Wednesday 20 April 2016
By day she’s a professional graphic designer, and by night, Meg Amirghiasvand is pursuing the rock ‘n’ roll dream.
Since graduating from the University of Northampton’s Graphic Communication degree course in 2014, the talented 25-year-old’s professional and onstage careers have really taken off.
The skills she honed at University saw her quickly snapped up by marketing agency JBH, where she works as a graphic designer – and at the latter end of 2015 she joined the town’s hotly tipped indie rockers, OhBoy!, as a guitarist.
A string of well-received singles and live performances by the five-piece has caught the attention of Radio 1, BBC 6Music and Radio X, and culminated with OhBoy! signing their first record deal in January.
With a bright future – on two fronts – ahead of her, Meg’s keen to highlight the brilliant grounding she received at the University of Northampton which has helped her to flourish.
“I really loved my course and had a great time,” she said. “The projects we were set allowed me to be really creative and experiment without fear of the outcome.
“All of my tutors were really easy to get along with and offered me heaps of support. There were times when I’d get annoyed with a couple of them, but it’s just like when you get angry at a parent – they’re only being hard on you to get the best out of you, so as you soon as you realise that, you’re grateful!
Meg added: “I don’t think anything can 100 per cent prepare you for the world of work, but the course definitely gave me a lot of skills that I wouldn’t have got by without during my first few years as a professional designer.
“During my third year, I actually managed to get a job as a design intern at a lighting company which was a good way of experiencing what it’s like to be employed as a graphic designer.”
In addition to the course, Meg was also inspired by the general creative hustle and bustle of the University’s much-loved School of The Arts department at Avenue Campus.
“The atmosphere changes from one part of the campus to the next,” she said. There’s a real sense of value in creativity that runs through the whole school, though, which is really important.”
Meg returned to Avenue Campus in January, as OhBoy!’s newest recruit, when the band performed a special gig for the University’s Subject Futures Week, which showcases professionals from the world of The Arts.
“It was really odd to be back in my old studio where I spent almost every day of my life for three years, playing a show there with the band was a bit surreal but really fun,” said Meg.
One of the witnesses of that gig was Steve Taylor, who is Deputy Dean of the School of The Arts and the all-round music expert you’d expect from somebody who was a respected DJ on XFM radio station for many years.
Steve said: “I thought OhBoy! were excellent. There were moments where I thought I was watching Yo La Tengo or The Dandy Warhols – it was a nice bit of psychedelic-y power-pop.
“It’s great to see them picked up by my old colleague, DJ John Kennedy on Radio X, which is a good indicator of their quality.”
With a record deal, national radio exposure and a Maida Vale session under their belt, OhBoy! have already achieved more in their two-year lifespan than thousands of bands achieve in their whole career.
A late-comer to the set-up, Meg’s guitar playing and harmonies have brought OhBoy! an extra dimension – perfect timing for a band on the threshold of a possible big breakthrough.
“This summer we’re playing quite a few festivals, which is a pretty massive deal for me as there are a lot of bands that I love who are playing the same ones,” said Meg.
“It’s really hard to tell how big OhBoy! can become. The boys in the band have been working really hard at this project for a couple of years now and things are starting to build a bit of a momentum, so who knows?”
Whatever the future holds, right now Meg’s just happy to see her two careers bubbling along nicely.
“We’re hoping an album will follow in the autumn or early next year, and outside of the band, I’m enjoying continuing to develop as a professional designer,” she said.
“It’s cool to be working in a creative profession alongside the band, as the two often go hand in hand, so I’m looking forward to what the future brings with both parts of my life.”
Visit the band’s website for a free download of their insanely catchy track, Beautiful Terrible.
You can also watch the video of OhBoy!’s current single, Carrot & The Stick, here.
Inset photo of Meg courtesy of David Jackson.