Name: Josiah Hughes
Occupation: Music and film editor at Fast Forward Weekly
Location: Calgary, Alberta
First Job: I worked at a recycling depot in Abbotsford, British Columbia when I was 16. It was so weird. My friends and I got to know this one homeless guy really well. We got paid under the table. Sometimes people would accidentally drop off unopened beers that we would take home and drink. And there was a deaf Quebecois guy who compacted cardboard boxes for a living, and would collect used porn from the magazine bin. One of the weirdest, darkest, and most interesting times of my life.
Best Job: This one, for sure. I really loved freelancing from home, but it’s even better to have a steady paycheck and a place to be every day. Especially because the people I work with are rad, and I have a ton of creative freedom. I can’t even tell the difference between weekdays and the weekend anymore.
Greatest Professional Challenge: Before I got into full-time writing, things were rough. I was working in the mailroom of an oil company, and I quickly learned that oil companies are where high school bullies transition into some shitty version of adulthood. I was writing endlessly in my free time, to the point where I’d be up until 2:00 or 3:00 a.m. every night, but then working a regular job in the day.
So how did you get this awesome gig anyways? Hard work, timing and a shit-ton of luck. I was freelancing a lot for Fast Forward along with Exclaim!, and the former music and film editor Mark Teo decided to move back to Toronto. The timing just worked out perfectly, and I got the job. I went from being one of his main writers to him becoming one of my main writers.
What do you like best about what you do? There’s too much to like. I get to dive deep into the worlds of music and film every day. It’s actually my job to listen to music and go to movies. As if that weren’t enough, it’s still really fun to be published every week and know that there are people out there reading what I write. I’m still not used to the idea of having my dream job!
Any special skills required? Yup. It requires a strict work ethic (something I didn’t realize I had at all until I started writing), a critical mind, and the ability to take criticism. Also no make bad sentence on computer.
Favourite experience on the job: I recently got back from a trip to the CMJ Music Marathon in pre-apocalypse New York, and it was a thrilling and inspiring experience. Outside of that, my two highlights so far were my hilarious interview with Ghostface Killah and “Canadian Music is Boring,” an opinion piece I wrote with Mark Teo that started a nation-wide debate and made me a whole bunch of new friends and enemies.
Advice for people who want your awesome gig: Whoa, back off bud. Get your own damn job. Actually, just work really hard and don’t believe in things like writer’s block. If you want to be a full-time writer, hone your craft and strive for self-improvement every day. Work without whining. That’s a catchphrase I just coined.
Favourite Canadian music venue: Tubby Dog in Calgary and The ALF House in Vancouver.
Favourite record at the moment: Dreams and Nightmares by Meek Mill and Dude Ranch by Blink 182.