Welcome to “Seven Minutes in Heaven,” GO Magazine’s brand new interview series that profiles a different queer lady each day, by asking her seven unique (and sometimes random) questions. Get to know the thoughts, feelings, and opinions of the groundbreaking, fierce forces-of-nature in the queer community.
People who throw events for the queer community are truly a gem. They provide space for us all to come together in a really powerful way.
Whether it’s around music, workshops or panel discussions Janeth Gonda is out there creating space for everyone to come together. When she’s not working for BUST Magazine and her own curated Barranquilla Studio, she can found performing music with the gypsy rock band Espejismo.
We wanted to get a know the force of nature behind all this creativity, so we had “Seven Minutes in Heaven” with Gonda that we can’t wait to share with you!
GO Magazine: Who are you and what do you do?
Janeth Gonda: Who am I, hmm well the jury is still out on that first part, but my name is Janeth. I am first and foremost a performer. I sing and dance in a gypsy-witch-trip rock band called Espejismo. I am also the events and promotions manager at BUST Magazine. On the side, I run a community space called Barranquilla Studios in Brooklyn. We’ve been hosting a safe environment for music, art, and everything in between for the past three years. It started out as something just for fun, but then quickly spiraled into something really special. I’ve hosted over 300 bands and thousands of people in the past few years alone.
GO: How do you hope to see bisexual visibility improve in the LGBTQ community?
JG: I’d like to see it improve for the men in the LGBTQ community. Although I will never try to speak for everyone, from my personal experience no one quite seems surprised or seems to mind when they find out I’m bi-sexual. I feel as though it has a stigma of being “sexy and hot” so no one really “cares.” (That in itself can be rather annoying). I wish that more men felt comfortable sharing their bi-sexuality or exploring it. I know I have a few guy friends who are totally bi but would never admit it, because of the way society has made them feel. But in general, I wish people just let people be who they were. I go with the flow and like who I like, so although I do consider myself bi-sexual I typically just refer myself as fluid.
GO: Where do you go for inspiration when you’re feeling discouraged or depleted?
JG: When I am feeling down and depleted I mostly turn to music. I have found writing songs is one of the best ways for me to get a lot of my feelings out of my system. My project Espejismo deals with some pretty dark subject matter regarding depression, emotion regulation, and body image. I love writing music that really tells stories that may be uncomfortable to hear, but should be talked about. I also love to go to meditation classes with Dharma Punx. I’ve found making human connections is one of the best ways to pull myself out of a dark spell.
GO: What music are you listening to right now?
JG: Well, I am always listening to some Portishead. But my current favorite bands are definitely Lespecial and Brooklyn Gypsies, I highly recommend taking a listen. I really love music that grooves, if my body dances on its own chances are I’m into it :).
GO: When it comes to producing and managing spaces/events, how do you approach the representation of different voices?
JG: As someone who was not only adopted into a white family from Bogota Colombia but also grew up in an all-white town, I have dealt with the issue of feeling unrepresented my entire life. So when it comes to events that I throw it comes naturally for me to try to go against these norms. I think it is crucial to provide a voice for everyone. I recently hosted a hip-hop show at my space that was an utter blast, the promoter thanked me over the mic saying he was blown away with how instantly open I was to host the show. I didn’t even think twice, and let me say I felt damn proud to have proud amazing African American performers at my space speaking up for the black community.
It’s so common though, even at professional venues or bars I’ve worked at when talks of a hip-hop show or something that makes people uncomfortable comes up there is always some hesitation. In December BUST is hosting our huge Holiday Fair at the Brooklyn Expo Center and I am definitely going out of my way to have all-inclusive vendors, workshops, and all people represented. I want people to walk into an event that I create and feel at ease and safe, otherwise, there’s just no point.
GO: Why is it important to have LGBTQ spaces, especially in the music industry?
JG: The LGBTQ community needs a safe place. It is important that LGBQT people know and understand they are valued, they are loved, and they are important. Providing safe places like that with Barranquilla, and so many other amazing DIY spaces and groups such as Silent Barn, The Bronze, Punx of Color is so crucial. We have to band together to make a change, we can’t just ignore and push things under the rug. We recently threw a Punk Pride party with BUST and it was so awesome to see all these people come together and talk about issues that are normally not openly discussed at a regular punk show. The best part is people responded. I think a lot of people are open to getting involved, but just don’t know how.
GO: Where can people find you?