BounceSIN - What initially got you into presenting on the radio? Did you ever want to do TV?
Chris Stark - My first experience of Radio was when I was fifteen and heard about ‘Hospital Radio’. It’s a bit sad because before then what I used to do is broadcast my own little radio show in my living room, and I could broadcast only three metres away - so I would do it from one room to another. I dunno, I just had a real passion for it, and when I was fifteen I was trying to work out how to get work experience in radio. Then I learnt about ‘Hospital Radio’ and it impressed me. It went on up from there, got really involved in that and loved it. I then went on to student radio at uni, and got as much work experience as I could. I worked at seven different radio stations and went up and up until I got spotted by Radio 1. So for me the one consistency throughout this whole time has been my love for radio and radio as a medium, because I think radio is incredible. TV is very different but there are definitely things I would love to do on TV.
B - If you didn’t work in radio what would you be doing?
CS - Well when I went to uni I did a politics degree, but that wasn’t with the view of becoming Prime Minister. I have always had an interest in youth-related issues and campaigning. I think I loved politics because it enabled me to pick the bits I was very keen on, so if I wasn’t in radio I could see myself being a teacher or working for youth services in counselling - or something like that. I love working on behalf of young people, or feeling like I can represent young people and this job gives me the chance to do it. It’s really nice working for Radio 1 because of the extent you can get involved with young people in terms of helping them. I went back to my old school a couple of weeks ago and things like that are really sweet and nice, so I try to do as much for those other areas as possible. So, if this job was to finish, it is something I could pursue.
B - Aw what a caring chap!
CS - Well I don’t mean to sound all worthy it’s just quite basic. I think there is a lot that can be done for young people and I don’t think it necessarily has to be seen as a nerdy or a worthy thing. I just think that if you are in a privileged position, like you are at Radio 1, I think there is a lot that can be done.
B - Do you ultimately hope to have your own show at Radio 1?
CS - I am so proud to work on Scott’s show as I am working with one of the best presenters that Radio 1 has ever had. I love our show and when I was at uni I was a massive fan of Scott’s show and it just became a hassle watching TV because of the cost of a tv license, so I just didn’t bother having one - just listened to the radio a lot. So, now to be his show is incredible. So, I can’t really say that I do at the moment because I love doing what I am doing - but if I was to, it would have to be the right kind of show; just as creative and fun as his show. We are a great team and I wouldn’t give it up for anything.
B - We have a section called SINtroducing which is dedicated to unsigned musicians, but who are you tipping for big things at the moment that is currently unsigned in the music world?
CS - Oh wow, umm, I tell you what, that’s a tricky question because here at Radio 1 obviously there are a whole raft of professional DJ’s and people like Huw Stephens who are massive fans of new music - but by the time it gets to me I can’t remember if they are signed or unsigned to be honest! Recently with The 1975 I thought they were incredible, and now they are doing really well. When I first heard the song ‘Chocolate’ it was a BBC Introducing track and I loved it so much I raved about it on the radio, and other DJ’s did the same - and now they are doing really well.
It’s the same with the Don Broco lads, I think they are going to be huge! There was a band I heard called Peasant’s King, and I don’t know if you have managed to hear them but they did a song called ‘Antidote’ and it is probably one of the best songs I heard all last year. They are on the radar now, but they just need that support to really ramp it up. Huw Stephens loves them too, and I want to go see them live soon at some point.
Luke Sital-Singh is going to break through too, but that is already basically happening.
B - What’s the weirdest piece of fan mail you have received?
CS - That’s the other thing I find weird about working at Radio 1. I covered for Dan on the Dan and Phil show and they have a lot of passionate fans. I got sent a cactus with my face and name on and I couldn’t work out whether it was a nice thing, or a kind of mafia threat - but either way it’s quite funny! It’s quite sweet though, to receive things.
B - Who would be your dream person to interview? You can’t say Mila Kunis or Robert Downey Jr.
CS - I used to be a massive Streets fan so I would love to sit down and have a chat with Mike Skinner. I actually DJ’d on the same night as him on a couple of nights and it was really good fun, but never had the chance to chat to him properly. I dunno, Elton John would be amazing because he is a Watford fan. I’m a Watford fan, he grew up in Pinner, and so did I - so I would love to have a chat with him.
B - Did you feel a bit of pressure off the back of the Kunis interview when interviewing Robert Downey Jr.?
CS - No I didn’t really feel much pressure because of the interview. I felt pressure because it’s him in a posh hotel room and it’s a very weird, un-natural environment. With those things you are given a very specific time and there are people there constantly waving at you to hurry up, so no I didn’t feel pressure from it.
B - What is your favourite party city?
CS - I should say Southampton because I went to university there, but I love Manchester. But, do you know what? Every student town has completely different traditions and different feels to it, and I like that each uni town has their own favourite dives and favourite amazing clubs. Every uni town is sort of the same in the sense that they are their own unique little world, and I like that. I have had amazing nights out in Manchester, obviously Southampton, Birmingham – I mean loads. Last weekend I was in Norwich and I had a great time.
B - Do you miss being a student at university or because your job is so different and fun does that make you not miss it that much?
CS - I miss being a student but I did 3 years and I need to grow up now. The good thing about my job is that I still get to do the silly stuff I would have maybe done there for the uni student radio, but on a national station. I am lucky, though, because I still get to go back and DJ etc. I do miss it, but equally I think you need to progress and move on a little bit. Without uni I wouldn’t have had my job at Radio 1! When you leave uni the fun doesn’t have to stop, though, as you can get a fun job and have a great time!
B - Tell us a highlight story from your time at university which was perhaps too rude for Tap End.
CS - I did loads of weird stuff at uni. There was one night where I came back from a night out and a load of my house mates were in and we had a few drinks. I had just come back from DJing at the SU, as that was my job. They were all a bit bored and we had a few drinks, played a bit of FIFA, and it ended up with the loser had to run to Subway down the road completely naked, and I lost. I rarely lose, which is why I agreed to the bet. I ran down there naked and it was just as this police car went past. They stopped me and I explained what I was doing and apologised A LOT and it worked out fine. It was just a bit of fun and we tended to do a lot of those kinds of games. All of the stories were pretty much on Tap End to be honest.
B - What’s your ideal night out? What would you do, drink, etc.?
CS - Just with my best mates, and all of the best nights are the ones that are unplanned; just, like, go out have a few beers and see where you end up - don’t wear smart shoes and don’t plan where to go, or anything like that - just figure it out. The best nights out since uni have been where we have just jumped on a train and travelled somewhere random, and made a proper night of it somewhere else. When you go to another town it’s also instantly more fun and memorable.
B - What’s your summer looking like this year? Any festivals lined up?
CS - Summer’s looking amazing because growing up I never really went to any festivals. Obviously summer started for me with the Radio 1 Big Weekend in Derry which was amazing - and then Reading and Wireless, and also DJ’ing in Zante and Kavos, which should be great. It’s really cool because I used to go to those places when I was younger, so going back and DJ’ing will be wicked. And for me it’s all about the British summer; being in London when it’s sunny, seeing family and chilling in beer gardens with mates - it doesn’t get much better than that! I am going to try to go to more festivals - that’s my ambition for this summer!