Meet The Band: Danny and The Champions Of The World

Before hitting the festival circuit over the summer, Danny and The Champions Of The World have added a final Welsh live date on July 3 in St Donat’s Arts Centre (Atlantic College) at Llantwit Major.

The country soul sextet released their fifth studio album, What Kind Of Love, via Loose Recordings, in June and are currently on a tour of the tour of the UK.

Led by Danny Wilson (Grand Drive), Danny and The Champions Of The World spent much of last year on the road (one such night was captured on 2014’s justly acclaimed Live Champs!), touring across the globe. Following the end of their travels, the band regrouped in the studio to cut ten new songs with home team producer Champs bass player Chris Clarke at his north London studio Reservoir Sound.

The London band hit the road once again in June 2015 to take songs from What Kind Of Love to audiences up and down the country. Andy Howells recently put questions to Danny Wilson.

How did you come together?
The band has kind of evolved rather than springing from a garage fully formed…I was in a band with my brother called ‘Grand Drive’ for many years and when we decided to have a break ‘The Champs’ slowly became a thing… at first it was just a very loose collection of friends from different bands playing some tunes that I had on the go and it’s just organically become a ‘proper’ band…

Where are you from?
We’re from all over really…Australia, Scotland, London…but very much a London band

How would you describe your music style?
The subject matter is very much about ‘our’ lives, our friends, our experiences but I guess the sound is largely influenced by great Rock and Roll music… be that The Everly Brothers, Chuck Berry, Sam Cooke, Van Morrison or Rockpile… If we like it then it’ll have an effect… I’m a big fan of the great British bands of the 70’s who we’re very true to their local roots lyrically but enthrall to the wonderful and exotic sounds emanating from the jukeboxes and transistor radios of the their youth

What’s been your best live experience?
We’ve had so many amazing nights from Nashville to Barcalona to Swansea…We really try to make every night special for both us and the audience…As Springsteen said “Prove it all night, every night”

You have just released a new album What Kind of Love – can you tell us more about that?
It’s the most collaborative album the band has made… co written largely with different band members and friends, self produced in Chris (our bass player) studio with a few mates helping out here and there… it’s about us but very much influenced by the soul and rhythm and blues records that we listen to in the van.. I’m very proud of it.

You’re just coming to the end of your UK tour – how has it been so far and what can we expect next?
More touring to be honest.. it’s really what we’re about… I love the studio but I really feel that music really comes to life in a sweaty club or theatre… it’s a collaboration between the audience and the band… the real thing. We’ll go into the studio again at some point later in the year but the records serve as a document of where we are and a map for what the shows are likely to be based upon..

What can people expect from your forthcoming gig at Llantwit Major’s St Donat’s Arts Centre?
It’ll be great fun..we love playing in Wales and are lucky enough to be able to come back fairly regularly… I’m not a fan of navel gazing or purely ‘promotional’ shows… it’s nice to feel that whatever is happening on stage is special for tonight… tomorrow will bring something else altogether…

Where can people hear your music?
If we’re lucky you’ll maybe hear us on the radio but outside of that there’s plenty online in all the usual places! You can pick our stuff up in all good record shops or you could always take a punt and come out and have a night with us…Looking forward to it.

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