Chunky Wonder: Groovin’
by Sarah Bryant
In the darkened basements, living rooms, and small venues that are home to the thriving Bellingham DIY music scene, a new, steadily growing force has emerged with the chants of one name reverberating around every room: Chunky. In a few short months, Bellingham’s self-proclaimed premier powergroovers, Chunky Wonder, have more than made a name for themselves, consistently playing shows and stealing hearts, including winning the finals of December’s round of the Showdown at the Shakedown battle of the bands. In addition, Chunky also recorded their debut EP in January, due to be released March 15. Not too shabby for a band who played their first show last November. But the story of Chunky Wonder started long before that first show.
The legend of Chunky Wonder arose from the ashes of several other bands that, as Chunky themselves describe, significantly lacking in a “kick-ass” element. With that in mind, high school buddies and bandmates guitarist Connor O’Neal, bassists Matt Richardson, and the mysterious “Deuce” on drums, joined forces with singer/guitarist Ben Johnson.
The events that followed were building up to be, dare say, wonder-ful. Well that may have been a bit of an exaggeration. The band actually spent a full year jamming, practicing, and perfecting the magic of “powergroove” until they even played a show.
“We basically practiced until we felt like we had songs that we liked enough to share,” Johnson explained.
“We asked ‘what do we need to do to kick ass?’ and we did it,” added O’Neal.
It may seem like Chunky gained momentum faster in three months than most bands do in a year or more, because they did. Known for their energetic and dynamic live shows coupled with the hooks to back it up, Chunky creates what they’ve dubbed as ‘powergroove.’ What is powergroove? The band describes it in two words: loud and, ahem, chunky. If that doesn’t give you an idea of what Chunky Wonder sound like, the band lists Pink Floyd, the Flaming Lips, System of a Down, and the Mars Volta as musical influences. When recording their debut EP as a part of their winnings for the Showdown at the Shakedown, the dudes of Chunky Wonder definitely tried to keep their signature “powergroove” sound intact.
“We wanted to record songs that were catchy but also have a lot of drive,” Johnson said, adding, “We recorded four songs in one day, so it was kinda rushed. Definitely a cool experience.”
With the highly anticipated debut of the EP fastly approaching and more show opportunities pop up around Bellingham, it seems fair to say Chunky Wonder has a bright future ahead of them. With no real plans, the band admits that eventually touring would be a big accomplishment.
“Our goal is just to play as many shows as possible right now,” O’Neal said.
And as for how they feel about their rapidly growing fan base? O’Neal said with a grin, “I’d like them to walk away from the show with a kicked ass.”