Austin musician shares new single of kaledoscopic electronics ahead of album release next month!
With his new album out Feb 22nd via City Slang, Austin musician Bayonne, aka Roger Sellers, is sharing a new single & video for title-track “Drastic Measures”. Bayonne is set to embark on his first headline UK tour this March with shows in Leeds, Brighton, Manchester, London & Bristol.
Speaking about the track, Sellers said “Drastic Measures is about the ups and downs of life during intense touring, as well as the mental and physical strain it can require. There are times that can feel super isolating and lonely, along with some incredibly inspiring and memorable times. Sometimes it can feel like you lose touch with your friends and family, which I found to be very difficult at some points over the last few years. It’s a uniquely bittersweet lifestyle that demands plenty of self-care.”
The video was created by Ruffmercy who is known for his work with Thom Yorke, Preoccupations, Suuns. Sellers continues “The video really touches on the sporadic, dizzying nature of life on the road. The imagery of the travel footage and the rapid animation was right on point with what I had envisioned. It was also fun to actually sing and be in the video, which is something I really haven’t done much of in the past.”
Each song on Bayonne’s Drastic Measures is orchestral in texture, unfolding in countless layers and kaleidoscopic tones. With great intensity of detail, the Austin-based artist deepens that sonic complexity by weaving in elegantly warped samples of the field recordings he’s gathered for over a decade. But in its powerful melodies and pristine arrangements, Drastic Measures ultimately bears a pure pop lucidity even in its most grandiose moments.
The new album takes its title from a track that embodies the album’s central theme: the instability inherent in an artist’s life, and the often-futile attempt to attain balance. With its unrelenting urgency and heavy-hearted lyrics, Drastic Measures looks at the disorienting effects of constant touring. “After a while you kind of start to lose touch with home and your friends and your family,” says Sellers. “You come back and feel like you’ve missed out on a lot, like you’re stepping into a whole different life.” And as the album offers up many a transcendent melody and anthemic chorus, Drastic Measures also reflects the volatility of moods within that way of life. “There can be so many highs and lows in such a small amount of time,” says Sellers. “I remember my parents flying to one of my shows in Brooklyn and feeling incredibly grateful that I got to share it with them. Just weeks before that I was touring through Germany, feeling so isolated and lost. The ups and downs can be crazy if you don’t actively try to manage them.”
The crystalline production of the album marks a departure from Primitives, Bayonne’s entirely self-produced and more loosely structured full-length debut. In shaping the immaculately composed album, Sellers partly drew inspiration from the sublime melodicism of 1960s symphonic pop. “I spent a lot more time thinking about the little subtleties than I ever had before, and putting more thought into the meaning behind the songs and the best way to get that across,” he says. “It felt like a natural progression for me—I wanted to make the music more accessible to people, including myself.” Mixed by Beatriz Artola (Fleet Foxes, A$AP Rocky, Adele) and mastered by Josh Bonati (Mac DeMarco, !!!, Zola Jesus)—but fully produced and mostly tracked by Sellers himself—Drastic Measures also finds the multi-instrumentalist enlisting several close musician friends to instill the songs with a more kinetic energy.
Throughout the album, Sellers matches his bursts of experimentation with the graceful piano playing he’s honed since he was a little kid. Halfway through high school, he started writing his own material, and self-recording with the help of his family’s tape machine. By his early 20s he’d discovered minimalist composers like Steve Reich and Terry Reilly, which led him to infuse an atmospheric, ethereal quality into much of his work. And with the release of Primitives in spring 2016, Sellers adopted the moniker of Bayonne as a way to distinguish his more electronically crafted output from his other musical projects. “I’d been playing a lot of shows with a very folk-based set, so using a different name was a way to separate those two personalities,” he explains.
In bringing Drastic Measures to life, Sellers merged his increasingly classic-pop-inspired sensibilities with a production approach closely focused on looping, layering, and overdubbing. “Even if you hear something simple like clapping or finger snaps, it’s probably layered 10 or 20 times,” he says. “I just like to stack and layer everything to get these big sounds, and create a really wide sonic space within the songs.”
No matter how big those sounds become, Bayonne maintains a certain sense of intimacy throughout Drastic Measures—an effect that has much to do with his playful use of the field recordings he’s captured since he was a teenager. “A lot of the time, I put them so far in the background that you might not even hear it,” says Sellers. “But that’s how I like it—I like having these little memories built up and then sticking them randomly in places all over the album. It’s almost like having some kind of diary within the music, and it gives it so much more meaning when I go back and listen.”
See Bayonne live:
Mar 17 Leeds, UK – Oporto
Mar 18 Brighton, UK – The Hope & Ruin
Mar 19 Manchester, UK – Yes, Basement
Mar 20 London, UK – Moth Club
Mar 21 Bristol, UK – The Louisiana
Mar 22 Paris, FR – La Boule Noire
Mar 24 Amsterdam, NL – Paradiso