(Originally published in The Hype Magazine on May 6th, 2019)
It’s another beautiful day in sunny Southern California and Sam Newaz is like a kid in a candy store. That’s probably because he’s literally standing inside of one, alongside his lovely girlfriend Dree. But they’re not here for candy. No. Today, they’re looking for protein of a particular variety…
On any other day, this kind of search might’ve been inspired by SnewJ’s continual desire to build natural muscle mass; he advocates for a healthy lifestyle, behind his burgeoning fitness apparel company, No Hesi. But today is not like any other day. For the next 24 hours, Dree has agreed to do anything that SnewJ demands of her.
Demand #1: Eat crickets. (Sour cream ‘n’ onion—her favorite!)
SnewJ is constantly drumming up crazy ideas for his genre-defying YouTube channel. In fact, it was less than five months ago that SnewJ agreed to do anything Dree demanded of him for a day. Now, the tables have turned. Perhaps worse than eating a bag of crickets, SnewJ has also discovered a brand of lollipops that would probably make ex-Fear Factor host Joe Rogan queasy: scorpion suckers. Dree bites the proverbial bullet and braves the storm of insect exoskeleton, all for the sake of our collective entertainment. And trust me, it’s entertaining.
I could probably spend hours describing SnewJ’s antics—like the time he put on a fake face tattoo and revealed it to his conservative father, or the time he surprised his brother at school by picking him up in a Lamborghini—but you can see them for yourself HERE; and don’t forget to hit that ‘Subscribe’ button. If a picture tells a thousand words, then his videography tells one million—one for every subscriber he’s accrued over the last two years.
I sat down with SnewJ for an exclusive HYPE interview, in anticipation of ‘No Hesi Fest’—coming up on July 6th, 2019, at The Globe Theatre in Downtown LA.
How did the alias “SnewJ” come about?
The “S” stands for Sam, my first name. The “new” stands for Newaz, my last name. The “J” stands for Junior.
What inspired you to start a YouTube channel?
I still remember that day. I bought my first super-sport motorcycle, a Suzuki GSXR-750. I bought a GoPro and attached it to my helmet with a mic and started making funny moto videos, commentating. I had no expectations to blow up, I was just having fun. 200,000 subscribers later and when the fun died, I slowly transitioned myself to more of a hybrid content creator. I wanted to show people that I was more than just motorcycles. I wanted to entertain people by doing the other things I enjoy in life the most.
Do you watch or subscribe to any other YouTubers? Which do you enjoy and what have you learned from them?
At the very start, I loved watching The Hodge Twins; I learned a lot from them when it comes to fitness. I think they’re hilarious. Peter Mckinnon is another YouTuber who inspired me to make my content that much better.
How long did it take you to get to one million subscribers and was there anything in particular that sparked your success?
It took me about two years of posting videos consistently. I feel that when I made the transition from motorcycle content to being an all-around content creator, it gave me that spark to really thrive.
Do you have any larger aspirations when it comes to TV or film?
Some larger aspirations would be to have my own reality show. I believe I have a lot to share and to teach. Second, I would love to star in at least one major movie, I think that’d be pretty cool.
How long have you been acting? Have you taken any acting classes or did you just jump in?
Since I was very young, I always felt I was a natural entertainer―that I can make people laugh. I’ve never taken any acting classes.
What kind of projects have you been involved with?
I have many projects when it comes to making content on YouTube, but that’s not the only thing I do. My other project would be my clothing brand, No Hesi Apparel. I’m continuing to grow that with my team. One of the biggest projects I’m currently working on is my first music festival. I rented out The Globe Theatre LA on July 6th and booked local, up-and-coming EDM and hip-hop artists to perform. This will be the first of many. I’m excited for all of these projects to keep growing.
When did you first have the idea to book your own music festival?
I’ve been a heavy festival-goer for about six years now. I absolutely love the vibes, the music, and how the people come together as one. I get so much recognition and love at music events because of my YouTube videos. It really inspired me to throw one someday. My first music festival is local, but I want to continue to expand. Eventually, I want to throw big time shows!
Were there any obstacles that you had to overcome during that process?
Everything was challenging. It’s just a matter of figuring it out, researching, and connecting to the right resources.
What does “No Hesi” mean and does the company have a mission statement?
“No Hesi” just means to not hesitate for the things you want in life. Life is too short to hesitate, go after your dreams right now! The mission for the apparel is to empower and inspire people to go and get it. We’re not going to live forever, so might as well get yours.
Which artists are you most excited about getting to see/hear and why?
My good friend Joe Trufant, who’s on the rise. Never really seen him perform live, so it’ll be great to see him at my first event.
Do you intend to hold the festival every year or multiple times per year?
I would like to make as many as I can per year. Multiple would be great. But since I’m barely starting, it’ll gradually get there. That’s the goal.
Which musical act would be your dream booking?
Travis Scott, without question.
Do you have any favorite artists?
When it comes to music, there’re only a few artists I like in the hip-hop game. Travis Scott and Drake are definitely up there for me. When it comes to DJs and producers, I automatically think of the EDM scene. I really enjoy Kayzo’s style of music, especially his live performances. Also, my good friends in Slander get me super hyped.
Have you ever considered putting all of your knowledge into book-form to help others on their entrepreneurial journey?
Absolutely! The goal is to help others thrive so we can all eat.
Where can we find you online and what can we expect from you in 2020?
“SnewJ” is my name on YouTube; that’s my biggest platform. On Instagram, it’s the same name as well. In 2020, I expect to have my apparel and festival business thriving. Also, we may see a SnewJ reality show in the future.
Tickets for No Hesi Fest are selling out quick, so get yours today! We will see you at The Globe Theatre off of Broadway in Downtown Los Angeles on Thursday, July 6th!