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How Can I Work As a Musician?

Career Realities podcast #4:
How Can I Work As a Musician?

This week’s Career Realities interview is with Dave House, musician, founder of Edinburgh music studio Noisefloor and graphic designer. Dave studied Digital Composition & Performance at Edinburgh’s College of Art, and talks, among other things, about the point when you feel able to call yourself a musician, and the gulf between your creative design ideas at college and what you are actually asked to design out in the real world… (Apologies for some of the sound quality – Skype dropouts!)

The Career Realities podcast series attempts to uncover the hidden realities of day-to-day work culture in various careers – the hours, the workload, the shift patterns – and questions the often-repeated assumption that paid work is our primary source of life fulfillment.

(For a more extensive introduction to the Career Realities interviews see here.)

Podcast excerpts:

On the difference between graphic design college  and commercial work

It was a fantastic course, and I got so much out of it, but I think the thing was when I went into the world I was going to be this cultural mover and shaker, designing all this amazing stuff like say record sleeves, all the reasons you went into it when you were a teenager and think this is what I want to do. And the reality of it is that it’s much more routine and humdrum than that […] and quite quickly I started to think, ‘this isn’t what I signed up for’.

On the expected working hours in commercial agencies

My project manager came into the studio every now and then and said, ‘well, I hope none of you have plans for the weekend’ … and it was just expected. I didn’t mind because I got paid extra as a freelancer, a contractor, I was on an hourly rate. The poor staff who worked there didn’t get paid any extra, they just had to do it.

On being brainwashed by the work culture

[This approach] obviously worked, because once I was going to get some lunch, and I remember one full-time guy saying to me, ‘Oh, eating is cheating’ […] and I’d get up to go home at five past six or whatever, and I’d get a sarky comment like, ‘oh, half day today then’.

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