We caught up with Radio 1 DJ Chris Stark before his set at the final Welcome Party last Monday to chat about uni life, Surge Radio, and what it was really like interviewing Mila Kunis.
When you were at Southampton what halls were you in?
I was in Glen Eyre halls, so what I understand about tonight is that most people here are from Glen Eyre so it should be good! Tonight’s quite nice because it’s the third night, in fact I’ve actually done more than the freshers have so far this freshers’ week, which is a little worrying!
So when you were chatting to Jennifer Aniston, was there any point where you thought ‘hmm, I’m having a conversation with Rachel from Friends’?
Yeah the whole time. It really freaks you out because how these things work is you go to a really posh hotel and its quite intimidating. It’s like you’re on a conveyer belt. So they sit there all day and they hate it: it’s the worst bit of the job they do. When they’re shooting they’re probably somewhere nice whereas this is like they’re sat in a room all day, they don’t really know what you really do. Like she won’t know who I am, she might have someone go “Oh this is a guy from Radio 1”, so it’s a really odd environment and it’s really difficult and there’s lots of people around. So when you do sit in front of her it’s a really stressful environment and you’re like “crap, it’s her off of Friends”, you just have to try and phase that out if you can.
What have your friends said when you’ve been interviewing these massive female stars?
They love it, they’re the ones who give me some of the questions to ask! I spoke to Mila Kunis all about my friends. I think of it as: you only get one opportunity to interview these people so why ask the same questions that everyone’s going to ask. You get about six minutes, it’s really tight and there’s a lady in the corner, who literally might as well have a clock counting you down and when it gets to the end she’s right in front of you really blatantly just doing that *taps wrist* it’s really rude! So off putting. So yeah I love talking about my mates and my mates obviously love that. One of my mates, Olly, who’s also known as Sir Dossa, he makes music, and he’s just made a song that samples Mila Kunis saying ‘his name’s Sir Dossa?!’ which is great, we love that.
Was Jesters here when you were at Southampton?
Jesters was my first DJ job! Yeah, I did the Wednesday nights.
So I’m guessing you had Jesters shoes then?
Mate… yeah. Jesters for me – I started at Jesters and met people through that that later got me a job on Friday nights here at the Union. When I started in Jesters, they just had a crate of CD’s underneath and people just used to use that and they got so drunk that the CD’s would be skipping and stuff like that. They didn’t really have “DJs”. It tended to be that the AU president would DJ the Wednesday night for example. So when I got the job at Jesters I was the first sorta outside, none staff DJ that they employed. That student night became quite popular and I really enjoyed it and off that The Cube invited me to be a DJ on Friday as a warmup DJ and then I got offered the full thing. So yeah, Jesters was a cool place, but the Union was the biggest gig I was DJn. The union was a big gig and was my first ‘professional’ big club night I did in Southampton.
I’ve got a quick game to play with you if you’re up for it? It’s called ‘The Freshers story topper’. So we tell you something that we did in Freshers and then you’ve got to top it.
Oh yeah, I like this, alright.
So, we went to our first lecture drunk.
Me and my mate Sperm…
Yeah, we streaked through a lecture, naked, just wearing a mask. Specifically a Batman mask and cape. It was for Comic Relief so all a good cause!
Woah, ok that’s a good one.
And I don’t remember what the lecture was, but there was a screen in the background with an antelope on.
I think you might have just topped all of ours actually!
I had this one where I’d just finished DJing in The Cube one night and I came back to my house and we were all having a bit of a party, and things escalated, and there was this real tense game of Fifa and the loser had to go to Subway completely naked, order a footlong and come back. And I lost, and I never lose at Fifa.
So did you do it?
Yeah and it was horrible! To be honest, I did it, but on a technicality, I literally opened the door, shouted the order and came back out. I think a lot of the things are going to involve nakedness in this kind of game aren’t they…
Yeah! What was the funniest prank you pulled on air?
Well basically a lot of the things I do on Radio 1, were things that I’d learned and tried at Surge first. Before I came to Uni, I’d done hospital radio, but when I got here it was like a whole new playground really.
I went to a farm because I wanted to create a breakfast show ‘breakfast’ and we thought getting a sausage made would be good. We had loads of jokes on air, all innuendos about waking up with a lovely sausage, you know, all those cheap jokes, so we then went to this farm and got this farmer to create a sausage which we sold in the farmers market on the Uni concourse every couple of weeks. Now if you go up to the stall, we created something called ‘Starky’s sausage’, made it really spicy so we could record people making all these noises as they try my sausage. If it’s still there, that’s ridiculously cool.
The stuff we did at Surge, I still look back at it, there was some really fun stuff. To be honest I took a lot of the stuff we did on Surge, and did it on Radio 1.
Surge taught me a lot and I was very proud to be part of it as a station. I hope it continues to promote and create presenters and producers then end up with jobs in the radio industry. I love it whenever I can come back.
You can listen to Chris Stark on the Scott Mills show on BBC Radio 1, weekdays from 1-4pm.