Dev Hynes used to be the new rave kid in Test Icicles, now he is Lightspeed Champion. His single Galaxy Of The Lost is out now and his album is on its way.
We met in a cafe in Shoreditch. It was quite loud.
Roy: What are you up to?
Lightspeed: I don’t know I guess I’m kind of… I just did an album in Nebraska with Mike Mogis. It’s weird…I guess I just started to play it live. Sorting it out.
Roy: How are you doing it live? Didn’t you record it with loads of people?
Lightspeed: It’s weird. There’s a few that can play it but they are all busy themselves so it varies, I can either play it by myself or maybe with seven people…
Roy: I remember listening to your music on MySpace before you went to Nebraska and it was totally different to your music now.
Lightspeed: Yeah, yeah. It was just me on GarageBand with my acoustic guitar. The thing is that when I was doing the songs, I’ll write all the parts out but I didn’t have the resources to actually do it so I’ll be playing the violin part on my guitar and stuff. It’s how I kind of heard it. I like how it turned out in the recordings. It turned out just how I wanted it.
Roy: When you listen to your music and Rilo Kiley and Bright Eyes and Tilly and The Wall. There seems to be a unifying Saddle-Creek sound…
Roy: Is that just because of Mike Mogis?
Lightspeed: Yeah. Well, he is like amazing. He’s definitely got his own thing and his own style which we did it in and he does transform what you write. I’m a big fan of that sound anyway so I was really quite into it. He added a really good feel to it. It’s cool.
Roy: What’s the rest of the album like?
Lightspeed: I see the album in two halves but apparently they are not that distinguishable to other people. There is kind of a country-feel to it which wasn’t necessarily planned but there is also a rock feel to it in some parts. There’s a lot of vocals from Emmy The Great, she’s really great. It’s quite different in parts. There’s a song which is just strings and there’s a song that has a 70’s pop-rock feel to it.
Roy: What I really like about Galaxy of The Lost is how the music is incredibly happy but the lyrics are really horrid and depressing. It’s somewhat Brechtian…
Lightspeed: Yeah… I like things that are like that. A lot of the songs in this album I wrote the lyrics to separately so it’s like… a lot of artists have stuff like that, that people can connect to it in different levels and I like that. The last song on the album actually has happy lyrics and the music is really depressing.
Roy: … and you are playing with Bright Eyes when he comes over?
Lightspeed: God, it’s less than a week.
Roy: When I interviewed Blake Sennett from Rilo Kiley, he said that Connor really gets annoyed when people ask him why he calls himself Bright Eyes. So I had this plan that if we ever get to interview him we’ll just get through the entire interview and then say ” Thank you very much Mr Eyes”.
Lightspeed: Ha! That’s a great idea. I wonder why he’s called Bright Eyes? Never thought about that.
Roy: His usual answer is that it’s just a band name.
Lightspeed: Maybe he’s just a fan of Watership Down.
Roy: I thought it was from a Garfunkel song…
Lightspeed: Yeah, but it was made for Waterhsip Down. It’s an animated film about rabbits getting to safety. It was made in ‘82 and reissued and they deleted a scene. There’s a really disturbing scene where it’s stuck in the tunnel and this scene apparently scarred a lot of people which really… he’s clawing himself and really tring to get out. When they reissued the film, they took the scene out. Bright Eyes is the song at the end of it.
Roy: Do you have any rabbits or pets in general?
Lightspeed: I did but I gave it away. There’s a rabbit on the album cover. I’m holding a rabbit on the album cover.
Roy:…and you’re holding a chicken on the single.
Lightspeed: Yeah. It’s good. I don’t know. I was a cat person and then I became a lover of dogs. Now I really love dogs as well. I used to really not like them.
Roy: What would your superpower be?
Lightspeed: I might have to go with the boring answer and say flying.
Roy: Really? We’ve never had flying… most people choose invisibility.
Lightspeed: People think it’s too boring. I would like to fly. It’ll be pretty cool. Everything else is too dangerous - reading minds, invisibility…
Roy: X-Ray vision?
Lightspeed: X-Ray vision is just too dangerous. It will just drive you insane.
Roy: I heard you do comic books.
Lightspeed: I just did one for this album and there’s another one which is like a group thing with loads of people, really strict work…
Roy: Have you published any of it?
Lightspeed: Not really. Only in a couple of online magazines. I’m working on a couple of other ones. Most of mine are biographical, diary like, a strip of something that happened during the day and then exaggerate bits of it. I think if I keep doing it for about a year, then maybe I’ll have a proper comic book.
Roy: Are you into photography?
Lightspeed: Yeah, I am! I’ve actually got six films in my bag to get developed.
Lightspeed: Yeah. I got two cameras in my bag, I take photos all the time. It’s weird because I’ve never been into photography in the way of studying it or anything but I’m always taking photos. I’ve taken photos for a few people and things and magazines and stuff but… I’m really into collages and cutting and pasting pictures and stuff like that.
Roy: Blue album or Pinkerton?
Lightspeed: Oh God, I heard they just went into the recording studio to record the sixth. It’s hard. I like them all.
Roy: Even “Make Believe”?
Lightspeed: I liked it! I joined this weird internet group two weeks ago that is called “Actually, I enjoy all five weezer albums” and I really loved Maladroit, I thought it was really good. Rivers is my favourite. He’s great.
Roy: Have you seen his MySpace?
Lightspeed: Yeah, if you go back through the comments you can see some from Tom from MySpace. Sweet. I really really enjoyed all Weezer albums. I used to really like Pinkerton but then I really like The Blue Album now, it’s just so good. I always loved it.
Roy: What are you listening to now? Something new and exciting…
Lightspeed: I was just listening to the new Thrills album.
Roy: A new one?
Lightspeed: Yeah. It comes out in a couple of weeks but I am well connected so I got a pre-release last night and it’s really good. I don’t listen to anything too exciting. I have a really dire music taste. Literally I listen to really bad stuff.
Roy: You know your cover of Christmas in Prison with Emmy The Great? Apparently it’s very different to the original and the original is really quite unknown and my friend wondered how you found out about it?
Lightspeed: I don’t know… Emmy and I used to talk about it. She’s got a really good music taste. She’s cooler than me. She listens to cool stuff. I listen to like, Maroon 5. It’s really bad. Yeah, I’m trying to think how I first heard that song. I don’t know… It’s a really wicked song.
Roy: If you were a disease what disease would you be?
Lightspeed: I think HIV or Cancer, have you had that one before?
Roy: It’s the first time I’m using this question. Don’t think I’ll ask it again.
Lightspeed: I’ll be something incurable and I want anyone to have me to die slowly. It’s horrible.
Roy: You know Jeopardy, the game? I will say an answer and you need to say the question…
Lightspeed: Yeah, I’ve always wanted to play it.
Roy: So the first one is - “It was just so strange to feel that line that is spun from us lengthening its fine filament across the misty spaces of the world”
Lightspeed: Um… I guess… How did you feel when you saw your video on YouTube?
Roy: “I can only answer that question in Spanish”
Lightspeed: Um… What was your opinion of Cassadaga?
Roy: Hmmm… the last one is - “David Cameron”
Lightspeed: Wow! Um… Who is in your next video?
Roy: Cool. Can you please draw a self portrait?
Roy: When’s the album coming out?
Lightspeed: Maybe around the new year. We’re gonna do an EP first which I’m cool with because it means I can do some new songs.
Roy: We really want to try and innovate with our interviews because text is quite boring so we recently started a vocal question. Last month we got Kate Nash to sing Hound Dog…
Lightspeed: Can I sing a Maroon 5 song?
Roy: Go for it.
Roy is the Editor and Founder of Platforms Magazine.