An Interview with Jonathan Facka


Singer-songwriter Jonathan Facka provides nothing less but stellar music. Based out of Richmond, VA, Facka was originally set out to be a stand-up comedian. After incorporating songs into his stand-up routines, he then discovered music as an outlet for him. His passion for music continued by performing at a open-mic night in 2016 and just a couple of years later, Facka released his debut studio album Streetlight in the Woods last year. It's lead single "The Tree"was then released and has since gone on to have over 1,000 plays on Spotify.

The video for the song is set for release today, which also happens to be "Love A Tree Day." The stunning visual showcases two people that have mutual feelings for one another but both do not know the feelings of the other. It is that feeling of regret between both that is painful, missing the opportunity to be with one another.

In light of the video release, Facka talks with Stage Left about his musical journey, the newly released video and performing.

1. Thank you so much for taking the time to do this! How’s life!?!

"Life is going great! Thank you for having me."

2. How’s Richmond? I haven’t been! What was it like growing up in Richmond?

"Richmond is a great city with an awesome night life. It’s become quite the music town over the last few years. I would highly recommend it."

3. Prior to music, you were a comedian. What made you transition to music?

"I was hiding behind my comedy as a form of defense. I’ve had some tragic things happen to me in my life. I felt it was time to stop running and make some music."

4. Congrats on releasing your debut album ’Streetlight in the Woods’ a little over a year ago. Do you remember exactly where you were at the time it was released?

"How were you feeling in the particular moment when it was finally released for everyone to hear? Releasing your first record is a very memorable time. I had a little trouble with that release actually. It took a long time to post. When it finally posted I was at my house watching TV and I felt very relieved."

5. What was the recording process like for the record? How long was the process of making it?

"It took 10 months to record. I did it on the weekends while I flipped burgers to scrape by. I recorded 8 songs with Frank from Broadcast Recordings, then two more with Elliot Johnson. Elliot went on to mix and master the album. I have since quit my job thanks to them."

6. I also read that throughout your twenties, you experienced some tragic situations, which then led to writing songs about them and finally having the courage to share those lyrics with the world. What was that turning point that made you want to tell the world?

"I started playing at an open mic. I would play covers. Word got around that I had some originals and one day I decided to share. I got a nice reaction and that helped me want to share more. It all snowballed for me and now I feel good about sharing my pain with people."

7. Of the ten songs from that album, was there a song that was more challenging to make than the others?

"Yes! “The Line” went through ten different phases. It was mixed and mastered multiple times over until I felt like it was right. I might have remade that song for my new record ;)"

8. How did the collaborations on the album come about with Thalia Tymowski, Kevin Ganley, and Jonathan Brown?

"I actually wrote The Tree for another girl to sing. When that girl couldn’t make it to the studio due to car trouble I called Thalia and I can’t imagine the song without her. She was 16 at the time we recorded, 17 at the time we filmed the video, and she is 18 now! Kevin Ganley is one of the first musicians I worked with. He took a liking to The Line and I asked him if he would do it with me. Jonathan Brown is my best friend. We perform together on a regular basis. It was only right that I included him in the project."

9. Your new video of “The Tree” with Thalia Tymowski is breathtaking. What were the ideas/inspirations behind the video?

"The song is packed with imagery, I wanted to paint a picture of a fantasy world. The video reflects that world that I envisioned very well. In fact it turned out to be spot on with how I pictured it when writing the song. I have Forrest Mason to thank for that. I knew I wanted to show a split screen of the tree depicting two different times. The cross over at the end is something we are very proud of."

10. Your performance of that song with Sofar Sounds gave me goosebumps. How did the opportunity come about?

"I love Sofar Sounds! They sent me an email out of the blue, and I had never heard of them before. I had a great time filming with them, and later went on to play for them in Washington D.C and New York City!"

11. You recently played a show at The Hofheimer with Annie Lawrence in your hometown! How did it go?

"Annie is a class act! I was honored to open for her. It was a very fun show. One of my favorites!"

12. Is there a certain routine that you do before you perform or is there something you need to have with you at all times?

"I usually grab a burger before I play. I have this gold Kyser capo that I always have with me. Most of my songs are played with a capo. The one I use is the same one I used when making my album."

13. On the subject of performances, one question that I’ve asked every artist that I have interviewed so far is who was the first artist that you saw live? Who did you go with and where? How was the overall experience!?!

"I didn’t go to many concerts in my early life. The first major artist I saw live was Passenger. His music has been a major inspiration to me. I got to meet him! He’s a very nice guy. Also around the same time I saw Phoebe Bridgers, and I got to meet her too."

14. Who or what inspired you to play folk music ?

"Passenger, Gregory Alan Isakov, The Carton Kids, and The Tallest Man On Earth were four of my main inspirations. Folk music is story telling essentially. I have a love for this genre in particular. I make music the way I think music should be. That way just so happens to be in the form of folk."

15. Who is on your playlist right now?

"I listen to lots of local Richmond music. Hound Heart, Mitchel Evan, Matt Monta, Tony Farris and Keilan Creech are constantly in rotation."

16. What is next for Mr. Facka? A new album or single on the way maybe?

"I have a new album in the works that I hope to release in the late fall. Although it might get pushed to 2020 I’ve never been good at accurately predicting release dates."

Thank you again for taking the time to do this interview. It is truly an honor. Continue to make great music and I hope to catch one of your upcoming shows!

"Thank You!!!"