by Jai Pyne in New Music on Thursday 20 December 2007

As head honcho of my band The Paper Scissors, I am in charge of many things both musical and menial, and then also the aesthetic and web aspects — artwork, blogs, and the whole identity of the band. Bands these days have to offer more than just a product, a CD, a clip and then a live show. There are people that have really embraced the change of the industry, not just the over talked MP3 killing the record industry debate, but the interactivity and dialogue that artists now have with their audience, through the web. One artist who I discovered recently and who epitomizes this is Lightspeed Champion, the solo project of Devonte Haynes, an English singer-songwriter. He plays very melodic pop with elaborate arrangements — Elton John meets Fleetwood Mac with a Jarvis Cocker-like vocal twang. Lightspeed Champion (named after a comic he drew as a kid) is a far jump from his previous job as guitarist with cult London screamos Testicicles. I think a lot of his appeal can be attributed to his aesthetic. He has impressive press shots with his ever present thick rimmed glasses, random animals, ten minute videos, and a blog where he writes and uploads photos and videos every day. There is a thick tapestry that shapes a cult of personality around him. He talks candidly about his friends and his life on his blog; taking in celebrities (doing songs with Klaxons, Patrick Wolf, playing Strokes songs with The Arctic Monkeys), parties, the DVDs that he’s watching, and so on. From the outside, it seems that he is a super connected, prolific, slightly narcissistic, yet brilliant artist who is fully embracing the web and shaping the aesthetic of his music. All of this with only one single lifted so far from his debut album.

Listen to the Lightspeed Champion song, Waiting Game.