Motivational Mondays Episode 33: Colin Vlasak – Founder of FUXWITHIT

So to end an amazing year at the The Music Elk, it has been a great year for us and we would like to thank every single one of you for reading and supporting the site. We will be back in the New Year, but first of all we have a very special guest for this Motivational Monday. Hope you enjoy it and have a great holiday and new year !

Who are you and what’s your background?

My name is Colin Vlasak, I’m from Toronto and I run FUXWITHIT. I started FUXWITHIT just under 5 years ago with my friend Kash. We’d both wanted to start a blog for many years before but never went for it. We were out of touch for a few years and reconnected through our joint love of music and he was like “let’s start a blog.” A few days later he purchased FUXWITHIT.com and we were off. When we started out we really had no clue what we were doing and no connections whatsoever in the industry. The first few years were just learning; from how to properly utilize WordPress, to getting better at writing, etc. The whole time has been a continual learning. As the blog expanded I took on the role as editor and have been managing our team ever since. Music has been my greatest passion in life since I was a kid so it’s fitting to be running a music publication.

What does your job consist of on a day to day basis?

It’s pretty hectic. In addition to running FUXWITHIT I currently work a 9 to 5. I’m also getting into PR and trying to DJ a lot more. An average day for me is wake-up, get caught up on emails and and messages, DMs, etc. Update my to-do list for the day and hit my writing team back on anything they may need feedback on. From there it’s shower and go to work. On lunch it’s back to FUXWITHIT. Writing, doing a final review of posts, posting articles, listening to music, etc. Afternoon is back to work at day job. Once that’s done. It’s back to music, I usually take the bus home so while I’m on the bus I’m writing or replying to emails. Basically whatever is left on my to do list that I can easily get done on my phone. In the evenings I’ll hang out with my wife, go to the gym or chill with friends. If I’m not doing one of those things I’m working. I also usually put in an hour or two before bed too. It’s my favourite time to write, when distractions are minimal and the world is a little quieter.  

What do you enjoy most about it?

Just being immersed in music. Working in the industry has always been a dream of mine. The fact that I’ve developed friendships with artists I love and have had the chance to connect with so many incredible people is amazing. Nothing makes me happier or feel more alive then music, and FUXWITHIT has allowed me to connect with it in ways I only dreamed of.

What’s your biggest achievement to date?

It’s hard to say. A simple answer would be just the platform we’ve been able to create. I can look at our home page every day and be proud of the music we’re supporting and the writing behind it. The love we’ve been getting recently from artists and well respected industry people is super dope.

If we want to get into specifics I’d say Beat & Eats is a big one. We shot the first episode with TroyBoi a while back and have another one with Stooki Sound coming soon. Just the scale of the project and production quality amazes me. To take a grand idea and be able to execute at that level was something special. Huge shoutout to Kevin (our Director) and the entire team, it’s a result of a lot of talented people working for free to create something special.

Other than that our Guest Mix series and the premieres we’ve done have made me super proud. Our guest mix series is basically a who’s who of the best up-and-coming producers in electronic music. Doing premieres for some of my favourite artists and labels has been wild too.

Any tips and tricks that you wish you knew when you started?

I wish I would have known how much of an impact having a good team can make. When we started out I wanted to do everything myself. I was very protective and wanted it to be “My Blog.” As time went on I’ve been lucky enough to meet a ton of incredibly talented creative people. The more people you have working towards a goal the faster you’ll get there. Also creative energy is infectious. Just having people that you can talk to regularly will leave you inspired. We pretty much doubled the size of our writing team in the past year and it’s allowed us to take advantage of so many awesome opportunities. I wish we expanded sooner.   

For the readers looking to pursue a career in your field, do you have any advice for them?

Jump in! I wanted to work in music for so long but I kept waiting. The best thing you can do is to just get started. That may be starting your own personal blog or applying to work for one that you enjoy. Music publications are always looking to add contributors to their teams. Don’t be afraid to reach out and don’t expect to be doing your dream job from day 1.  

Who are your favourite artists at the moment?

Oh man it’s so hard to narrow them down. I’ll start with shoutouts to two of the best coming out of Toronto: thook and Lingopolus. Both have been absolutely killing it and making some of the most unique and exciting trap and bass music. To be honest I could probably list like 50+. I’d say just check out FUXWITHIT on a regular basis. Anyone who’s featured on our site is killing it.

What do you look for in a song/artist?

Generally something unique or original. There’s so much music coming out these days that to stand out it needs to be more than just good. I want to hear something fresh or exciting. That’s why I’ve been loving the experimental bass scene lately, there’s always new shit that’s completely blowing my mind. It’s also important that music has a groove or fluent bounce. This is especially true in the trap and bass space. There’s a lot of artists with really insane sound design but if you can’t vibe to it, you’re going to lose me. The best producers blend wild sound design with a bounce that you can move to.

How do you overcome days where you have no motivation?

I find the biggest thing to try to overcome this is to do just do something. Some days you don’t feel motivated and staring at a to-do list with 10+ items can be super daunting. I usually try to convince myself to just do 1. It can be the easiest task on the whole list but usually once I’ve done that, I’m amped to do the next one and the next one. I think laziness and productivity are both addictive. The more you lean towards one, the more it will consume you. Which one do you want to consume you?

If I’m having trouble even getting to even 1 I just try envision the end goal. I want to work in the music industry full time and wake-up excited to work every single day. I’m not quite there yet so I use that as motivation. I tell myself, “If I get x done today, that will put me in a better place tomorrow and open doors for me later.”

What do you do when you’re not working (for downtime)?

I work a lot but it’s important to make time to take a break. Exercising is a big one. I try to workout in some shape or form at least 3x a week. It’s a great stress release and I find it helps to keep me motivated. Spending time with my wife and friends is another big one. I’m super into craft beer as well so I’m always on a quest to try new beers. DJing is one of my other loves. Whether it’s playing a club or just messing around and making mixes by myself in my living room.

Any recent announcements and/or upcoming stuff you would like to announce to the readers?

2019 is going to be a big year for FUXWITHIT. Expect some major premieres and our Guest Mix series to just keep getting bigger and better. We’re going to be dropping the second episode of Beats & Eats in early January so look out for that.

Your own personal tips for success (either in music or life in general)?

The biggest tip I would suggest is to ask for what you want. I feel like people are really scared of rejection and tend not to ask for things unless they know it’s a lock I know I used to be this way. I can’t even begin to count how many incredible opportunities I’ve been afforded just because I wanted to do something and asked the right person to make it happen. Most of the success I’ve seen with FUXWITHIT is a result of applying this. The worst response you’re going to get is a “no” and then you’re back to where you started if you hadn’t asked. That said, be strategic in your asks and ensure you’re providing value on your end. You don’t want to be the person who is always asking for handouts but if you have something you want to do, don’t be afraid to ask someone who can make it happen. This applies to working in music or life in general. Whether you’re a producer looking for a collab, or want to marry your longtime girlfriend, the only way you’ll get what you want is putting yourself out there.

Another  piece of advice is regarding relationships. You often hear “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” The older I get the truer it rings. Relationships are everything. As you’re coming up make an effort to connect with people and build relationships that are meaningful. Don’t let interactions be strictly transactional or one sided. Don’t always be thinking, “what can this person do for me,” also consider what you can do them. Mutually beneficial relationships allow everyone to win together. And there’s nothing better than that.

Lastly just be a good person. This ties in with the above but having a positive and open outlook can have such a massive impact on your life or career. Be true to your word and be helpful when you can.  

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