Alumna Char Lewis, 27 is currently in her third year at University of Gloucestershire studying Music Technology. Since finishing her A Levels at All Saints’ Academy Sixth Form in 2014 she has been busy working, performing in her band – releasing an EP, touring the UK and has recently started her own company! Char also hopes to continue her studies with a Masters after graduating this year.
Why did you choose All Saints’ Academy Sixth Form?
I was in Christ College in Year 11 and joined All Saints’ Sixth Form the first year it opened. I knew the teachers really well so transitioned across really easily. I joined friends who were also going to the Sixth Form to a brand new shiny building, it was really exciting to be one of the first people in the building and one of the first years to leave. It’s such a lovely memory to have.
What have you been up to since finishing Sixth Form?
I went into the world of work after leaving Sixth Form and worked in a few different industries in IT, Technology and first line support jobs, building websites and trying my hand at a few different things. From there I had a look into what I wanted to do; I knew it was Music related. I went to university and took Creative Music Technology, I’m now in my third year a few months off graduating and it’s going really well. It is new and exciting and there are constant challenges and different things I’m overcoming. In the second year of university, I started up a company from one of the modules I did in second year. It’s all exciting moving forward, seeing where we are going next and how we can further ourselves whilst creating high quality work.
Tell us a little bit more about the business you have set up
The business is called Immersity and we specialise in immersive creations for attractions. When you go to an escape room or a haunted house and you see the set design and music that’s in the background for the ambience that is immersive creations. The props and triggers that go off, we create all of that and implement the sound and technology and different ways to scare people. These features make them feel fully immersed and enjoy their experience and make it unique. We fully tailor all of these for companies such as escape rooms and theme parks just to make sure they have their very own bespoke attraction.
Co -founding a business is a step up to what I was used to. I didn’t know how I was going to feel, writing policies and documents you don’t normally think of. Working alongside university has definitely helped with that, working with lecturers that have their own businesses they can find different ways they can help you. It has been really helpful.
What projects has Immersity worked on so far?
We created a 22.2 scan soundscape at the university. We also worked with Escape Rooms Cheltenham and put some prop and automating installations in there. I’m also producing backing tracks for some of their rooms. We are going for a behind the scenes tour of Thorpe Park shortly to go behind the Black Mirror maze and Saw maze to see how it works so I can be face to face with them. Boomtown the festival have been in contact and I have made some contacts with Disney and Universal so hopefully we will work with those in the future.
What advice would you give to anyone looking to go into Music Production?
I’d say make a strong portfolio. Start building it now, even if you are worrying about the quality of it, it will show how far you’ve come over the years. It is nice to look back on and see your growth and improvements. Don’t give up, surround yourself with positive people. Allow people to compliment you, if you weren’t good at what you do then people wouldn’t tell you that you are. Keep pushing forwards and don’t give up.
How did All Saints’ help you pursue your career path?
The bonds that I made with the teachers definitely helped. Mrs Austin when she was here pushed me to be the best that I could be music wise. She was the loveliest person, same as a lot of the other teachers as well. They all just want to help you and make sure you are doing the best you can and producing high quality work. They prepare you for work and university. When you finish you are in the best position you can be to go and communicate with people and get where you want to be. Being given the opportunity to come back here and talk now shows how much of a bond I have with this school, it reflects on you as a person. When you grow up you may not see it now, but I miss those days of being here and wish I could come back and relive some of it.
Can you tell us more about your university course?
I’m at University of Gloucestershire studying Creative Music Technology, the course name has now changed to: Sound and Music Production so if you did want to apply that is what it is called now. You don’t need to be able to play an instrument for the course, it depends on what you want to do and how you want to go into it. It’s a lot more to do with behind the scenes, making music with technology, live sound production videos, how to mix audio and live streams. I do play an instrument which helped a little bit so I could record myself and my band. My band is called Down Not Out, we have released an EP on spotify and we’ve played shows across the UK and Wales. We’ve opened shows for amazing bands like Junior. Over the next few years we’re hoping to release an album and hopefully play some festivals and go on a mini tour across the UK. Make sure to check us out on Spotify, facebook and our website!
What is your role within the band?
I the rhythm guitarist but I’m also able to play drums and bass which often helps when trying to explain parts to band members. I’m the original founder of the band along with Jo who was another alumni from All Saints’. Jo is the singer and lead guitarist, Ryan is the drummer and Amy is the bassist. We’re all equal we all strive to push and write songs and bits of instrumentation.
What has been your biggest achievement since leaving Sixth Form?
Down Not Out had some songs played on the radio, online stations specifically New Music Saturday. After listening to the song the presenter said that my tone was very reminiscent of Green Day. They have always been my favourite band so having that compliment was a massive thing! It was a nice feeling.
To find out more about Char’s new business Immersity please click here: Immersity
You can listen to Down Not Out on spotify here: Down Not Out