When we first stumbled across Bayonne’s new album, we were absolutely mesmerized from start-to-finish. This one-man army brings the sensational ability to create an immersive listening experience, both on record and at his live shows, which is no easy feat. After being incapsulated for the better half of an hour, we decided to reach out and set up an interview with him ahead of his show at the Lost Lake in Denver, Colorado. Here’s what went down.

TMN: Hey Roger, welcome to the Mile High City. Is this your first time here?

B: I’ve played here a couple of times, back when I was doing a folk thing three years ago. I’ve been here a lot more than I’ve played here too.

TMN: You’re in the midst of a pretty lengthy tour, which included a few showcases down in Austin for SXSW. As an Austinite, what did those showcases mean to you?

B: It’s good to me because it’s when a lot of my friends and industry folks get to see me in my stomping grounds. And, I don’t have to travel. They’re bigger plays. They’re important plays. They’re comfortable plays. It’s bittersweet. It’s a lot of work and a pain in the ass, but it’s when everyone is in town.

TMN: Also, as someone who calls Austin home, do you all have a secret celebration when SXSW is over so you can resume normal life?

B: (Laughs) Like a Netflix party? Luckily, it doesn’t really get crazy until the music week. Traffic starts to suck the week of interactive, but during the music week – it’s just nuts.

TMN: When we were there, we could feel some tension from some of the locals towards the end of the week.

B: Yeah, like people have outstayed their welcome? I could totally see that. Austin is already not big enough for how many people live there, so when SXSW happens, it’s otherworldly.

TMN: Let’s talk about Primitives, which just released on Mom + Pop records. This isn’t just because we’re interviewing you, we legit mean it when we say – this is one of our favorite albums released this year. Talk to us about how it came to be.

B: Thank you! The songs on the record are based off of loops I’ve been working on for a long time. I bought a looper in college and started performing that way, rather than doing the folkier piano-based thing. So, I just started performing these weird loops, and I was also doing folky shit under Roger Sellers, so the songs have been written for a long time. Six out of eight of them have been growing through live performance for a long time. I never actually thought I’d release a full record though.

Out of nowhere, I just decided to do it. It was hard. I had to be super meticulous to keep the energy. I added some stuff to it and kept it warm and new for me. It worked out really well, I think! I already knew how to perform it live, because I had been playing it for five years or so.

TMN: I’m a huge nerd when it comes to concept albums – from De-Loused in the Comatorium to The Wall. This listens like a concept album, but I never label one as such until I hear from the artist.

B: I wanted it to work start-to-finish, but there’s no straight-up philosophical concept behind the album. It’s just the songs. But, I did want it to work the way I played them live. So, it’s kind of a concept album in my own, personal way. But, not as a meaningful concept way. It’s just the music itself.

TMN: At what point did you decide to dive into the whole “one man act” thing? Was it a slow transition, slowly building everything out, or did you just dive in and develop everything for your live performance.

B: It was kind of both. I had just started performing live before I bought the looper. It was gradual and it was something I wanted to do. It happened naturally too. I always wanted to be able to perform my music live and this gave me a way to do it. I really just started experimenting, wanting to do weird shit, and playing open mics. It didn’t really matter what I was doing at that point. I thought it was fun, really.

There wasn’t any one moment where I was like “I gotta do this!”

TMN: What exactly is the technical set-up you’re working with?

B: It’s really rigged up. I don’t use any software or a computer. Well, they’re technically computers, but I’m not using any programs like Ableton or anything. I have everything plugged into the mixer. All my vocals might be going through a vocal effects processor. I have samples on iPods that are going through an effects processor. It’s really rigged up.

I have the two drums, which are sent into the mixer. Then, that’s all going into a compressor, which is all going into the looper. I use the looper as a sampler, as well.


TMN: What’s on deck for the rest of 2016? Obviously, you’ll be promoting the album, but any festival appearances or anything like that?

B: Yeh. Doing Levitation in Austin, which I’m really stoked about. It’s one of my favorite festivals. The line-up is ridiculous. Sasquatch up in Washington. Looks like I’ll be going to Europe in May. I have some more festivals, but I can’t announce them yet.

TMN: Alright, let’s switch it up with a few non-music questions. Who has the best BBQ in Austin?

B: I would say go to Lockhart because that’s where the really good BBQ is. I haven’t had all of the staples yet, but I would probably say Franklin’s. Actually – Live Oak! That’s my favorite spot in Austin. Their BBQ sauce is unreal.

TMN: What’s the best part about living in Austin, and what’s the worst part about living in Austin?

B: The good thing is it’s a beautiful little spot in the middle of Texas, which is not always the most beautiful. It’s a cool, creative city – more of a liberal place. There’s a ton of musicians and good people. They’re my kind of people.

The worst thing is the growth and how exponential it’s been. It’s difficult to get around, especially during SXSW or ACL. Anytime anything is going on, it’s overwhelming.

TMN: Dream collaboration, dead or alive, who would you pick?

B: It’s always changing – whatever I’m listening to at the moment. Someone like Jonny Greenwood/Radio Head, if we’re talking dream collaborations. But, there are a lot of reasons for that, including notoriety. I would love to do something with Wye Oak too. They’re one of my favorite bands.

TMN: Considering you have the best mustache in music, who has the second best?

B: (Laughs) I don’t have the best mustache in music, but I would say Alex from Wild Child. His is better.

TMN: Last one – if your music were an animal, what would it be?

B: A big cat. A big lion. It’s primitive and it feels like it makes sense. Or a house cat because it’s repetitive. My cat is repetitive and gets annoying, so…yeah – repetitive and annoying house cat!
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