DJs Scott Mills and Chris Stark gaveve G-You an exclusive interview before their Glasgow University Union Freshers week set.
G-You: Hi guys. So, what inspired you to become a DJ in the first place?
Scott Mills: I wanted to be a radio presenter since I can actually remember, so maybe eight or seven? When I was like pretending to do radio shows in my house, the only audience was my mum. I did pretend to be on Radio One, which is quite freaky now. So when that actually happened she freaked out. I’ve always liked and I still really like how personal radio is. I think what you get from it that you don’t get from TV is that it’s a one-on-one experience. It’s quite rare that you listen to the radio with lots and lots of people so what I used to feel when I was listening to radio growing up was that if you listen to them all the time, they (the presenters) become your mates and I think that’s quite a cool thing that you don’t get from TV. And that always really excited me.
Chris Stark: It’s much the same as Scott for me, in that I just loved Radio. I was a massive fan of Scott Mills show and of Radio One so for me that was always a big driving force. I guess DJing is slightly different, I used to love DJing because I loved music and it was awesome to eventually get a career and get paid to be a DJ. When I was at uni I became resident DJ for a lot of the student nights and I’ve been doing these for years now and Freshers are always the best ones.
G-You: On that note, do you have any advice for aspiring student DJs?
Scott Mills: Radio One really do look to student radio, they have a lot to do with student radio so my advice is if you really want to do it then get on student radio, keep everything that you’ve done. Student radio really is great, you can make mistakes on it, it’s quite fun.
Chris Stark: I got banned from the student radio… But looking back, that’s not a bad thing as long as you learn from your mistakes! I basically started swearing on the show and somebody banned me which I think was a bit harsh!
Scott Mills: If you really want to do Radio, I believe that Radio One represent their connections with the Radio One Student Awards and that’s hosted by Radio One every year. So it’s a really good place to start.
Chris Stark: Put effort in, try and make your show the best and then just send it everywhere.
Scott Mills: It is a lot of persistence!
Chris Stark: I used to send stations stuff and it was probably really really bad. But people start giving guidance so you don’t need to do student radio to be on Radio One. You need to keep trying and listening to advice and then defining it.
Scott Mills: And the more you do it, the better you become.
G-You: So Chris, you’ve been to university, do you have any advice for freshers to get through freshers week?
Chris Stark: I think its about not feeling any pressure to be someone that you’re not because there is literally someone for everybody at uni. And I think there can sometimes be a thing in freshers week where there might be a thing where if you say you don’t like partying then you’re going to have to go to parties.
Scott Mills: We had a girl on the air recently and she’s about to be a fresher and she said “The thing is I just don’t really like people.”
Chris Stark: So my advice would be go along to the evenings, don’t feel any pressure to do anything and just go along with the confidence that you don’t need to meet your best mate in the first three days. You’ll meet your mates when you start your courses, when you join societies and that would be my next bit of advice for after freshers week. Sign up for anything you are remotely interested in. You will never have the opportunity in your life to have such easy access to do stuff you even think you might want to do. And that’s my biggest regret from uni, is not doing more. Like for example I love playing football but I didn’t really make the most of it. Like I could have played football every day. But I didn’t try new things. I love music, I could have gone and learned an instrument. There is so many options.
G-You: Like the “Beard Appreciation Society” we have at Glasgow?
Chris Stark: The whole point of that society is that there is something for everyone.
G-You: If you could be stuck in one music era, what would it be?
Chris Stark: I reckon the Tudors would have had some mental tunes. When you see what they were wearing, it’s quite trippy. Henry VII was the Stormzy of his time.
Scott Mills: Actually, I think the music at the moment is better than it has been for a long time. I’ve been on Radio One for a long time, I’ve seen some quite dodgy eras.
Chris Stark: But is that because it’s current now?
Scott Mills: No, I think there was a time in early 2000’s to mid-2000’s where it just all just got a bit rubbish. I think everything just sounds a bit the same and everyone got a bit lazy. There is a lot more music nowadays, there is so much new stuff all of the time. I think it’s quite an exciting time and having been on there for a long time, I didn’t really enjoy the UK garage phase. The music is just a bit more up at the moment. It went through a phase even two years ago of being quite acoustic/singer song writer, which is fine but everything is the same; it just goes through phases all of the time.
G-You: What has been the worst slip-up you have ever made on air? Do you ever get nervous when you realise how many people are listening to you?
Scott Mills: I try not to think about it really. I don’t get nervous but I do get adrenaline but you have to have that I think, otherwise you’re not gonna be at your best. When I first started I was so nervous but now it’s kind of good nerves as opposed to nerves that paralyse you.
Chris Stark: I think I’m very lucky because I’ve made mistakes where I’ve just wanted the ground to swallow me up and I suddenly go “Crap, my boss is listening and I’ve said something or I’ve done something.” I’m really lucky though because Scott has been doing this for so long and he’s so experienced. I always remember you (to Scott) saying we’ve all messed up and if you dwell on it then that affects your whole show.
Scott Mills: It’s best just to let it go. I’ve only sworn once on the radio. And it was only like three years ago. They used to have like a review show for new music and I just went “Ah shit!” And I was like, I’ve been doing this a long time, how has this JUST happened and only happened once. I was really disappointed in myself and I cannot tell you why it happened.
Chris Stark: Those are different moments because I’ve done a lot of embarrassing stuff but Scott is there to kind of embrace that embarrassing stuff.
Scott Mills: You do a lot of embarrassing stuff but slip ups happen. We like to think that our show is all slick but slip ups do happen.
G-You: Do you guys have a track that you made really popular but that you actually can’t stand or hate playing?
Chris Stark: That’s such a good question because there’s always normally one.
Scott Mills: Because you are doing it every day, and the playlist is often the same for a while, you just get sick of them at times. I don’t really like that Drake song.
Chris Stark: I personally once suffered with an Alt-J song, and they were massive. I was very ill once and I got to work and I remember being in the toilet and I could hear the radio and it was Alt-J and every time after that I just couldn’t hear it being played.
G-You: Who is a musician that you would have a drink in our Beer Bar with?
Chris Stark: I think we are quite lucky that we do get the opportunities to do that.
Scott Mills: There’s some guests that come into the show that I would love to go for a drink with. It happens quite a lot.
Chris Stark: It’s generally who you’d think, Ed Sheeran etc.
Scott Mills: We took him to a show last year and he stayed for the whole thing and had some pints with some students, took pictures, he was like the dream. And he’s got, obviously, some great stories. But yeah, he’s kinda high on the list.
Chris Stark: I think generally, I think more than ever, people are accountable now, you can see their social media, you can see what kind of person they are. It’s harder to hide your personality. Katy Perry once took me and Scott out for a couple of drinks and it was just when “I kissed a girl” had come out and that was a massive song and she was just getting big. You probably wouldn’t get that access to her now.
G-You: Which award are you most proud of?
Scott Mills: I’ve got two Sony awards which I never thought I would win. And I’m also proud of, I’ve got this award, I did this show, a TV show in Uganda, it was called “The World’s Worst Place to Be Gay?” and it pretty much is. It was quite serious, it was for BBC3, I did that three or four years ago, I went to Uganda and saw these awful things that are happening to people, like I nearly got arrested, it was scary. But I’m really proud of the film and I won a Stonewall Award for that so I’m really proud of that one. It was one of those things that when I went there, I was there for like a week and at the time I don’t think I realised that I was probably in quite a lot of danger. But then when you watch the film back you think “God, they were proper coming after me!” I told this guy on camera that I was gay and he told the police to come and find us, we were being chased around. He was telling them to search every hotel and barricade ourselves in one room in the hotel. And the guys that were with us told him that we were in another hotel than the one we were actually in. But I’m proud of doing that film, it was something that I didn’t actually know about really, I mean the laws there are just awful and I didn’t know about it before I went.
G-You: You have done some work in Kenya too haven’t you?
Scott Mills: I did a desert trek, with Olly Murs and Dermot O’Leary and Lorraine Kelly. It was like “Camping with the Stars.” You’d wake up in the morning, hear singing and be like “Oh that’s Craig David.” We trekked like a hundred miles in 50-degree heat. I felt worse for the camera men, who were carrying all of the equipment.
G-You: Do you have an embarrassing story about the other?
Chris Stark: One of the first times I met Scott, he had to come and rescue me. Also, what Scott sometimes does in his spare time, is he puts on this fancy dress outfit and he leans out the window and it’s really funny. So if you ever walk past a house and see a wolf, it’s Scott Mills. Probably not around this area though, if you see a wolf’s head – run!