Last year, we had the absolute pleasure of working with Bayonne as part of our On The Boat series. We brought our film crew to Austin during Fun Fun Fun Fest, where Roger Sellers, aka Bayonne, gave us an amazing recorded performance and even let us film him getting a professional shave — don’t worry, it’ll make sense when you see the videos.
We’ll be releasing the series soon, but in the meantime, be sure to check out Bayonne’s new album, Primitives, which is out today! We have a playlist of songs that served as the inspiration for Primitives below, along with a few questions we asked about his process and what went into creating the release. Enjoy!
When you’re writing new material, do you envision the live performance element from the beginning or does that come after? Is it generally challenging to make that live transition?
Most of Primitives was actually originally written for live performance. Some of the songs I’ve been performing for 5 or so years before the record was actually recorded. It’s not the usual way of going about it, which actually made it difficult to capture the live energy on the record, rather than vise versa.
How long does it normally take to fully conceive all the layers and sounds that make up each of your songs, and how many different variations tend to exist during the writing process?
It really depends on the song or situation I’m in, regarding length of time. Primitives was written (and many of the loops were recorded) over a long period of time. I can say it’s a much more meticulous process than any other kind of recording or writing I’ve ever done because I tend to pay closer attention to the production. I feel like music based mainly on loops should require closer inspection.
Even though classical training and music theory felt restrictive to your creative process, do those elements play a role in how you write music now?
They absolutely do. As much as classical studies felt restricting as a writer, it really helped me as well. I learned so much about theory that I still use to this day. Much of the aural studies also helped develop my ear and intuition, which has been a huge factor in my execution.
You’ve said that you want your music to be an emotive expression. What would you say was the strongest emotion you felt while recording Primitives?
I went through years of so many different emotions while creating Primitives. Making the album was a way of bringing them all together in one place. Music is all about emotion to me, whether it’s sadness, happiness, excitement, regret, or whatever. At the end of the day, I want it to heighten the listener’s emotions, regardless of what it is.
Have you met Phil Collins yet? What would you ask him if you could?
I have not met Phil Collins. It would be super surreal meeting such a childhood hero. I’d probably ask him a bunch of stuff about the Alamo.
How was your first professional shave? And how was it knowing you were being filmed for your first professional shave…
First real shave was nice. It’s something I’ve always wanted to try just for fun. It certainly is a little unsettling having cameras in your face doing anything for the first time, but it was all in fun and for the video so I didn’t mind.
3/25 – San Francisco, CA @ Rickshaw Stop
3/25 – Denver, CO @ Lost Lake Lounge
4/10 – Detroit MI @ Marble Bar
4/11 – Toronto, ON @ The Drake Hotel
4/12 – Montreal, QC @ Le Divan Orange
4/13 – Allston, MA @ Great Scott
4/15 – Philadelphia, PA @ Coda
4/16 – Washington D.C. @ Rock & Roll Hotel
4/18 – Asheville, NC @ The Mothlight
4/19 – Birmingham, AL @ Saturn
4/20 – Tallahassee, FL @ Club Downunder
4/21 – Nashville, TN @ The High Watt
4/23 – Norman, OK @ Norman Music Festival
4/25 – St. Louis, MO @ Firebird
4/26 – Bloomington, IN @ The Bishop
4/30 – Austin, TX @ Levitation Festival
5/27 – George, WA @ Sasquatch Music Festival