Derek popped up to see us at the Backstage Academy whilst he was at the LS-Live Studios with Jamiroquai’s The Planets Tour and was kind enough to answer a few questions for us…

1. What was your first job in this industry?

First job in the Industry was as a PA Technician in the old days of very basic speaker systems, then moved onto being a Monitor Engineer and “babysitter”, this is where I first met Rick Pope who is the Engineer for Jamiroquai, approx 25 years ago.

I then became a FOH Engineer and worked with most of the Scottish bands during the late 80’s and early 90’s with the Scottish music explosion, Deacon Blue, Love and Money, Hue and Cry etc.

I started a lighting company in Scotland in the late 80’s that lasted until 1995, we supplied touring lighting systems for: Wet Wet Wet, Deacon Blue, Love and Money, Hue and Cry, Chris Issac’s, Silencers, Del Amitri, Hipsway, Texas as just an small example.

I became and LD and moved up the ladder to designing large Arena systems for touring acts, after many years doing this I moved onto becoming a Production Manager and have now worked with: Texas, Pulp, Placebo, Del Amitri, Jamiroquai, Sigur Ros, Simple Minds to name a few. Plus many Festivals etc.

2. How long have you been working with Jamiroquai?

I have done 2 World Tours with Jay, since 2002 and of course the present little “tourette”.

3. How many people in your crew have degrees?

Approx 50% have University degrees, ranging from Industrial Design, Psychology, Multi Media Design, Electrical Engineering and the Arts.

4. What advice would you give to someone looking to start a career in live events or touring productions.

Advice to start working would be, be genuine, truthful and work hard, a bit of character is very important in this industry and also the ability to get on with people that you have just met, this may happen for many tours until you are known in the industry and you have a reputation. The Industry is all about who you know and how you get on with people and management.

5. What would you say are the most interesting and enjoyable parts of your job?

My job is always interesting and poses many challenges, especially with all of the H&S legislation that has become part of the job over the last few years. The most enjoyable part is being part of a team that you can motivate and be proud of what they and you are doing, even in the most difficult of circumstances.

It was really great to hear from Derek about his experiences and he has kindly agreed to come back and see our students on the foundation degree to help pass on some of his expert advice on touring, production management and sound engineering.