By Nicole Berrie
Photography by Libby Gray
IT’S NEARLY 7 P.M. AND CAFE SELECT is already abuzz with hip downtown types clad in varying washes of leather who continue to swarm the bar for tumblers of red wine and Swiss-inflected bites. “Do you have ginger tea?” Brendan Fallis asks the bleary-eyed waiter who looks back at him quizzically. They don’t. “I’ll have mint then,” he concedes. Fallis, whose all-American looks (he’s Canadian) might call to mind Paul Newman circa Cool Hand Luke, meets us between a work meeting and a friend’s surprise birthday party at Acme. The Ontario-native, despite a soft spoken timbre and an anonymous workman’s shirt, is recognized by more than a handful of the patrons who stop at our table to say hello. It’s no wonder, as Fallis has quickly ascended from budding entrepreneur to Manhattan man-about-town, gracing the online pages of GQ, Vanity Fair and STYLE.COM thanks to his precise style aesthetic and turntable skills. As a DJ, he’s spun some of New York’s splashiest fetes from the Whitney Art Party to a flurry of VOGUE events. Recently, Fallis has crisscrossed the globe with Theophilus London and debuted his first single “Day And All Night” with musician Andrew Watt, a glossy dance track laid to Kate Moss’ cockney vocals waxing poetic about, what else? Fashion. But as vocal as he is about music and style, Fallis has become a force to be reckoned with when it comes to health and wellness. Just take a look at his Instagram feed, which regularly boasts images of him juicing, working out and yes, even gardening (see below). He also co-owns a coconut water company called Waiola. As we mull over our hot brews, the Fallis opens up about his daily regimen, why traveling throws a wrench in his health game and what curious beverage his girlfriend has him drinking before they jet off to Mexico for a short holiday.
When did you first become interested in health?
I started my health kick when I used to ski for the Canadian team. I was always into being a little more healthy than the average friend in my circles. Now it’s a lifestyle rather than eating a kale salad just to be cool. It definitely makes you feel better. And in this city when you pollute yourself a lot at night, it’s nice to feel good during the day.
Do you think there is a stigma for guys who pay attention to their health?
It used to mean something but it really doesn’t mean anything here and in LA, even less. In Paris, people don’t eat, they just have coffee and cigarettes. I have friends who live in Vancouver and say, “You eat like a bird.” Maybe I do but I’m fine eating like that cause I’m full.
Are there any misconceptions about DJs and their lifestyle?
It depends on what world you’re working. I’ve been on tour and as much as it looks like you want to party every night, you can’t. It burns you out. Nightclubs I think you would be more apt. You’re more surrounded by it. If you’re on stage, you might have a drink or two to take the edge off. It’s not like someone’s passing you a bottle. When we’re on tour, I’ll have a shot of something but that might be it, unless we go to an after party. I still keep Monday to Friday as business and then I try to have fun on the weekend, which I didn’t do for the first six months because you’re in a weird world where days don’t really matter.
Post-workout fuel from Juice Generation.
What is your morning routine like?
Right now, I’m waking up and drinking Man Tea. It’s this tea that also has women’s detox tea but I have the man one. The first few days it made me feel that I had to go to the bathroom in all sorts of ways. It’s supposed to help your organs and digestive system and reduce your water weight and bloating. We’re going to Mexico, and Hannah’s been killing this woman’s side of it, so she ordered me the Man Tea. You drink three cups of tea a day, a half an hour before you eat.
Do you drink coffee?
I never drink coffee. Every time I have caffeine I literally shake. My neck freezes up. I don’t do sugar of any short. No refined sugar.
Ok, back to that morning routine…
I try to go to the gym every morning while I’m here. I just go to Equinox. Right now I’ve been doing these Tabata workouts. This Japanese doctor came up the theory that if you run for five minutes at his set time, which is 20 seconds at full sprint, then take 10 seconds off, 10 seconds at full sprint, 10 seconds off, it’s equal if not better aerobically than running for a while and obviously better anaerobically. I follow a few skiers who are still on the World Cup circuit and they’ve been hashtagging Tabata so I googled it and everyone’s saying, “I can’t believe how hard I hit the wall. I’m throwing up after working out.” And in the New York lifestyle, less time is more money. You feel like you’re getting more done, it’s better for you and I actually look and feel like I’m in better shape. So I do 5-7 minutes of that and then I do a lot of kettle bells lately. I always do a bit of the TRX band. I really appreciate using my own body weight over lifting weights. It’s a little more exciting.
Do you eat anything for breakfast?
I’ll either go home and make a smoothie or get an acai bowl from Juice Generation, which I love. It’s half the price of Juice Press.
We saw that you and Hannah built your own vegetable garden in your backyard. Did you alway have a green thumb?
I grew up in a country setting in Durham, Ontario, Canada. My neighbor and my babysitter had a garden so I’d always pick potatoes, beets and corn as a kid. I built a cool fort outside my river and we’d always steal stuff from the garden to put it in the “kitchen” in our fort. So I guess I have gardening in my genes as a kid.
How did building a garden in downtown New York turn out?
It’s the first garden we ever planted and we didn’t put the soil deep enough. We planted eggplants and haven’t pulled them out yet so I’m waiting to see if they came out flat. But we had carrots, Norwegian spinach because it grows really fast and is really crunchy, habaneros, jalapenos, cherry tomatoes and beefsteak tomatoes. We also have chives, basil, oregano, peppermint, spearmint and thyme.
Wow, sounds amazing. Do you use all these ingredients to cook?
Totally. I’ve been eating a lot of bowls lately, making soba noodles with avocado, tomato, egg, chia seeds, whatever’s around. I take the fresh stuff from the garden like chives and radishes. Although today I had a Matzo ball soup and kale salad from Jack’s Wife Freda. It’s so good.
What does a typical dinner look like?
Usually salmon or fish. We cooked swordfish this summer. I don’t eat red meat. I cut it out five years ago and felt so much better. Now I never feel really full after meals. I felt less tired. But here and there I’ll have a little bite of cured meat like salami.
Brendan reaps the harvest from his backyard.
What was the most inspiring healthy thing you’ve done of late?
We did a cooking class retreat with a friend’s chef at their house in the Hamptons. It was fully gluten-free and healthy besides one bread we made. He has a crazy kitchen with a proper wood-fired oven, where all the stones where brought in from Italy. We made the best cauliflower soup I’ve ever had and a frittata that was incredible. We made fresh focaccia in the morning. Half the stuff he grew in his garden right beside his kitchen.
Between the tea and the supplements, how has Hannah influenced your health?
She just has crazy more energy to burn so she works out a lot more intensely than I do. But she is just very conscious about eating well and exploring different recipes. She’s really going hard on gluten-free right now. We made gluten-free dumplings the other day. Our newest thing is we cut a banana in half, put almond butter or coconut peanut butter inside, close it with a stick and put a chia seed or quinoa granola on the outside and freeze it.
What is the health scene like in Canada?
It’s not as advanced. Toronto is just opening its first juice bar soon. It’s a little more rural as a city in general because farming is so close outside. Farm-to-table isn’t that far off and a lot of great beef and vegetables are around there. In my hometown, all the grocery stores are provided by local farmers. Vancouver is probably the most hippie-esque, Seattle-style, so they’re pretty healthy.
Brendan cooks breakfast for his lady.
You’re constantly on the go and traveling, how do you keep balanced?
It’s actually really tough to find healthy food as you travel. I did a full tour of Europe, including 27 stops in Germany and it was so hard to find a fresh juice. I finally found one in Austria. It wasn’t anything pressed, but I literally drank every juice. There was no kale or anything like that. It’s mostly fruit based and a lot of carrot. Other than that, I would take my skateboard or just run. In the winter, I take a jump rope and try to jump a minute or two in the room.
Have you influenced your friends and colleagues to eat better?
When I first went on the road for our American tour two years ago, it was McDonalds and Wendy’s and I’d try to eat the salads, which are almost worse for you so I’d just be going to Subway and having a wrap or getting a bag of mixed nuts from the gas station and make a green juice and try to think I was full. But I slowly coerced all of them. The guys we toured with in Germany were really into health so they had a juice bar at each place. Theo really got into carrot, ginger, orange. We all kind of got sick cause it was winter and that was healing us. He realized his performances got better so then he just got into health. Since then it’s been so nice because now he wants to eat healthy everywhere. That was a monumental time in my relationship with him.
What sort of outdoor activities do you do?
When I lived in the West Village, I would bike up to the Cloisters once every two weeks and I’d go jogging on the West Side Highway. I used to ski 150 days out of the year from when I was 16 years old to 26 years old. Now I’ve skied 5 times in the last 7 years total. I wanted to be the best at it back then. But now what I’m working on, I want to be the best at that.
What do you do to unplug?
I love sleep. I nap every single day. When I just started djing, I worked until 4 in the morning and I’d be at the office at 10am so I’d just be wiped. All these guys were out smoking and I put together loose stats, if they go out 3 times a day for 15 minutes, they’re wasting an hour. And over a year, they’re wasting a month of work time. If I just nap for 15 minutes, I’m healthier. Typically I nap at least 15 to 20 minutes. But I’ve logged in 3 to 4 hours by accident.