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How He Became… Lightspeed Champion


Welcome to the new weekly feature “Name That Band” in which we get the inside stories behind the mysterious monikers of some of our favorite artists. (See previous stories in the series.)

This week: Lightspeed Champion. Texas-born, England-raised Devonte Hyne used to front the lauded UK dance-punks Test Icicles before hooking up with Monsters of Folk/Saddle Creek records honcho Mike Mogis and trading in disco beats for gorgeously orchestrated folk rock under the name Lightspeed Champion. Due February 15, his winsome Life Is Sweet! Nice to Meet You! finds the man once dubbed by the NME as one of the “20 Coolest” in rock avoiding any hint of a sophomore slump.

Why Lightspeed Champion? “Originally I used the name Lightspeed Champion for a character in a comic that I drew in high school. He was a hero who solved math equations. [Laughs] It was really lame — as you would expect a comic involving a hero who solves math equations to be. It’s funny, because I remember thinking that I might use Lightspeed Champion as an album title but that I didn’t want to use it as my name. But the names I wanted to use kept being already taken when I’d try to set up a MySpace page. I really needed to have somewhere online where I could upload stuff to show my friends, so finally I checked the Lightspeed Champion MySpace URL and it was available. I chose that more out of desperation than anything else.”

Previously Rejected Names: “For a while I was going to use Blood Orange. David Boring was another one I thought of. I’m glad I didn’t go with that one.”

Best Band Names Ever: “Actually, there’s this band called This Is Ivy League. I have no idea what they sound like, but I think that’s a pretty good name. It would be even better if it were just Ivy League, though. I’m slightly obsessed with band names. I’ve always had this thing where I find band names really interesting when the band is named after a normal thing, but the word gets pronounced differently when you’re talking about the band rather than the thing. Like, Bright Eyes. If you just said those words normally, you’d probably emphasize the word ‘eyes,’ but when you’re talking about the band, you emphasize ‘Bright.’ [Laughs] I think about this stuff a lot.”

Worst Band Names Ever: “I love the band but Prefab Sprout always struck me as an iffy name.”

Next Monday: Hot Chip

Lightspeed Champion illustration courtesy Daytrotter.