Gig preview: Champs at The Hop, Wakefield

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Isle of Wight-based duo Champs have released both their debut and second albums in the space of just one year.

Their first record, Down Like Gold, was released in 2014 to general critical acclaim. Their second album, Vamala, was released just a few weeks ago to even more acclaim. This new album marks a definite progression for the young duo, who have gone in a more pop-oriented direction this time around, compared to the folky roots of Down Like Gold.

“We had songs ready to go in a sense.” explains David, one half of the band’s singer/songwriter team. “A lot of the songs were songs we’ve had for quite a long time, and some of them were quite new ones. We are always writing songs and always demoing them, so we had these songs all demoed. We just took them into the studio, played them to the producer and just sort of did it, ha-ha. It took two weeks, I think all in all to make the album.

“We didn’t want to do the same thing again, we wanted to have a progression. The first album is kind of a bit more lo-fi, folky; we wanted to make an album that’s a bit more poppy. A bit more hi-fi, I suppose. We basically just wanted to do the songs justice as well as we could. The producer we were working with has a sort of bravery in the studio.”

The unusual and largely unheard of title for this second album is taken from a Victorian description used by fishermen in the south of England, according to David, and pays tribute to the duo’s home.

“Vamala is an old Isle of Wight word. We are from the south coast, and in that part of the Isle of Wight there’s a lot of fishermen. Vamala is a word that is in the Isle of Wight fishing community for a type of storm that happens on the south coast.

“There’s a weird storm that can happen and it comes on really fast, obviously if you’re a fisherman that can be really dangerous. We sort of found this in an old Victorian book, it’s a word that sort of only exists in that part of the Isle of Wight, and it only exists in word of mouth. We thought it was really cool and that we should make that known as a thing.”

Champs play at The Hop, Wakefield tonight. For more on the band visit