Lewis Chalmers, who graduated from our BSc (Hons) Sound, Light and Live Event Engineering programme in 2019, initially aimed for a career in lighting design. However, his university journey led him to discover a passion for sound engineering. Since then, as a freelance audio engineer, he has toured internationally and recently secured a role with Enter Shikari. His transformative experience at the University of Derby played a pivotal role in shaping his successful career. Explore his story in our Graduate Spotlight.


Photo of Lewis Chalmers.

Lewis Chalmers, Class of 2019


Swadlincote, Derbyshire

Current location:

Swadlincote, Derbyshire

Current job + employer:

Freelance Audio Engineer

What did you do/study prior to coming to Derby?

I was a baggage handler and East Midlands Airport and in my spare time I put on shows the Swadlincote and Burton area.

Why did you choose to go to the University of Derby?

At the time I didn’t feel like my life was going anywhere so I applied for the course in clearing, very last minute. Luckily, Derby is just down the road from where I lived at the time.

Did you start the course with a specific focus or were you undecided?

I actually had set my sights on being a lighting designer when I started the course.

Did that focus change on the course? If so, how?

II quickly discovered that most people on the course wanted to be lighting designers. I changed my focus to sound, pretty soon after starting, because I thought I’d get more opportunities to experiment with sound equipment and I wouldn’t be competing with my classmates.

Has that focus changed on graduating? If so, how?

It hasn’t, I fell in love with sound and everything that surrounds it thanks to the course.

What was the most useful thing you learned on the course?

I feel that everything I learned on the course has been used in some shape or form during my career.

What did you learn on the course that you thought you’d never use, but that has come in handy during your career?

Even though I changed my mind very early on that I wanted to pursue a career in sound, I felt, certainly from a tour/production manager role, it was important to have a good knowledge of all aspects of production. This decision, to not be so narrow-sighted, has paid off and has put me above others when applying for roles.

What did you do on the course that you never thought you would enjoy?

I’ve never been a fan of numbers, but as I got more to grips with the mathematics that surround acoustics and electronics I started to enjoy it.

What was your favourite establishment in Derby (pub, bar, club, restaurant, etc.)?

Mosh Nightclub

What is your most memorable moment from Derby?

I valued any time spent in A3. It’s a great facility with loads of good gear and the practical skills learned in there have really helped me along on my journey. Plus, it’s always a good laugh with like-minded colleagues.

What/who at Derby most influenced your life, and how/why?

The teaching staff at Derby has inspired me to explore a career in teaching once I have achieved all I want to in touring.

What would you say to a Derby first year student, knowing what you know now?

My best advice would be to put the extra time in and use the facilities available to you to practice skills. Use the time off you have to explore work placements, go to shows and shadow professionals.

What have you done professionally since graduating?

Pretty much immediately after I graduated I went out on tour and haven’t really stopped (apart from Covid). This was down to the extra work and contacts I made whilst at university. Since then I’ve grown my clientele, toured internationally and mixed in some of Europe’s biggest venues and music festivals. I’m now proud to say, that I work with bands/artists that originally inspired me to go on this journey.

Have any Derby alumni or staff opened any doors for you? If so, who?

To be honest, no, but that’s only because I developed some close friends who worked in the industry very early on.

What is your most memorable moment from your career so far?

I recently landed a role with Enter Shikari, a band I’ve always looked up to, especially during my teenage years.

What are your future career plans/ambitions?

To tour America and Asia, grow my clientele and cross off a few bucket list venues.

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