We had the good fortune of connecting with Jake Faun and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jake, what habits do you feel play an important role in your life?
Just make a start, no matter how small of an action it may be. Repeat this process over and over again. The idea that successful people have a moment that launches them into fame and riches is rarely the case. For every overnight sensation there are years of work that often gets overlooked as it is not exciting, interesting or enticing to hear about, people would rather hear that a huge opportunity will land on your lap if you’re lucky enough. That opportunity only comes if you repeatedly put yourself in situations where it is likely to arise.
In other words, make a start, work, do this over and over again and watch your career grow steadily and sustainably. If you’re further along your desired path today than you were last year, you’re doing the right thing.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I’m a guitarist, started playing when I was about 11 or 12. I didn’t necessarily think I would do it for a living, I just kept playing when I was younger and went wherever it took me. I’m from the UK but I’m currently living in Los Angeles. I came here in March 2019, I’d already been here a number of times since 2016 but once my work visa was granted, I came out to see what it was like.
It wasn’t an easy task, as a foreigner, the process of obtaining a work visa for the US was extremely slow, expensive and stressful. This is especially the case if you are applying for an artist visa. To put this into perspective I started the application process at the end of 2016 but didn’t actually get the visa until early 2019. Just to get into the country I had to prove that I was essential for the industry and that the US economy would suffer my not being here haha. But this is the reality of what it’s like. Even after I was approved by USCIS at the end of 2017, I still had a hard time. I had to have an interview at the US Embassy in London to get my passport stamped. After the interview, the Embassy informed me that my case would need to be under further review. They don’t tell you why this is or how long it will take, so once in this position, you are in a black hole of waiting where there is no way to get any answers as to how to get out.
This was right at the start of 2018. I left my work in the UK and had told people in the US I was going to be here, but due to this visa situation I couldn’t give any info as to where I would be for the foreseeable future as I didn’t know how long this would take. Fast forward to the end of 2018, USCIS affirmed their original decision to permit me a work visa, so now I have to go for another interview to get my passport stamped.
During the interview I am told by the consular officer that ‘this visa is for famous people so why should we give it to you?’. This is not part of the criteria for an O1 visa but each Embassy operates under their own views of the application process.
The Embassy again recommends my case be put under review and I am again now required to wait for an answer having already spent a year waiting even though I had been approved twice by USCIS.
At this point I am about ready to give up as I cannot spend any more money and time waiting for this impossible visa to be granted, however, about a week later I receive an email from the Embassy granting me the visa and that my passport is needed for submission. A few weeks later I arrive in LA.
So my path here has not been easy! This is the short version of the story, there is much more along the way that I could get into but I don’t want to ramble on.
My journey in LA has been up and down which is the reality of being in the music industry haha. One thing I’ll say is enjoy the moments when you are up as you never know when a global pandemic will come along and essentially put you out of work for a year.
On a brighter note, my career has taken me places and allowed me to do things I never thought I’d get to do. I’ve recorded guitar for Selena Gomez, Alec Benjamin, Bryce Vine, DNCE and at the start of 2020 I was playing with David Lee Roth as part of his touring band opening for Kiss on their ‘End of the Road Tour’. So I have had the fortune to play some of the best and biggest venues across the US with legendary artists.
Since then I have mostly been working on my own, I have a YouTube channel which is where I make guitar videos, I’ve also been writing and producing for a few artists, I teach remotely, I record for people, I go where I’m needed! As we’ve all been forced inside we’ve all had to adapt and learn new skills.
I feel this is one of the key points of living in the Covid era, none of us saw this coming but here we are. We can complain about how unfair it all us, we can vent on social media, we can chose to get angry at people who disagree with us but ultimately that won’t achieve anything. Part of being an adult is accepting responsibility for yourself. This means even when something is not your fault, you may still have to deal with the consequences so the sooner you accept that, you can move forward and start finding solutions.
Many musicians have left LA since the pandemic and I can understand why. As a UK citizen if I leave I probably won’t be able to come back due travel restrictions so I am hoping that by sticking it out, by the time everything opens up, those that remain will be the ones who reap the rewards. So I’ll be ready for the thriving music scene when it comes back!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
The Griddle Cafe for ridiculous pancakes. Bludso’s for bbq.
Cut by Wolfgang Puck at the Beverly Wilshire hotel for a fancy dinner that will cost you all of the money.
Salt and Straw for Ice Cream.
The Viper Room, The Whisky, The Rainbow to get a taste of the strip and what was once the rock and roll capitol of the world.
Dave and Busters arcade, TCL Chinese theatre and Lucky Strike to get a feel for probably the most famous part of Hollywood and see the walk of fame.
The Observatory/Griffith park for hiking plus cool science stuff (if you’re into that, I am!).
Malibu for more hiking and scenery.
La Brea Tar Pits, Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Getty Center for some more touristy LA culture.
Muscle beach in Venice for people watching then rent a bicycle (or take a bird/lime scooter, that’s probably more of an ‘LA’ thing to do) and ride up to the Pier at Santa Monica.
There’s probably many more things I’ve not mentioned but these are just some of the things that come to mind that I used to do somewhat regularly pre-covid! Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My friend Nolan for showing me around and letting me stay with him when I first moved to LA. He also introduced me to a number of people in the music industry which helped me greatly when I didn’t know anyone. Erik Himel from ‘The Sunset Jam’ at The Viper Room every Monday night (before Covid denied having fun) for allowing me on stage to perform with other local musicians. This gave me the opportunity to form important friendships that would ultimately lead to employment in the live music scene of Los Angeles.
Koi Anunta for recommending me for this interview! In all seriousness she was one of the first friends I made in town who I would also go on to perform with in her own band ‘In Love & War’.
There are probably many more people I owe thank to but these are a few that come to mind!
Britton Hacke Photography Stormgod Photography Ricardo H Photography Colin Smith – Photoshopcafe