VIPER’s founder Lily Mercer spoke to YouTuber and presenter, Chunkz on the set of the JD King of the Game Christmas campaign. We’ve got interviews with the stars of the advert dropping on site every day until Christmas, stay tuned for chats with Tobi Brown, Knucks and more…
What career do you think you would have ended up in, had you not followed the path you chose?
I would have carried on studying maths in university – the boring stuff – and then probably be a statistician, working with some type of stats. Maybe working in a company telling them about their reports, how much money they’re gonna make in a couple years and all that boring stuff. Something along the lines of maths, definitely.
You’ve already worked in multiple areas of entertainment and made the decision to stop working in music, what’s been the biggest challenge so far within the work you do?
If we’re talking about thoughts and feelings, it was definitely music. It wasn’t a thing that I just did loosely, it was a thing I thought about. Today I definitely miss being in the music scene and being in the studio day to day but it was for the greater good, for my reasons. If you’re talking about the hardest decision I had to make, it was definitely that. The easiest would be quitting university but don’t quit uni guys!
How do you avoid feeling pressure to create what people want from you instead of what you want to create?
I think it’s very difficult and I’m still finding that balance now. Because at the end of the day, there’s concepts that are on my YouTube channel and my videos, that people still love but I might not like as much as I used to. So it’s a challenge facing it everyday but I think the number one thing is doing things I enjoy. I feel like when I enjoy it, you can tell in the videos… you can see the energy in the video is different because you can tell that I’m fully enjoying what I’m doing. Instead of when I’m forcing concepts, which I understand people might enjoy but I don’t like doing as much. I feel like I’ve got solid people around me that keep me grounded and we all speak. They always give me advice and stuff so shout out to those people. I just try and do videos I enjoy, that’s the main thing.
You’ve travelled the world thanks to your work, what single experience was the most mind-blowing?
Recently coming back from Toronto, I was literally just with Drake, and loads of different artists that I really enjoy. Drake has been probably my favourite artist since 2011, so just being in his house for four days is wild, something I never expected. But he showed me a good time in Toronto and that’s definitely the craziest experience I’ve had. Also just being amongst footballers, I grew up loving football and I still do love football. Playing Soccer Aid and playing with and against legends that I love to watch. Me and my dad loved watching and being able to call some of them friends is wild. So I’m thankful for my job and to my supporters, I’ve definitely had some crazy experiences.
Can you reveal anything surprising about Drake’s house?
It doesn’t end, like, it does not end. Obviously he hasn’t shown all of it on camera, which makes sense but it’s a joke, it takes up the whole street. It was a different type of motivation but I wouldn’t want a house that big. I remember opening doors and he didn’t even know how long [people] had been there and who they were. So yeah, the house is humongous and he has a basketball court and he changed that into a club, which was sick. That house is more than a house, it’s a manor.
I was thinking this recently, if you have a huge mansion, do you come home like, “where’s my cat?”
Yeah, you genuinely wouldn’t see it for four days. I wouldn’t be shocked if he sees people in this house and is like “I haven’t seen you in two weeks.” I mean having the chef, security, bar ladies, it’s wild; he had loads of people in there working. Maintenance must be a joke in a house like that, crazy, crazy, crazy experience.
What is your Bucket List goal?
I’ve ticked off quite a bit but one thing I want to do is get into a movie, like start acting. I’ve said that loads but I don’t really do anything proactive to get into it. One day hopefully, because I feel like I’ve done a lot of the things in the entertainment industry. I’ve done the music, I’ve done the YouTube stuff, the brand deals and TV now. I feel like I can slowly transition hopefully into films, or a show maybe just a bit of acting. I definitely want to challenge myself.
What role would it be, would you be a serial killer or something really dramatic?
You know what it is? I’ll be honest with you, I don’t want to just be Chunkz in a film or in a movie; I want to take on a role that’s different. Without sounding weird I love watching the conspiracy theories and murder docs and all that stuff. So, hopefully I can channel my inner serial killer and act in a show or a film, I’d really love to do that. I feel like it’s amazing to be who I am now and then just act like somebody completely different. If I do it well without it looking cringe, that’ll be sick, so I’d love to slowly transition into the film/show industry.
What do you usually do on your day off?
Honestly, I’m a homebody, I’m boring. Everyone expects me to be like this fun guy off camera. But when I’m not working, I’m generally in bed most times just watching shows or with family. I’ll go to my mom’s house like twice, three times a week, just to chill with her. I like to be normal so I do pretty normal average things. I try to go shopping whenever I’m free, I like to go to loads of different restaurants and try different cuisines, because I’m very picky. But I’m trying to transition into being that person that eats everything. Football as well, I’ve been playing football a lot recently and gym so it’s a pretty normal life. I’ve been travelling a lot too. I came back from New York and Toronto this morning. I literally just came here straight from Heathrow so it’s a bit wild, I’m very jet lagged and tired but we’re getting through it and we’re professional.
Beta Squad ended at the start of the year, do you ever miss creating with a group of that size or do you prefer working as a duo?
This year I’ve slowly transitioned into creating more with Beta Squad: Nico, Kenny, Sharkey, AJ and we’re uploading consistently every Saturday on our channel. One thing I don’t do as much is work with Filly and Harry. That’s something I definitely want to do soon, we’ve got things in the pipeline, hopefully a podcast en route. I want to definitely work alongside Filly and Harry more because I did a lot of that in 2019, 2020 but it slowed down from the end of 2021 to now. That’s one thing I want to go back into because the people enjoy that the most. Every time I’m abroad like in Saudi and these random countries I’m getting clocked and people ask, “where’s Filly? Where’s Harry?” So I defo want to start making content with them again.
You made an appearance in the Amazon Original sports docu-series All or Nothing: Arsenal, what did you love about the series?
I was meant to be in more episodes but I didn’t have free time. I want to apologise to Amazon because I really wanted to be in more of the doc but that was the only free day I could give. Another thing off the bucket list is being involved with Arsenal in some type of way. It’s a team I supported my whole life, still do and I’ve managed to go on tour with them to Washington and New York. I’ve filmed loads of content with them, I was literally pitch side. I’ve done crazy stuff with Arsenal and being in a documentary is just another thing that’s on top of the bucket list that I’ve completed. It’s an incredible experience, honestly I forgot that I even did that, [there’s] so many things I’m proud of myself for accomplishing.
Soccer Aid was a great experience for you, will you be getting involved again?
100%. As long as they’ll have me, I’ll play every year! I love that, it’s generally a time of the year where I tell my managers or my agents to just knock that off the calendar, I have to save time for Soccer Aid. I love doing it, I think we’ve raised over £13 or £14 million this year, maybe even £15, I could be wrong. Since I’ve been there, we’ve raised £30 million plus so it’s a crazy experience and generally my favourite time of the year.
What was your first thought when you were asked to shoot the campaign?
I’ve been doing Christmas ads for other brands as well so it’s something I’ve always been a part of. It’s cool, part of the tradition and culture in the UK. It’s an honuor to be highlighted as one as one of the main figures or one of the main influencers in the UK and when they come knocking, you have to open that door with open arms. I really love JD Christmas ads, they go all out for it. There’s a lot of notable figures in the ad and I’ve got some of my friends in it today. Shout out to Harvey Elliott, Trent, Harry Pinero, shout out the boys. There’s many more people in it that I know so it’s gonna be a sick campaign I’ve always wanted to be part of and I’m now part of it. So it’s definitely another proud moment for me.
There are so many British Muslims who don’t celebrate Christmas so you’re repping for them.
It’s embedded in the country we live in so I definitely don’t celebrate it, but I can appreciate it’s a time where people get together with families and it’s a good cause; I’m just an outsider. Growing up, we have Christmas around all the time so it might be a thing that we don’t celebrate, but it’s a thing we can appreciate from afar and understand that it is part of our culture. It’s harmless as an advertisement, I’m excited to be a part of it; it’s a good one for me.
What would your Christmas Cracker joke be?
I’ll probably be a dad joke, I’m very bad at telling them. You know, when someone tells me, “Oh, you’re funny, tell me a joke.” I’m just like, “Oh God,” I’m not good on the spot. It’s like them little penguin chocolates, when you lift it and it’s the worst joke ever. I’ll probably be along the lines of something that’s just corny as hell, but you can still appreciate it because it’s a bad joke, you know? I’m not good at off the cuff, definitely not.
Are you a competitive person?
Depends on who I’m up against and if that person is very competitive and wants to win, then I would want to win just to take the mick out of them. All in all, not really but I don’t mind getting into my competitive nature.
If you were given a retro arcade game for your house, which one are you picking?
Mario Kart and that vibe, even a basketball game; I don’t think anyone can beat me. In the arcade, you’ve got table tennis, you’ve got Connect Four and stuff; no one can touch me on that. I am competitive because when it comes to table tennis, I will bet any money – actually not the footballers because they play it all the time in training – but I am very good. I’m very, very good.
Any games that you can’t play anymore because the loss was way too painful?
FIFA nowadays is really in my head and I can’t play anymore, they’ve changed everything about it. Every year it changes and I’m not as good as I once was, FIFA 12, 13 up to 15, was one of the best in the world. I’ll go as far as to say that, but now I’m rubbish so that really hurt my feelings and it’s hurt my pride. I’m nowhere as good as I once was, it’s sad, very sad.
What is your most treasured possession?
I’m not really a materialistic kind of guy, obviously things that have meaning to it, like this ring I always wear it because Filly bought it for my birthday. I don’t really wear jewellery too much but l’d say this ring is up there; shout out to Filly for that. And my phone, I have to have my phone on me at all times. I’ve tried to put it down but I really can’t. In terms of my prized possessions, I don’t really have any to be fair but the phone and the ring.
Which four people, dead or alive, would you invite to a dinner party?
I would love to speak to Malcolm X, I love watching documentaries and learning things about him. Fun fact, he actually died on my birthday, 21st of February – I’d love to pick his brain. Mike Tyson definitely, he’s one of the best boxers of all time, so I’d love to speak to him about that. Cristiano Ronaldo is another one, goodness me he’s one of the best footballers of our generation so that’s one person I’d love to speak to. I would love to speak to Messi but he speaks Spanish so that would be a bit difficult. I’d love to speak to [Malcolm X] about just growing up in his time and how hard it was. He came up in some crazy struggles and yeah, definitely him.
If you could go back in time, where would you go?
You know I studied history at A-Level, so I loved history. I would love to speak to Henry the 8th and be like, “why did you just kill people left right and centre?” You know what I mean? He was killing his wives because they weren’t giving them sons, do you know how crazy that is?
Watch Chunkz the JD Christmas campaign ‘King of the Game’, with JD exclusive product drops available online at jdsports.co.uk and in stores across the UK now.
Interview by Lily Mercer