Kicking off a series of interviews with this year's queer pioneers, IQ speaks to the UK-based music agent
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Continuing a series of interviews with this year's queer pioneers, IQ speaks to the US-based director of entertainment & tours
By Lisa Henderson on 12 Jul 2023
The LGBTIQ+ List 2023 – IQ Magazine’s third annual celebration of queer professionals who make an immense impact in the international live music business – has been revealed.
The ever-popular list is the centrepiece of IQ’s third Pride edition, sponsored by Ticketmaster, which is now available to read online and in print for subscribers.
To get to know this year’s queer pioneers a little better, we interviewed each of them on the development of the industry, the challenges that are keeping them up at night and more.
Throughout the next month, IQ will publish a new interview each day. Check out yesterday’s profile of Christina Austin (she/her), a music agent at UTA in the UK. The series continues with Hila Aviran (she/her), director of entertainment & tours at PixMob in the US.
Hila Aviran manages tours and concert experiences at PixMob and collaborates with artists and their teams to integrate the PixMob fan experience into their shows. PixMob engineers advanced visual effect LED wearables and designs immersive light shows that can be seen on shows with Bad Bunny, Elton John, The Weeknd, Lady Gaga, Karol G, Coldplay, and others. “I love the work I do, the creatives I work with, and the rush that comes with it all. If you’ve ever been in a Zoom meeting with me, you know I have an unhealthy sneaker obsession that I’m very proud of.”
Tell us about the professional feat you’re most PROUD of in 2023 so far.
With my amazing team at PixMob, my division alone has lit up nearly five million fans around the world this year. That’s five million memories that we’ve helped create through our technology and with the collaboration of the artists we work with. It’s hard to conceptualise until you stand at front of house and see it all come to life around you.
Name one queer act you’re itching to see live this year.
Kaytranada. We’re both from Montreal, and I remember seeing him perform at events in town nearly ten years ago. He’s supporting The Weeknd on his stadium tour that PixMob is a part of this summer. Seeing him go from venues in Montreal a decade ago to stadiums across Europe is going to be a trip.
What advice could you give to young queer professionals?
Once you show the world your true self, you open yourself up to endless possibilities because you can attract opportunities and people who value the real you. It takes a lot of strength to walk out into a world that often tells you that you don’t belong, but that strength is what can turn you into an unstoppable force in your pursuit of things that fulfil you.
“I wanted to play games with friends, so I signed up for it with the name “Furrygirl69” because the world was ending”
What’s the best mistake you’ve ever made?
Remember the app HouseParty that got super popular during the pandemic? While in isolation, I wanted to play games with friends, so I signed up for it with the name “Furrygirl69” because the world was ending, and who even cared at that point? Little did I know that it had sent out a mass invite to my contacts telling them “Furrygirl69 is inviting you to HouseParty.” This hilariously horrific mistake led to ice-breaker conversations with colleagues in the industry that I only knew on a very professional level, which (luckily) ended up developing into meaningful friendships that helped me stay sane through the pandemic.
In terms of challenges in the industry, what’s currently keeping you up at night?
There have been more open conversations around mental health, especially coming out of the pandemic, when our industry shut down, and people were forced to take a step back and take inventory of their personal and professional lives. I’m so happy that people are finally sharing a vulnerable part of themselves that most of us working in this maximum-stress/minimum-sleep industry can relate to. But I’d love to see solution-based approaches more widely implemented across all levels of the touring industry.
How do you see the live music business developing in the next few years?
I see our business integrating more technologies that’ll enrich all aspects of the touring world. Technologies that will help production crews stay healthy, safe, and happy, and others that will deepen the fan experience at shows.
“I see our business integrating more technologies that’ll enrich all aspects of the touring world”
Name one thing you’d like to see the live music business change.
I’d love to see more women in lighting, design, audio, rigging, everything. Sooner Routhier is one of the most brilliant lighting and production designers of our generation. Besides her unreal talent, seeing her manoeuvre this male-driven industry is inspiring. She commands every room she walks in but is collaborative and generous with her time and knowledge. She really embodies exactly the type of change we need in our industry – I’d love to see more people like Sooner backstage, in the front of house, on catwalks, and in the boardrooms.
Name one thing the industry could do to be a more equitable place.
There should be room at the table for anyone who is willing to put in the work and go the extra mile. Anyone who sits at the table and pulls chairs away from other people based on sexuality, gender, race, ethnicity, or appearance, doesn’t belong at the table. It’s okay (and necessary) to call that out when we see it.
Shout out to your biggest ally in the live music industry.
PixMob. I came out seven years ago – just three weeks before my first day of work at PixMob. From day one, I was surrounded by so much support, love, and acceptance. The space they’ve created isn’t just safe – it’s empowering.
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