge fans of putting pen to paper, we are guilty of carrying our Moleskine notebooks around with us everywhere we go to note down ideas and to-dos.

Though busy, Erik has great tips for managing his time. How does he do it exactly? By identifying two or three big goals for the day, as well as smaller tasks to accomplish. Keep reading to learn more about Erik’s successful career, his creative process, and the simple yet effect things he does when he needs to unwind or reset.

Name: Erik Fabian
Age: 38
Education:
The Evergreen State College and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Follow: @ErikFabianInstagram / ErikAndTheAnimals.com

Carpe Juvenis: How do you define “Seizing Your Youth?”

Erik Fabian: Take responsibility for your own happiness, impact, growth, and future. The sooner you take responsibility for yourself the more you can enjoy your youth and make choices that will help you enjoy your adulthood. I would define “responsibility” as being able to explain your choices and being willing to stand behind your actions whatever the outcome.

CJ: You are an artist working in performance, installation, and conceptual art. What sparked your interest in art, and why specifically performance art and installation?

EF: I have always enjoyed performing. I think of it as this very big, philosophical playground and lab. It is a kind of play that gets lost as you get older. During a performance rules of interaction can be rewritten and questions about the world can be explored. I also like that performance can be so physical.

I became particularly interested in how people interact and how the space and circumstances around that interaction shape your experience. That led me to create more installations and events. I currently express this interest mostly through my role at Moleskine in creating events and partnerships with artists/cultural organizations.

Erik F

CJ: You are a graduate of the Master of Fine Arts program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). What was that experience like and how did you determine where to study?

EF: At the time I wanted to explore performance in a broad sense…that included both the history of theater and the history of visual arts. That choice narrowed my options. You can do more tradition theater work in several places or be the conceptual/performance person in a more visual arts focused program but a mix is rare. When I met the faculty at SAIC I felt it was a pretty good fit and it was a well-regarded school and I was fortunate to get accepted.

I loved being a grad student and having the time and resources to think alongside very talented people. I enjoyed getting a stronger sense of visual art history and how visual artists work. It also gave me a vocabulary to talk about my work and other people’s work. The experience did change my work a great deal. For one thing, I wanting to experience how to make solo work after working collaboratively for a long time and had time to do that. The funny thing is that most visual artists I met had worked solo for so long and were looking for collaboration.

In the end your network is a key professional asset you take from any graduate school experience. I unfortunately didn’t want to live in Chicago permanently and left much of that network behind after the program. If you can, go to school where you want to live.

CJ: Your work explores notions of value and how we value art and the experience of performance. How do you come up with ideas and topics for your work, and what is your creative process?

EF: If I am working alone, I just follow my interests. My interests are usually are obvious based on the kind of reading and media I am consuming. I read a lot. I consume a lot of media. When working with others, it starts with conversations about interests and using formal idea development sessions. I am the kind of person who has way more ideas than time and resources to execute them.

To develop an idea into something for sharing, I set some kind of restraints around a project based on my interests, current resources and go from there. The process helps refine/reduce all my ideas and to fill in the blanks where needed. My process is a combo of doing structured, practical things and just noodling on ideas. For instance on the practical side, I start with making a calendar and working backwards, setting goals that lead to the result I want. On the looser side, I tend to draw lots of simple representation of ideas for aspects of the work.

Often I find I have clear ideas about the space and sequence of events first. I also tend to summarize the project as a kind of poster at some point. Getting on your feet and doing things rather than talking is a powerful way to move things forward when making a performance. When doing other kinds of projects, rapid-prototyping is the same kind of idea with a similar contribution to the process.

Erik F 3

CJ: What advice would you give to a young person who wants to be an artist and creatively branch out on their own?

EF: First on the creative side, don’t ever be shy about pursuing your creative life. Everyone has a creative spark – nurture it, practice daily if you can, find what thrills you, hang out with other creative people, consume art that excites you, and enjoy yourself. With that said, I think your question is asking more how to become an “artist” as in not someone who doesn’t just makes stuff but has an audience and ultimately might be a professional.

I say don’t become an “artist.” There are too many vague “artists” in the world and the opportunities to express yourself isn’t limited to just traditional mediums like painting or poetry. You need to become something much more specific and powerful than an “artist.” “Artists” rarely have a sufficient audience to sustain a professional career. I know a ton of talented people who are doing odd jobs so they can paint or whatever and maybe get a lucky break. I have heard that most MFA graduates stop making work in six or seven years after graduation which I find sad and it should scare you. Find a niche where your interests, talents, refined craft, and the story you tell about yourself makes you very different than everyone else.

Andy Warhol isn’t an artist – he is a clever guy who took the notion of the commodification of visual goods and made his life into a metaphor for the industrial system. In doing so he created a ton of work that was easy to sell and still sells while also hanging out with kooky folks and living a life where he got to express ideas to an audience who cares.

You can write a similar blurb about any successful “artist” as well as people who express via entrepreneurship, social work, politics, or whatever. What is the blurb you want people to write about you? Write it without using the word “artist.”

On your way to living your blurb here are a couple other things I have noticed. Take your creative impulses and refine them into a craft – people with good technical skills in any traditional medium always have it easier. Identify a creative process that helps you consistently produce work – people who create a lot of work have it easier. Learn to talk about your work with non-“artists” – people will constantly ask you what you do and need a concrete response and these folks are your potential audience. Think about your work as a business and learn how the business of your relevant art market works – the people who are good at business and marketing have longer and bigger careers. Get really good, be really interesting, get good advice, handle your personal finances responsibly, and don’t let the pursuit of this professional stuff squash your creative self.

CJ: You are also the Director of Brand & PR at Moleskine America. What drew you to Moleskine and what does your job entail?

EF: I basically tell stories about the values that underlie the Moleskine brand. These values are the bedrock that supports the kinds of objects and experiences Moleskine designs and shares in the world. I also have a mandate to expand and protect the brand both as it is understood both among Moleskine America staff and in the public. If you take the time to look at Moleskine.com for instance you will see that the company has a ton of stuff going on. I help spread the word about these activities to our fans and try to inspire folks to create more.

I was attracted to the values of Moleskine and liked the design of the notebooks. The role they offered fit my experience as someone who has a background in the arts and expertise in creating events.

CJ: What has been one of the most unexpectedly interesting parts of your career to date?

EF: I have sat in a privileged seat as the head of the brand at Moleskine America. Moleskine is one of the most passionately loved brands in the world and I am constantly impressed by the creative outpouring Moleskine fans put into their notebooks. I have certainly learned a great deal about building a successful brand and how the power of arts/culture contributes to building a brand like Moleskine.

CJ: Every day in your life must be different depending on your projects and the time of year, but what does a Monday look like for you?

EF: There are different periods that focus on planning, budgeting, and execution of projects over the year. Most days I start by setting my to-dos and reviewing my calendar. I then jump into emails unless I have a pressing document to write. My days are dotted with meetings both with staff and external folks. Most of the work at an organization of any size is focused on alignment and focusing of everyone’s effort.

CJ: What are your time management tips? How do you stay organized and efficient?

EF: I identify two or three big goals for the day and maybe two to four small tasks I want to get done. This helps me focus. I try to keep my unread email basically at zero. I keep a digital calendar up to date for meetings and create dedicated project calendars for anything important. I take notes in a Moleskine notebook of course and find being able to write/draw ideas and notes helps me be efficient because it roots the information in my brain more powerfully than typing.

CJ: What is an area, either personal or professional, that you are working to improve in and how?

EF: Finding time to be as physically active is always a challenge. I am always experimenting with how to be efficient at getting some movement into my week.

CJ: Having a loaded schedule can sometimes be overwhelming. What do you do when you’re having a bad day and need to unwind or reset?

EF: Walking when the weather is warm is great. I like to get out of the city and camp when I have time. I like to cook and go to restaurants. I also read a lot and consume a lot of media. I have been a long time meditator and have found a rigorous seated practice hard to maintain in NYC, but I takes aspects of that practice that I apply throughout my day.

CJ: What advice would you give your 20-year-old self?

EF: Don’t wait for anyone else to take action. Go forward and people who are interested in your path will show up alongside you.

Erik Fabian Qs

Image: Erik Fabian, Emilie Baltz, Rachel Scroggins

CultureEducationInspiration

If you follow us on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook, you may have seen our live updates from the Wisdom 2.0 Next Generation conference in New York City. It was a great day filled with invaluable life lessons from awesome people such as Kleaver Cruz, Jessica Kane, Elle Luna, Miki Agrawal, and Matthew Brimer. We are excited to share some of the important lessons that we took away from the conference, complete with photos to document our conference journey in the Big Apple.

Washington Square

When in New York City, walk. We strolled through Washington Square Park before the conference started at 10AM. Even though we were running on 3 hours of sleep, we were so excited for the day to begin.

Conference

Moments before the conference started! The conference focused on millennials living with greater purpose and meaning in life and business. All good things, right?

Jessica Kane

Jessica Kane, The Huffington Post Director of Millennial Outreach spoke to us about what it means to be a millennial. We are the most stressed, but optimistic, generation. Also, according to data, millennials would rather be broke than bored, meaning that we want to find passion and purpose in our work, even if that means receiving a lower paycheck. Because we’re so busy and always consumed with technology, it’s important to incorporate well-being into our lives.

Ella Luna

We were excited to hear Elle Luna speak. She’s an artist and the author of the super popular article, The Crossroads of Should and Must. Something eye-opening she said was that if we want to be free, we need to reflect and understand why we are not currently free. Instead of thinking about what you would rather be doing or where you want to go, first understand why you are feeling a certain way and what exactly you can change to make a difference.

Also, make a “What are you so afraid of?” list – write down 10 things you are afraid of, and once they are down on paper, you’ll see that they might not be so scary after all. This list is a great first step for overcoming your fears and to start doing. Elle had such an amazing energy and optimism; we were so inspired!

 FIre escapes

Lunch break! We roamed the streets and grabbed a quick bite to eat. Don’t forget to look up! There’s beauty around every corner in this city.

Miki

Miki Agrawal, co-founder of Thinx and Wild, was hilarious and so, so smart. We have been long-time fans of hers as a leader and businesswoman, so we were excited to hear her speak. She started her presentation by saying that there are no guarantees in life. A simple, yet important, reminder that we should remember every single day. Some important points she made during her talk: master a skill, purpose is your best motivation, face people and you will face your own fears, and leaders don’t talk badly about other people.

Great people talk about ideas. Average people talk about things. Small people talk about other people.

GA

Matthew Brimer is the co-founder of General Assembly, and he is seriously smart and driven. We loved his point about how your education should always be in beta; never stop learning. He also spoke extensively about the importance of failure, and that failure is necessary. Through failure we can learn and improve.

 These were just a few of the amazing speakers that shared their insight from the experiences they have had. It was an overwhelming day in the best kind of way, and we left feeling motivated and determined to include wellness into our lives. There was a speaker who led everyone through a guided meditation, which is seriously good for your brain and health. Meditation = paying attention to being alive. When you take a couple of minutes out of your day to just be, you significantly reduce stress and help calm your mind and body down.

Not only was it great to hear about including well-being into our everyday lives, but it was awesome learning more about millennials. Every now and then it’s great to learn more about our generation and better understand our place in the world. Did any of these lessons resonate with you?

Professional SpotlightSpotlight

Managing, singing, writing, playing, and producing your own music takes a lot of time, effort, and creativity. What is the process for producing an album? How does one become a professional musician and artist? How do you stay confident in front of crowds night after night? Connor Frost, who manages, sings, writes, and plays his own music with his band, Dizzy Bats, explains, “Just go out there and do it, repetition really helps.” 

Having grown up playing music and being surrounded by a musically-talented family, standing in front of an audience is nothing new to Connor, but he continues to channel all of his energy into his performances and he makes sure he is always learning something from each new experience. Fresh off the release of his new EP, Appendectomy, Connor has a lot to share about his experiences pursuing music full-time and how he got to where he is today.

Name: Connor Frost
Age: 25
Education: B.A. from Connecticut College
Follow: Twitter | Facebook | Dizzy Bats | Take a Listen/Download

Carpe Juvenis: How do you define ‘Seizing Your Youth’?

CF: Following your passion. I do my best not to worry about the different molds that society has created for us, and instead just roll with it and ride that passion wave.

CJ: What did you major in at Connecticut College and how did you determine what to study?

CF: Going into Connecticut College I knew that I wanted to study Chinese, so when I was applying to colleges, I looked for programs that had strong Chinese programs. I also knew that I wanted to study music but I wasn’t really trying to dive into a conservatory atmosphere. I was, however, looking for schools that would allow me to be involved musically, so the small liberal arts college system appealed to me.

CJ: Did you study abroad? What was your big takeaway from studying abroad and do you think it was worth it?

CF: I studied in Beijing for the spring semester of my junior year. There are so many takeaways, but I would say by the end of that experience, I considered myself “fluent” in the Chinese language, which was ultimately my goal. I think it was also an incredible cultural learning experience. Just crossing the street in China is an adventure every day. Immersing myself in that type of environment that was totally different from what I grew up in was pretty great.

Connor in front of Organs

CJ: What or who inspired you to become a musician/artist?

CF: I grew up playing music. My mom is a professional pianist. My dad is a singer. They’re both teachers, they both teach music. My mom works at Sacred Heart University as a teacher there, she’s also an organist at a church. My dad also teaches. So I grew up around music, but it wasn’t until college that I realized that music is what I want to do. My parents made me continue music up to a certain age, but I never felt like they forced it on me. It was a mix of being surrounded by it, but also the great experiences that I had in college and starting my own band made me realize that this is what I want to do.

CJ: How did you know you wanted to be a musician/artist professionally?

CF: I didn’t really know. Out of college I was a full-time teacher for 2 years, the first year in Connecticut and then in North Jersey, and my reasoning for that was that I wanted to be in or around New York because that’s where my band was and still is. I really love teaching, realized that teaching full-time and doing the music thing full-time just wasn’t a healthy lifestyle and it was causing a lot of unneeded stress. I ultimately decided last February that I wanted to remove myself from full-time teaching and dedicate that time to music.

CJ: You recently went on a national tour. When on tour, how do you stay motivated on-stage night after night of performing?

CF: I put all of my energy into the performance. Seeing the country is great, but at the end of the day, you’re on the road for one reason and that’s the performance.  I try not to worry about things that are out of my control, which is easier said than done.  Seeing different cities is pretty cool, too, but I put everything into the show. Whether I’m playing for 1 person or for 50 people, it doesn’t matter, I just try to make the performance the best it can be.

CJ: Have you ever forgotten a song lyric on-stage and what do you do when that happens?

CF: Short answer, yes. I’ve mixed up verses. I think only the really hardcore Dizzy Bats fans notice, so it’s not a really big thing. I’ll definitely laugh about it, though.

Connor and his band 2 - 1

CJ: Do you have a pre-show ritual?

CF: I don’t really, but I probably should. I just try to eat well and not right before performing.

CJ: What is one of the greatest lessons you have learned from being a musician/artist?

CF: I think throughout all of my song-writing, I was really concerned with how my music would be received amongst my friends, new fans, and family. In the beginning, it was as if I was trying to write for someone else. I was trying to write to this group of people – whoever they were, and I wasn’t even sure who they were really. Lyrically, I was trying to make my songs really accessible as well.

Now, I truly just write for myself.  I’ve stopped worrying about whether the record will sell or if someone will like a song or not. The greatest lesson I’ve learned is that you should write for yourself and be true to yourself, otherwise the art loses authenticity and meaning.

CJ: How do you overcome self-doubt and stage fright?

CF: Just doing it more and more. I grew up performing so I had a lot of experience on stage. I do get anxious about some shows, though.  For example, our first Dizzy Bats show, which was a couple of years ago now, I was crazy nervous. Last year we were playing a show every weekend from January to April, and by the end of it performing was second nature. There were some nerves but more excitement and positive energy than anything else. Just go out there and do it, repetition really helps.

CJ: You write, sing, and play your own music. What is your songwriting process?

CF: It really depends. It’s tough for me to pick a time to sit down and just write a song. It doesn’t really work like that. I get ideas for songs at really inconvenient times, usually right before I’m going to bed, which is a horrible time to get a song idea, or while stuck in traffic on the GWB. I usually come up with a melody first, and then I take that melody and mess around with the guitar, and then I’ll put lyrics to it and take it to my guitarist, Kyle, who will come up with additional guitar parts. Then the whole band will flesh it out from there.

If I start writing a song and the song doesn’t write itself, then it’s probably not meant to be.  If I have to spend a lot of time thinking about the song, then it’s probably not going to happen, or perhaps I just have a horrible attention span.

Connor playing guitar - 1

CJ: What advice do you have for youth who want to be professional musicians?

CF: Write for yourself and don’t worry about how your music is going to be received. In the end, if you’re not happy with your music and you’re not stoked about what you’re putting out, it’ll be hard for others to be excited about it. If you want to be an indie rock artist, don’t let the empty room discourage you.

CJ: What does a day in your life look like?

CF: A typical day involves waking up and now eating breakfast which I never usually did. I’ll work on some music, whether it’s Dizzy Bats or other projects I’m involved in. During the day I’ll have rehearsals, at night I tutor, and then I’ll work on more music, read, and watch TV.  Every day is different which is really cool.

CJ: What was the inspiration behind Appendectomy?

CF: I had an appendectomy that went all wrong due to mediocre doctors and poor opinions. I ended up back in the hospital after the appendectomy because of post-surgery complications, so during that time I was going through a lot.

So I started writing this song which is a little bit about missing this girl and also about putting things into perspective. I found myself whining and crying when I was bedridden, but I realized at the end of the day I was going to walk out of that hospital, which was more than a lot of patients can say.

CJ: How long did it take to write, sing, and produce Appendectomy?

CF: We toured the songs for half a year, from January to May. We went into the studio in May and I would say we spent four total days in the studio for five songs – one of the songs didn’t make it on to the EP. The mixing and mastering was in June. From learning the songs to getting the final tracks was a 6 month process. It can be shorter than that, but it just happened this way.

Connor singing and playing guitar -1

CJ: What activities were you involved in throughout high school? Were there any experiences that were most memorable or life changing?

CF: I was very involved with music. After I quit the soccer team my junior year of high school, I decided that music was going to be my focus outside of the classroom. My jazz band teacher in high school really was a source of inspiration.  In playing with such strong high school musicians and getting instruction from a great jazz musician, I started to casually think about life as a teacher, as well as a musician.

In college, I played in every single group imaginable, it seemed. I played in the concert band, symphony orchestra, jazz band, I fronted a rock band and funk band, and that’s when I started writing my own tunes. My college band, The Endpiece – that experience made me realize I wanted to go the rock ‘n roll/indie route. Of all the amazing learning experiences that I had, that was one of the most amazing and life changing. I learned so much and there is no way I would be doing what I am doing now without that band.

CJ: You are also the manager of your band. From the business side, how does that influence the creative side?

CF: It doesn’t, except that some songs have been about the frustrations of managing the creative as well as business side of things. They are pretty separate because managing deals with booking shows and PR, so it doesn’t necessarily crossover into the creative world.

CJ: What music are you most influenced by?

CF: I am influenced by all of the genres that I’ve studied. We have a lot of horns in our recordings and I draw influence from all of the experience that I’ve had playing classical and jazz trumpet.  I hate classifying our music but if I had to put us in a box: 90’s alternative rock, punk and power pop. Our music is very 90s influenced, which makes sense having been a 90s kid.

CJ: What motivates you in your everyday life?

CF: The music is what motivates me, as well as working with kids. Those are two things that I love to do, and I feel so blessed that my life consists of these two passions. I don’t find myself necessarily sitting on the couch trying to find ways to motivate myself.  Not at the moment, at least.

CJ: Who is your role model?

CF: It sounds corny, but seeing what my parents have done with music and seeing how happy they are is inspirational.

More recently, the various producers that I’ve worked with – our guitarist, Kyle Joseph, and my buddy Jon Markson – have been the two people on the production front for Dizzy Bats, and in seeing what they do in the studio and what they do with their own music keeps me motivated and inspired.  Every time I see them work I am amazed by their knowledge, expertise, and drive.  My brother, who I consider to be the most all-around creative person I know, is also someone I look up to.  I feel really lucky to be surrounded by such talented friends and family.

CJ: What advice would you give your 20-year-old self?

CF: Relax, it’s all good.

Connor Frost Qs

Check out the lyric video for ‘Batman and the Joker’ below!