On their brand new album Gone Are the Good Days (full review here), Chunk! No, Captain Chunk! have cemented themselves as leaders in the pop punk scene and as frontrunners of the emerging subgenre of “easycore”. While singles ‘Bitter’, ‘Gone Are the Good Days’ and the explosive forthcoming anthem ‘Made For More’ will revel in the band’s current legion of fans, they’re also aiming to reach new crowds by experimenting with styles they’ve yet to touch base on. Tuning into the band’s more vulnerable side, the band’s latest single ‘Complete You’ turned down the heavy (only slightly!), induced a little more emotion and brought on their first ever guest collaboration, AJ Perdomo from The Dangerous Summer!
With Chunk! No, Captain Chunk! releasing Gone Are The Good Days this week, we thought it best to discuss the band’s latest efforts with frontman and producer Bert Poncet. When I first chatted with Bert last October as they celebrated ten years of Pardon My French, even back then he was so amped to get new material out into the world already. Now, almost ten months later, Bert is stoked about all the feedback so far from the songs released thus far and is just as excited for everyone to hear what they’ve done on album #4.
It’s good to chat with you again, Bert. I feel we only chatted just yesterday, last year. How have you been?
Oh, pretty good. It’s been a minute, I think so much has happened for Chunk! in between and I feel the world is getting better with this pandemic. I’m glad that our next album will be out in a more hopeful, brighter future.
Last time we chatted, you were really excited to unleash the new material already. Now that three songs have been released and we’re just days away from the full album. How are you feeling now with having these newer songs out in the world?
It feels really good. Honestly at first before releasing ‘Bitter’, we were scared in a way. Sometimes when keeping silent for a couple of years, the fans don’t really care when bands even try to get back at it.
But I’m glad to say that was definitely not the case for us. Just getting that great feedback and the response has actually been bigger than we expected. It has almost felt like we never left, so it feels good.
I’m very comfortable with the album we’re about to release. I feel we were right going into that direction, music-wise. There was also some risk involved, and we changed our sound a little bit. But I’m glad that people were happy about our new direction. It feels really good.
I’m loving the songs so far! It definitely feels like you guys have definitely matured in a way, but you’ve definitely kept the iconic Chunk! sound intact with the new stuff. I’ve also noticed in your videos the amount of nostalgia. Did you plan that just to put Buzz Lightyear and Woody consecutively in each video?
Not specifically the Toy Story references. There’s a little bit of a backstory for those music videos. The music video for ‘Bitter’ and ‘Gone Are The Good Days’ were shot in the same day, and we knew that we wanted those references to 90s movies and everything we grew up with.
We were in that big room with a lot of random stuff. It was a mess. The director that was in charge of the video brought some stuff from his house. We were able to pick random stuff and we were just, oh yeah, that’s cool. I feel people got the idea. Just looking at the comments saying, “oh yeah, I love the reference to Toy Story…” We got a lot of people liking the reference to Titanic and Home Alone too.
So I’ve just gotten a hold of Gone Are the Good Days and to be honest, I’ve been listening to it non-stop. You guys have definitely nailed your comeback this year. You’ve got an excellent mix in there that the fans will definitely love. Yet you’ve also diverged into a range of new sounds and styles. You’ve also released your first guest collaborations on an album. What took you so long to have a guest feature?
That’s true! It’s something that we’ve actually never done in the past. We did it on our first album, but it was just friends basically. At first, the plan was working on our own and somehow during the recording process that our two guitarists, Eric and Paul came up with these ideas.
Paul’s a really good friend with AJ Perdomo from The Dangerous Summer, and my brother Éric, he had a collab thing with work, because he’s working for a guitar company now with Yvette Young. They were both like, okay, let’s try it. Let’s give it a shot.
AJ and Yvette were actually very excited about the songs and I’m so glad how it turned out because it’s those collaborations that I can be very skeptical about at first. In my mind, I see things in a very technical way where for example, I want the vocal range to match perfectly with mine, that kind of thing.
But the songs turned out really, really great, and I’m very glad that we did it. Honestly, if we plan for the fifth record, which hopefully will happen, this is something we will definitely do again.
I feel from previous albums, you never really touched on the emotional aspect, but ‘Complete You’ and ‘Tongue Tied’ are definitely a bit more romantic, and a little more emotional for Chunk! No, Captain Chunk?
Yeah, it’s true. I don’t know why it took us four albums to actually try that, but it’s cool. Maybe it’s due to the fact that we were able to take some more time writing this album, just sit back and not rely too much on what was our comfort zone with Chunk! and it felt really good.
The thing that can be a little risky in our style of music is to sound cheesy. I don’t know how people will react, but I feel it’s actually pretty cool. I’m glad we gave it a shot and I’m sure we’ll try it again on future albums.
I reckon those songs will definitely throw fans quite a curveball, and it might surprise a lot of people. Speaking of curveballs, there’s another song on Gone Are the Good Days that’s quite groundbreaking for the band. It’s very surprising and it might throw off a lot of fans, but I think you might win a few back. Talk us through the inspiration behind ‘Painkillers’.
Oh yeah, this one. It’s the one track in the record that I have no idea how people are going to react because this is completely different from what we were used to.
I’m going to be very honest about that one. ‘Painkillers’ was actually us taking a risk, getting out of our comfort zone and trying new things. The technicity of the song is completely different from what we’re used to doing. The vocal range also on that track is completely different. This track made me do some vocal tweaks, to actually make it sound right.
I’m very glad with how it turned out though. I understand that it’s not sounding like what we used to sound, but honestly, I feel this will have a lot of people talking. Especially those who never were into our music much, I feel this track will work for them. With this album, we’re basically trying to grow our fan base, reach different crowds, and I think this song is really going in that direction.
Sometimes it’s that one track that a lot of people will embrace, and this will take your band to the next level, hopefully. Maybe this will be the track to do it, maybe not. I’m just glad that ‘Painkillers’ also has that freaking unexpected breakdown. It’s so powerful, and unexpected. I’m curious now to see how people will react.
Hopefully if the fans love it, we’ll hopefully hear more. I feel that breakdown brings back the heaviness that people are familiar with from Chunk! No, Captain Chunk! I think it will definitely surprise many fans in a way. You also self-produced the album, didn’t you?
Yeah. Absolutely. Everything from start to finish. The only thing we didn’t do ourselves was mastering. It’s crazy because the last time we totally self-produced a record was actually the very first one. So it’s like us coming full circle now.
You’ve produced for other bands before too. Do you ever feel any pressure to do more on your own band, as opposed to other bands or vice versa?
Well, the two experiences we had in the studio for Pardon My French, and Get Lost, Find Yourself were great. Honestly, I’ve been a music producer for a while, I actually learned so much from those sessions. It was also very good at that time, which was 2013 for Pardon My French, and in 2015 for Get Lost, Find Yourself to actually get some more experience and have another perspective from a different producer on our music. And we got a lot of knowledge out of that.
The thing is, now we’ve been able to make this record happen on our own. Especially in a niche generally like ours, I feel we are the only ones, we are in the best place to actually produce our own music because there’s so much technicity in the tone, the sound, the balance in-between, all these instruments, that I feel we are the ones that actually make it happen, so it’s perfect.
Now when I listen to the record, I’m like yes, this is exactly how I want our record to sound. That’s the ultimate balance for Chunk. I’m not saying that I’m not proud of the previous records, but I feel like this one in every aspect, is definitely us. It’s us and I feel it has a very important role in what impact this record will have on our future.
So I’m very glad we did this. We did everything on our own. It was a lot of work and a lot of effort. But I’m so proud of it. So proud.
So have you practiced any of the new songs for your Slam Dunk Festival performance this September?
Yeah. Well… It is a tricky situation because we hope that Slam Dunk will happen this year in September, as planned. This will be the best opportunity for us to practice the new songs. We have already started to jam a bit. But if it doesn’t end up happening, I’m sure we’ll be able to play another Slam Dunk in the future.
Oh, for sure. And I feel, because in the UK I know the situation was all good for a second and then next minute cases started arising. But they just had Download Pilot go ahead recently, unrestricted with moshpits and all.
Yeah. I saw that. That’s great to hear because I don’t want to see those weird shows with social distancing. It makes sense for some artists, but for us. If I don’t see the crowd going all crazy, it doesn’t make sense.
Exactly! Anyway, thanks so much for chatting with me today Bert. All the best with your new album because you are probably going to lead this whole easycore pop-punk revolution this year.
Hopefully. We’ll see. But thank you for trusting the right band!
Interview by Tamara May @citylightstam
Chunk! No, Captain Chunk!’s new album, Gone Are the Good Days is out Friday via Fearless Records.
Chunk! No, Captain Chunk! – Gone Are The Good Days tracklisting:
2. Drift Away
3. Gone Are The Good Days
5. Made For More
6. True Colors
7. Good Luck
8. Complete You (featuring AJ Perdomo from The Dangerous Summer)
9. Blame It On This Song
11. Tongue Tied (featuring Yvette Young from Covet)