TBI Q&A: Mike & Barney Chunn

Mike Chunn
Barney Chunn
Play It Strange CEO Mike Chunn joined us last year to write about his world of young singer/songwriters in NZ. So it made sense for his son, Barney, to join him and co-write the blog.

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Play It Strange CEO Mike Chunn joined us last year to write about his world of young singer/songwriters in New Zealand and "their evolving, exciting world of original song."

So it makes sense that his son, Barney, has joined him to co-write about this world, as well as an overview of music as it is changing and evolving today.

Play It Strange CEO Mike Chunn joined us last year to write about his world of young singer/songwriters in New Zealand and "their evolving, exciting world of original song."

So it makes sense that his son, Barney, has joined him to co-write about this world, as well as an overview of music as it is changing and evolving today.

They’ve covered everything from funding songs, home recording, recording is today's notation, extension of copyright, youth radio network, journalism, song writing and supporting emerging artists.

As part of our 10th birthday celebrations, we find out more about Mike and Barney.

During what hours of the day do you feel most inspired?

Mike: Mornings round 6am if I’m alone

Barney: Dusk, Dawn and Midnight.

How would a good friend describe your aesthetic or style?

Mike: Eccentric

Barney: Insultingly

What aspect of your creative practice gives you the biggest thrill?

Mike: Listening to songs

Barney: Playing music live.

How does your environment affect your work?

Mike: It doesn’t unless I’m at Bethell’s beach where the solitude and the environment are profoundly stimulating.

Barney: Too much probably

Do you like to look at the big picture or focus on the details?

Mike: Big picture

Barney: Both, though I sometimes get impatient with the details…

What's your number one business tip for surviving (and thriving) in the creative industries?

Mike: Love and respect your fellow man

Which of your projects to date has given you the most satisfaction?

Mike: The songwriting competitions

Barney: Teaching guitar and having kids catch the bug

Who or what has inspired you recently?

Mike: Don McGlashan

Barney: I’ve been attacking Radiohead’s back catalogue in preparation for their arrival and by god it’s so good.

Tell us a bit about your background.

Mike: Raised in a world (mid-50s) where schooling crushed enthusiasm and exploration. That led me to want to be a Beatle as they seemed to have conquered the world with enthusiasm and exploration.  I wanted that.

Barney: I am from a musically aware and supportive family, so music has always in a way been what I have framed everything else around.

Tell us a bit about your recent and upcoming projects.

Mike: Play It Strange has three foci's – songwriting, performance and recording. We see the evolution of songs in the lives of NZ schoolchildren being eventually embraced in the school curriculum's of ALL schools as the new breed of contemporary-minded and song-focused young writers and musicians enter teacher training with demands for these three crafts to be a major part of their training. In a nutshell – the word ‘song’ will eventually end up in the school curriculum.

If you could go back and choose a completely different career path to the one you've chosen, what would it be?

Mike: Airline pilot

Barney: I haven’t really chosen a career path yet, but I always thought being a surfer would be fantastic.

What place is always with you, wherever you go?

Mike: Bethell’s beach

Barney: Home

What's the best way to listen to music, and why?

Mike: Alone at Bethell’s Beach…  nothing can disturb me. 

Barney: I’m not sure there is a best necessarily, but with really good headphones, in your own room, with a new record you’ve been excited about, is always pretty special. Otherwise driving with the music at full volume never fails.

You are given a piece of string, a stick and some fabric. What do you make?

Mike: A makeshift bass guitar

Barney: A bow, an arrow and a cape.

What's the best stress relief advice you've ever been given?

Mike: Listen to songs from your past that drive stress from you and enlightened you. (I’m Gemini – I gave it to myself)

Barney: Buy a boxing bag.

What’s great about today?

Mike: The evocative words and music in the songs written by NZ secondary school students.

Barney: It’s 10.37 and I’m still in bed.

What’s your big idea for 2013?

Mike: See positive forward action on the Radio NZ “Youth Network” proposed in their Statement of Intent

* * * The Big Idea 10th Birthday Questions * * *

What does The Big Idea mean to you?

Mike: The Big Idea disseminates a wide variety of info, comment, knowledge and debate.

Barney: It’s a fantastic space to share ideas and be inspired by the wonderful things that others are doing. A community that invigorates your creativity

What changes have you noticed in music in the past 10 years?

Mike: Not sure I was there for the first five -  sorry. 

Barney: There have been huge changes in the way that music is created, shared and bought in the last ten years. It’s an exciting time to be involved.

What are some of the opportunities and challenges for the next decade?

Mike: Keeping the copy eclectic without being overly esoteric. Driving change by picking the future activators, innovators and change masters on your pages first..

Barney: With technology developing so rapidly it’s so hard to say. Keeping up is the challenge.

Written by

The Big Idea Editor

24 Nov 2012

The Big Idea Editor Cathy Aronson is a journalist, photo journalist and digital editor.

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