All our users have voices to be heard and stories to tell – and this is finally the time to start introducing you to our community members. There are dozens of small groups, communities, games and projects hiding below the surface and we want to give them some exposure. Our eighth community member to interview is @asecretchord – an amazing lady who’s a gravity point in our community and a lovely catalyst who also helped us a lot with interview questions and other ideas to make things brewing!

1. Hey there Zinta! Please introduce yourself to the community, tell us a little bit more about yourself!
Hello, my name’s Zinta, and I’m a culture junkie. I like sea swimming, irreverent humour, and the odd dram of whisky.

2. Staccato questions about music!

  • What’s the furthest you’ve gone to a gig..?
    When Bon Iver’s London show sold out in 2011 we decided to go to the gig in Paris instead, especially once I discovered Yann Tiersen was also playing the night before. We got an overnight bus & slept on a stranger’s sofa for the weekend. That same friend is dragging me to the opposite end of the country in a few hours to see her favourite band. It’s good to be impulsive every so often.
  • Have you ever cancelled a flight to go to a gig?
    When I was in Dublin I kept seeing Glen Hansard everywhere I went – at the theatre, in coffee shops, on the street. I took it as a sign to check if he had any gigs coming up, which he did the night I was supposed to be leaving; so I cancelled my flight and bought tickets. The Commitments ended up reforming on stage in front of us; it was deadly.
  • Has music ever made you a friend?
    Before Spotify there used to be pub jukeboxes which streamed any music you wanted from the internet. You could pick 3 songs for £1 and one night I heard an amazing selection – my favourite local band, one of my all time favourite bands, and a band I was working with. I went and introduced myself to the guy who had chosen them, telling him I couldn’t understand how we’d not yet met, and we’ve been friends ever since.
  • Have you ever written/been written a song?
    There have been a few over the years, but I’m really a frustrated lyricist, still searching out someone to twist my words into melodies. My granny wrote me a little bagatelle once; I’ve got the manuscript but my piano playing isn’t good enough to do it justice.
  • Have you ever stumbled upon music somewhere you weren’t expecting it?
    Ed Sheeran played guitar and sang a few songs in the back of my car once when we were driving through London town after our friend’s birthday. It certainly made up for the fact that the radio was broken.
  • When was the last time you cried over music?
    Earlier this year; a friend and I had been talking at length about something and they just sent me a message with a link to a song and no other explanation. As soon as I heard it I knew exactly the place they were in and could really empathise with what they were feeling about it all. I couldn’t help but cry.
  • Is there any activity that you can’t do by music?
    I’m an actress and I avoid learning lines with any ambient music around, as good writing usually has a rhythm of its own. That’s probably why I love Shakespeare so much; on account of the musicality of the language. And why, hearing Shakespeare done badly is as painful as listening to someone sing out of tune.
  • What are the bands, musicians, genres that you’ve taken with you as a family heritage?
    My heritage is a mixture of Celtic and Baltic, and the tradition of live music and story telling is really fundamental to both cultures, so I have a deep rooted love of folk music and songs which can survive a power cut.

    In the Baltic States freedom from Soviet oppression was found through the Singing Revolution, where old songs were sung in protest at mass impromptu demonstrations, so that gives you some idea of how significant music is to the people. There’s also a Latvian tradition of lighting a fire on Midsummer night and keeping it lit until dawn, whilst people sing around it, which I have wonderful memories of from my childhood, and that’s exactly the kind of things I’d love to introduce my nieces to in time.

    And as for my Celtic roots there are a couple of songs which have important family ties. The Irish tune commonly known as Danny Boy is attributed to a harper in the 17th century by the name of Ó Catháin, which is the family my grandmother’s stems from. My Scottish roots are the Clan MacDonald and there are several songs written about the Massacre of Glencoe, my favourite of which takes lyrics from a poem by T.S. Eliot. So I have an incredibly rich sense of personal identity where music’s concerned, and that’s before I’ve even started talking about the songs my parents introduced me to, or the links between family and my favourite instruments.

3. What’s your best story that relates to one specific piece of music (and what would that be)?

Back in the prehistoric days of dial-up I got an email from a girl in Spain who’d read a piece I’d written about a band she loved. We kept in contact and put each other in touch with other people we’d been talking to online about music. One of these friends was upset about a musician he loved who’d gone missing and was presumed dead. That was the first I heard of Jeff Buckley. In the days before his body was discovered my friend insisted that I had to listen to Grace. He was on the other side of the world and ftp servers weren’t what they are today, so I went to my local library and ordered a copy, which took several weeks to be shipped over from some obscure corner of the country. This done, I patiently followed my friend’s instructions: wait until nightfall, shut everyone else out, light a candle and skip straight to track 6. It was like taking flight; all the more poignant knowing the voice I was listening to had already been lost. To me Buckley’s rendition of Hallelujah is untouchable; no other version exists.

That said, at a friend’s funeral recently so many people had eulogies that they wanted to share that the priest ended up kicking the congregation out of the church for fear that the appointed time at the crematorium would be missed! So after the cremation, in the basement of the church, several pints into the wake, the final eulogy was delivered to the assembled crowd. When it finished for a second there was an awkward silence because it had been delivered out of place, out of context of the ceremony for which it had been written. And then someone started singing Hallelujah and when the chorus came around everyone joined in and all the ethereal ceremonial dignity that had been lacking was restored. Dave was a musician himself, amongst other things, so the song was wonderfully apt.

I’ve still not met my friend who introduced me to Buckley’s voice, and to his cover of Cohen’s song, but we still speak often, and more importantly send each other music whenever time allows.

4. Can you share a playlist with us of your favourite stuff? (YouTube, Spotify, anything goes! If so, what’s there to know about that playlist?)

This one is an absolute mess and it doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface, but there are some gems in there, so people might discover something new with a little patience..

5. Recommend us some new platforms or ways to find new music on!

Go to a new city, walk around until you see a busker, ask them where’s good for music and where the musicians drink. It’s old school, but I’ve stumbled upon some of my favourite places this way and have discovered some beautiful songs.

I’ve just seen this which suggests drinks to accompany your current soundtrack; perhaps they’ll work on the opposite idea and will start suggesting music depending on what you’re drinking. That would certainly be interesting.

6. What are 3 AMAZING non-music works of art that you’ve digested recently? (Books, films, fashion, anything!)

In another life I’d be an underwater photographer. This lad takes gorgeous shots so I like to keep an eye on what he’s up to on farcebook. Here’s one of my favourites..

I saw this just as spring was breaking and it really fit the mood and attitude people have when the sunshine finally appears. These acrobats display such enviable control, and that meets with unbridled sensuality, it’s quite something. Imagine being able to express yourself with such eloquent physicality..

A friend recently sent me this. Interactive art; have a go, it’s addictive and quite tricky to master.

7. Where and how does music and your professional life intertwine?

In my time I’ve helped manage bands, written for websites, taken photos, hosted a student radio rock show, sung in theatre shows and studios, voted for the Brits, argued about money with the men who don’t make music, drum-teched in some dodgy dive bars, sold merchandise, made vegan friendly meals for bands with more hair than character, wept at the state of press releases, worked in music shops, engineered pub gigs, designed flyers, promoted gigs, produced demos, ran a little street team, and despaired about how undervalued artistry is in society.

8. This game came up at the April Tastebuds meetup – at a table of six which musicians would be your ideal drinking buddies? (Could be alive, dead or even undead!)

Couldn’t I just get drunk with Eddie Vedder? Alone? No? Well then I’d probably cheat a little on this one and choose musicians who also do other things to make up the rest of the party. So next would be Mark Rylance (the greatest stage actor alive; he also sings, and beautifully), Kelly Slater (legendary athlete; not so legendary guitarist), Viggo Mortensen (known for his sword fighting, his horse riding, that naked fight in a Turkish bath; not so well known for mixing music with his poetry), and Tim Minchin (witty, irreverent, and hell can he play piano). Is that it? Am I allowed 5 guests or 6? What if I sit on someone’s lap? If I’m allowed one last guest it’d be Brahms. Because despite being long dead I think he’d fit in. That and I’m a sucker for a beard.

9. How did you find Tastebuds and what do you like most about it?

Word of mouth; from a girl friend I know in London who plays an array of tiny instruments. I’ve made some amazing musical discoveries and have met genuinely interesting friends; I think it’s a great platform. I like the idea that one day I’ll get to go to a gig with a friend from the other side of some great ocean, who I otherwise never would have known. Or that I’ll stumble across some new band with the people I’ve met on here in the town I’ve just moved to. Or maybe I’ll even find someone online to write some songs with. Either way, it’s all an adventure..

10. Which Tastebuds user should we make the next mini-interview with and why? Can you give them two new questions to reply to?
I wanted to suggest one of the folks I’ve actually met in three dimensions through Tastebuds; either at a gig or out for drinks with the crowd in London town. And the lads at Tastebuds HQ have been threatening to do their own interviews for a while now, so I think it’s about time one of you guys stepped into the firing line. I’ve sent along some questions based on the seven deadly sins to get you in a confessional state of mind.. As for questions: If you could pick 3 places in the world, at any point in time, to be a musical tourist, where would you choose and why?

Thank you for the interview, Zinta – it’s always a great pleasure to talk to you and trust us, we also think it’s high time we got into the firing line 🙂 Until we get you the reincarnation of Brahms as your… well. You decide what to do with him 😉 ROCK ON!

Did you like what asecretchord said? Check out her profile and drop her a friendly message OF ROCK!