Jason is an Accountant & Country Music Singer
Jason returns to the podcast from episode 113 to talk about his recent shows with his band, having clients hear his music on the radio, and how the pandemic has both affected his music and his workplace culture.
• Recent shows
• Writing songs
• Having songs on the radio
• A rising trend in focusing on hobbies and passions
• How the pandemic humanized co-workers
• How his passion for music has helped with interacting with people at work
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Pictures of Jason Performing
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Welcome to Episode 332 of What’s Your “And”? Follow-Up Friday edition. This is John Garrett, and each Friday, I follow up with a guest who had been on the show a few years ago to hear what’s new with their passions outside of work and also hear how this message might have impacted them since we last talked.
I’m so excited that my book is out. You can order it on Amazon, Indigo, barnesandnoble.com, a few other websites, so check out whatsyourand.com for all the details. Thank you so much to everyone who’s read it so far and been kind enough to leave those Amazon reviews. Thank you so, so much. It’s just really overwhelming seeing the positive feedback.
Please don’t forget to hit subscribe to the podcast so you don’t miss any of the future episodes. I love sharing such interesting stories each and every week, and this Follow-Up Friday is no different with my guest and friend, Jason Hastie. He’s the founder of TenjaGo, a cloud-based accounting and bookkeeping firm in Calgary, and now he’s with me here today. Jason, thanks so much for taking time to be with me on What’s Your “And”?
Jason: Yeah, thanks for having me. It’s great to be back.
John: Ditto, man. It’s so cool to hang out with you again and chat. It’s always a good time. I do have some rapid-fire questions that I probably should have asked you the first time or maybe any other time that we’ve hung out really but never did. Get to know Jason here, new level, just seven though. First one, Harry Potter or Game of Thrones.
Jason: Oh, boy. I’d say Harry Potter.
John: Okay. All right. How about a hamburger or a pizza?
Jason: Oh, these are tough. Seriously.
John: This is a tough one. Hamburger, okay. No, that’s solid, solid. How about a favorite adult beverage?
Jason: Wow. Boy, I’m trying to think. Oh, I know what, because Canadian beverage, Caesar.
John: Caesar, what is that?
Jason: It’s like a Bloody Mary except instead of tomato juice, it’s Clamato juice.
John: Oh, okay.
Jason: Actually, the last few times I’ve been down in the US, I’ve noticed that Clamato juice is actually gaining some popularity. You can find it in some grocery stores now. It was invented actually, the drink was invented right here in Calgary. It’s super, super popular Canadian drink.
John: Very cool. Awesome. All right, how about, cats or dogs?
Jason: That’s interesting because I’d probably say 50-50. I grew in up a farm. I would probably– it’s tough.
John: No, 50-50, I’ll take it, man. It’s all right. It’s a cat that acts like a dog. That would be the ultimate. Since my book is out, do you prefer real book, Kindle or audible?
Jason: Real book, for sure. I tried to do audiobooks, but my mind wanders too much.
John: Yeah, depending on if the author is actually reading it or reading it well or all that. That’s why mine will be out early part of next year and I’m having a coach and a producer because reading a book on that is different than just reading a book to yourself. It’s just all different game. Two more. How about a favorite movie of all time?
Jason: Good Will Hunting.
John: Oh, solid, solid answer. How you like them apples? Such a great movie.
Jason: Oh, so good. The scene in the park with Robin Williams and Matt Damon.
John: Right, where they’re by the pond.
Jason: Yeah. You being an entertainment-type person too, the way it was filmed all one scene…
Jason: It’s incredible acting and the profound things. When I went to visit the Sistine Chapel actually in real life, I thought of that movie.
John: Yeah, that’s cool, man. Wow, that’s awesome. That’s a great movie, really great movie. Last one, toilet paper roll, over or under?
Jason: Over, 100%, one of my pet peeves.
John: Really? Okay, okay.
Jason: If I’m at somebody else’s house and it’s under, I will actually flip it.
John: That’s so great. I love it. That’s so awesome. That’s so awesome. I also know that if I ever come visit you, I’m going to totally switch them all around. You’re going to lose your mind. You’re going to also kick me out right away. All right, man, last time, Episode 113, we talked, of course, country music. It’s cool because you’re on the radio and stuff and done cool stuff with CMT and performed all kinds of concerts as well. Are you still doing that and still recording?
Jason: We had one show in July, a show in September and a show just a couple weeks ago.
John: Oh, nice.
Jason: Yeah. It’s been super cool actually. Very different times, obviously, that we’re living in now.
John: Yeah, yeah.
Jason: The show that we did in July was at a big acreage, so everybody’s socially distanced. We were playing outside of a Quonset onto this acreage, and people were up on the hill and everything. It was super, super cool.
John: That’s really cool.
Jason: Yeah, loved it. So, try to keep the music stuff going, but my accounting side is getting so busy. The only unfortunate thing with that is that you really have to have that creative mindset. You have to sit down. You have to — for me, anyways, I have to feel relaxed, and that’s when the creativity really comes for writing stuff like that. With the accounting stuff, we’re cloud-based so, as of late, things have been going crazy just because of the virtual world. I haven’t had as much of an opportunity to do the music stuff, as far as writing, but really do need to get back in the studio and do some more of that.
John: Yeah. No, that’s cool. So, the writing, because it’s similar for comedy, I guess, do you wait till the Muse strikes you? Or is it something where you’re like, okay, I need to write a song? Or is it, you just have an idea — like, for jokes, I would have, you know what, that’s really funny. Then I have an Evernote of where a guy runs a stop sign, and then I’ll write a joke about it sometime later or whatever, that sort of thing. Is that similar to you?
Jason: Yeah. I’m sure you’ve heard before when people get up in the middle of the night and then have this great song lyric or whatever and write it down or record it in their phone. I definitely do that, for sure. That is usually the kickoff to what a song is. Might not be the middle of the night, might be — but as long, if I’m feeling calm and I have time to really think, it may not be necessarily that I’m thinking of music or song lyrics, but that’s the time that something will pop into my head. Obviously, when you’re time-stressed and doing a bunch of stuff, you may not necessarily be as open to that. That’s definitely how I work, for sure.
John: Yeah, that makes sense because you’re free, your mind is free from thinking about other things then. It is amazing how our brain gets burdened with the menial tasks and so those higher level creative type of things, they don’t come naturally right away. That’s cool to hear, man. Music, that’s even harder than jokes because I just have to write the words, and they don’t even have to rhyme. It doesn’t matter. You have to make them rhyme and then you have to put music to it. It’s like, good God, I would never be able to do that. Forget it. That’s why all my music parodies are parodies, because the music’s already done. I just have to put the words.
Good for you, man. It’s just cool, and the music’s so great. I’m not a huge country music fan, but you guys are — it’s catchy. It’s fun. It’s upbeat. It’s just really cool, and the videos you guys have shot are really cool, too. It’s really cool to just have you be a part of this as well and then know that — because I remember last time when we talked, clients would hear you on the radio and be like, “Yo, that’s my accountant.”
Jason: Yeah, that’s one of the coolest things, honestly. I mean, obviously, cool to get recognized and stuff when you’re out and about and stuff like that. It is cool when your clients are like, “Jason Hastie is your accountant too?” Everybody’s like, “He’s a country singer, right?”
John: Yes. Right? No one says, “Oh, he’s really amazing at cash flow statements.”
Jason: Right. Oh, he saved me $300 in taxes last year, woohoo.
John: Right? Which you do anyway. Of course, you’re going to do that because you’re good at what you do. It’s that next level stuff type of thing. It’s cool to hear that you guys are still doing concerts as well, which is awesome because live is totally different than the virtual. To be able to give the audience that is fun, but also for yourself, as well.
Jason: That’s where, honestly, I throw it out to my fans because it’s really our fans that are planning events for us and booking things for us. One of our fans has become a really good friend of ours. I’m like, you book us more shows than our manager does.
Jason: That’s the power of having great fans.
John: That is super cool. The internet, as well, where you’re accessible, and they can help you like that. We want to see you. We put this together, just show up and play, awesome, type of thing. That’s cool. That’s super cool. Do you feel like people, in general, in the professional world are sharing these outside-of-work hobbies and passions more now than when we first chatted a couple years ago? Or is it still, I’ve got some work to do, overall?
Jason: Well, one thing that I found early on in the latter part of spring, early summer, was, when the whole pandemic thing hit, I just felt like — my wife and I both said it. We felt a lot more calm, and we were able to focus on things. It really shifted the way that we thought of things. I think that part was a big turning point, but in a lot of ways, a lot has come back to that busyness again.
John: Right. Yeah.
Jason: I feel like it is trending, and we will continue to see that people are doing a little bit more and spending a little bit more time, focusing on the real stuff rather than just work.
John: I think the big thing with the pandemic is we’ve all been in each other’s homes now. These Zoom calls with these teams that we’ve seen what you look like at 8 am and haven’t showered, and your dog’s barking at the delivery person, and your kids —
Jason: You don’t have pants on.
John: Yeah, no pants on, totally. We’ve seen the art on your walls. We’ve seen what your home is like. The one positive from this is, I think, it just completely ripped the Ban-Aid off of being human and realizing that your people are also human and just really breaking down that barrier. Because when we would go to an office, when we would go to a networking event or go to a conference, we would show up as this super polished individual. Now, not always the case, and that’s okay. It’s super okay.
Jason: Yeah. Well, even as a comedian, I’m sure you can appreciate this, when Saturday Night Live, did you watch any of the episodes —
John: Oh, yeah, when they were doing the home — yeah.
Jason: It was so raw and revealing and kind of crazy, right?
John: Yeah, like they didn’t really practice, and you’re not even in the same state. Some of them live in Connecticut. Some live in New York City. Some are in Jersey. Yet we’re doing a scene together. It’s just hilarious. Yeah, and it just shows just the humanness to a lot of what we do. The work gets done. I think just being a little more gracious and the work will get done.
Jason: Totally. I think that’s the biggest part of it, honestly, yeah. That’s how I always was when I was traveling and when we were going on a vacation. Because you plan a vacation and you’re like, it could be three days or whatever, and you can step away from your office for those three days. When you’re at home and stuff, it tends to not be as easy to do, but you know that you actually can do it because when you go away, it’s possible, right?
John: That’s such a great point, such a great point. That’s exactly it. What’s it, you’re at vacation at home, just tell yourself that, type of thing. You don’t have to be checking emails or calling in or whatever, all the time.
John: The work gets done, and trust your people, that sort of a thing, too. Do you have any words of encouragement to anyone listening that — because you’re a perfect example of somebody that has an outside-of-work passion that seemingly would have nothing to do with accounting and bookkeeping, but it does in a way. Do you have any encouragement to people listening that have a hobby or passion that they feel like either no one’s going to care or it has nothing to do with my work?
Jason: Yeah. For yourself, I think everybody needs to fuel their fire, right? It adds to their own persona and your own happiness. I definitely, I can truthfully say that we’re not doing music as much as I used to, doing more accounting, and I definitely, I need that music aspect. So, you’ve got to keep it going, for sure, and really honing in on your passion. For me, in a way, I feel like it’s always been easy because music has been my passion, so I can identify it very easily. Whereas, somebody like my wife, she’s not a music-type person. Exercise is her passion. For her, honing in on that, doing different things — we haven’t gotten it yet. It hasn’t arrived, but we just bought a Peloton.
John: Oh, okay. Yeah, yeah.
Jason: She is so super pumped about the Peloton classes. Because it’s not just about the bike itself, right?
John: No, no, it’s…
Jason: Attending the classes.
John: … A community of sorts, I think, yeah.
Jason: Yeah. She sometimes looked at me. She’s like, “Oh, you’ve got your passions. You’ve got this.” I was like, “Well, no. In a way that fuels you just as much, it’s exercise.”
John: Even simple things can be those passions, and you don’t have to do them every week. It could be, twice a year, I do a walk for charity. Awesome. That’s your thing. Just intentionally setting time aside for that. I love that you said that, fuel your fire. I’m going to go out on a limb here. I’m going to say, very few times have you said, “I really, really need the accounting side. I really, really need to do that more.” You just said, “I really, really need the music.” Because the accounting is going to happen. It’s going to happen.
Jason: Yeah, but the part of the accounting that fuels my fire is chatting with people, helping out small businesses, helping people getting to know their business, that part of stuff. So, even within the accounting stuff, even if it is your job, per se, finding little things like that.
Jason: And just having the music passion, that’s what really taught me about interacting with and identifying with people. Because, in a sense, I’m extroverted, obviously, to a degree, but I am also an introvert as well.
John: I’m the same. Onstage, okay, but offstage, I prefer groups of four or less. I don’t want to be the center of attention. I’m not onstage right now. You be the funny one, go nuts.
Jason: That’s so true, and I think a lot of people don’t understand that or just don’t know that about performers or people that are in front of others, that you do have that. You can have that aspect of it.
John: Yeah, totally, because I think a lot of performers, or me, anyway, and a lot of comedians that I talked to, the audience becomes almost one, as opposed to 400. It’s 400 individuals, but it’s also one audience, and it’s exhausting giving a little piece of meat to 400 individual people. So, when you’re done, it’s like, man, I am really spent, and that one-on-one is comfortable, type of thing, because it’s one-on-one audience.
Jason: Exactly. Yeah, energy, in a sense, right?
John: Yeah, exactly, exactly. But it is, it’s what lights you up. It’s fuel that fire. I love that. That’s such a great analogy for it. So, it’s only fair, before we wrap this up, Jason, since I so rudely peppered you with questions at the beginning, how very American of me to fire questions at a Canadian like that, and I didn’t even apologize. I’m going to turn the tables. Welcome to the Jason Hastie podcast, Episode One. Thank you for having me on as your guest. You really have no choice. I did it myself. So, any rapid-fire or any questions you have for me, I’m all yours, man.
Jason: Well, being that you’re American, I’m Canadian, Canada or US?
John: Oh, that’s a trick. That’s a trick.
Jason: Yeah, it’s loaded.
John: That is loaded because I’m going to piss off half of the people.
John: I’m going to pick America because Canadians are so nice. They’ll just hug me. So, I will pick the US but in a close race.
Jason: You’re already forgiven.
John: Exactly, and I’m sorry.
Jason: Yeah, we’re probably sorry that you didn’t pick us.
John: We’re actually sorry that Jason asked you that question. You shouldn’t have.
Jason: Exactly. Now they’re turning on me.
John: Right. No, no, no, do not turn on Jason. He’s a great guy.
Jason: All right, mountains or water.
John: Oh, that’s a great one, and that’s sometimes one that I ask people. That is hard. Maybe because I’m spoiled since I live in Denver, which is the Calgary of the US, if we’re going to be honest, so the mountains are here. I get them all the time. I’m going to say ocean, beach just because I have to get on an airplane to go there. It’s like a treat.
Jason: That’s why you’ve got to hang out in Vancouver. They’ve got both.
John: That’s true. The mountains go right into the lakes there. Yeah, that’s true.
Jason: Well, my rapid-fires aren’t as good as yours. Being that we’re coming up on winter, too hot or too cold.
John: Oh, too hot is the worst. I would always have too cold. Too hot, you can’t take off your skin. There’s only so many layers you can take off before you’re like, oh. Just waiting for the subway in New York City where there’s no anything, and the humidity is at, I don’t know, 400%. It’s super-hot August, July, and just the sweat, just you could feel it run down your chest. There’s nothing you can do. You’ve just got to take it. It’s gross. Yeah, too cold is always better. You could put on more layers, those heat packs, always that. Maybe I should have picked Canada in the beginning. Maybe that’s actually —
Jason: You’ve got Denver though. That’s close.
John: That’s true. That’s true. That’s true. It’s close.
Jason: I know my wife’s Australian, but she would prefer cold versus hot.
John: Okay. Yeah, I’ve always been that way, always been that way.
Jason: I had another — Oh, I know what it was, city or country.
John: Oh, yeah. I grew up very small town. My dad was in the military. We moved a lot, but we were always probably 30 minutes outside of a big city, but it was always a small town, like 3,000 people. I grew up very small town but going to the city. Now, since I’ve become an adult, I’m pretty sure I’ve lived downtown of every city I’ve worked in, where I’ve lived. I lived in downtown Milwaukee. I lived downtown Indianapolis. I lived in New York City. Now I live a mile from downtown in Denver. We’re in the city. So, I guess, now, I’m going to say city, but, man, those small towns, there’s something to be said. I definitely appreciate that, for sure.
John: I don’t forget where I came from, I guess. If there’s a word, I would say that. Just selfishly, I don’t feel like driving 30 minutes. I want to drive five, so we live downtown.
Jason: Yeah. We live three minutes from downtown Calgary, but I grew up on a farm near a small town.
John: Exactly. No, we’re very similar, except you actually grew up on a farm and woke up early and did work.
Jason: I didn’t live in New York.
John: Well, that too, but whatever. It’s all good. We’re even. We’re even.
Jason: We’re even.
John: This has been awesome, Jason, having you be a part of this again. Thank you so much for taking time to be on What’s Your “And”? It’s always cool to catch up.
Jason: So awesome to chat with you, can’t wait till the next time.
John: Everyone listening, if you want to see some pictures of Jason onstage or connect with him on social media, definitely check out the music, Jason Hastie and the Alibi. You can go to whatsyourand.com. All the links are there. While you’re on the page, please click that big button, do the anonymous research survey about corporate culture, and buy the book. I promise it’s good.
Thanks again for subscribing on iTunes or whatever app you use and for sharing this podcast with your friends so they get the message that we’re all trying to spread that who you are is so much more than what you do.