“If I’m talking to someone who’s a car enthusiast and I have a car enthusiast car, I’m going to throw out things that most people wouldn’t understand.”
Building off of that, you’re talking about a lot of different cars. Every car provides a different solution to each person’s needs, and I’m curious as to how you cater your content to those individuals’ needs when talking about a new vehicle.
So basically, the way I think of things is it really has to do with the car itself. So for example, if I’m filming a truck. Let’s take some of these new electric trucks. The cool thing with electric vehicles is that you have lots of extra places for storage because all of your powertrain and motors are essentially going to be underneath the car, like a skateboard setup. So everything on top can be utilized much differently than a combustion vehicle. Most truck owners love that their trucks have practicality because that’s what a truck is about and once again, it depends on the market.
Let’s say you’re in a more expensive-type truck, like a $100,000 truck. You’re not too hung up on things like bed size or towing, and you’re really going to focus more on things like the practicality aspects. So let’s say you have extra storage space under the hood, you can throw luggage in there. In most trucks, if you need storage, you throw it in the backseat or under the backseat, or in the bed if you have a bed cap. Just having that extra storage is really nice, and I’ll focus on things like the power, practicality inside, and other similar features because nowadays, most people use trucks as their dailies versus using them as work vehicles.
But then let’s say I was filming something like a dually. Duallies can get up to $100,000, and I would definitely focus on things like towing, the amount of torque it has, the type of engine that it has, and the distance it can go on a full tank of diesel. Things like that are going to be useful to someone looking at that vehicle. If it’s an off-road truck, I’ll focus on the ground clearance, the type of tires that it has stock, and the suspension that it has, different things like that.
It goes on and on in terms of luxury cars, economy cars, practical SUVs, or luxury SUVs. It’s just a different angle each time, depending on that specific market, and I’ll usually make the video as if I’m showing off the video to everyone that’s interested in that market.
So really, it’s all about the delivery as if you were speaking to that person.
Exactly. I try my best to. Sometimes I’m not always a hundred percent accurate in the things that I say, but if I’m talking to someone who’s a car enthusiast and I have a car enthusiast car, I’m going to throw out things that most people wouldn’t understand. The horsepower, the torque, the zero to 60, compression ratios, the engine litre size, and things like that. Things that those people want to hear.
So then, what do you look for in a car? And furthermore, how do you Own Your Ridges and express yourself through a car?
So here’s the funny thing. I actually don’t own a car. I don’t own my own personal car, which is interesting because I use a lot of the cars that I film as my daily. And so in a weird way, it puts together what my perfect car would be. And I think one way I’d say I Own My Ridges is by being open-minded. I think one of the hardest parts about my job is how open-minded you have to be. And I’m not saying that there aren’t a lot of people out there like that, but I really don’t think there are a ton of people out there like that. You truly have to be completely open, and unbiased in a way, about what you’re filming. And I think because I don’t own a car, I can do that more easily. I’m not necessarily biased toward a certain brand.
There are brands where I like most of the cars that they put out just because they have that factor or two that I would look for in my personal car. I like things that are sporty and really high-tech. I do like having a lot of space because I’m about six feet tall and I’ve got big hair, so I like to be able to fit in without my hair rubbing against the ceiling. I have a kid and a wife too, and we plan to have more kids. So my dream vehicle would be something that’s electric but has a ton of range, is really fast, has lots of room, and I’d like it to be somewhat capable on a small trail or something like that. It’s a weird ask for one vehicle, but that would be my dream rig.
But I think I just love the fact that I am able to use my platform to help people stay up to date on the ever-evolving and changing new car industry. I think if I were to say how I Own My Ridges, I think it’s by doing my best to market each car to its target demographic as best as I can in terms of what I look for in a car.
So that takes me to my next question because you mentioned going on a small trail. What kind of hobbies or interests do you have outside of cars, and do they ever influence or expand your taste or passion for cars?
So outside of cars, there are a few things I like to do. I like to stay active, go to the gym, and play guitar. I’ve been playing guitar for about 15 years now. I love family time, so I like to spend time with my family as much as I can. It gets hard because, in this industry, you don’t have a consistent work schedule, so you have to make that time. But when I am able to make that time, I really do enjoy it. I love what I do, but at the same time, I’m surrounded by cars that are constantly being outdated in two or three years and so you realize that some of these things are very disposable. I love cars with a passion and I don’t ever want to make someone think they just bought something that’s completely disposable. But I think it’s interesting because I have to learn that people are more important than some of that stuff.
So I think all of that means that when I make my videos, I like to engage people a lot. In my comment section I love answering as many comments as I can, especially about the video because obviously, you can’t fit every detail in the video. So any questions people have, they’ll throw them in the comments. I literally love answering the comments, it’s one of my favorite parts about posting videos.
I think because I play guitar, I have an appreciation for different types of music. And so my music library is full of tons of different genres. It can be hip-hop, rap, metal, blues, jazz, or EDM. Whenever I’m in a car, one of my top selling points for a car, even if I were to buy my personal one, is the sound system.
That’s one thing that I’m always judging a car secretly on, is would I personally buy this? Does this have a good enough sound system so I can listen to my wide array of music and still have it sound good? That influences some things, but never in terms of whether or not the video’s good or bad.
I try to keep my personal and work stuff separate to an extent. Nowadays you can power other things with electric vehicles, so there have been a few videos where I’ll plug in my guitar and amp and I’ll play it off of the car to show that it can power my guitar setup.
I’ve incorporated it in that way and people are surprised. It’s a fun thing because I’m not just the car guy.
“So here’s the funny thing. I actually don’t own a car. I don’t own my own personal car, which is interesting because I use a lot of the cars that I film as my daily.”
What’s your go-to playlist when you’re driving and are there any songs that you use to test a car stereo?
In terms of a driving playlist, depending on my mood, I can play whatever genre. So if I’m going to the gym it’s going to be all rock and metal. That’s really what gets me super pumped up. It can be things like Metallica, Avenged Sevenfold, and Lamb of God. It can go from heavy metal to eighties rock. Sometimes I’ll be in a car where rock music is just fitting. Maybe it’s a burley car, like a truck, or maybe it’s a sports car. In those cases, I’ll listen to rock because it’s fitting to the car.
Then in other cases, if I’m driving something that feels very techy and futuristic, I like to listen to some EDM or something that’s a little bit open or airy because it’s fitting for that car and vibe. I also just like to drive around at night. It’s the most zen thing for me. The most relaxing thing for me is driving around at night in a car that has a phenomenal sound system. I could drive around until the sun came up. That’s my happy place. And honestly, that can be a mix of EDM, or really mellow house music. I love Joe Satriani, I don’t know if you’ve heard of him.
Yeah, I play guitar too, so you’re dropping names that I like.
Okay. Satriani is my number-one guitarist. If there’s anyone on the planet that I was to meet, that I would legitimately get starstruck by and geek out over, it would definitely be him.
I’ll listen to Crystal Planet or something. One of those albums that has tons of layers to it, and it sounds incredible on a sound system. I love to listen to that kind of stuff whenever I’m just driving and I don’t want to pay attention to lyrics, I just want to hear some ambient music going on.
At night with some LEDs in the car and Satriani playing, that’s gotta be crazy.
Oh, dude, it’s super crazy man. And especially because some of these sound systems are just phenomenal. I think there are brands starting to come out with Dolby Atmos in the cars, and it just really opens up the music, and cars are getting better at unpackaging that compressed sound and making it sound a little bit better. It’s really cool. I think listening to music in cars is one of my favorite things. When a car has a bad sound system, from a personal standpoint, it drops my experience in the car by 50%. I have to have them for a week, so I’m pretty much at the mercy of whatever I’m driving.
What songs do you test the sound system with?
So specifically, I have three songs that I can test the full range of the sound system with. One song in terms of testing good bass and good frequencies is a song by Skrillex, I believe it’s called Super Sonic. That’s a super good one to test on. The other one I’ll do is some Satriani Live in Montreal. I think one of my favorite ones is Cool #9. That’s a really good one to use because you can hear the bass, the people cheering in the back, the drums, and the symbols, and it creates this really immersive experience. When it comes to hip-hop, you can throw in some Drake. He’s got really good baselines in his songs. Just something casual or I’ve been listening to that new Uzi Vert song, Just Wanna Rock. I don’t necessarily use it to test a sound system but I’ve been playing it a lot lately so I guess it’s been, in a way, my test for a lot of vehicles.
You’ve highlighted some top-tier brands over the years through your TikTok. What makes Ruffles stand out to you among so many great organizations?
I think Ruffles is one of those brands that is iconic. Pretty much everyone knows Ruffles, you can say that name, and everyone just knows. I feel like that’s such a respectable thing, especially at a time when I feel like things can become irrelevant so quickly. So not only have Ruffles been around for a long time, they continue to stay relevant even now. And once again, I think that’s a very hard thing to do. I think about what I do all the time and wonder, will I still be relevant in three years? And I think that’s the one thing every creator kind of goes through, asking themselves, how do I stay relevant? Even if you’re doing really well, you’ll think about getting 10 million followers, 20 million followers, and that’s where most creators think they want to be. And you think, when I get there, some magic thing will happen and I’ll stay there. And that’s not the case, you still have to stay relevant and it’s a hard thing. Ruffles does that. You see them everywhere, no matter what picnic or barbecue I go to, I’m pretty sure I see Ruffles there.
The Ruffles sour cream and onions, I mean, I can just crush a bag.
Dude, it’s so good. I can crush two bags. Not even going to lie.
It’s something about the way that they make the chips. I feel like they’re made to be consumed. They’re just made to be like that.
I feel like Ruffles is a mix between your mainstream chip and a kettle chip. It’s not as hard as a kettle chip, but it’s not as soft as, let’s just say, other brands.
No, it’s a really good consistency. So, off the food back to the cars, I’m starving right now.
While technology is constantly evolving, the base needs of each car constantly change too. What’s one thing that every car should come with in 2023?
Oh my goodness. There’s one feature where whenever you use your blinker, not only can you look left in your mirror, but if you need to see more in your blind spot, it shows up on your screen. And then when you blink right, it shows up on your screen as well. From a safety perspective, that’s one of the most useful features. And every time I use it, it reminds me that it needs to be in every car. I think that is excellent.
My second one would be the rearview mirrors. There are mirrors where you can flip a tab underneath, and not only does it tilt it up, but the mirror turns into a screen, and then it activates this camera that’s in the back of the car. So I think it’s phenomenal at night. You can see behind you a lot better because everything on the screen is a little bit brighter. So you can see the cars more and if someone’s shining their headlights in your face, the headlights aren’t hitting you in the eyes, which is great.
I’m a massive, despite what I do, introverted extrovert. So I can be a social butterfly when I’m with at least one person that I know. But if I’m by myself, I’m extremely introverted. So if I’m driving around by myself, I’m automatically an introvert. When I pull up to a stoplight and someone looks at me, I’m super uncomfortable. Sometimes people pull up behind you and you can see them staring at you through your rearview mirror. So it eliminates that because they’re not really staring at you, they’re essentially staring at themselves in the mirror because it’s just showing a picture of what’s behind me.
That builds my next question, what’s one thing that you can’t live without in a car?
Oof, okay. One thing I absolutely cannot live without is a good sound system. I could live without it. I have before. But if I were to go out and buy a car right now, it would have to have a good sound system, no questions asked. As I said, that’s 50% of the driving experience for me and my wife. We both just cruise and listen to music a lot. So I’m a big music person.
“One thing I absolutely cannot live without is a good sound system.”
Awesome. It makes a lot of sense. Are there any trends right now in the car community that you could live without?
Absolutely dude. Wireless charging pads. So you’ll have wireless charging, but then you also have a USB and a USB-C. So I have three ways to charge my phone: wireless charging pads, regular USB, and USB-C. USB-C is the fastest. So I’m pretty much going to want to plug in there all the time. And then, when I have my phone on the wireless charger, not only does it not charge fast, it charges the slowest out of the three, and then it makes your phone a lot hotter. There have only been three cars that I’ve been in where the wireless charging pads work every single time and they were actually pretty fast. Only three.
The other thing I could live without is wireless Apple CarPlay. Wired CarPlay is fine, but wireless is the most annoying thing on the planet, and for that exact reason. The idea is that you use the wireless charging pad and you hook up your wireless CarPlay and it all does its thing. But there are also cars where you can just plug in through the USB-C and CarPlay just immediately turns on. One, it’s faster. Two, if you like to listen to music, which I do, you get better audio quality from a hard connection than you do from a Bluetooth or wireless connection. And three, if I want to swap over to my wife’s phone, I can just unplug and give it to her. Whereas with the wireless, you have to actually go into the screen, disconnect my phone, and connect her phone.
And then, if you’re the type of person that sits in your car for a few minutes after you park, or let’s say if you’re about to go somewhere and you sit in your car for a few minutes and watch a video or two, it’ll always play your videos through the car and then the audio is never synced up. So it’s the most annoying thing.
The newer technology definitely needs more time.
Yeah, for sure, at least on that front. I’ve seen really cool things like augmented reality head-up displays. I think those are far superior to the normal head-up displays that we have right now. Because it’s all about the field of view, it basically pushes your field of view way further back and it looks as if the information is floating next to the car in front of you versus having to focus a little bit closer on the windshield.
You did an awesome stroller review too for your kid. Congratulations by the way. What was your inspiration for that? And in the broader picture, how do you keep putting out new creative content like that?
My inspiration for that was when we were looking at strollers. A good stroller is almost $1000 bucks, they’re not cheap at all. This is a situation where I used my position to my advantage. I was like, what if I could convince a stroller company to send me a stroller for free? Just give me the stroller and I’ll make a video on it showing off your stroller. I’ll learn about it and I’ll present it in the same way I present my car views. And I thought I could probably get away with it because a car has four wheels and a stroller technically has four wheels. So, it’s kind of similar. And I may not drive it necessarily, but it’ll be my son’s ride. So I’ll present it in that way. So I first did it with one brand, and then that video did really well and another brand reached out, which is the one you recently saw. So that was the second stroller review I’ve done. And I have another one coming up because another brand saw it and loved it. I’ve done other mobility stuff too, like electric scooters.
It’s interesting when expanding like that because cars are great, but even with new cars, it starts to get limited, especially with the chip shortage because of COVID. You have cars backed up for consumers, which means you definitely have cars backed up for the media to review because they’re prioritizing customers. So it takes a little bit longer to get some of the new stuff than we’d like, so I need to fill those gaps somehow. I figured why only do car stuff, why not anything related to mobility? And that could really be anything like I said; scooters, electric bikes, and regular bikes. I can’t do motorcycles because my wife won’t let me, but it can be dirt bikes.
Skateboards, longboards, electric longboards, strollers, anything that fills that gap or fits in that loose category of transportation. Because I use a stroller to transport my kid, and it’s related to cars because you strap the stroller into the car and put the base inside the trunk. It all works together and it made me realize that the automotive review segment doesn’t have to be just limited to reviewing cars. I can integrate things pretty much however I want and I think the benefit of having it as my own channel versus being part of a company is I can get as creative as I want, which I truly enjoy.
What makes a car special to you? Is it the memories you make in it? Is it the process of fixing it yourself or is it the features it comes with?
That’s a really good question. I think there are a lot of factors that make a car special. If we’re talking about performance cars, I think what makes a car special is if it has a communicative, engaging feel. Cars that grow with you as you become a better driver. The car seems to become better with you if that makes sense. There are not many cars like that. There are four or five that I’ve driven that, if you’re the type of person that likes to take your car to a track, are so engaging the drive that it’s truly special.
Then you have your everyday cars. So I think what makes those special would be something that’s genuinely practical and something that genuinely makes your everyday life easier.
There are a lot of cars that have a lot of gimmicky features that you would never really use. It’s a redundant feature for a simple function. Let’s say I can just reach and turn up the volume right on the dash. But then let’s say I can do something like turn up the volume with my fingers in the air. Its gimmicky features like that are cool, but don’t necessarily improve how you turn up the volume. I have been in some cars that just improve how you go about everyday life. And honestly, one of the best ones that come to mind is a minivan. And as much as people hate on minivans, they’re probably the most practical vehicles you can purchase.
I used one to move two days ago. I got a cargo box for the car, and the box that it came in was gigantic. That whole thing fit in the minivan, barely. And I was like, there’s no way, this is absurd. It took two of us to carry it in there. They drive like cars but they’re big like SUVs, it’s great.
I think the last one would be the adventure vehicles. Vehicles that can take you to places where other vehicles can’t. So hardcore four-by-fours or four-by-fours that aren’t too hardcore, but they’re still really capable, so you can put a family in there and they can be comfortable. Those are always really impressive to me because, in the off-road community, usually the more hardcore you are, the better your rig is. But I’ve seen some vehicles come out of the factory that don’t look like they can do what lifted vehicles can do with huge tires, and they walk through stuff with what seems like half the setup. So I think those are always really impressive because if it’s that good stock out of the box, imagine if you did modify it, it would be a monster.
“I think what makes a car special is if it has a communicative, engaging feel. Cars that grow with you as you become a better driver.”
What’s the weirdest car you’ve reviewed?
I think it’s the craziest thing I’ve filmed. It’s pretty wild. It’s 1000+ horsepower. It has hand grenade protection underneath. It has shocking door handles, so if someone’s trying to break into your car, you flip a switch and it electrifies the door handles.
It has deadbolts, an intercom system, and blinding lights. What looks like a standard light bar for off-roading is actually ridiculously bright. The point is to daze people. This is a wild situation but if someone was trying to hold a gun to you and they’re standing in front of your car and you can’t pass them, you flip on those lights and it basically dazzles them for a few seconds. So you can go about your business.
It has bulletproof doors and windows. It has a third axle, so it’s got six wheels. It has an extra fuel tank that self-heals, so if you get scratches on it, it’ll heal those scratches with a little bit of heat. It has run-flat tires, so if you drive over spikes, you can still drive up to 60 miles an hour. And it has a smoke screen.
It’s the wildest thing I’ve been in, but yet on the inside, it’s red leather and it has a starry headliner.
It’s one of those things like buying a radar jammer. You can sell them, but depending on how you use them is on you.
So, where do you see cars going in the next 20 years?
Okay, easily I think we’re going to see a lot more electric vehicles without a doubt. We’re going to see a lot more hybrids, for sure. But at the same time, I think we are going to see a lot more really epic gasoline engines as the last hurrah.
I think this can be a weird time where we’re going to see some of the coolest new tech from electric vehicles and we’re going to see some of the best gasoline tech, because the gasoline engineers aren’t going to go out without throwing out some of the coolest things that have ever been made. That’s one way I think it’ll go.
From what I’ve seen in the industry, it seems like it’s going to go to a big extreme on both ends, which will be great for consumers. I think you’ll see a lot more of the infrastructure pop up for electric vehicles too. I think you can have a lot more of those cyberpunk-style vehicles coming because it seems to be the weird trend coming out nowadays.
We’re just seeing how that technology unravels and unfolds because it’s technically still in its infancy, whereas gasoline has been around for over a hundred years.
What does the future hold for you in terms of projects? And do you have any final shout-outs?
I’m at a point where I’m debating branching out and just starting other side projects not necessarily related to what I do now. But one of my side projects, I’ve always wanted to create a cartoon. So, working on that on the side.
I’ve always wanted to create products too, maybe stuff that could be used in or help the automotive world. My wild dream is to create my own car. With all the cars I’ve seen, I feel like I know what works and what doesn’t work, or what I like and what I don’t like. So it would be cool to create my own car, but the logistics behind that sound so overwhelming that I think it’s something I hardcore shy away from and don’t even attempt to go into because it just seems so difficult.
But in terms of the channel, I think I’m definitely going to keep reviewing out-of-the-box things. Keep reviewing the cars, but I’ll do my best to get my hands on more exclusive cars, crazier vehicles, and maybe even crazier car-related experiences. Also keeping it fresh and different while retaining the energy and passion that got me here in the first place. Just taking it from there and going one step at a time because a lot of this stuff is never really planned.
Of course. Well, hey, thank you so much for sitting down with me. It was a real pleasure to talk to you.
Thanks, Jack. It was nice meeting you, man
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