Whilst we’re all about celebrating the women on the stage and on the records, we gotta take a moment to appreciate all the fierce and influential women taking it up a notch in what can arguably be seen as the most male dominated side of the industry. And so we take a walk on the live side of things for part II of our Women Leading The Industry series.

olga kenig

MERCHANDISING MANAGER  

WHICH WOMEN, BOTH IN AND OUT OF THE INDUSTRY HAVE HAD THE BIGGEST INFLUENCE ON YOU? 

“My biggest influence however cliche it is has always been my mom. I come from a famliy where hard work was always valued above all from both parents. My mom ran her own business back in Russia, she started the first integrative kindergarden in the country that just celebrated 30 years of existence. She has always supported me following my dream of working in live music, no matter how hard it was to get here.”

WHY IS IT MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER BEFORE FOR FEMINISM TO HAVE A PRESENCE IN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY?

The music industry has changed a lot in the last 20 years. The focus has shifted to the touring side of things. Events have become a lot more structured, a lot more organised – a lot more of a business. Most positions in the touring staff are still occupied by mid 40s to 50s men who rarely even get to work with a woman. More and more companies realise that women are often better at organisational matters, think quicker and come up with innovative solutions. It is now the time, that the music industry is slowly evolving from an old men´s club to a properly structured work environment and this is the chance for more and more woman to find a place in it.”

“There are a lot of ladies out there working hard and kicking ass!”

WHO ARE SOME OF THE MOST INSPIRING, IMPORTANT AND INNOVATIVE WOMEN IN MUSIC RIGHT NOW?

“There are a lot of ladies out there working hard and kicking ass. I can only judge someone, who I´ve worked with before. I had the pleasure to have Cally Harris as my TM/PM on a tour last fall and I am in absolute awe of her attitude and work ethic. Seeing someone handle such a huge workload, alongside with so many issues and guys trying to undermine the “tiny blonde girl” constantly, with such a positive attitude and grace, was a true inspiration to me. “

WHAT IS STILL ONE OF THE BIGGEST PROBLEMS FOR WOMEN IN MUSIC RIGHT NOW? HOW DO WE OVERCOME IT?

“I see it every day. During load in I get cases taken off my hands as if I don´t know what I´m doing. I know what I can lift. I know what I can carry. I am a professional and I can do every aspect of my job the same way any man can. If I need help I will ask for it. I have lost work because someone felt “uncomfortable” to have a woman on the bus with them. How big of an issue do we still have, if a member of the crew can go to management over feeling uncomfortable with someone over their sex and management thinks that´s a legitimate concern and replaces that person?

We are so far from women being perceived as equals. I don´t call for feminism, I call for equalism. How will we change it? I don´t know. I try to change it every day by working hard, staying professional and  standing up for myself and pointing out discrimination when it happens, instead of quitely suffering.”


 

SOFIE HUNTER

SOUND ENGINEER – THE JOINERS

WHICH WOMEN, BOTH IN AND OUT OF THE INDUSTRY HAVE HAD THE BIGGEST INFLUENCE ON YOU? 

“I would say my nan influenced a lot, she always told me to do what you love and love what you do. There is also one female out there that worked for a We Are the Ocean tour years ago (I’m talking 2010 ish) that was part of the crew, before her I had never seen a female on  stage like that, and didn’t think I could until that, she was awesome; no idea who she was, but she’s out there somewhere, so thanks!”

WHY IS IT MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER BEFORE FOR FEMINISM TO HAVE A PRESENCE IN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY?

“I don’t know if it’s more important than before, it will always be important until things are equal. Things are improving all the time, in my field anyway, to be honest I think it should be more about the right people getting the jobs they deserve and work for, gender has nothing to do with it. I also wonder sometimes if extreme people will send things the other way, and instead of creating an even playing field, blaming sexism for unrelated things.”

“FEMINISM WILL BE IMPORTANT UNTIL THINGS ARE EQUAL.”

WHO ARE SOME OF THE MOST INSPIRING, IMPORTANT AND INNOVATIVE WOMEN IN MUSIC RIGHT NOW?

“There’s so many, just open your eyes! But if I have to choose:  Hannah Brodrick and Malle Kaas (Live sound Egineers); they started an organisation Women in live Music.eu to really connect women that are involved in the behind the scenes from engineers to marketing to try and boost that 10%, and create an inclusive and safe environment for all genders. Also Katie Tavini (Mastering Engineer) et al at Normal Not Novelty Network a similar concept for producers and DJ’s.”

WHAT IS STILL ONE OF THE BIGGEST PROBLEMS FOR WOMEN IN MUSIC RIGHT NOW? HOW DO WE OVERCOME IT?

“in my opinion one of the biggest issues for women in music is the portrayal to younger generations and the influence we have on them, we cannot expect young girls to get involved if they aren’t aware it’s out there. To combat the problem we need to be part of the solution, creating inclusive events for all can generate exposure for everyone. Also horrible people, and those with a chip on their shoulders, but that’s an issue for all!”


 

TANNER HERMAN

ASSISTANT TOUR MANAGER, TOUR MANAGER, MERCHANDISER

Photo: Lucas Englund

WHICH WOMEN, BOTH IN AND OUT OF THE INDUSTRY HAVE HAD THE BIGGEST INFLUENCE ON YOU? 

“My Mom has had the biggest influence on me and my career and in teaching me about the importance of a good work ethic.  I’m lucky she has always been supportive of this strange and untraditional life path.  She’s always stoked to hear any of the crazy stories I have for her.   It’s really sweet – to keep herself updated on where I am/what I’m doing, she always follows the bands I’m out with on Instagram. 

I also have an extended circle of intelligent, funny, strong, successful women around me, who encourage and inspire me on a daily basis to keep working hard and pushing forward.”

WHY IS IT MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER BEFORE FOR FEMINISM TO HAVE A PRESENCE IN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY?

“I have to start by saying that especially as of late, I have had the pleasure of working with an extraordinary group of men that I feel nothing but love and respect from.  It feels like I’m in a bit of a protected bubble though sometimes, because I am very aware that sexism is still alive and well in music.  

The topic of Feminism in music is critical until the day I/we no longer have to hear “you’re cool for a girl”; until the day I/we don’t have to ward off unwanted sexual advances or even “regular” physical contact, which is often more difficult and uncomfortable to navigate; until the day gender will no longer be a reason I am not considered for a job; until the day people can understand and believe that yes, men and women CAN just be friends!”

“MEN AND WOMEN CAN JUST BE FRIENDS.”

WHO ARE SOME OF THE MOST INSPIRING, IMPORTANT AND INNOVATIVE WOMEN IN MUSIC RIGHT NOW?

“To be totally candid, although I work in music, I know very little about it as a whole haha.  One woman that I think is badass though is an acquaintance of mine named Jenny Douglas.  She TM’s does FOH, among a million other things.

The thing that insprires me about Jenny is that aside from her being kind, competent and hardworking; she does not take anyone’s shit ha.  As women, we are born and bred to be quiet, accommodating, and to not ’cause any problems’.  I can’t relate to the being quiet part, but the accommodating others at my expense and not being as assertive as I could be at times are definitely weak points of mine that need some working…”
WHAT IS STILL ONE OF THE BIGGEST PROBLEMS FOR WOMEN IN MUSIC RIGHT NOW? HOW DO WE OVERCOME IT?

“I think the biggest issue would be that right out of the gate as a woman, that we often have to ‘prove’ ourselves to be taken seriously.  It’s not so easy to blend in when you are a part of a minority group.  It’s frustrating to me when I see a male crew member do a terrible job, but is somehow still there on tour.  Truthfully though, that generally fuels me to try and do the best job I possibly can.  

Every year, I’m seeing more and more capable women in all positions of this industry – the last tour I was on had six females on it!  In my opinion, things have changed drastically in the last number of years, and it’s only improving.  People are waking up and realizing past behaviors are no longer acceptable.  There is a growing degree of accountability.  I’m optimistic for the future of women in music!”

 


 

apolline cornuet

PHOTOGRAPHER / CREATIVE

WHICH WOMEN, BOTH IN AND OUT OF THE INDUSTRY HAVE HAD THE BIGGEST INFLUENCE ON YOU? 

“Luckily I now know a lot more amazing women artists ! Personally as a creative, I am inspired by any woman who cross my path who don’t let their gender be a barrier and do their things anyway in a world dominated by men. It can be my tattoo artist Jessica Penfold, my cousin who travel the world all by herself, the employees of the dog shelter I’m volunteering in which are all women, or the girl I’m seeing shooting next to me in the photo pit at a show. Because I know all these women have been through sexism and male critics, but we are still here trying to make a difference and enjoying our passion. For photographers a big inspiration has been Angela Owens. Her photos are always so incredible and in the heart of the action, that she inspired me to take more risk and don’t be so lazy at shows.

More recently the work of Nat Wood and Anna Swiechowska had the same effect on me. This past year I came across the work of Abbie Shiperley and Ami Ford in the UK, Audrey Lew for the US, Miléna Delorme and Flora Metayer for France, who are all super talented and lovely.”

WHY IS IT MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER BEFORE FOR FEMINISM TO HAVE A PRESENCE IN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY?

I think it’s important to have feminism in all aspect of our life now and in every kind of industry. For so long women have worked so hard and have proven to be so talented, yet it’s men who are highlighted and dominate most industries. A lot of time, wether it’s at school or at work, I have been praised for my skills, and yet it’s my male peers who end up being selected for a project. I see too many girls being so talented but never hired or even too scared to show their work. A lot of girls, myself included, feel the impostor syndrome and believe their work has to be perfect or else it’s worthless. I want girl to feel like they belong in their field just as much as their male peers, that they are allowed to make mistakes, that they are good enough and that they are deserving of their success. Imagine the things we could do if we all believed this, if society made us believe this just like it does for men.”

“Everyday I prove that my gender make zero difference in my work.”

WHO ARE SOME OF THE MOST INSPIRING, IMPORTANT AND INNOVATIVE WOMEN IN MUSIC RIGHT NOW?

This will look a lot like my answer for the first question, because I like being inspired by people who I can relate to, who started like me and try to survive in this hostile world like me. Any woman who works hard is important because she’s proving that other girls can do the same and that we belong too. I try myself to be inspiring to other women too. I believe a lot in representation and how it can give use the feeling « hey, I could do this too ». A lot of time at work people tell me this is the first time they have a girl photographer in their team ! It both make me sad but I try to take pride in being the first one and I will try to prove them that I can do just as good as my male peers. I work with a group of photographers/videographers called La Clef Prod, we’re like a dozen and I’m the only girl in it. Everyday I prove that my gender make zero difference in my work. What makes a difference is my own creativity, my past, my experience, my personality and my hobbies. I’ve had some girls telling me that I inspire them to carry on with their passion too and that’s the biggest compliment I can ever receive. You can be an inspiration to other too if you just do your thing with passion and sincerity no matter what obstacles might come your way.”

WHAT IS STILL ONE OF THE BIGGEST PROBLEMS FOR WOMEN IN MUSIC RIGHT NOW? HOW DO WE OVERCOME IT?

“As for music photography, there is still a big idea that girl photographers are in the photo pit just because they are fan girls who wanna get close to their favorite artist. A lot of time when I’ve been on tour people just assumed I was the girlfriend of one of the members, or that I’m the assistant/intern of another male photographer. A lot of women are being denied tour and work opportunities because “the band would prefer to work with a man”. It’s a kind of sexism that I found more in music than in every other industries I have worked with (I’m also an event and sport photographer).

I’m still hopeful for the future as this is a behavior that I mainly notice in older generations. When I’m shooting a show I see more girl photographers than ever and I find that we are more supportive of each others than other photographers I came across when I was starting music photography four years ago. I don’t know if I’m lucky, but I’m also surrounded by amazing male photographers who treat me as equal and with who I can have inspiring and technical conversations, which is a refreshing change from older male photographers who found very cute that I ” had a very big camera for such a tiny girl” and tried to explain to me how to use it … I can definitely see that the new generation is eager to see more diversity, more new talents, and to encourage each other creativity instead of competition!”

 

 

 

 

 

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