Brothers David and Michael Champion first started playing and writing songs in their teens when their dad bought home a rugged old second hand guitar from a charity shop. The boys grew up on the quiet and scenic pastures of the Isle of Wight and have been recording together since 2001.
Now the Champions are back as part of the appropriately named Champs- a three piece featuring David and Michael Champion playing alongside fellow Islander Tom Gardner of well-known Isle of Wight indie rock band The Bees.0, when they released an EP as part of indie rock band The Shutes, who recorded three records and embarked on a European tour before going their separate ways.
I first came across Champs when they sent out an appeal on the community-focussed Isle of Wight blog On The Wight, the purpose of which was to ask swimming pool owners if they would allow the brothers to jump into their pools as part of a concept for a music video for the title track of their first EP Spirit Is Broken.
Having started out playing in local churches and at Island music festivals, Champs have rapidly caught the attention of the indie music scene. They sent their self-recorded single St Peters into BBC Radio 2, which led to them doing a live session with Dermot O’Leary, giving an interview which primarily revolved around the chickens kept in the mum’s garden.
Champs have far more than their domestic Isle of Wight charm to offer. Their beautifully poetic original lyrics combined with catchy yet faintly haunting melody make their songs impossible to cast from your mind once you’ve listened to them. Their soft vocals and tuneful harmonies are reminiscent of acoustic English folk music, but these come along with plugged in indie rock undertones which thrust the classic melodic feel into the modern era.
The band’s original request was honoured by many a swimming pool owner – and the music video became a reality. Since then the EP has spread like wildfire over the internet and has caught the eyes and ears of many a radio DJ. Champs have created for themselves a humble yet dedicated fanbase through social networks and word of mouth, along with a lot of support from family and friends.
New-found fame aside, they still are sure to come home and play in a locally every now and then, playing as part of the Bestival line up and setting themselves up in a Church this summer to play as part of a local fringe festival. That’s not all though – the boys are set to go much further. They have already played several headline shows in London and around Europe, and are even planning heading across the pond to Pennsylvania in November to play in the US for the first time.