Tom Bradski of CHUNK on “The Industry”
We caught up with Tom Bradski of creative collective CHUNK. A venue space, record label and most recently organisers of Renegades of CHUNK festival, they’re making ripples in the Leeds music scene.
We discussed the state of affairs within “the industry,” Tom’s experiences and what is seemingly, the CHUNK collective’s brand of creative socialism. Essentially though, it is all about the music…
How did CHUNK begin?
Chunk began two years ago. We were a small group of musicians that desired a functional practice spaces for all of our musical endeavours. We found an old warehouse basement near Lincoln Green and built new rooms, pieced together PA system parts and salvaged old staging and electrical equipment.
We just started out as some bands hiring a place to practice, which isn’t unusual. After realising the potential of the space and that we could put on occasional shows, we began putting on our own events promoting the bands within Chunk to raise money. The money raised at the shows flowed back into the space for better equipment and improvements.
Our DIY Collective had to move to Meanwood Road [where we are now because the previous owners accused us of running a brothel!] Again the potential for the space pushed everyone to work collectively for the good of the space and the group as a whole. It’s a nice place to just be.
What made you decide to progress into having your own label, Voice of CHUNK?
Voice of Chunk was always something discussed from the start. Starting our own label just seemed like the natural thing to do. We had great music and we were releasing it all ourselves. Why not bring it under one banner and promote that way? Bearfoot Beware (my band) released their debut album in April and we have some more releases lined up later in the year. A compilation album is currently being recorded at a new studio down in Chunk, where our own members can record their material. There’s also talk of a Christmas Compilation…
Young creatives often have it hard, their work seen by some as a hobby, no valued as a full time job. Do you see the formation of CHUNK as part of a reaction to these attitudes?
We could have a massive chat about the problems in the industry and what it means for musicians. But I think as in most scenes and music, not everyone wants to be a famous stadium playing band. Some do take their music seriously and work in an attempt to create a stable career for themselves. Others just want a free and open place to express themselves, scratch that itch that always needs scratching. Chunk has provided the space for a large group of musicians to help improve their craft, work together to promote each other and create a melting pot of styles and tastes. Working as a collective means it’s easier to do all this.
So in a way, yes it is a reaction to how little money finds itself into the lower echelons of UK music. Together the money invested into our ‘ambitions’ or ‘hobbies’ spreads a little further.
DIY collectives seem to be popping up quite frequently. Do you feel the support that these creative communities offer, helps to relieve some of the pressures that seem to be unique to this generation and possibly future generations?
Yes. What do you turn to when you work in front of a computer selling shit to people that don’t need it? You turn to your friends, your community and whatever floats your boat. In our case music. I feel our generation have the over bearing pressure to be the next fucking Alan Sugar with little chance of doing so, particularly if you don’t have the right background. It’s a pretty big issue and the government doesn’t give a shit. Again I could talk for quite a while about it but for a short answer. Yes. We make our own fun to help relieve those pressures. It is for me anyway, I don’t know how the rest of Chunk feels. Chunk is a musical collective though. Making that straight now. Not political. Minefield.
Finally, what’s next for CHUNK? Is there anything people should be eagerly anticipating?
A large and wide ranging Compilation, recorded entirely in the space by Chunk members, is on the way. We’re looking at how much we have in the collective’s fund to see if we can put out a physical release on Voice of Chunk. The distribution that I brought to City of Industry, is taken all over the country and Europe with the bands on tours. It’ll be great to get the exposure for the bands and I’m curious to see if we’re starting to form a particular sound, that’d be cool.
If you’d like to see what these guys are about for yourselves, you can keep up to date on all their projects on the links below.
Words by Steph Pullen