Lightspeed Champion reveals secret musical powers

Dev Hynes speaks about his synesthetic 'gift' for the first time

Lightspeed Champion has special synesthetic powers which help him write music, a US academic has claimed.

Speaking to Dr Leah Kelly of The Rockerfeller University, Dev Hynes revealed he “sees” music when he hears it and therefore is classed as having synesthesia, a condition whereby one type of stimulation evokes the sensation of another.

In an article written by Dr Kelly and posted on, Hynes likened listening to music to “staring at moving pictures”.

He explained it’s “so overly natural I almost blank it out. It’s like breathing,” adding that it’s thanks to this ability that he can play almost any instrument.

“I can play anything because I see it, because I just recreate it,” he said. “I don’t have to think. I’m just reading it.”

Although Hynes has been a synesthete since birth Dr Kelly notes he has kept quiet about it as he worries he sounds “either pretentious or mental”.

He also admitted his gift can be difficult to manage, noticing “every bit of music in the day” and he has to be selective over which gigs he attends.

Hynes added that he can’t listen to music and cycle declaring: he “will kill himself”.