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It's All In The Hands

1 May 2012 | 7:57 am | Michael Smith

Showstopping acoustic guitarist Daniel Champagne feels at his best on a stage, so a live EP was the logical release he tells Michael Smith.

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All of 22, Daniel Champagne, who grew up in NSW's south east, released his debut album, Pint Of Mystery, last year. He followed it up with solid touring that took him not only all over the country, but also to festivals in Canada and in Europe, including Belgium's Labadoux Festival. This month he's released a third and live EP, aptly titled Real Live, recorded for the most part at Lizotte's Kincumber.

“I've been playing so many live shows for the last few years,” he explains, “and I haven't spent that much time in the studio, so maybe I'd like to think I'm a bit better at performing than recording and so the best way to do the recording is while I'm performing. I think we had thirty-five shows recorded and all I wanted to do was an EP of six or seven songs and out of all those shows, you could tell pretty soon which ones were going to work and which ones weren't, even when on stage playing the songs. As it turned out, five of the six tracks came from this one show that felt right.

“Technically it's all quite similar from night to night – I usually make the same mistakes occasionally, usually sing the same words hopefully and the guitar parts are all, give or take, quite similar, so yeah, it was about getting the right vibe.”

Originally inspired by his guitarist father rehearsing with his band in their country backyard, Champagne started playing at the age of four, eventually getting tutored in classical guitar for ten years before striking out in search of his own musical voice, embracing everything from two-hander playing techniques to guitar body percussion.

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“It's more familiarity with the fretboard. Playing classical guitar for ten years, I got all the muscle skills to be able to look at the guitar, change my direction and work out the sound that I wanted to try and make my own. When you've got a lot of space you can get really creative and basically muck around, holding down the stuff that sounds good.”