The idea for the BassBus all started when a group of friends were sitting on top of Baran Faber’s truck waiting to get into the Shambhala Music Festival one summer. The line up to get into Shambhala can take upwards of 12 hours, which means a lot of sitting around and waiting; that’s when a light bulb went on.
The BassBus is an old-school bus that has been converted into a beautiful art platform on wheels. Several years after the initial light bulb went on, this revamped school bus started making appearances all around Calgary. The BassBus is a grassroots project that has effectively created a mobile music venue with an interest in being a part of local community events and initiatives. Instead of making people go to see a show, the show comes right to you. The bus has made appearances at the Lilac Festival on 4th Street, countless art shows at the Area, and can even be rented to throw your own party.
Baran, who is one of the five partners behind BassBus, met us for coffee this week to tell us how the idea for the bus came about and the challenges involved with such a unique project.
Where did you go to school? What did you take?
I went to DeVry Institute of Technology. That’s what originally brought me to Calgary from Lloydminister. I studied computer science and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree.
What was the inspiration for this career route?
I was working for an oil and gas company and there were just a lot of gaps. I was making money but something was missing. I think what it comes down to is that I always need to be doing something creative, so we bought a bus, converted it into a mobile art platform, and the whole thing just kind of snowballed from there. The bus took a year to convert and we’ve been in business for two years. I’m passionate about music and festivals, which was the basis for creating a mobile stage. This way we can share music with people wherever we go.
What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis? The most challenging part?
I love new opportunities, working with fresh new ideas, and bringing people together. Even before BassBus I was passionate about bringing people together and creating a certain kind of environment for people.
The hardest part about this project is that we have no template for what we are doing. We are learning everything on our own. BassBus is so outside of the box that no business model exists for us to use. When you have a dream or a great idea, you still have to figure out how to make it sustainable when it comes to life. We are working with a lot of different groups of people and we try to find the best way to make this community project a business that is financially sustainable.
What is one sign that you’ve seen over the years to suggest that your work/life balance is off?
My work/life balance has been a constant work in progress. I’m always working on finding that perfect balance. I had a professional career right out of school and was working my way up in one of the largest oil and gas companies in the world. When I was still working in the oil and gas industry I was living away from home and was on call 24/7 when I suddenly had this other amazing opportunity come up with BassBus. I just dropped everything, quit my day job, and jumped on the bus project 100 per cent. Finding a work/life balance will be an ongoing challenge for me.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Probably working towards a brick and mortar artists space or venue of some sort in support of the arts community in Calgary.
What is one major challenge that you’ve had to overcome in your career? How did you overcome it?
Finding a way to earn an income that supports myself, yet has enough flexibility to allow me to focus mainly on BassBus with enough time off to travel for our summer festival tours. This is part of the balance I am constantly seeking. I can’t say that I’ve necessarily overcome this hurdle completely, but I’ve definitely had to be selective with the jobs that I work in order to maintain my focus on BassBus.
What does success look like to you? Does Money = Happiness?
Money isn’t everything but unfortunately you need money for things like a roof over your head. While some people need more than others, we all need a bit of money to be comfortable. I find comfort in sustainability.
Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
Stick with it. If you’re good at something, sooner or later people will realize the value you provide. You have to make sure you love what you do because in some cases it might be a while before the money comes. Looking back at everything we’ve done with BassBus, I don’t know if we would have done everything had we known all the ups and downs that we would hit along the way. It was a challenging few years but you just have to learn to find solutions to the problems you encounter.
Where is your favourite place to wine/ dine in your city and why?
I do like Una Pizza, but I’d actually have to say my favourite place to dine is at home. I work quite a bit, so when I’m taking a break I love cooking and staying at home with a nice meal and a good bottle of wine.
When you’re not working how do you love to spend your “Me” time?
Most of my free time is spent in Canmore with my girlfriend. There is nothing better than sitting in a hot tub in the mountains!
Where is your favourite place to travel? Why?
That would definitely be Maui. It’s paradise and I hope to own a home there one day.
If you had to choose a theme song, what would it be?
Oh, that would have to be “Lovely Day” by Bill Withers
If you weren’t doing what you’re doing, what would you be doing?
Hmm. Honestly, I don’t see myself doing anything else but being involved with creative arts and culture in some way.
Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you?
Not so much charities as the arts community. We are all about supporting local artists, ensuring they have the resources they need. If an artist needs business cards, printed material or even an introduction to other artists looking to collaborate, we can assist with that process. We are all about connecting people.
What to you is notable?
Inspiration and the creative process.
Blackberry, iPhone, Android, or Other?
iPhone. I do everything on my iPhone.