Brendan Fallis knows how to balance his interests. The pro-skier turned DJ has found success all over the globe, has become a fixture on social media, and still finds time to get to the gym. We asked Brendan about how he learned to flex New York City, and how to keep your vices in check.
Hey, Brendan. Where you’re from, how long have you been in New York?
I’m from Durham, Ontario, Canada. I came to New York to work in fashion many moons ago—7 years ago.
Let’s talk about New York—what was it like coming here from Canada?
I’m from a really small town so moving to a big city was really overwhelming. I wasn’t trying to be out in it all the time. Essentially, overcoming my introversion was a big thing.
Has it been hard at times?
I don’t care where you come from and what you think you might know, NYC will always throw you curve balls and beat you down, and build you back up. That’s why it’s an amazing city. I moved here with no money in the bank and learned how to survive by networking. I think that’s the great part about NYC, is whether you’re super established or just starting out, the established person is looking to help the person starting. I think it’s a big back scratching community and although people say it’s a rough city, it’s a great place. If you understand how to flex the city, it’ll pay you back.
Do you ever get a chance to find a refuge, either in the city or outside of it?
It’s nice to get out of your current mind-state. If it’s through travel, reading, a movie. Anything to stop thinking about what you think about all day. We all get caught up in where we are and don’t take a second to reflect on how much we’ve grown or changed.
Favorite travel destinations?
Australia, Thailand. Somewhere with a beach or water. I’m not a cold person. Somewhere that takes a long time to get to so that it really feels like you’re going on holiday. Somewhere with less internet, but enough to get by. If you’re anywhere under 6 to 8 hours on the plane, it’s just work travel.
What do you listen to when you’re on the road?
It depends if it’s a driving road trip or if I’m on a plane. More soft, mellow music. Longer, minimal electro, and maybe some jazz. I fall back from all the club anthems—I never hear them unless I’m going out—but I like hearing what the club anthems are in other cities. I find most of my music through SoundCloud, just going deep in other people’s pages. Hype Machine is pretty good.
Let’s get back to this idea of wellness in New York City. How important is fitness to your lifestyle?
Fitness is very important to me and my lifestyle. It’s something that I work really hard at, keeps me balanced, allows me to get all my stresses from each day out. I think it’s a big part of many people’s lives, it’s become a trend—it makes people feel good about themselves and confident with their bodies. It’s something that allows us to keep moving forward.
It’s a way to keep focused.
Yeah for sure, focusing on yourself and taking that time to just be with yourself and understand what you wanna do and what you wanna accomplish is really important. My hour unfortunately in fitness is not by myself anymore, I work out with people to help me get further than I would ever imagine I could go, and that’s important to me too, but at the same time that becomes barber shop talk. So I’ve been running a bit more outdoors, just to get some time to myself, and I’ve started to meditate, to really be by myself.
What’s your mind like when you’re working out by yourself?
All over the place. It could be what I’m thinking about that day or it could be thinking about training specifically. I’m not training for anything in particular so I’m not thinking, I’m gonna win this medal, I’m just working for me. I’ll run and try to beat my mile per minute. Or other times I’ll just be cruising.
Are you a competitive person?
I’m not a vocally competitive person, besides just joking around. But competition is really important, it’s what keeps us motivated. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t have competition in their life, at work. You put things out in front of you whether it’s a car or something, and you work hard to get it. But for me I’m more competitive in my landscape of what I’m doing, if it’s fitness I want to outdo what I’ve done before, if it’s work I want to take out the other people in my field. If you don’t have competition you should probably do something else because you’ve already dominated your field completely.
How important is it to be fit in NYC?
In New York it’s important to be fit because there’s a ton of distractions, a ton of vices, that keep you out at night. You need to find balance within it instead of just going all one way. I think people try and do all fitness and don’t let loose as much as they should and that’s probably a little excessive too. I think it’s all about finding a good balance amongst everything you enjoy doing, whether it’s being social, or working hard, or being fit or eating healthy.
It’s interesting that you mention distraction—how important is discipline to surviving in the city?
When I first moved here the parties were easier to find than the gym, or the hard work. It just falls easier into your lap. But once you burn that out of your system you realize that discipline pays off in the end. I come from a professional skiing background so I was always setting goals. But now discipline means something different than it did then. Because you’re responsible for you at this point in your life. Without discipline and a hard work ethic none of us would be on this island called Manhattan. I think it’s an island full of A type personalities and if you’re not here to work hard and play hard, you’re not gonna be here.
Do you still entertain your vices here and there?
Yes. Balance. I entertain my vices all the time. One must entertain their vices to enjoy the other parts of life.
Last thing—what does rebellion mean to you?
Rebellion isn’t going against the norm, as everyone would say. I think it’s rebelling against what you thought you would do, going the other way and finding success in it. Being rebellious isn’t, “Fuck the man.” It’s more like, I didn’t think I could ever move to New York, so it was a rebellious idea for me to think about moving to New York for 21 grand a year. It was dumb, it was taking a risk. That’s what rebellion is to me—taking an uneducated or educated risk, but growing from it.