Dylan Champagne sings about what everybody sings about: love, death,
crimes against humanity, the apocalypse, beauty, regret, dreams, space,
time, trains, surrealist painters, abandoned theaters, alcoholism,
veterans, isolation, salmon fishing, exploding ships, sea-birds, scars,
wine, medical conditions, star-crossed lovers, suicide, homicide,
cemeteries, the brutality of social Darwinism in elementary school...
Dylan performed and recorded his debut solo album "New Equation" himself,
in his basement. The mixes walk a tenuous line between lush and minimal,
and the tone of the recording has been described as "haunting" and
"intimate." Dylan's melodic vocal stylings could be compared to Nick Drake
or Iron and Wine, though tonally, thematically, and compositionally the
songs might be likened to Nick Cave or even Tom Waits.
The palette includes layered vocals, piano, acoustic and electric guitar,
drums, concertina, violin (Joan Wilson Rueter), backup vocals (Val Esway),
electric bass, the occasional synthesizer, and various extra percussion /
noise. It was mastered by award-winning engineer Myles Boisen who says of
the album: "for every moment where you envision the singer hunched over a
beat-up acoustic guitar in his darkened bedroom, there are the luminescent
moments of literate, even philosophical brilliance, deliciously-crafted
hooks, and musical surprises."
The album is a new direction for Dylan, who spent the last 8 years in the
Oakland math-punk band One Step Shift.
Dylan first began making music in junior high school, inspired by bands
like Suicidal Tendencies, Minor Threat, Victim's Family, No Means No, and
Operation Ivy. During this time, he sang with questionable results in
several bands (most notably in a short-lived one named DOG with Asthmatic
Kitty recording artist Rafter Roberts). Somewhere along the line he picked
up guitar and piano.
Later, after getting an audio engineering certificate at the Conservatory
of Recording Arts and Sciences, he secured an internship at world-famous
recording studio Prairie Sun, where he had the opportunity to set up mics
for a Tom Waits public service announcement about heroin, wrap cables for
a Rambling Jack Elliot session, and bias machines, patch cables and take
notes for a Steve Albini / Palace Brothers session.
In 1999, inspired by bands like Sonic Youth, Unwound, Modest Mouse, and
Drive Like Jehu, Dylan started a 3 piece band called ONE STEP SHIFT. Over
the next 8 years, the band released 4 CDs and a 7inch, and went on several
tours. The band's unique sound was described by reviewers as "technical,
sonic post-hardcore" and "guided and purposeful." When the band broke up
in November of 2007, Dylan recorded "New Equation" and began gigging solo.
Dylan was born in San Francisco and now lives in Oakland, CA.