First things first; bands can and should be important. I remember the first time I listened to Needle in the Hay, Eleanor Rigby, Hallelujah; these were Moments. Real Moments in my life proving to me that music is a true Art form capable of bringing both heartbreak and perspective. The music these bands/artists created captured something about the human experience and put it on display with a frailty so intimate that one could begin to use the word "damaged" in a good way; Damaged like a pair of well-worn hands.
With minds, hearts and hands The Champion and His Burning Flame is searching for the importance in Art. Some day He'll find it, trap it, teach it to sing, and then you'll be in for it; yes, in for it.
The Champion began as a friendship between Dave and Trevor; two young song writers who are heavily influenced by pop music, literature and friends. After a summer recording session, two of those friends, Jeremy and Tim, joined the band and the foursome set to work on their first project. The result is an indie-pop EP, that is both full of energy and thought-provoking; two qualities that also describe their live shows. The Champion seeks to initiate a dialogue about what it means to be both human and an artist.
-Excerpt from Paste Magazine Online October 6th, 2008-
At a little more than a year's worth of bandship, this could be considered a fledgling pursuit. However, there is a chemistry and honesty in The Champion and His Burning Flame's inaugural effort, The French EP, that begs for listening, pondering and then listening again. Twenty-two minutes and change span six chapters, each portraying an observation of social interaction.
"One of the things we have learned the hard way through this band is the dynamics of the relationships of people," Trevor Nyman says. Both he and Dave Arnold were entering this new set-up after having to ask a close friend to leave their band. This experience led them to spend a year evaluating their priorities for their next endeavor—a year that seems to have impacted their songwriting.
"A lot of the songs that we write about in the Champion are very centered on things like redemption and forgiveness, which are really unique to the human experience," Nyman continues. "We see a lot of beauty in those redemptive qualities and even everyday relationships, like the buddies in your band."
Nyman studied philosophy and spent the past two years teaching special education. This has prompted him to conceptualize a series of children's novels based on the ideas they have created as a band that comprise a larger story as a series of vignettes. The novels will parallel each forthcoming album from the Champion. It's just one example of how the band hopes to grow into something multifaceted.
"We see the project ultimately as very multimedia and community-centered, almost like an organism, under the banner of The Champion and His Burning Flame," he says. "We are really excited for the Champion to almost take on a persona of its own and be an umbrella where a lot of different people can come together."
One way this is currently being realized is the band's contribution to Seth Worley's independent film The Time Closet. The first feature-length movie that the band has scored (Arnold has scored short films in the past), the project is expected to be submitted to various festivals in the coming year. The band wants to see film involved in their performance someday, too, along with the talents of writers, painters and other musicians.
"Ideally, we would love to take an audience member through this multimedia expression where you start at the beginning of a show that would tell a story, and ultimately come to some kind of conclusion," Arnold says. "That way, it really takes the focus off of us and points people who identify with our music to something bigger."
The name of the band itself started with Nyman's nickname in high school, but has since evolved into something deeper. The band defines the champion as someone who does not just succeed at winning, but someone who is fighting for a cause. "We really don't want to seem self-righteous; that's not what we're about," Twinem says. "But we don't want to shy away from who we are either."