One the best things about having a creative career are the surprises that challenge you along the way. Dreaming of recording artists before she studied Audio Engineering at Collarts, it was her time spent in the studio that allowed Lou Cosgrave to realise her love for live sound.
Drawn to the energy and reactions live sound produces from people, it was in her studies at Collarts that Lou began building her extensive knowledge in audio production; working on events like Laneway Festival as part of her student experience. Now pursing live sound as a career working for Gig Power— a specialised crew recognised in the Australian music and entertainment industry—we caught up with Lou to chat her experience from studying to trailblazing, working on projects like Australian Open, UNIFY Gathering, Good Things Festival, Taylor Swift, UFC and more.
Hi Lou, thanks for chatting with me! Having worked at the Australian Open, UNIFY Gathering, Good Things Festival and tours for Taylor Swift, UFC, Sam Smith, Keith Urban and more, what's the most rewarding thing about working in the live sound and entertainment industry?
The most rewarding thing about the live sound and entertainment industry is seeing the crowd experiencing your work. Both hearing and seeing what you had a hand in putting together and having a great time is super rewarding. Nothing makes me happier than seeing all the hard work pay-off and observing how music effects each person differently.
Totally. Being part of Gig Power, you get lots of hands-on work in events, handling things like live sound and stage. Have you always been passionate about live sound or was there a turning point that made you realise that's where you passion is?
I didn't always have an interest in live sound and stage, and to be honest, I didn't ever think twice about it. I started at Collarts wanting to get into recording—I had spent some time in studios and thought that it was fantastic—however, the minute I was put behind a live sound desk in the auditorium things changed. I loved the feeling of being behind that desk and hearing the audience react to what I was mixing. Since then, my passion for it has absolutely grown and has been solidified in being apart of Gig Power.
Lou driving a buggie, working behind the scenes at UNIFY Gathering.
"The chance to volunteer at festivals that I loved—which turned into continuous paid work—and the opportunity to learn from different influential teachers who really push you to achieve your best is unlike anything else."
That's really great. Since studying Audio Engineering at Collarts, what was the best thing—skill, industry connection or otherwise—that you got out of your studies?
The best skill I got from my studies was not only the technical side of things—knowing different cables, different audio systems etc—but also the ability to network. Knowing how to speak to like-minded individuals in the industry was a great skill I developed as it is a constant job interview as you go. The best thing about studying at Collarts were all the amazing opportunities I had presented to me. The chance to volunteer at festivals that I loved—which turned into continuous paid work—and the opportunity to learn from different influential teachers who really push you to achieve your best is unlike anything else.
You have an incredible work ethic that has made you become recognised in the industry. Has chasing your passion always been a huge motivator to you?
Yeah, I think that it has been a massive motivator for me and I'm still working my way through the industry. It is hard work and if you are not passionate about it, it is just that much harder. Music has always been a big part of my life so it is hard to describe what it's like to wake up everyday and go to a job I genuinely love that involves everything I love about music.
Lou working the stage at Laneway Festival as part of studying Audio Engineering at Collarts.
"Internships and volunteering positions are also a great idea—I was involved in a lot of those in my time at Collarts which allowed me that hands on experience that gave me an upper hand when I did graduate and head out into the industry."
What's something that surprised you working in live sound and audio?
The thing that surprised me the most about working in live sound and the audio industry is that, although the industry is a big place, it is actually very small. I work a lot with the same audio touring crews and production crews. It does mean you are able to build relationships with these people and a reputation for yourself too.
What advice would you give to those passionate about working in live sound and audio engineering but are not sure where to start?
I do recommend studying audio engineering or live sound of some sorts just to get the basic understanding of the equipment used and why things are done a certain way in the industry.
Internships and volunteering positions are also a great idea—I was involved in a lot of those in my time at Collarts which allowed me that hands on experience that gave me an upper hand when I did graduate and head out into the industry.