Call him a hipster if you must, but the difference between Adam Jackson and the over-used and rarely defined term “hipster” is that he actually does all the cool stuff most ahead-of-the-curve kids only talk about. Whether he’s DJing at The Drake Underground, doing standup at Bambi’s, or wrapping up the first season of his webseries, Wasted Time, Jackson is undoubtedly the Jack of all things awesome. We caught up with the Renaissance boy-wonder to find out where he grabs a drink in his free time and what he loves most about his adopted home of Toronto.
Give us a snippet about you. What should people know?
Honestly, I’m just a dork who tries to stay busy. I’ve been very lucky to meet and become close friends with a lot of wonderful, hard-working and insanely talented people in this city and it’s exciting trying to keep up with them. It’s always valleys and peaks with the kind of stuff I do, but you guys caught me at a high point. Right now you can catch me DJing my monthly R&B party at The Drake Underground with two of my best friends, Jeff Hayward and Patrick McGuire, called LayTheseKnight. (You can also catch Jeff and I in the lounge regularly. We’ve been DJing together under the name Famous Players for seven years now.) Every Monday I co-host a standup comedy show called Dad Jokes at Bambi’s with the terrific Jordan Sowunmi and Chris Robinson. I also just finished the first season of a web series I’m extremely proud of called Wasted Time, which you can watch in its entirety online. I also occasionally freelance for Vice and in my normal, human life I work full time as the assistant manager of a popular retail establishment. Sometimes I sleep.
Finish this sentence: I love Toronto because…
…it makes you work for it. You move here initially and you don’t know the neighbourhoods, you’ve got an inconvenient and ill-equipped transit system and everyone else seems to really have their sh*t together. As the years go on and you explore and learn, you get more and more out of the city. Toronto really gives back what you put into it, which is its biggest charm. I’ve lived here 10 years and this city is still challenging and surprising me. I fall more in love with it every day.
What are three things you simply cannot live without?
First and foremost my cellphone. I’m constantly emailing, making sarcastic comments on Facebook, coordinating with a bunch of people and generally just keeping up with all my best friends. I’m not one of those people who gets offended when you’re hanging with someone and they use their phone. It’s 2013. Everyone is talking all the time. Secondly, XL steeped teas from Tim Horton’s. I never got into coffee and there’s something deliciously trashy about this particular tea. I probably have three of these a day, upwards of five when it’s winter and miserable. Thirdly, my Converse Sammy Baca CTAS Pro Skate shoes. These look just like regular Chuck Taylors, but they’ve been deconstructed to feature a Nike Lunarlon insole (a lot of people don’t realize Nike owns Converse) so they are insanely comfortable. These save my ass (and my back) on days where I work a full eight hours on my feet and then have to go straight to DJ or host for four hours. I wish I had 10 pairs.
What’s your favourite restaurant and why?
Grand Electric, hands down. It’s as if they “Inception’d” my subconscious and built a restaurant to those exact specifications. It’s dark, cozy, they always play rap music (not hip hop, there’s an important distinction), the tacos are phenomenal, the staff is friendly and hard-working, the specials are always changing and wonderful, plus it’s relatively close to my house and just far enough away that I’m not there every night.
What’s your favourite drink/cocktail and where do you go to get it?
I usually just drink beer, which has done wonders for my BMI. If I’m just going out for a few beers to hang out with friends I go to Redlight, which has been my favorite place in the city for years (I’ve had more birthdays there than the bar itself has had birthdays). We started LayTheseKnight there before bringing it to The Drake and it’s one of the most fun places to DJ and hang out. If I want a non-beer drink I’ll go to Pharmacy and just ask Chris Harper to figure it out for me. He’s a legend in the Toronto bartending world, but also isn’t into corny mixology or anything like that. He’ll just whip you up something delicious that seemed to come from 1.5 ingredients. Plus Pharmacy attracts the bare minimum of douche clientele and watching him shoo out the crazy people in the neighbourhood is always a treat.
What would we currently find on your iPod?
Currently rotating between the new Ciara, the Versace remix by Migos and Drake, I love Future and anyone affiliated with Freebandz, anything Young Chop, Mike Will Made It or Harry Fraud are producing, and then my staple podcasts The Best Show, Comedy Bang Bang, How Did This Get Made, Judge John Hodgman, Planet Money and The Combat Jack Show. I also go through periods where I burn through audiobooks, though that’s more of a fall/winter thing.
Who’s your favourite designer/brand and why do you sport their fashions?
My favourite brand for the last decade has been Wings + Horns. Their fabrication, fit and quality of manufacturing (plus the fact that they’re Canadian) has always gelled with my sensibilities. They have two tiers, Research and Archive. Research is more experimental pieces that they’re testing out each season and Archive are their tried and true classics. That means every season you can always count on your favourite pieces being re-released if you missed out on a colour and also test out some new stuff.
Let’s get social for a mo’. How can people stay up-to-date with all your city-trotting?
I will say straight up that I hate Twitter. I’m bad at it, I’ve never liked the way it’s laid out and it always felt kind of ‘off’ to me. So do not follow me on Twitter (@adamjacksonreal). On Facebook you can ‘like’ FAMOU$ PLAYERS and Wasted Time. We aren’t annoying. Also, like I said, every Monday Jordan, Chris and I host Dad Jokes at Bambi’s, so you can just go there if you want to say hi (and/or see some of the best standup comedy talent the city has to offer, for free). Instagram is probably my current favourite social media network, so please follow me on that, if you want.