A second home: Circuit Soul
Being home almost a year I felt it was fitting to do a feature on a place I can call my second home. This place helped re-spark my interest with Juicebox, it also saved me from packing my bags a couple of times where I was close to moving back to Ireland.
I was living in Edmonton and had enough, I threw in the towel and decided I was moving to Vancouver. I couldn’t take the Harsh Edmonton winters which last nearly six months.
Basically, Edmonton is in the middle of nowhere and gets battered with snow for longer than I could handle. I wanted something a little milder so I packed my bags and headed for Vancouver.
I quickly realized that trying to make contact with people from the car scene without a car, and stuck working horrible hours, was a seriously difficult task.
Mark who does quite a lot for Juicebox suggested I try to touch base with Circuit soul, at least then id have some form of automotive contacts in the city.
It wasn’t a bad idea, I decided to drop an email not really knowing what would come next. I had big respect for Alex and everything he had been doing with CS over the years and Circuit Soul was on my list of top automotive blog/brands coming out of North America.
Alex reached out pretty quickly and offered to meet up and grab a bite to eat. Being honest, I was a little nervous, I had been in Canada almost a year and was completely out of any car loop.
Saying that, being out of the loop was a much-needed break from Juicebox, I felt like things had hit a wall with the blog and I needed to take a step back. A year had passed and I was starting to cabin fever not being around cars, it’s crazy what you take for granted back home.
I’ll never forget Keegan, Alex, and crew rolling up in a bunch of ropey civics at a subway stop to collect me. Very Quickly we hit it off, we shared a similar sense of humor, it was a sigh of relief as first encounters are always a little awkward with people.
I remember Alex pulling in to take pictures of a Vitz on Meisters and both of us sharing an equal enthusiasm for it, I knew we would get on pretty well after that.
For a year after work, I’d catch the Skytrain which brought me way out to the unit (about an hour). Both Alex and I felt similar to the current state of the car scene and could talk shit about it for hours. A sea of trap music overly stanced car videos smothered in copy and paste nonsense was getting to us, it was always nice to vent opinions to each other, something I missed!
I came into the world of CS right after a massive disruption in the group around CS. Alex had moved into this larger shop with the intention of expanding, going full steam ahead as a tuning shop/ media house, a one-stop addition to the car scene on the west coast of Canada, but things hit a brick wall.
I’ll rewind a bit and give you a little back story to this guy first. One evening he started explaining to me just exactly what happened and how he got to where he is today, how he had accumulated all this stuff.
As he shared his stories, he could see my face changing. I’ll never forget him turning to me and saying “you don’t believe any of this, do you?”
He quickly reached over and plugged in an external hard drive and started to hunt for folders. There was a stack of unseen content. He lined everything up, showing me just how it went down. Alex is a character, what you see is what you get, he’s not doing something unless its 120% commitment 100% of the time.
The guy has never touched alcohol a day in his life, figures it will get in the way of his work, it’s valuable time to figuring out ways to make his money and projects work. He’s an intense human with little time for pissing about, very straight up, opinionated and blunt. The last three characteristics are very Irish, probably why the friendship worked out.
It’s not common to see someone with this level of intense dedication and relentless drive for this craft, he’s non-stop, there is little he hasn’t turned a hand to, CS and this world is literally all he does for about twenty hours of the day. Growing up in Edmonton by the age of 16 he was already running his own promotional agency securing gigs for punk bands from all over North America, building websites and doing all sorts.
As he rooted through his hard drive he began showing me pics of RWB, countless drift footage of Sexy Knights, hours of Porsche footage it went on and on. When Alex was nineteen he grabbed his life savings, jumped on a plane and embarked on a solo mission to live in Japan.
This was before the RWB explosion. Alex being obsessed with the shop wanted to go find Nakai and learn from him. With no translation, no guides just a loose address and phone number from a dodgy Windows 95 spec website, he pulled it off. Soon after, he was living in Japan becoming super close with Nakai and friends.
Japan had an incredibly huge effect on Alex, he decided to return home and recreate his own version of Rough world in Canada, Vancouver was the choice and soon after the Circuit Soul shop was born.
Stay tuned for part two….