Ancient Champion creates easy listening music for older miscreants and malcontents and anyone else who dares listen. The video for Let's Get Yampi Dancing, the latest Ancient Champion release, has been wholly conceived and created by film maker, writer, and long time Ancient Champion collaborator, Jay Lewis. How do these things happen? By the magic of a hijacked early hours telephone conversation, let's find out. Through the round window.
[3:36 am, 08/06/2021] Ancient Champion: Jay, I am so thrilled with the video for Let’s Get Yampi Dancing. It’s fun, blessed be the fruit, the sequestered ancient man fruit, although admittedly you are not quite so ancient. This is our art. This will endure. Like so many things, where we begin with laughing out loud, at something that seems slightly risible at first… “I am going to compose a punk rock Neal Hefti pastiche,” a tune that has turned out to be maybe the most Neal Hefti pastiche I’ve done since the very first one, A song For Older Skins. You are the video controller, as always. I trust you, and I’ve been making music for a long time and I rarely can trust anyone. What was it I said to you and I can talk a lot, that sent you along your chosen path?
[3:38 am, 08/06/2021] Jay Lewis: I don't think that it was anything you said. Other than 'yeah, do that...' whenever I suggest things to you...
[4:06 am, 08/06/2021] Ancient Champion: I don't think I'd literally said do your best David Attenborough Extinct Creatures of the Future collection... How many pieces? How many individual clips? How many animals are Yampi Dancing!? We should have a contest to count them!
[4:11 am, 08/06/2021] Jay Lewis: I mentioned something about liking the video Tim Pope made for Talk Talk's 'It's My Life'. Which was meant to be just clips of animals, but the record label insisted that the lead singer appeared in it.
He (Mark Hollis) does, but he's standing in a zoo, with sellotape across his mouth.
[4:14 am, 08/06/2021] Jay Lewis: ...I wanted to copy that! But covering your mouth up? Face covering? In the midst of a pandemic? It kinda felt... Tactless
[4:15 am, 08/06/2021] Jay Lewis: (I'm just going to count the animals for you now...)
[4:16 am, 08/06/2021] Ancient Champion: They are looking like the last animals left on earth and really, they are looking like they’re enjoying it. We've worked together a lot, this is your most live animation almost animated Yellow Submarine video yet... Maybe you won't see it that way.
[4:21 am, 08/06/2021] Ancient Champion: Still counting animals? How it is going… Are you counting species, unique appearances, what? What is your formula? Data is so important these days, documentation, data although I often don’t know what it is for.
[4:44 am, 08/06/2021] Jay Lewis: (still counting). It's a jolly tune, it's a lot of fun to listen to. I think it needed something colourful, something bright. I started with the ostrich. I was inspired by an amusing Rhea at a local nature reserve. He's the one that inspired the video.
[4:45 am, 08/06/2021] Jay Lewis: I really should dedicate the video to him.
[4:51 am, 08/06/2021] Jay Lewis: Going back to what you wer saying earlier - my formula was based entirely on my taste. I wanted the ostrich! I wanted the frog! The meerkats were going to be a local gang at the nature reserve, but I found another clip. It was important to have humans in it too. The old guy and the brief glance of you as well... All animals.
[4:52 am, 08/06/2021] Ancient Champion: I am not wholly opposed to appearing in the videos you make. I can never imagine how that would be of benefit to the viewer to view me. If I knew someone who’d made a video with themselves in it I’d ask them why they did it. What was the point. There are many succinct answers I am sure.
[4:52 am, 08/06/2021] Jay Lewis: And I wanted to have a few jokes in there. Tim Pope would have approved.
[5:12 am, 08/06/2021] Ancient Champion: Typically of course, I don’t know Tim Pope. A BBC camera operator? Are they credited at the end of Blackadder? I don't know of them at all.
[5:18 am, 08/06/2021] Jay Lewis: Pop music video director. Mostly The Cure and Talk Talk.
[5:19 am, 08/06/2021] Ancient Champion: The funny amusing cute The Cure ones?
[5:22 am, 08/06/2021] Jay Lewis: Yeah, an entire band in a wardrobe near a cliff. That's them.
[5:23 am, 08/06/2021] Ancient Champion: Oh I liked that one. Ended too soon.
[5:39 am, 08/06/2021] Jay Lewis: You'd have preferred a video for an extended 12 inch version where their bodies float out to sea...?
[5:48 am, 08/06/2021] Ancient Champion: I'd like to see that.
[6:27 am, 08/06/2021] Jay Lewis: (Having finished counting). There are twenty two different animals, including the two humans and the skeleton. I had to include a kingfisher. I'll sneak one into all videos from now on. Like Spielberg's shooting stars or the Inside Number 9 hare...
[6:31 am, 08/06/2021] Jay Lewis: Ive just remembered. The reason why I latched on to the Talk Talk video is because I thought about Ancient Champion's reluctance to appear in front of the camera - and that made the link. You're my Mark Hollis!
[7:11 am, 08/06/2021] Ancient Champion: Let's Get Yampi Dancing. Can you sum up your work in no more than 10 words?
[7:17 am, 08/06/2021] Jay Lewis: Daft. Joyous. Animal Magic. My favourite Champion video (so far).
[7:25 am, 08/06/2021] Ancient Champion: Okay, let’s let it roll…