‘Media In, Media Out’ is just the beginning for Little American Champ

By Ben Tipple

It’s impossible not to be excited by Michigan four-piece Little American Champ. From the opening moments of the adrenaline inducing ‘Media In, Media Out’, the first track on their long-awaited debut full-length, ‘Vacation Ending’, the band definitively cement themselves as key players in the Midwestern punk scene. The track remains persistently in a heightened state, verging on a crescendo that never materialises. Far from frustrating, it’s testament to their ability to play with emotions. A perfect beginning to a record that mixes honest punk with emo sensibilities, similar to a raw Hotelier.

You can stream ‘Media In, Media Out’ exclusively below, and grab a copy of ‘Vacation Ending’ via Save Your Generation Records on the 25th March 2016. We also had a quick chat with bassist and co-vocalist Alex Janis of Little American Champ to find out a little more:

It’s taken 5 EPs and various line-up changes to get to your debut album. What made this the right time, in your eyes?

We finally forced it to be the right time. Some of the songs on the LP were written a couple of years ago. Not to make excuses, but the delay in production was largely the result of bad timing. We had one member quit the day before entering the studio and we had a period of struggling to find a motivated musician to put in the time.

I think that gets lost in music today due to the saturation of bands and releases. It’s easy to throw a lineup together and put out an EP, but the trick is to sustain the ambition and keep pushing for more. When my brother and I started Little American Champ, it quickly became apparent we wanted a band that was always writing and releasing. Conceptually, releasing ‘Vacation Ending’ mostly represents a beginning to us, rather than a milestone. We definitely don’t anticipate the next LP taking five years.

What does ‘Media In, Media Out’ represent, or mean to you as a track?

‘Media In, Media Out’ was one of the last songs I wrote for the LP. I wanted to make a pointed criticism of medical billing of all things, but as I quickly realized, who doesn’t have an opinion? The song is really a juxtaposition between airing an opinion and a criticism of that.

While there is nothing inherently wrong with it, social media has really impacted how certain individuals form opinions. Obviously, the most engaging sentiments on Twitter/Facebook/etc. are provocative and strong. Social Media inserts this impetus to possess a decisive opinion and really discourages nuance. The flow of social media puts an emphasis on action over thoughts and it suppresses a self-interrogation on topics that warrant it.

Media In, Media Out is the manifestation of me attempting to write something very inflammatory about health care in the US and me then realizing that it came off sounding like a self-involved Facebook post

How does it fit into the rest of ‘Vacation Ending’?

I think ‘Media In, Media Out’ provides a good introduction to ‘Vacation Ending’. It’s a song that, lyrically speaking, is a complete 180 pivot in the middle. A break from righteousness directly into self- questioning. Am I doing anything unique here? I’m writing another left wing protest song; a pretty docile prospect for a punk band. At the same time, is there anything more worthy of critique than the US health care system? And yet, am I asserting a seditious position because it’s the low hanging fruit I see on every internet feed, especially given the subculture I occupy?

This ties directly into the theme of ‘Vacation Ending’. Growing up, everyone is confused and impressionable. In particular moments, you anticipate the clarity that maturity and adulthood will bring. However, it seems that once you settle into adulthood you’re even more confused, albeit on a more profound level. I don’t think I’m in anyway closer to “figuring it out”. The stakes get higher and heavier as you grow up and it throws a shade of grey over everything, but that’s not a bad thing.

Americans don’t take many vacations, but we love them just as much as everyone else. Work and obligations take their toll and you need to take a trip. Some spend years waiting for a vacation, but we get to a point where we want a return to the regularity of the grind. “We were ready to come back”. But there’s remorse as you’re returning.

What does the immediate future hold for Little American Champ, and is there a grand plan?

As far as the immediate future, we will be having our release show on March 26th at GTG House in Lansing, MI. We are currently lining up some summer stuff which will include weekend runs through the Midwest and East Coast; the punctuated touring life of full-time employees. We are also playing a local festival this summer that benefits an incredible cause with some pretty exceptional bands, so everyone should be on the look out.

As far as a grand plan, we are working on new material actually. If I don’t keep writing, I can run into a pretty big block that leaves me feeling uninspired. We really want to be a band that keeps churning out material despite our track record. People may not bet on it, but it’s just the beginning. And that’s most definitely a promise.

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