Couldn’t be more stoked to share this album, and interview with one of my new favorite bands, Berlin-New York trio Champyons. A few weeks ago we tried to meet up whilst I was in Berlin (would’ve been kismet) but nonetheless, we still scored this amazing interview with the guys.
Consisting of Kptn (Vox/Keys), Flx (Bass/Guitar) and Tweety (Drums), Champyons is featured on our Left Bank x In the Clouds cassette mixtape—see the part about us loving them.
Check out the interview and some tunes below x
How did you guys meet?
We met in school and started jamming in Phil’s garden house.
Where are you guys from?
We’re all from the west of Germany – we’d been sharing an apartment together for more than two years and turned it into our first little studio. That’s when we really got involved with production processes.
If Berlin isn’t from where you’re originally from, what made you make the move?
We mixed our record in Berlin with our friend Axel Reinemer at his amazing “Jazzanova Recording Studio” (JRS), and we were really picking up great vibes from the local music scene – there are so many talented people in the city and a lot of international transit, so to speak. Berlin feels like a cosmopolitan island in the middle of Europe, both culturally and politically. People are very open minded and there’s a great sense of community. Of course, you can get easily distracted by all sorts of things happening but if you’re ambitious and stick with your vision, the city can be an amazing creative hub for artists.
Any advantages (or disadvantages) of making music in Berlin?
Berlin’s has been building up a reputation for being this super raw and “hip” place and there’s a lot of pretentiousness about it, for sure. But when it comes to musicians, we’ve always found that they’re super open and willing to collaborate. It’s probably a matter of priorities – to some people their social media identity and the whole night life thing is more important than actually getting work done. At the same time, there’s so many people who are really dedicated and that’s what we love!
What made you decide to form this project?
We’ve been doing this together since we were 13 or so. It’s our baby. It took us a long way from being a garage band, so to speak, to get to the point we’re at now. It was really all about discovering our own sound and not being distracted all too easily by all the fast living (and fast dying) trends that keep coming up all the time. We’d been working with several producers but eventually decided to produce ourselves in order to be able to get experimental and follow our own intuitions. In the end, though, creative issues are just one side of the coin. First and foremost, we’ve always been really good friends and that’s what really kept this thing running for such a long time now!
Your musical influences?
We’ve always had this thing for rap, hip hop, funk or soul – there’s something about music rooted in jazz and the blues that keeps inspiring us. At the same time, we’re very open when it comes to musical tastes. We love the Beatles, we love Bach (and the Beatles loved Bach, too, for sure which is a great example for all music being connected somehow 😉 ). In the end, there’s a very simple equation that we keep coming back to: music IS life, and just like in life, you want to keep yourself open for the new and unexpected. If you look at it from such a holistic perspective, it can be very rich and rewarding.
What you would be doing if you weren’t making music?
If you could play with anyone dead or alive who would it be and why?
That’s a tough one! Curtis Mayfield would definitely be on the list – what a great mind and musician.
Alright, and if you could play anywhere in the world where? (this includes outer space)
Haha, we actually talked about this a couple of weeks ago – if Mars is too far, we’ll start with the Moon!
Favorite song you’ve made so far?
Hard to tell. But we’re all really into “Roaming in Paris” and “Cold Wars”.
Current and upcoming music/events we should mention?