Dev Hynes

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Dev Hynes
Blood Orange (Dev Hynes) at Way Out West 2014.jpg
Dev Hynes performing as Blood Orange at Way Out West in Gothenburg, Sweden, August 2014
Background information
Also known as Blood Orange
Lightspeed Champion
Born (1985-12-23) 23 December 1985 (age 29)
London, England
Origin United Kingdom
Genres Indie pop, Indie rock, Folk, Funk, R&B, New wave
Instruments Vocals, cello, guitar, piano, drums, violin, bass
Years active 2005–present
Labels Domino, Terrible
Associated acts Kindness
Grizzly Bear
FKA twigs
Sky Ferreira

Test Icicles
Carly Rae Jepsen
Florence and the Machine
Emmy the Great
Diana Vickers
Mutya Keisha Siobhan
Theophilus London[1][2]

Devonté "Dev" Hynes (born David Joseph Michael Hynes,[3] 23 December 1985), also known as Blood Orange and formerly Lightspeed Champion, is a British singer, composer, songwriter, producer and author. He has written for artists such as Solange, FKA twigs, Tinashe, Sky Ferreira, Florence and the Machine, Carly Rae Jepsen, Diana Vickers and The Chemical Brothers on their 2007 Grammy award winning album We Are the Night. He is currently signed to Domino Records.[4]

The name 'Lightspeed Champion' comes from a series of comic strips Hynes drew as a teenager in his school mathematics books.[5] Hynes was voted the 49th 'coolest person in rock' in NME's 2007 Cool List,[6] jumping to position 20 in the following year's list.[7] From their formation in 2004 until their break-up in 2006, Hynes was a member of the band Test Icicles, playing guitar, synth, and occasionally performing vocals. They released only one full-length album (For Screening Purposes Only) in 2005.

Hynes released his fourth studio album in November 2013 under his 'Blood Orange' moniker entitled Cupid Deluxe.

Early life[edit]

Dev Hynes was born and raised in Ilford, East London. He was educated at the Chadwell Heath Foundation School, now known as Chadwell Heath Academy.

He has resided in New York since 2007.

Test Icicles[edit]

Main article: Test Icicles

From their formation in 2004 until their break-up in 2006, Hynes was a member of the dance-punk band Test Icicles, playing guitar, synth, and occasionally performing vocals. They released only one full-length album (For Screening Purposes Only) in 2005.

Solo work[edit]

Lightspeed Champion[edit]

In early 2007, Hynes under the name Lightspeed Champion recorded his debut album in Omaha, Nebraska with Saddle Creek producer Mike Mogis, most famous for his involvement with the band Bright Eyes. A number of Omaha-based musicians appear on the record, including Mogis himself, trumpet player and pianist Nate Walcott (also of Bright Eyes), The Faint's drummer Clark Baechle and guest vocalist Emmy The Great – along with moonlighting members of Cursive and Tilly and the Wall.[8] The name 'Lightspeed Champion' comes from a series of comic strips Hynes drew as a teenager in his school mathematics books.[5]

These recording sessions resulted in the single "Galaxy of the Lost", released on 30 July 2007, and the album Falling off the Lavender Bridge, released on 21 January 2008.[9]

Hynes has also recorded a number of bootlegs and unofficial releases, made available to the public through his blog and MySpace.[4] These include an album written and recorded entirely in a day and an EP consisting only of covers of Green Day songs.

Life Is Sweet! Nice to Meet You; the second Lightspeed champion album was released in 2010. Hynes retired the project to focus fully on his Blood Orange project.


The touring band for the Falling off the Lavender Bridge album at various points consisted of friends of Hynes' from other bands, including Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine, and UK singer-songwriter Emmy the Great. Mike Siddell, formerly of Hope of the States, plays violin with the band. He is a prolific musician and a core member of the Brighton based Willkommen Collective, playing with Willkommen bands such as Sons of Noel and Adrian, The Leisure Society and The Miserable Rich. He also plays with Troubles and made a guest appearance on the debut EP by A Genuine Freakshow.

Anna Prior, formerly of Leeds bands Dead Disco and The Ivories, played drums for most of the tour.[10] Other guest members to have contributed in live shows include Alex Turner of the Arctic Monkeys, Faris Badwan of The Horrors, Frederick Blood-Royale of Ox.Eagle.Lion.Man,[11] Jack Peñate and Eugene McGuinness as well as We Are Scientists' Keith Murray on Late Night with Conan O'Brien on 6 June 2009.

Backed by a full band he appeared at the NME 2008 Awards, broadcast on Channel 4 on 29 February 2008, dressed as characters from Star Wars, including Princess Leia on the drums. The band's affinity with Star Wars continued when they played the main theme to the trilogy at O2 Wireless Festival 2008.[12] Hynes and a violinist Mike Siddell began a short US tour in March 2008, ending with an appearance at SXSW 2008. At SXSW they befriended The Wombats, and ultimately supported them at a Royal Albert Hall concert. Hynes also performed with We Are Scientists at Glastonbury 2008, with latter's front man Keith Murray joking to Zane Lowe in a post-show interview that "he owed us a sandwich!".[citation needed] Hynes appeared at Belgian music festival Pukkelpop in August 2008.[citation needed]

By the end of what became a two-year touring period, Hynes had suffered severe damage to his throat, and had to undergo extensive surgery.[citation needed]

He then took a lengthy two and a half-year hiatus from touring, popping up occasionally to play shows in New York and a top billed slot at the Carling Festival in 2009. He returned for a 2-week European tour in June 2010. The touring band for that tour consisted of the band Spacekamp who are also the backing band for Adam Green.[citation needed]

Blood Orange[edit]

Hynes performing as Blood Orange in 2011

With Lightspeed Champion on effective hiatus, Dev decided to concentrate on a new musical project more focused on R&B and electronica called Blood Orange.

Various Blood Orange live performances have taken place in New York and London within November and December 2009, consisting of Hynes, a guitar, and a laptop.

On 17 December 2009, Hynes performed a Blood Orange song titled "Forget It" on the final It's on With Alexa Chung show on MTV. He performed to a backing track dressed in a wizard costume.

Hynes' debut single under the moniker Blood Orange, "Dinner", was released in January on Terrible records, with an accompanying video directed by Alan Del Rio that debuted on Pitchfork TV. Following this, his full-length record Coastal Grooves was released in August 2011 on Domino records.[13] Two tracks from the album, "Sutphin Boulevard" and "Forget It", were released as singles.

The Blood Orange song "Sutphin Boulevard" featured in 17 January 2011 premiere episode of the MTV show Skins.[14]

On 9 April 2012, he embarked on a tour as Blood Orange opening for Florence + The Machine.

In November 2013 Hynes released the second Blood Orange album; Cupid Deluxe. The album features many guest appearances, including performances from David Longstreth (Dirty Projectors), Caroline Polachek (Chairlift), Samantha Urbani (Friends), Clams Casino, Despot, Adam Bainbridge (Kindness), Skepta and more. The album was promoted by three singles "Chamakay", "You're Not Good Enough" and "Uncle ACE". The album was streamed in full on Hynes' own YouTube channel on 5 November 2013.[15] The album also includes a cover of "I Can Only Disappoint U" originally by the British rock group Mansun under the title "Always Let You Down".

In November 2013, Blood Orange first appeared on the cover of The Fader in its 89th issue.[16]

On 8 January 2014, it was announced that Blood Orange was on the line-up for Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio, CA.

In November 2015, a collaborative EP with Connan Mockasin, Myths001, was released [17]

Soundtrack and classical performances[edit]

In December 2008, Hynes was asked on behalf of The British Film Institute to perform the Soundtrack of the cult Hal Ashby film Harold And Maude after a screening of the performance. Hynes then had to cancel this due to an operation he had to undergo on his throat. The event was rescheduled for May 2009. In July 2009 Hynes reprised the soundtrack and performed at Latitude Festival.

In June 2009 Hynes performed at The Barbican in London in commemoration of the composer Moondog. Singing renditions along with London Saxophonic of songs from the Moondog Album "Sax Pax for a Sax". He also sung "Fujiyama part 2" backed by The Britten Sinfonia conducted by André De Ridder and Andi Toma (Mouse on Mars).

In April 2010 Hynes returned to The Barbican to perform with The Triffids for a special concert in honour of their singer Dave McComb along with Warren Ellis, Tindersticks and members of The Brian Jonestown Massacre.

In December an EP titled Bye Bye was released in collaboration with composer Van Dyke Parks.

Hynes scored the 2013 film Palo Alto, directed by Gia Coppola.[18]

Writing and producing for other artists[edit]

Hynes has also written and contributed songs to a number of other acts. His arrangements and vocals have appeared on songs by The Chemical Brothers ("All Rights Reversed", from 2007's Grammy award winning album We Are the Night, which entered the UK Albums Chart at #1), Basement Jaxx (on their album Scars[19]), as well as on Florence and the Machine's No. 1 album Lungs and songs by Solange Knowles.

Hynes has co-written and produced songs for Diana Vickers[20] on Songs from the Tainted Cherry Tree, another No. 1 debutante on the UK Albums Chart. He has also produced and written songs for Theophilus London, including his second album, Vibes, released in 2014, and the 2011 EP, Lovers Holiday, which he also featured on.

Hynes contributed music to the 2010 film MacGruber, including the duet "Rock My Body" with Saturday Night Live cast member Kristen Wiig. In late 2011, he produced Australian noise-pop duo Bleeding Knees Club's debut album Nothing To Do, which was released on 2 March 2012.

Hynes has co-written the song "Everything Is Embarrassing" for Sky Ferreira.

He is currently working on the new Solange Knowles album and on news songs for Mutya Keisha Siobhan and Kylie Minogue.

He worked with Britney Spears on her 8th album, Britney Jean, which was released in December 2013. However he confirmed on Twitter on 6 November 2013 that none of his songs made the cut.[citation needed]

He co-wrote and co-produced Australian singer Kylie Minogue's song "Crystallize", a charity single for One Note Against Cancer.[21]


In March 2008 Hynes self-published a small comic book titled I'm Asleep – Comics, Photographs and Illustrations to mark the release of Falling off the Lavender Bridge. It featured comics by himself, Ferry Gouw, Faris Badwan of The Horrors and Gary Card, and photography by Hynes.

June 2009 saw the release of the book Punk Fiction: An Anthology of Short Stories Inspired by Punk, which featured a short story by Hynes titled "The KKK Took My Baby Away..." (from the Ramones song of the same name), described as a "comedy sci-fi monologue". Proceeds from the book went to the Teenage Cancer Trust.[22]

In October 2009 he also contributed two comics and stories to the group CTRL.ALT.SHIFT's comic anthology as well as being a judge with Marjane Satrapi in judging a national comic competition where winners had to adapt a script written by Hynes. Hynes contributed the stories "Behold, King Listpin III" and "Juice This!". The anthology is titled "Unmasks Corruption". There was a gallery exhibition at London's Lazerides Gallery to coincide with the event which launched at Comica.

His first collection of short stories titled "Bad Era of Me : A Collection of Short Stories by Devonté Hynes" is scheduled to be released by February 2010.


Main article: Dev Hynes discography
Studio albums


  • I'm Asleep – Comics, Photographs and Illustrations (March 2008)
  • Punk Fiction : An anthology of short stories inspired by Punk (June 2009)
  • CTRL.ALT.SHIFT : Unmasks Corruption (November 2009)
  • Bad Era of Me : A Collection of Short Stories by Devonté Hynes (February 2010)


  1. ^ "Test Icicles frontman forms new band | News". Nme.Com. 2006-08-15. Retrieved 2014-07-03. 
  2. ^ "Tue 04/04/06 Naked Babes, Comanechi @ Madame Jo Jo's, London". Gigwise. 2006-04-05. Retrieved 2014-07-03. 
  3. ^ "Devonté Hynes - MusicBrainz". MusicBrainz. Retrieved 1 November 2015. 
  4. ^ a b "Lightspeed Champion Biography". NME. Retrieved 20 February 2009. 
  5. ^ a b "Lightspeed Champion performs live from SXSW". Minnesota Public Radio. Retrieved 20 February 2009. 
  6. ^ "NME Cool List". Archived from the original on 2 January 2008. Retrieved 4 January 2008. 
  7. ^ "NME's Cool List 2008 announced". Twisted Ear. Retrieved 20 February 2009. 
  8. ^ "Lightspeed Champion – artist page". Domino Records. Archived from the original on 20 December 2007. Retrieved 13 February 2010. 
  9. ^ "Galaxy of the Lost listing". Domino Records. Archived from the original on 18 April 2008. Retrieved 13 February 2010. 
  10. ^ "NME". Retrieved 4 January 2008. [dubious ]
  11. ^ "Watch: Lightspeed Champion, Arctic Monkey, Ipso Facto, 'Fred Les' play one-off covers show". Drowned in Sound. Retrieved 22 February 2008. 
  12. ^ "NME Awards 2008". Channel 4. Retrieved 2 March 2008. 
  13. ^ Dev Hynes' Blood Orange. Interview Magazine. 29 November 2010.
  14. ^ Skins › Songs From the Show.
  15. ^ "Youtube Cupid Deluxe (Album Stream)". 
  16. ^ "Introducing The FADER's 2013–14 Now Issue: Blood Orange and Travi$ Scott". The FADER. The FADER. 19 November 2013. Retrieved 4 February 2014. 
  17. ^ "Connan Mockasin / Devonté Hynes Myths 001: Collaborative Recordings Captured in Marfa, TX March 9-16, 2015". Mexican Summer. Retrieved 4 November 2015. 
  18. ^ "The Indiewire Springboard: 'Palo Alto' Director Gia Coppola Lives Up To Her Family's Legacy|Filmmakers,Film Industry, Film Festivals, Awards & Movie Reviews". Indiewire. 2012-10-26. Retrieved 2014-07-03. 
  19. ^ Basement Jaxx unveil guests on the new album.
  20. ^ "Diana Vickers goes for indie debut". The Sun. Retrieved 7 April 2009. 
  21. ^ "Kylie Minogue "Crystallize" (Video Premiere)". Ultimate Music. Retrieved 26 May 2014. 
  22. ^ "You're talking publish...". Lightspeed Champion. Retrieved 7 April 2009. [dead link]

External links[edit]