We had the good fortune of connecting with Alex Otway and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Alex, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I like this question a lot because it requires me to sit and reflect on my life when these days, everything is pretty fast paced and doesn’t allow much time for reflection. My thought process behind starting my business was probably similar to a lot of Entrepreneurs. I had just dropped out of college at SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design) and I was living in an apartment with my best friend from childhood. The reason I left SCAD was because I felt as though the classes I was taking were not teaching me anything that I could not have taught myself nor was it teaching at a pace that I preferred. On top of that it cost an Arm, Leg and a Kidney just to afford a semester, so I made the executive decision as a 19 year old to drop out and make it on my own in the world. At that point I had skills in 3D animation and experience as a Manager for a local Musical Artist, so whatever I was gonna do as a career was going to be somewhere in that field. Fast Forward to July 2020 where the world has shut down and protests are happening all over the globe. With everything going on in the world such as the killing of unarmed black people, the Protests and the Pandemic, I wasn’t in the best mental space. On top of that around that same time I also had a falling out with the artist I was managing. This left me in my home feeling angry, betrayed, depressed, and targeted by the world. However those feelings didn’t leave me bitter and resentful, it filled me with a burning desire to take life into my own hands and make change. The way I saw it was like this, if the world is already against me and no matter what I do I will be demonized, then why not do what I want? Why not make a company called NO B.A.N. WORLD that aims to help the overlooked and slept on artists of all mediums? Why not create a brand with the intention of instilling morals of hard work, community, honesty, and loyalty? Why not create a platform where creatives, especially black creatives, can express themselves freely and build a connection with people they might not have met otherwise? So to answer the question as to what was my thought process behind starting my business, my answer is. Why Not?
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
NO B.A.N. WORLD is multiple things: it is a collective of artists, a platform for underground artists, and a lifestyle. There are a few things that sets us apart from others, the first being our mentality. The term NO B.A.N. can be interpreted in many different ways; in its most purest form NO B.A.N. means reaching your goals by any means necessary, staying loyal to the people who support you, and being your most authentic self. The second thing is that we do what we do with very little resources, every single person in NO B.A.N. finds a way to finesse the system and make something happen out of nothing. The Third thing is our style. It’s very unique and while there are certain elements that could be seen in other places the way we present it and utilize it, would have you hard pressed to find another like it. I believe it’s because we have so many artists involved that we can come up with something that doesn’t feel like anything else. The last and probably the most important thing that sets us apart is that we are genuine with everything we do, we don’t try to pander, we say how we feel and people rock with us because of it. I am proud of how our show Bedrock Radio has grown and improved overtime. People are starting to really catch on and enjoy it. I am most excited for our Live Sets, this is where we find an up and coming artist that we like and record a live set of typically 4-6 songs. Due to Covid-19 our event NO B.A.N. SUMDAY that we originally planned got pushed to the side. However, we adapted to the new circumstances and now we are here. Would I say this path was easy? No. Would I say that it was extremely difficult? No I would not. The reason I say this is because to me adversity does not deter me it’s just another obstacle to overcome. My life has been full of adversity but I just roll with the punches. A lesson I learned was that failure is never truly failure, as long as you learn something from that experience and use that new found knowledge on your next attempt. True Failure is when you give up. In NO B.A.N. giving up isn’t much of an option. I want the world to know that NO B.A.N. is taking over the world sooner than you think, you are either with us or you’re not but we won’t be stopped.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
This question is so funny because I am not the guy to ask for this. I am an introverted person by nature. My friends think because I have good people skills I am extroverted… that is not the case. I generally don’t like people however, because of the way I was raised I can speak and interact with them pretty well. For the purpose of this interview I’ll play along with this scenario. I would take my friend to Sri Thai in Atlantic Station, they have some crazy good food. After that I definitely have to go to Little 5 Point and go thrifting. Then I would take them to the beltline so I could show them a lot of the hotspots of the city. If I had it my way though, we would just be chilling at the crib hahaha.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
So first things first I want to shout out my Mom (Maisha), Dad (Devon) , Sister (Lexi) and Grandma (Teacher), if they did not raise me the way they did and instill in me the values that I still hold to this day, I would not be doing what I am doing today. Next I want to shout out my oldest sister Rachel S. Jackson, she was a major influence in my life especially when I got to college. She let me live with her for a year and in that time I soaked up so much knowledge, from paying your bills on time, to working with artists in the music industry. Most importantly I want to shout out Everybody in NO B.A.N. that’s my lil family. Devynn, Bishop, Simon, Justin, Broderick, Ej, Bjay, and Zipp NO B.A.N. only got to where we are at because they saw the vision and trusted me to be the captain of the ship, my crew is irreplaceable. Last but certainly not least I have to shout out the man the myth the anomaly, Nick. We have known each other since 2nd grade, we have had ups and downs but without him some very important moments in my life would not have happened the same way. Last but not least Shout out Tuck one of my most loyal homies. With that I give my most sincere thanks to them all.