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"You may be familiar with a certain type of secret gig but on the afternoon of Sunday 27th November comes a secret gig with a difference - there will be three artists but they will perform two totally different sets. Music photographer come music promoter for this event, Victoria Wai, brings W(a)ired For Sound (see what she did there?!) to The Cumberland Arms after an event from the venue owner, Jo to help celebrate the venues 20th anniversary and bringing the best of the secret gigs she's attended before with a few added twists to make it more exciting" Victoria Wai

The 27th November is also a special date for Victoria and that will be revealed on the day too as she takes on her usual role behind the camera, but she might just show her face a bit more on this occasion! The Zip had an opportunity to chat with Wai prior to the event, exploring the creative concept with Victoria and chatting all things local music.

Could you introduce yourself - what's your career in music looked like so far?

Hello, I am Victoria Wai, a photographer specialising in music - live, portraits, studio, behind the scenes. The music industry is not all glamorous and many stops and starts. It's lucky when people don't face as many challenges but for most we are cutting our teeth for the pure love and passion for music.

How has live music impacted you?

Live music for me is very much a 'love what you do, do what you love' kind of job that despite a few hurdles, there is nothing else I would rather be doing 98% of the time. It is my release from a lot of troubles and because I work closely a lot with independent artists, and also now have a role of North East Venue Rep for Independent Venue Week, I get to see many sides of the industry and interact more with artists, managers, venues, PR. Due to this I do get FOMO and recently have had to make sure I say NO to a lot just to rest up!

How did you decide on the name 'Waired For Sound'?

The name is definitely a play on my business name of Victoria Wai. It is pronounced differently to how many say it which is WHY and I never correct them cos I am the worse person of pronunciation in other languages but as this gig idea formed I felt a silent 'a' would be cheesy but very on brand with live music.

What does this event symbolise?

I was approached by Jo from The Cumberland Arms, who wanted to 'pay it back' to me supporting the local music scene as a photographer and North East Venue Rep for IVW. Before my role with IVW though I did a fundraiser to 'Save Our Venues' where I sold photos from the venues and gave the proceeds back to where the photo was taken. As a music photographer working with new/independent artists I also wanted to shine a light on them as they are potentially the 'next big thing' I have attended about three different types of Secret Gigs and each one had something but also was missing something and it seemed many agreed with me so talking with Abby Hillyer AKA Sound Lass, she said it would be possible to do a show as wanted where a few said it would be complicated. So this event symbolises, to not be afraid to be different but this would not have been possible without the belief of Jo.

What are you planning next?

This is a one-off show but the two weeks running up to it I have had many artists ask to be involved in the next one. If we get enough people into the venue and talking positively about it and also get some funding I do hope we can do more as the list of artists I hope to do this format of a show is growing. I might need a bigger team though as have said no to a few live shows just so I can give this one my best shot without getting it wrong!


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