David Shortt tells Emily Wright how he juggles being a trainee QS in Salford and an up-and-coming rock star

So, you're in a band, you work as an assistant QS and you're studying at the University of Salford - how do you fit it all in?

I work at regional contractor Bluestone every day of the week except Thursday when I'm at university studying for my BSc in quantity surveying. I try to spend one night a week with the band and fit in at least one gig a month. My bandmates understand that I can't spend all of my time with them practising, recording and gigging because I work hard. They think fair play to me that I'm already working and getting some life experience.

Tell me a bit about the band and your role as the drummer.

We're a four-piece called The Chase and we've been playing together for around five years. Our style is mainly indie rock, influenced by Oasis and the Stone Roses. Being the drummer I really just hide away at the back most of the time. We had a bit of a disappointment last year after we reached the finals of the National Student Music Awards in August. The prize was the opportunity to record an album at the BBC's Maida Vale recording studios and play on CD:UK, which is a popular Saturday morning TV show. It would have been fantastic and such a great opportunity but another band ended up winning. It was really frustrating at the time, but these things happen.

What about your workmates? Were they surprised to hear about your rock star lifestyle?

I don't think they've ever properly commented. Since I joined the company in 2001, nobody has ever been shocked that I play in a band. It certainly doesn't bother them. In fact, quite a few of the guys from the office come along to the gigs. They're really supportive.

Rock music and quantity surveying are at quite opposite ends of the spectrum. Why do you think you were drawn to two such different things?

Quantity surveying is so varied; it's a bit office-based and then there is all the on-site work. I like it because I have a hands-on role.

I suppose I like being in the band for the same sorts of reasons - the variety and the new experiences.

If you had to choose between the band and your career, which would you go for?

That's a terrible question! How can I say I'd choose the band in an interview for Building? The truth is that I'm still only young and, if the opportunity came along to pursue a career in the band then I'd probably grab it. You only get one shot at these things and I could always come back to quantity surveying.