JAMES | Graduate Success William Rowe


Will studied at De Montfort University, Leicester and is working at Prism Sound in Sales and Marketing Support.

What course did you study at De Montfort and what were the factors that made you choose that one in particular?
I studied BSc Audio & Recording Technology at university. I decided to choose this course as it was the most technical and the most focused on the production side of music. The course went extremely in-depth into each stage of the production process, while also looking into other areas of audio such as electronics, acoustics and synthesis. The best part about the course was that not only would I know how to use a piece of equipment appropriately, but I would also be able to know what was going on inside that piece of kit that makes it react the way it does.
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Prior to university, did you have any experience in audio/music?
I had completed 2 years of Music Technology at college level, which I decided to pick up as I had just started playing guitar a few years prior – which was suggested by my step-mum after she had enough of me putting in too many hours on Guitar Hero for the PlayStation! It was during this time at college that I realised how enjoyable music production is. My first lesson involved using the audio files of ‘Is This Love’ by Bob Marley & the Wailers to replicate the original mix. I found it fascinating that I was able to ‘solo’ single tracks and hear how these songs were constructed. I know it’s quite basic now but I thought it was brilliant the first time I heard it!

When you started the course, did you have a firm idea of what sector of the audio industry you wanted to work in? And did that change as the course progressed and as new possibilities were presented?
I was pretty set on wanting to work as a recording engineer in a big commercial studio somewhere – collaborating with world famous bands and artists and the like. However, I think most will agree that it is pretty tough getting your foot in the door in those places these days! But, thanks to the varied amount of modules that were taught, I was able to open my mind and learn about the amount of routes that there are into this industry. Prior to applying at Prism Sound, a job in sales hadn’t really crossed my mind, however since starting I’ve really taken a shine to it as I’m still using the skills and the knowledge that I’ve picked up from university on a daily basis. Only here it’s to greater support our customers and distributors that deal with us.

Before graduation (and employment!), I'm sure you were aware that there could be a distinct possibility of working as a freelancer. How did you prepare for this?
During my time at university, I had managed to build up a decent sized client base due to free recordings for EPs, albums and live sessions that I would offer to local bands and artists. I’d also culminated a decent amount of equipment over the years that allows me to mix and master at home. Once I moved away from Leicester, I started getting in touch with local recording studios in my area asking about dry hiring their spaces for any projects I managed to get my hands on – most of which were happy for me to do. My idea was to record at these spaces, then take the session files home to mix or master, therefore saving on costs for the client and myself. But even though I’ve managed to secure employment, I’m still working on a couple of projects outside of work hours.

Throughout your course did you become involved in any external audio/music activities that weren't initiated by the university?
Yes! A few of my friends and I started our own audio engineering society! The DMU Music Recording Society was a way of allowing individuals with an interest in production to come together for weekly sessions and work on projects that came from across the university or the city of Leicester. During our first year, we were nominated for ‘Best New Society’ and won ‘Most Charitable Society’ for our collaboration with the Music Society for a charity Christmas single we produced together.

Apart from generally being a smart guy (obviously!), what reason(s) do you think helped you become employed by Prism?
I think it was my friendly demeanour and my passion for the subject area that the guys at Prism saw in my application and interview. Of course you need the knowledge to obtain employment, but being able to get along with someone makes working with them a lot easier. I also think being quite young and fresh out of university was an advantage too, this company are always looking to expand into new areas, so having someone who is aware of what's currently going on in the industry will hopefully be of a huge benefit.

Attitude, in life is important. Any tips on how to survive a three year degree course and into the subsequent years?
Complacency can be quite a dangerous mindset to have when it comes to university or looking for employment. Don't think that you're an expert on a given subject, there's always more to learn! You can gain a lot from constructive criticism, take it on board and use it to improve your next piece of coursework or interview or anything!

Any general advice that you would offer to a prospective student or one that has just begun a degree?
Get stuck in! Go to extra-curricular events! Join societies! Talk to local bands! Book out the studios! Record stuff! Make mistakes! Learn form them! Stay motivated! Keep busy! Work hard!

Any advice or tips you could offer those currently looking for employment?
There always seems to be a looming pressure to find employment as quickly as possible after graduating. I’d say don’t be too disheartened if nothing comes up right away – there is so much time after university to find your dream job, so don’t worry! Broaden your search and be open to different opportunities, as there might be something you hadn’t considered that could pop up out of nowhere.

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