BBC Radio 1’s Chris Stark came to SUSU last night for the Freshers’ Halloween Red Foam Party, which did not disappoint (have a look at our review of the event here). Travel Editor Anna Jenkins and I got the chance to chat to him about uni, being a celebrity, and Scott Mills, the Radio 1 DJ whose show Chris appears on.
So how did Chris, whose DJ career started at Surge Radio, get to be one of the most loved BBC DJs alongside the likes of Scott, Greg James and Nick Grimshaw?
“I am Scott’s friend – that’s the main thing. But the big reason I got a job on Radio 1 is because Scott massively started supporting my demo, and a big boss at Radio 1 heard what I did and asked me to come in.”
Having built up an identity DJ at the clubs in Southampton, including the Cube, Jesters and Oceana, Chris had his sights set on the BBC.
“Without sounding like the X Factor, my biggest dream was to work at Radio 1. I used to listen to it in my days at Glen, and I became a massive fan of Scott’s show, so it’s amazing to come from there to here”.
“I was in H Block, Richard Newitt – the top floor, I think I seem to remember H16?” Chris explained that, having been in a twin room, he asked to remain in Glen, and moved to D Block, Old Terrace. He went on to Brookvale Road -numbers 3 and 5 in his second and third years, if you’re wondering – if you live there, have a look out for the hole in the fence he says might have been the result of a drunken night.
Of course he remembers Jesters (possibly the cause of the aforementioned hole?), but does he look back fondly at the Southampton nightlife?
“Southampton is wicked. I used to DJ at the AU Night at Jesters, just when DJing was starting to change and advance. The cheesy music was there, Baywatch was there – I love Jesters.” He praises Oceana and Switch too, agreeing that the variety of nightlife in Southampton is brilliant.”
As a veteran DJ at the Cube, what does he think of the fact that it doesn’t have the same popularity it did when he was a student here?
“When I first started at uni, Friday nights here were mental – there were 13-1500 people, and it’s a hard thing to make work, but they do. I wish people could realise how much you’d pay for a night out like that in London, and make the most of what uni has to offer. People forget – they need to remember how good a night out at the Cube can be, and how good the events here are”.
What’s Chris’ favourite stage to DJ at?
“Zante and Cavos have been good the last few years. The best stage? Weirdly I have great fun in Newquay. Aberdeen! That was such a good night out! It was a mental night.
“One of the biggest gigs I’ve done was actually here – I did the Grad Ball once, and they booked out the cruise terminal, full with about 3-4000 people. Plus I always remember the Friday nights here being really cool to DJ”.
He goes on to talk about how going out on stage at Wembley for the Radio 1 Teen Awards reminded him how his job is more than just the little studio he works in. Wembley’s a pretty big venue, but coming onto the scene with ’24 Years At The Tap End’, and going onto his world-famous Mila Kunis interview, does he think of himself as a celebrity?
“Wembley definitely makes you feel like a celebrity, but I’m definitely not one. I get to work with celebrities.
“Everyone had an autobiography out, and I thought it would be a laugh to make my own one, and after admitting to Scott that I’d spent 24 years of my life at the tap end of the bath before realising that’s not how it works, a listener suggested I write about my life and call it that, so I did”. (Exclusive – he’d love to actually make it into a book!)
“Then after that, I did the Mila Kunis interview, and next day it was on CNN and everywhere else – it just went literally mental.”
Despite people across the globe talking about the interview, where he invites Mila to watch football and eat chicken with him and his friends, sadly this new friendship hasn’t continued, but Chris thinks it would be great to do a reunion with her some time in the future (you heard it here first!).
Since the interview went viral, Chris says he now feels like “part of the Radio 1 family”, but he thinks it’s insane that people see him in the same light as his fellow DJs.
“I think if you listen to Radio 1, you’ll know who I am, but no one knows what I look like. I can have a drink at the bar, and no one knows who I am”. He laughs, and adds “so no, basically – I’m not famous”.
So what does he think of Scott’s incredible dancing?
“I… I don’t think he’s a natural dancer! But I think he’s put in all the effort he can – the thing is, I would be the same, and I think a lot of people feel that. They look at Mills and think he’s not someone who’s had dance training, or who’s particularly good at it, but he’s trying his hardest, and he’s doing a good job. He’s smashed it, and he’s got every right to be there – so many people are voting for him every week, and it’s amazing! I’m very proud of him”.
The most important question of all we kept for last. Does he know SUSU the cat?
“Of course I do! I need a selfie with her”.