Fira Barcelona, Gran Vía
31 Jan - 03 Feb 2023

RISE CultureDriving diversity in live music

Malle Kaas

Malle Kaas is the CEO of Women in Live Music and is also a Live Sound Engineer. She is based in Denmark.

Your career as a Live Sound Engineer spans 25 years. What first attracted you to join the industry?

I grew up watching the male part of the family ‘messing’ around with electronics. At the age of eight, my parents took me to my first rock show. Later, I found out you could combine these two things: shows and engineering, and a never-ending passion for me was born.

In 2018, you founded Women in Live Music. What motivated the creation of WILM?

Despite watching the males in my family working with cables, knobs etc., I was still a girl. For almost two decades I felt so out of place with my passion for sound engineering.

I did not see other girls, and had all this attention drawn to me, because I was a girl. You quickly develop a longing to see other people in your field who are just like you, and that was one of the reasons for founding WILM: to get to know other women in the industry, hear their experiences and get inspired.

Another reason for founding WILM was to encourage ambition. As a minority, there is a tendency to put extra pressure on ourselves, there is a sense that we need to do better than the rest to stay visible. However, this can also make us more fragile and inclined to stay within our comfort zones. At least that is our point of view in WILM. So we wanted to create a community where you could get motivated, and feel supported. Not just for women, but for all minority groups who have the need.

Tell us about The Crewlist and how it is being used.

The Crewlist is meant to be a showcase of talent for the live event industry. Recruiting female crew can be challenging, so the Crewlist provides a resource to find competent female crewmembers in one place. For instance, you wish to hire an experienced female stage manager in the UK, or you are based in Germany, and want a female tour manager for your crew – we currently have about 250 profiles for different positions, spread all over Europe.

The Crewlist is also a way for female crewmembers to easily find one another, either locally or while being on tour passing through foreigner countries. We are still so few, that you can go on an entire tour without meeting other women in your field.

Is there more that the live events / live music industry can do to support gender equality?

It’s a hard one, because the change has to happen over time. One tactic that does not work is to push our male colleagues out of the way or hire women simply because of their gender. I would say supporting and using resources like the WILM community can provide great possibilities for a sustainable way forward.

Finally, what are your hopes for the future of the live music industry?

That it will be more inclusive. Studies have shown that diverse environments provide more positive dynamics and experiences.