Champs are back. The Isle Of Wight alt-pop band – made up of brothers Michael and David Champion – have followed their much-lauded sophomore album ‘Vamala’ with synth-led new single ‘The Garden Is Overgrown’. The fizzing new track is described as an “introduction to the next chapter” and sees the band further exploring their already vast sonic palette. With plenty more in the 2017 pipeline, we caught up with the sibling duo to find out about their past, present and future.
‘The Garden Is Overgrown’ is incredible. How did the track come about?
“I used to fix air conditioners for a while and they make a warning sound when they overheat, one of the Mitsubishi machines does a little jingle and I liked the order of the notes so I took a voice memo and extended the melody when I got home, then I found the chords, wrote some lyrics and that was that. Thanks Mitsubishi, thanks horrible job.”
How did Champs start out?
“We were both in more of a punk band called The Shutes, but felt we’d outgrown it so went to a weird studio on the Isle of Wight and started recording our first album in the hope of doing something a bit deeper and perhaps more sophisticated. It was kind of a protest reaction to what we’d been doing for the four years prior.”
What inspired your name?
“That was a bit out of our hands. During the aforementioned recording sessions we hadn’t actually named our band, but the producer just labelled it Champs, which was my nickname through school. We didn’t realise that our manager at the time had sent some songs to Dermot O Leary and he started playing one of them most Saturdays on Radio 2 under the name Champs so it kind of had to stick. We wouldn’t have called if that had that not happened.”
Who are the Top 5 biggest influences on your sound right now?
“During recordings we’ve been listening to Glass Animals, Portugal. The Man, MGMT, Connan Mockasin, Weyes Blood and classics like Fleetwood Mac – they’re a staple when it comes to songwriting influence.”
Any other new bands that you’ve played with and would recommend?
And finally, what does 2017 hold for Champs?
“Touring, festivals, recording, surfing and cycling.”