Lightspeed Champion is the stage name of British composer, songwriter and author Devonte Hynes, born 23 December 1985 who is currently signed to Domino Records. Incorporating elements from a variety of musical genres, Lightspeed Champion marks a significant departure in sound from Hynes' previous dance-punk band Test Icicles. He released his debut album under the Lightspeed Champion name, Falling Off the Lavender Bridge, on January 21, 2008 through Domino Records.
Hynes was born in Houston, Texas but raised in Essex, England since the age of 2, and currently resides in New York. The name 'Lightspeed Champion' comes from a series of comic strips Hynes drew as a teenager in his school mathematics books. Hynes was voted the 49th 'coolest person in rock' in NME's 2007 Cool List, jumping to position 20 in the following year's list.
Falling Off the Lavender Bridge
In early 2007, Hynes recorded his debut album in Omaha, Nebraska with Saddle Creek producer Mike Mogis, most famous for his involvement with the band Bright Eyes. A number of Omaha-based musicians appear on the record, including Mogis himself, trumpet player and pianist Nate Walcott (also of Bright Eyes), The Faint's drummer Clark Baechle and guest vocalist Emmy The Great - along with moonlighting members of Cursive and Tilly And The Wall.
Hynes has also recorded a number of bootlegs and unofficial releases, made available to the public through his blog and MySpace. These include an album written and recorded entirely in a day and an EP consisting only of covers of Green Day songs.
Writing for other Artists
Hynes has also written and contributed songs to a number of other acts. His vocals have appeared on songs by The Chemical Brothers ("All Rights Reversed”, from 2007's We Are The Night), Basement Jaxx (on their latest album Scars), as well as Florence and the Machine. He has been asked to contribute songs for the forthcoming debut album by X-Factor finalist Diana Vickers
Soundtrack And Classical Performances
In December 2008, Hynes was asked on behalf of The British Film Institute to perform the Soundtrack of the cult Hal Ashby film "Harold And Maude" after a screening of the performance. Hynes then had to cancel this due to an operation he had to undergo on his throat. The event was rescheduled for May 2009. In July 2009 Hynes will reprise the soundtrack and perform at Latitude Festival.
In June 2009 Hynes performed at The Barbican in London in commemoration of the composer Moondog. Singing renditions along with London Saxophonic of songs from the Moondog Album "Sax Pax For A Sax". He also sung "Fujiyama part 2" backed by The Britten Sinfonia conducted by André De Ridder and Andi Toma (Mouse On Mars).
Touring "Falling Off The Lavender Bridge"
The touring band for the "Falling Off The Lavender Bridge" album at various points consisted of friends of Hynes' from other bands, including Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine, Martin, aka The Train Chronicles and UK singer-songwriter Emmy the Great. Mike Siddell, formerly of Hope of the States, plays violin with the band. He is a prolific musician and a core member of the Brighton based Willkommen Collective, playing with Willkommen bands such as Sons of Noel and Adrian, The Leisure Society and The Miserable Rich. He also plays with Troubles and made a guest appearance on the debut EP by A Genuine Freakshow,.
Anna Prior, formerly of Leeds bands Dead Disco and The Ivories, played drums for most of the tour. Other guest members to have contributed in live shows include Alex Turner of the Arctic Monkeys, Faris Badwan of The Horrors, Frederick Blood-Royale of Ox.Eagle.Lion.Man, Jack Penate and Eugene McGuinness as well as We Are Scientists' Keith Murray on the June 6th episode of Late Night with Conan O'Brien.
Backed by a full band he appeared at the NME 2008 Awards, broadcast on Channel 4 on February 29, 2008, dressed as characters from Star Wars, including Princess Leia on the drums. The band's affinity with Star Wars continued when they played the main theme to the trilogy at O2 Wireless Festival 2008. Hynes and a violinist Mike Siddell began a short U.S. tour in March 2008, ending with an appearance at SXSW 2008. At SXSW they befriended The Wombats, and ultimately supported them at a Royal Albert Hall concert. Hynes also performed with We Are Scientists at Glastonbury 2008, with latter's front man Keith Murray joking to Zane Lowe in a post-show interview that "he owed us a sandwich!". Hynes appeared at Belgian music festival Pukkelpop in August 2008.
By the end of what became a two year touring period, Hynes had suffered severe damage to his throat, and had to undergo extensive surgery.
In March 2008 Hynes self-published a small comic book titled "I'm Asleep - Comics, Photographs and Illustrations" to mark the release of Falling Off The Lavender Bridge. It featured comics by himself, Ferry Gouw, Faris Badwan of The Horrors and Gary Card, and photography by Hynes.
June 2009 saw the release of the book "Punk Fiction : An anthology of short stories inspired by Punk" which featured a short story by Hynes titled "The KKK Took My Baby Away..." (from the Ramones song of the same name), described as a "comedy sci-fi monologue". Proceeds from the book went to the Teenage Cancer Trust.
The follow-up to Falling Off The Lavender Bridge was recently completed, with a release date yet to be decided. It is produced by Ben Allen (Gnarls Barkley, Animal Collective), and features the song "Madame Van Damme" (formerly known as "The Prostitue/Escort Song"), which has been played live regularly.
In the downtime between the release of the new Lightspeed Champion album Hynes announced a side-project called Blood Orange, with whom he is planning to record an album with soon. He released a demo of a song called "Said No" from the project on his blog.
- "Galaxy of the Lost" (July 16, 2007)
- "Midnight Surprise" (October 15, 2007)
- "Tell Me What It's Worth" (January 14, 2008) #72
- "Galaxy of the Lost" (May 12, 2008) (Re-Release)
- "My Turn" (July 4, 2008) (Collaboration with Basement Jaxx)
- "Bad Covers EP" July 8, 2007
- "Team Perfect presents : Green Day's 'Nimrod'" July 16, 2007
- "I Wrote And Recorded This In Less Than Five Hours" August 2007
- "Garbageband Xmas EP" December 8, 2007
- "Album In A Day 2" October 4, 2008
- "House-Sitting Songs" June, 2009
- "Heavy Purple" June, 2009, written and recorded to celebrate the launch of the new Lightspeed Champion website.
- "I'm Asleep - Comics, Photographs and Illustrations", March 2008
- "Punk Fiction : An anthology of short stories inspired by Punk", June 2009
Biography from Wikipedia