Interview: Tara Matthews

Tara Matthews has her own blog called Cracked Vinyl. I was lucky enough to have an interview with Tara about her blog and interviews.

 Hello Tara! Thank you so much for letting me interview you. How are you?

Hi, thank you for letting me be part of it! I’m great thank you, hope you’re well.

Tell us a little bit about your background.

I’m Tara, 20 and a Music Journalism student at BIMM Brighton. I’ve been a music fan for so many years and have always had a huge passion for it and vaguely began writing about it during secondary school but only really decided to make a big thing about it a few years ago.

Describe yourself in three words. 

Passionate, creative and affectionate.

I adore your blog. What inspired you to start blogging, especially about music?

Like I said I’m a huge music fan so I’ve been going to gigs and buying music for years and saw other people posting reviews of gigs they’ve been to online, mostly on Twitter. It was there really that I got speaking to friends about music and started writing posts. I’ve had many different blogs over the years but Cracked Vinyl has been the best so far (I hope!)

Have you always been into blogging and music?

Alongside music, fashion is a huge passion of mine and I’ve been fans of so many bloggers and YouTubers over the years to so that certainly inspired me to start blogging about music. Music magazines such as NME and DIY have hugely inspired my writing and passion for music too as I’ve been an avid reader of these mags for the last 4 years.

How has your creative process changed since the start?

When I first began blogging it wasn’t really about anything specific, my first blog was a bit all over the place as I would merge fashion, music, lifestyle all in one whereas now I’ve refined myself to just music as it’s what I enjoy writing about the most.

Describe your creative process.

My creativity and inspiration for blog posts usually comes from the music itself. I often get sent lots of tracks to listen to and if I really enjoy it I’ll be desperate to write about it. I’ve got little notebook where I jot down all my thoughts and I try to carry it around with me so it’s there if I need it on the go.

Why did you call your blog Cracked Vinyl? 

I’m not really sure how I came to think of my Twitter handle but during my secondary school years I came up with tara_eats_vinyl, and from there on the vinyl thing really stuck so I sort of saw it as a part of my ‘brand’ as such. Also the fact I am a massive fan of collecting records so again, it was just part of my passion. Cracked Vinyl specifically was just a name that jumped out at me amongst a list of vinyl related things.

How did you manage to learn and hone your craft? 

To begin with it was just a bit hit and miss. Like I said I’ve had a few blogs myself so have been able to kinda gauge my writing skills and hone it to suit me. Again though, my uni course has definitely taught me so many new skills that have developed my way of not only writing about music but listening to it too.

Who inspires your blog?

Music magazines such as DIY and Dork have inspired me so much over the past few years but I always find myself reading a tonne of music blogs too. Just to name a few I’d have to mention Turtle Tempo, Indie Central Music, Popped Music and Mix It All Up. Actually, there’s a few bloggers who mention various music bits and bobs so I’d have to give Paige from Held Together By Pins a shout out too because her music posts are great!

How do you go about getting your interviews?

I’ve not really been so successful interview wise up until recently as I’ve hugely learnt a lot since starting uni in September, where my lecturers are such lovely and inspiring people. They’ve taught me how to properly speak to an artist’s PR and management team. However before Uni, I have managed to blag myself some press passes for festivals the past few years which has allowed me to just speak to the bands directly and see if they’re up for a chat!

Do you have any advice for anyone who is trying to contact someone for an interview?

I’d say definitely make sure you’re clued up beforehand and 100% prepped for the interview because it’s nerve-wracking enough doing the interview let alone having no idea what questions you’re going to be asking. But in terms of getting the interview, just be firm yet polite with the artist’s team. Most PR’s and Manager’s will love the attention that you’re willing to give their act so they’re more than likely to say yes, unless you’re asking for an interview with Adele. 

How do you think of questions for your interviews?

I just do lots and lots of research to be honest, what the band have been up to recently, any latest tracks, what they’ve got coming up etc. Most of the time questions come to mind mid interview as it’s just like have a conversation with friends.

Do you get nervous before an interview?

Every single time. I can’t help it. I’m such an anxious person anyway so that doesn’t help. 

How do you tackle those nerves?

I just try to keep myself grounded by reassuring myself that they’re just normal people too. And once the interview actually kicks off, 9 times out of 10 the band are absolutely lovely anyway!

Why has social media been an important platform for you to use?

Not only has it allowed me to share my work with other people and expand my readership but it’s allowed me to find and connect with new artists and people of the music industry which I wouldn’t have known about before.

What are your career plans?

I’m hoping to do well at uni and get my degree and hopefully land a job within the music industry doing journalism or PR.

Do you have any advice for anyone who would like to start blogging or interviews?

I’d say just go for it. If you want to make your own blog then go ahead, it’s the perfect starting tool. Also try to find some other blogs that you can contribute to and get your work out there. Hit me up if you want some exposure, I’m more than happy to help.

You can find her wonderful interviews on the website ‘www.cracked-vinyl.com’ and Instagram ‘@cracked_vinyl’. She has some great articles on her blog. 

Rhiannon BrittenComment