Enter the Champion

first_imgThomas Barrett interviews Dev Hynes aka Lightspeed Champion ‘Who?’ seemed to be the general reaction from my friends when I told them that I’d be interviewing Lightspeed Champion. Even less people know his actual name, Dev Hynes. Yet here is someone who’s had a massive effect on modern British music. At the age of 17 he was the guitarist of the Test Icicles, generally thought to be the band that started nu-rave. After developing a strong following, the band decided that they didn’t actually like their own music and split up. I suppose you can’t really have a better reason, can you? Perhaps, without Dev there’s be no Klaxons, no “rah-ve”, and none of those god awful pink “Save The Rave” T-shirts in Primark. In spite of all that, you’ve got to love him. How many people do you know who can carry off big furry hats with such abandon? Now, to general surprise, he has reappeared under the guise of Lightspeed Champion, this time with a folksy, Americana-style tilt to his music.When I meet him, Dev seems uncomfortable with his return to fame. He fidgets slightly as he tells me, ‘I really didn’t think this album would get any attention. It’s got me questioning myself’. What surprised me most is how modest and self-deprecating he is. Given that he’s spent years as a performing musician, I thought he would ooze self-confidence. But he says, ‘I’ve always found playing live a weird concept … something I’ve had battles with over the last few years’. For him it seems that music is a personal thing. While he find playing live awkward, his attitude to music itself is vastly different, ‘I love music, it’s natural, like breathing. I just do it’. He adds, ‘I feel like I can write a song whenever I want to’.Inevitably, the Test Icicles come up. I ask if he sees the whole experience as a good thing. He thinks and then says ‘I don’t regret anything I ever do … I see everything as a learning experience’. But Dev is surprisingly unwilling to take any credit for his band’s influence. He says: ‘I never want to admit that I had an influence on something’. We move on to Lightspeed Champion. It is, he says, ‘just me by myself. I wouldn’t want to call it my name, because then people would assume it’s the real me.’ But then he comments that ‘it’ll always exist, unless I die.’ He surprises me by adding ‘but then it would probably be better’. Lordy.Dev’s apparent lack of faith in his abilities disappears on stage. After performing bass duties for support act Semifinalists, he confidently takes to the stage. He plays brilliantly, engaging well with the crowd and delivering a great set. Dev always seems to be several years ahead of himself – the next album is already written. He plays several of these new songs, showing that we have much to look forward to in the future.last_img read more

7 insurgents, 2 troops killed in separate raids in Pakistan

first_imgMULTAN, Pakistan (AP) — Pakistani security forces and police acting on intelligence have raided suspected militant and separatist hideouts, triggering shootouts that killed seven insurgents and two soldiers. An official with Pakistan’s counter-terrorism department said Wednesday in a statement the first raid took place in the district of Dera Ghazi Khan in the eastern Punjab province. The raid left three militants from the outlawed Baluchistan Republican Army dead, he said. The group is known for targeting Pakistani troops, police and gas pipelines in southwestern Baluchistan. Hours later, troops raided a militant compound in former militant stronghold of North Waziristan, triggering a shootout that killed four insurgents and two soldiers, according to a military statement.last_img

Stocco, passing game stepping forward in 2005

first_imgDEREK MONTGOMERY/Herald photo On a cold, drizzly Saturday night at Camp Randall Stadium, the Wisconsin football squad stood at midfield down by four against the vaunted Michigan Wolverines. With only 4:29 left in the game, it was up to quarterback John Stocco and the Badger offense to win it for their team and save what was then an undefeated season. Stocco proceeded to lead his unit 48 yards in eight plays down to the Wolverine four-yard line, and after two incomplete passes, faced third and goal. The junior took the snap on the next play and ran for the final four yards and the game-winning touchdown.Wisconsin’s passing game has traditionally been something of an afterthought in Barry Alvarez’s run-oriented offense, where games traditionally have been won at the line, not in the air. However, Stocco and the passing game, despite past criticisms, have done their part to fit into that scheme, and they have done it exceptionally well of late.”The offense is clicking at all cylinders,” wide receiver Brandon Williams said. “We just try to throw the ball, run the ball, and keep the chains moving.”In Wisconsin’s last three games, Stocco has completed 52 of 81 passes (a completion percentage of 64.2) for 835 yards and eight touchdowns, compared to a 58.3 completion percentage, 581 yards and four scores in the first four games. Since the Michigan game, he has thrown for 278.3 yards per game and has raised his quarterback rating from his 127.39 to 150.03, good for third in the Big Ten.The improvement has shown in Wisconsin’s receiving corps as well. Stocco’s biggest targets, Williams and Jonathan Orr, have also been the biggest beneficiaries of the surge in the passing game. Williams has caught for 327 yards and three touchdown passes in the last three games while Orr has been on the receiving end of five scores in that span. All the while, they and the other receivers have seen more and more balls thrown their way.”It does add a little more incentive,” said Orr of getting more touches the last few games. “One of the reasons why we’re able to put it in the air a little more is because we’ve been so successful in the run game.”Standout tailback Brian Calhoun’s success in the run game has also led to increased opportunities in the air. However, the junior has done his part to aid the Badger passing attack. With 324 receiving yards on the season, he has proven himself an effective target coming out of the backfield, when all other options are covered.”It’s a way to get the ball into his [Calhoun’s] hands,” said co-offensive coordinator Paul Chryst of Calhoun’s receptions this season. “I think it’s just an extension of the passing game as much as anything.”Perhaps the biggest advantage of an effective passing game is the ability to come from behind. Any team that relies as heavily on the running game as much as the Badgers has trouble moving the ball down the field in tight situations, but with Stocco more comfortable with the offense, no game has been out of reach of late.With the game on the line against Michigan, Stocco handed the ball off five times to Calhoun, but also completed three critical passes to get the Badgers in a first-and-goal situation. Against Minnesota last week, with the Badgers down by 10 with less than three minutes left, Stocco completed four of five passes, including a 21-yard score to Williams to pull within three.”I do think [Stocco] is playing with confidence, and he should be. I’m sure there is a growth that he is going through and hopefully will continue to,” Chryst said.The passing game looked good even in the loss to Northwestern. Orr caught two touchdown passes within a minute and a half to bring Wisconsin within three points of the Wildcats, and even though the Badgers came up short in the end, Stocco finished the day with 326 yards on 24-for-31 passing. That recent explosiveness has given the offense the potential to keep defenses off-balanced every time it steps on the field.”Our role changes from series to series, from week to week,” Orr said. “Sometime we are asked to be that big-play guy, and that happens to be our role for that week.”last_img read more