THE SWEETCHUNKS BAND have done a lot in the time they’ve been together, from storming a castle to dressing up in stockings and corsets. They have always managed to have a good time and bring together a range of audiences. In this interview, Rock Out Stand Out’s Steph Warren hopes to see the idea behind some of the strangest songs to be yelled at an audience from the sources Stuart Blakeledge, Ash Lines and Mike Wiles.
Hello guys, thank you for agreeing to let me interview you and for being my first interview.
Stuart: That’s quite alright
Ash: Is something wrong? Why would you choose this for your fist interview? You’ve met us.
Because I’ve met you and I like your music. You’re cool people.
Mike: That’s the nicest the thing anyone has ever said about us
How would you introduce yourselves to our readers?
Stuart: Erm this is Mike, that’s Ash and I’m Stu. That’s how I’d introduce us.
Mike: I’d offer them a beer
Ash: I think I’ve narrowed it down to drinking, we are a drinking band. We tried calling it folk, calling it comedy, calling it rock. We’re basically three twats with a drinking problem and have found ways to enhance that, to get people to give us booze with out having to buy it.
Stuart: I think one good description someone said was if Brian Blessed took over Tenacious D via a drunken assault.
Ash: That’s far too egotistical for us, we not actually that good we’re just idiots.
Stuart: Yeah we formed this band to blag free booze and occasionally pies from people.
Who or what would you say is your strongest influence?
Mike: Definitely booze
Ash: To be fair, our song writing process is simple. What we do is, someone comes up with an idea that we find funny and then we write music to it.
Stuart: Mike as the actual musician what are your musical influences
Mike: I was going to go with Igor Stravinsky.
Stuart: Yes Stravinsky, I prefer Sergei Rachmaninoff as I can’t pronounce Stravinsky
Ash: And I like Limp Bizkit.
Whats is your personal favourite song to perform?
Mike: I mean I’m going to be really boring but it got to be Bees. I mean its just so much fun to play, partially since we’ve taken it to another slightly more rock type intro. There’s a lot of fun in that and also watching Stu muck up the list.
Stuart: My one consistency is my inconsistency.
Ash: Surprise to absolutely no one its SCIENCE, it’s probably the most bass driven song we got. It’s that funky rift at the end and nice bass section, its absolutely ridiculous.
Stuart: I was going to say Bees, mostly because it’s the end of the set and I can go home and I’m very lazy. But I think actually my favourite thing is The Greatest Love Song (I will Punch A Bear). Recently there has been a massive break in the music thing but before the break happened we got in the habit of, at the lyric “right in the fucking face” getting a selection of the human who aren’t in the band to yell as loud as they can “like a furry sky scraper” is one of my favourite moments
As you didn’t mention, Covid is a thing. What have you been up to during lockdown?
Mike: We’re most of the way to another album.
Stuart: True, we might actually have another album out of this. Don’t worry, we deliberately decided to not actually reference the thing in the record, we didn’t want to do a lockdown record. We thought people don’t want to hear about us singing about pasta bake. Before the thing, we decided that we wanted to get into the studio. So, when we were lockdown, to stop us going mad, we got some things down.
Ash: We are an incredibly undisciplined band when it comes to recording and rehearsing but this year, we made a commitment that every week we will meet up. We will come round one of our houses and we will sit there and write, and we managed to do this for three weeks and then the whole country got put into lockdown
As lockdown is being lifted, you have started doing more gigs. Have you missed doing live gigs?
Mike: So very much.
Ash: My wife wants me to get out of the house.
Stuart: All our partners want us out.
How do these new gigs compare to previous gigs?
Stuart: Weird. Honestly it is weird, there is a sense of everyone going can we enjoy ourselves. Like I’m a hugger, I love hugging people and not only is it a case of not allowed, I don’t feel comfortable. I want to hug everyone. I want to hug Mike and Ash but we’re not hugging. People know I’m a hugger and at the end of set people go to hug and there just this weird moment. Its great to be back but we are trying to not make things worse.
At Rock Out Stand Out we are very passionate on mental health issues. As a band that I listen to when I’m feeling slightly less than positive, is there anyone you listen too to feel better?
Stuart: I was talking to Ash about this earlier. We’re listening to Jake Martin, he has got a banging record called Broken by Design. In the middle of lockdown when I was having a very angry moment, I went out cycling in the New Forest and put this on my headphones. It was perfectly angry for how I felt at the time but with this sense of optimism by the end of it and it got all of my angry out. The one I came back in on was the latest by B Sides, which was an optimistic album about returning home. So, went out on everything is shit and came back with everything is fine. So those two albums are a yin and yan.
Ash: General angry music. Last time I listened Death Of A Dead Day by Sikth and I was horse when I arrived.
Mike: I tend to put on electro swing, no particular artist, its just so jumpy, happy and dancey and instantly turns me around. Which is the great thing about music, its each to their own thing.
Ash: Or early 2000s pop punk.
Thank you guys for talking with Rock Out Stand Out today.