The Coffeehouse Invite is back with South Bay Musician, Jake Wichman! He joins me at Red Rock Coffee in Mountain View, Ca and we talk about his influences, goals and his EP release “Ode to Marie”. We sit on the 2nd floor of the cafe as he gives us an inside look on his writing process and shares advice for others who would like to start their career as musicians. Jake is also the host of Red Rock Open Mic every Monday night. Great to see artists like him who are involved in their community. Read on and learn more about Jake.
The Coffeehouse Invite: Hey Jake! Thanks for joining us on CHI. Tell us about what you do.
Jake Wichman: I work as a Barista at Red Rock Coffee in Mountain View. I also host the Open Mic there. When I’m not working, I’m usually working on my music and playing shows every opportunity I get.
The Coffeehouse Invite: In what moment did you decide you wanted to take music further?
Jake Wichman: It was shortly after I started hosting the Open Mic at Red Rock. I was able to connect with so many great local artists, and it really inspired me to step out more with my own music and start performing.
The Coffeehouse Invite: You noted Tegan and Sara as one of your influences. What connects you with their music?
Jake Wichman: Those two are my HEROES! Their music is so freaking catchy, but the lyrics are really raw, emotional and relatable. They are the only artists who have ever made me dance and cry at the same time. Each and every one of their songs that I have listened to I have been able to relate with in some way or another, and that has gotten me through some really tough times. The honesty and vulnerability in their songs makes you feel connected to them, even if you don’t know them personally. To me it’s more than music, it’s also medicine. That’s the kind of artist I want to be.
The Coffeehouse Invite: You’ve released an EP “Ode to Marie”. What do you want people to take away from that album and when can we expect a full length album? :)
Jake Wichman: This particular record is very personal. Again I want to put music out that people can relate to and connect with. My hope for “Ode to Marie” is that it will be entertaining, but also comforting to the people who hear it. I feel the four songs on this EP are ones that deal with things most people have been through in their lives (attraction, love, heartbreak, etc.) and I feel they are songs you can go to and get lost in when experiencing such things.
As for a full length. My hope is to be back in the studio sometime in 2017, and a full length out by early to mid 2018. I’d also like to release a single or two within that time as well.
The Coffeehouse Invite: Sledgehammer is so catchy! Tell us the writing process for this song.
Jake Wichman: It’s funny. “Sledgehammer” was a song that I never intended for anyone else to hear. I was madly in love with a girl that I was close friends with at the time, and I didn’t feel like I could be open with her about my feelings. I had to get it out somehow, so one night I was sitting in my room and I was thinking about some of those old catchy Motown love ballads, and it all just kind of spilled out. I had planned on just keeping it for myself, but… well let’s just say events occurred, the song is no longer for that girl, and I felt that it was a song that a lot of people would enjoy and relate to, and I was right. It’s probably the most popular song from the EP.
The Coffeehouse Invite: I hear you host the Red Rock open mic in Mountain View. Can you tell us how you got involved in hosting this event? Also, any information you would like to share for anyone interested in performing?
Jake Wichman: In July of 2015 I was approached by Nik Bartunek(the booking agent for Red Rock and a life long friend of mine) about taking over the open mic. The previous hosts were leaving and he asked me if I’d be interested in taking over. I had been involved with an open mic while I was living in Australia, and I absolutely loved it. I feel open mics are an amazing way for performers of all ages, experiences, and skill levels to showcase their art, and connect with each other. He asked me to think it over, but I didn’t need to. I accepted right on the spot. Hosting that open mic is one of the greatest honors I’ve ever had and my life has completely changed since taking it over.
Jake Wichman: We have it every Monday night from 7-9:30. Sign ups start at 6:30, but there are times people will line up as early as 5pm, so make sure to get there early if you want to get a spot. It’s at Red Rock Coffee on Castro Street in Mountain View.
The Coffeehouse Invite: What are 3 tips you would give to someone interested in starting a career as a musician?
Jake Wichman: First, you need to believe in yourself. Be confident and don’t be afraid to put yourself out there.
Second, Network. Go find people who like your music, and you like theirs. Work with them, learn from each other, and help each other out.
Third, Don’t give up. Being a musician is a lot of fun, but it can also be very hard at times. It takes a lot of work and dedication, and there have been times where it’s taken a toll on me, and I had to dig deep down to find the strength to keep going, and I’m glad I did. It’s hard, but it’s worth it.
The Coffeehouse Invite: Any new projects or shows we can expect from you in the next year?
Jake Wichman: I will continue to play shows whenever I am able to. My goal is to play at least 75 shows in 2017. Also, I’m talking with some people about the possibility of a tour, but right now it’s in the “speculation” phase you could say. I’m also planning to dive into writing in hopes of getting back into the studio and working on a full length album.
The Coffeehouse Invite: At CHI we encourage others to reach out and find people to collaborate with. Are you looking for anyone to work with? If so let, our CHI community know.
Jake Wichman: I am always down to collab and work with people. I’d love to partner up with other songwriters for my future projects.