Sometimes we can be afraid to show love to the people we admire the most. From afar we stand back and think, “this person is doing something really dopel” and although you can “like” their Instagram post and watch their content to show support… going a step further to directly let this person know can make all the difference.
I had followed Kwakes on Instagram back in October/November of 2016 after a friend of mine had suggested I check him out because of what he was doing in the Boston scene. Giving his social media a quick skim, which feels like the resume of 2017, you could tell he was very involved and putting himself out there which was absolutely the candidate i’d be looking for as a possible podcast guest. Months went by, ‘likes’ were exchanged on our pages and eventually Kwakes broke the ice.
After a few messages back and forth exchanging our appreciation for what we were both setting out to accomplish, I showed interest in bringing Kwakes onto the podcast and that's how we got episode 45.
His childhood has played a huge role in helping him get to where he is today because from early on he’s never been afraid to stick his nose out there. Kwakes has tried anything that seemed of interest to him, would score it on his personal “skills rating scorecard” and if it was something he wanted to revisit then he would. With wanting to get involved in Boston’s music scene he started hosting his own shows, taking photos for events and blogging for a local store which led him to having his own radio show, Fresh Out The Mint.
One of the main takeaways from this episode is that discipline is remembering what you want at every moment. Kwakes had always been materialistic conscious and instead would put his money towards things that were going to better himself. When he first started hosting shows, he took out a $2,400 credit line from Guitar Center just to purchase the equipment necessary to see if he was onto something. He followed through with what he said he was going to do.
One of the main takeaways from this episode is that discipline is remembering what you want at every moment. Cutting back on going out and refocusing our time, energy and money into the things that do matter are the only way we’ll be able to find our passion or purpose.
Who is Kwakes today and how young is he?
25 years young who works by day for a startup called ‘Toast’
Grew up in Lincoln Village in Worcester in a very diverse culture
Dominicans, Puerto Ricans, West African Cultures, Albanians etc
As a kid Kwakes was always into reading books but was also the ‘class clown’ in a way
Father always kept him away from activities that would distract him in a negative way
Always stook his nose out and put himself out there
Kids that he grew up with used to call him ‘Steven A’, would love to talk and always knew what was happening in the sports world (6:35)
If he couldn’t be playing on the court he wanted to be the person that had a voice
Looking back Kwakes wishes he had stayed more consistent on things
Played soccer, baseball, basketball for a couple years, the flute but would quickly be pulled away to try something else
Following through is critical and setting the steps of how you’ll accomplish your goals is necessary
Studying at Babson College, Kwakes realized that grades doesn’t matter depending on what your ‘game’ is (11:35)
His game was always relationship building, hard work and following through with what he said he was going to do
Learned how to navigate working with a team of people that had different agendas, personalities, strengths/weaknesses
Got out of college and couldn’t find a hobby, started doing standup comedy
It was a way to try something new, put his ‘nose out’ there and another opportunity to give a ‘skill rating’
Very materialistic conscious and instead puts his money towards things that might help him grow
‘Fresh Out The Mint’ is the product of Kwakes after running around the city and trying to find his lane (18:30)
Used to blog for Laced Boston (episode 17 of the podcast), worked at Karmaloop when Micah ‘Noodles’ Mahinay’ DJ for Kahlani took off showing him that you could make it things happen
2016 hosted a couple underground rap shows called ‘The Earthquake’
Instead of spending his money going out with his friends, he invested the money into ideas he had (22:55)
Was able to donate proceeds from one show to a local church that supported Haiti victims
Linking with Ned of ‘Leedz Entertainment’ taught him quite a bit
Goes into every interview looking to come out of it having learned something (28:35)
These are people that have done a lot in a short period of time and if he doesn’t think he learned something then he didn’t do his best
Fulfillment comes from seeing the guests on the show grow but also is tough trying to push to understand their purpose.
As an interviewer even if you think you might’ve brought on the wrong guest or asked the wrong question, you’re still just talking to a person
New panelist series called ‘Inside the Vault: Looking Inside the Industry’ (35:30)
DJ E Dubble (DJ from Jamin’ 94.5), Alex Siber (writer from Pigeons & Planes) & Noble (Founder of The Museum TV) were guests on the first one.
Having a panel allows it to be more real and for people to get something out of it and learn
Trying to be humbly confident in everything that Kwakes does (40:20)
Go into a situation knowing he knows something, not everything but not nothing
You always know how to be polite, how to work hard, to take notes and observe
The difference between a hobby and a business is big (41:30)
Continuing to monetize something isn’t easy if you’re trying to turn it into a sustainable business
Each member of the team helps build, grow and improve the FOTM movement
Moving from Worcester to Boston gave Kwakes the chance to submerse himself into a new ‘world’ and was a test if he would be able to survive somewhere else.
Now it’s time to remove the safety when he makes his move to Los Angeles
Kwakes stopped caring about pouring out negative energy for no reason (48:05)
People make their own decisions and it’s their life to live… it's your problem that your nose is in their business
Tries to think positively and if issues arise address and fix them
Not going to dwell on things that are out of his control
If he could change anything it would be more consistency, not leaving things on the table and being laser focused (50:45)
The job will get done but it’s about how bad does he want it
If he is able to keep a laser focus the end product is of higher quality but we aren’t all perfect
Better discipline with no safety nets and filling the voids
Tries to be as transparent as he can and puts it all out there for people to understand him
People might think he is further in his journey than he actually is
Behind anything that he is creating, he is a regular guy just trying to do it
Wants to be remembered for being a net positive, a 1 instead of a 0 (56:00)
A base level that he is known for “that guy” that was Fresh Out The Mint
Wants to be known for someone who never sold himself short and was all positive
Picture frame on the wall 10 years from now, what/who we see with Kwakes
Doing something that he has never done before
Would love to say he would have people in it but he has made it thus far by just going for it on his own
Sitting in Japan eating a big green leafy salad
Find Kwakes and Fresh Out The Mint on social media
2-3 pieces of advice for someone trying to find their passion or purpose
Try as many things as possible and put yourself out there
Be serious about the things you try and be ready to invest
Be smart about it and you will always be fighting for people’s time and attention