DEVONTE HYNES POURS HIS HEART INTO HIS ART, PENNING PROFANITY-RIDDEN ALT-POP GEMS ABOUT COMICS AND GIRLS, AND AWKWARDLY ACCEPTING THE CROWN AS LONDON'S NEXT TROUBADOUR POSTER BOY.
Born in suburban Houston, Dev Hynes lived a peaceful average Texan life until the age of 8 when his family upped and moved to Essex via Edinburgh, of all places. Dev, who has an inbuilt lust for all things American, absorbed the best of both cultures, and after making it big with Test Icicles in 2005, is now being hailed as London's least likely anti-folk hero.
An avid comic collector, Lightspeed Champion was Dev's first ever self-made comic. Penned at the age of 13, it was a tale about a superhero that lived on a maths planet defeating villains by solving mathematical equations, ("Is it a bird is it a plane? No, it's a killer rhombus! Quick Lightspeed, hit him with your Pythagoras theorem!")
His debut album, "Falling Off The Lavender Bridge", takes its cues from The Lavender Bridge, a comic in progress based on his childhood dream world, a place which, often addled with insomnia, he rarely visits. "In the past month I've been under my bed covers once." He laments. "My mood levels are all over the place." Dev journeyed to Omaha, Nebraska earlier this year to record his debut with Bright Eyes' Mike Mogis and members of Tilly And The wall and The Faint, a clan of indie kids who seem to share a similar light-hearted, proactive and communal spirit to Dev and his London cohorts. His recent single launch saw the cream of the indie set jump on stage for singalongs, including Jack Penate, Emmy The Great, Eugene McGuinness and Faris from The Horrors. "I first met Jack over a year ago," Dev recalls, "He was filming a video outside my flat, it was really loud and I kept going to the window and thinking - who is that dude dancing around out there?" While he and Faris have known each other since a chance encounter in a Piccadilly Burger King.
A self-confessed pop culture junky, Dev counts comics, American TV and blockbuster films, song writing ("I know all the key songwriters in popular music.") and the fizzy mango drink Rubicon among his current obsessions. "I am a fan of mainstream in all forms, I love anything that sells a lot." He admits happily "I love the idea of a lot of people being into the same thing."
I kept going to the window and thinking - who is that dude dancing around out there?
A good thing, because come October when his album's released, he'll be witnessing this phenomenon first hand.
Lightspeed Champion wears denim dungarees by Levi's Red Tab. Baseball shirt from Beyond Retro.