Dev Hynes – Does Rock’N’Roll Kill Braincells?

Testing musicians’ memories after a lifetime of abuse. This Week: Blood Orange's Dev Hynes

You performed your debut Lightspeed Champion single ‘Galaxy Of The Lost’ dressed as Darth Vader at the NME Awards 2008. What colour lightsaber does Darth Vader fight with?
“Red. That’s basic Jedi knowledge!”

From what pizza company have you ordered on the front cover of Test Icicles’ album, ‘For Screening Purposes Only’?
Correct. What’s your preferred pizza topping, Dev?
“I tend to have prosciutto, you know, like thin slices of ham. But I am also a fan of pineapple on pizza.”

You co-wrote ‘Me and You’ for The X Factor’s Diana Vickers’ debut album, ‘Songs From The Tainted Cherry Tree’. Why was Diana given a week off during the The X Factor in 2008?
“Was there a death in the family?”
Wrong. She had laryngitis
“I was going to say she lost her voice but I thought they wouldn’t let someone have a week off for that.”

Which two cast members of Jersey Shore did you have your photograph taken with when you performed ‘Forget It’ as Blood Orange on MTV’s It’s On With Alexa Chung in December 2009?
“JWoww and Sweetheart. I have no idea how I remember that.”
Correct. Sammi Sweetheart and Jenni JWoww. Are you a big Jersey Shore fan?
“My girlfriend and my roommate watch it all the time so maybe it seeps into my brain. As someone who watches a lot of TV, I find it completely unwatchable. But I really want to see The Only Way Is Essex. It started after I moved [to America] but I grew up in Essex. I talk about it to people all the time.”

There is footage of you performing ‘Adam’s Song’ by Blink-182 with Florence Welch on YouTube. ‘Adam’s Song’ references lyrics from which other song?
“(Starts singing). I didn’t even think it referenced another song.”
Wrong. The lyrics “I took my time/I hurried up/The choice was mine” reference “Take your time/Hurry up/The choice is yours” from Nirvana’s 1991 song ‘Come As You Are’
“That was actually in my kitchen. We did it for fun and there happened to be a guy filming. When we used to play shows together we used to do tons of covers, and that was one of them.”

US X Factor judge and Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger once claimed you were “real hot”. But it’s unlikely you’re in with a chance because she’s going out with Lewis Hamilton, who came in what position in the recent Korean Grand Prix?
“Holy crap! I’m going to guess he came in third.”
Wrong. Second

Name three other bands who played T4 On The Beach when Lightspeed Champion appeared in 2008
“Oh, man. Kelly Rowland. Dirty Pretty Things. And… oh wait. Sam Sparro.”
Correct. Also Adele, Alphabeat, Cage The Elephant, Scouting For Girls, One Night Only, Five O’Clock Heroes, McFly, Ne-Yo, Hoosiers, The Ting Tings, The Zutons and many more

From what song are the following lyrics? “Undertaking kopyleft while flying sideways/While, down on earth/The primal chaos/Is pulling forward/And there are other threats below”.
“Is that one of my songs? Wait, I know. (Starts singing) The Chemical Brothers’ ‘All Rights Reversed’.”
Correct. Featuring Klaxons and Lightspeed Champion

What Los Angeles road do you walk down in the video to your 2010 cover of Elvis’ ‘(You’re The Devil) In Disguise’?
“Sunset Boulevard.”
Correct. Why Elvis?
“Arctic Monkeys were in New York and recording at Avatar Studios. They finished a day early and gave me the space. I’m always willing to record anything if there’s a chance. I went in with some friends and I guess that song was in my head.”


What position were you in NME’s Cool List 2008?
“Like… 20 or something?”
Correct. Although it’s probably not cool knowing what number you were in NME’s Cool List
“That was a complete guess. Honest!”

Total Score: 7/10

“That’s pretty good. I feel like I’ve learned something.”

This article originally appeared in the November 5th issue of NME