The Kaje talks critical pressure to Lightspeed Champion

Texan born, Essex raised and New York based Devonté Hynes may be better known as his alter ego Lightspeed Champion, but the creative genius has never restricted his creative output. Lightspeed Champion started life as a cartoon strip Hynes entertained himself with during droll maths lessons. To celebrate the launch of his debut record “Falling Off The Lavender Bridge”, he published the comic strip collection “I’m Asleep – Comics, Photographs and Illustrations” and has gone on to further publish two collections of short stories. However, criticism of his second record “Life Is Sweet! Nice To Meet You” appears to have hit Hynes hard. The Kaje took a moment to find out more..

Your creative output is pretty diverse, how would you describe what you do?

I either do nothing or sometimes I write music, I am not the best at self description.

You will be hitting the road again with your upcoming Australian performances. How are you feeling about it?

I’ve only done two tours this past couple of years and they were only like a week and a half long. I don’t really tour because I find it all rather strange. I get worried about letting people down musically. Having said that Australia will be fun.

What do you have planned?

It is gonna be kind of intimate because I don’t have a plan to do any more Lightspeed shows over this. I want to make it personal. I will play a lot of songs from the first album and some from the last one, then four newer ones. Hopefully people dig it.

You have just released the EP “Bye Bye”, can you tell us a little about it?

It is four songs, three of which were recorded a year and a half ago and then one song from March this year. That was done in a beach house in California. Basically they fit together in a weird way. They are songs that would otherwise be sat around, so I put this EP package to tie up the Lightspeed experience. I did a little drawing for the artwork.

Is it kind of closing a chapter and getting unreleased material out there?

I guess so. I have another Lightspeed album but I am just not sure if I want to release it. I mean, I really really like it but the Blood Orange album comes out next year and I don’t know if I want to pu t anything out after that for a while. I am going to sit on this album and see where I stand on it in a year or something.

It is strange, I kind of like was going to send it to a few friends, but I just feel a little weird about putting it out. I have kind of just gradually grown more shy. It is weird. I have started worrying more. I put a demo of one of the songs on MySpace. It is weird because I didn’t tell anyone. People have definitely listened to it but no-one has said anything. We will see what happens.

What do you think is making you hold back on playing the song to friends?

I don’t know, I think it might be that I have grown more selfish in my songwriting. On top of that, I just don’t trust my opinion. A song will become way more for me. I am quite happy to show other people but at the same time I want to keep then. An interesting thing, is the last album happened and I guess at the same time I started managing myself, which meant that the reviews were being sent to me, which were things that I never used to read. I feel like it did some damage. For the most part, a lot of the reviews were like personal attacks, and I got a little weird about it. I thought, I am just trying to make music, I can still make music and not put myself out there. So, I guess I started walking down that road instead.

You used to be a regular blogger, why have you stopped?

I haven’t written anything in a while because I don’t feel like I have anything to say anymore.

Pretty much, the days when I was extensively blogging, at that particular period of me I was trying to get through something in my life. So it was a particular point and I have got past it now.

On top of writing your own material, you have written for everyone from Florence and the Machine to Diana Vickers. Is the process any different to when you write for yourself?

It still just the same for me. I just write what is in my mind. It is always fairly personal, I just see it as like recording a song with an amazing vocalist who will make the song better. Basically I write the song and they record it.

Have you ever regretted allowing someone to record your song?

Never, I kind of don’t feel like. I am aware of for example somewhere being in my house sitting in my jacket and knowing it looks better on them. It is kind of like that.

You already mentioned the upcoming Blood Orange release. Why the change of alias?

I just don’t want to be one of those people who suddenly approaches a different style of music. I don’t want people to be like Lightspeed has changed, or the reverse side of that just buying it because they like Lightspeed. Or even not like it as they don’t like Lightspeed. All those connotations. It is just the music, it is just me changing my vision.

It is just the next album I have done, but I don’t want to take people for a ride. They are welcome to come if they want to.


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