I first saw Hey Champ, made up of Saam Hagshenas, Jon Marks and Pete Dougherty, open up for Sebastian Tellier at Schubas; from just one show I could tell that their clean yet intelligent sound was going to become a staple of Chicago’s music scene. Since that December night, it feels like they’ve been beating on drums and bouncing on stages all over the city and beyond, recently getting off tour with Lupe Fiasco and about to start a Spring tour with The Sounds. I talked to the guys at their Chicago studio as they finished up recording their first full album set to release this summer.
by Wilson Standish of Boy Kings
Boy Kings: Where does the name come from?
Hey Champ: Winning a lot of burgundy participation ribbons at field day.
Boy Kings: What void in the music market did you guys feel you were filling when you started?
Hey Champ: We see ourselves as an indie-pop band that's not of afraid of electro-house production. Our goal is to maintain a live rock show that incorporates those electro elements without using them as a crutch.
BK: How would you describe your music?
Hey Champ: Dreamo.
BK: What music do you listen to for inspiration?
Hey Champ: Metallica, Ride the Lightning. Paul Johnson. Beatles, White Album. League Unlimited Orchestra, Love and Dancing
BK: Seems like you guys have gained a lot of momentum fast. What have the last six months been like?
Hey Champ: Bling, cars, homes, bitches: how many ways can we spend these riches?...Not. We've made a ton a progress from first hearing “Cold Dust Girl" at Chicago clubs, to signing with Lupe [Fiasco], to finishing up our debut album, but on the other hand we aren't pampered rockstars yet (i.e. we broke as hell).
BK: When are we going to see a full album?
Hey Champ: It's done, it's the best thing that all three of us have ever heard (laughter with abrupt cutoff punctuated with fingersnap), and it'll be out this summer.
BK: What’s the overall theme or sound of the full album?
Hey Champ: Expansive; the sounds of tomorrow, the music of yesterday.
BK: With baseball season coming are you guys Cubs or Sox fans?
Hey Champ: Cubs.
BK: When you’re not performing, what’s an average weekend night in Chicago like for you?
Hey Champ: Some of our favorite spots are The Burlington (coat factory and the bar), The Hideout, and Smartbar. A lot of weekends have also been spent nerding out in the studio, it's weird, the bigger we become, the less rockstar we get.