Hopefully you were lucky enough to catch Bayonne (Roger Sellers) when he was over here on the East Coast for some shows earlier in the month, but even if you missed him, you can certainly still grab a copy of his latest phenomenal record, Drastic Measures (out now on Mom + Pop), for your long-distance listening pleasure. You can also internet-eavesdrop on a phone conversation I had with the looping and layering master yesterday in which we talked about sampling his parents’ oven door to make “Enders”, how he’s incorporated hot sauce into his line of merch, ways he maintains his sanity on the road and MORE:
So are you playing some of these new songs for the first time live on this tour? Or did you have some primer action?
I did a small tour of Europe (mostly the UK, but also hit up a few other spots) before this. So that was a good way to warm up, but yeah, it’s kind of a new set, and a totally different setup; I have a drummer now, and it’s the first time I’m doing it this way.
Cool! So let’s talk about the record, then. What was the seedling for the overall concept? Did it come together piece by piece, or did you have a very specific inception moment with a road map?
A little bit of both. I knew that I was going to make another record, and I’d been working on some stuff, not necessarily with a concept or lyrically or anything, but I had loops sitting around and other things I’d been messing around with that I wanted to turn into something. Once it came time to put everything together and record, I started to develop a concept, started writing the lyrics and going from there.
What’s your ideal creative setup, either when you’re physically writing them, or even just thinking about them in your head? Do you have an environment that feels best to you?
Usually just at my house. I feel like I feel the best just being at home, being able to take my time and pace myself, at least when it comes to the writing part. I like going into the studio sometimes if I want to nail down sometime specifically, like percussion or using an instrument, going in and using vibraphones, stuff like that, but most of the time it’s at home, sitting and making loops on my looper, just nerding out.
And how do you kind of determine that fine line between too much and too little? Do you find the editing process difficult, to know when something is done?
Yeah, that’s a tough one, especially in the mixing process. That’s where I get rather psychotic about not knowing when it’s done. But at a certain point, you just kind of have to let it go, you know? Or I’ll just never finish. I think having another set of ears is a really good way to get to that point, because I’ll just nitpick it, and it’ll never be done. You kind of just have to let it go and do its own thing. It almost feels like empty nest syndrome or something; here’s something that you take so much care of, and then you release it out into the world.
Totally. Now, I’ve heard you have a pretty extensive library of sounds, so do you collect those pretty regularly? Like, just when you’re out and about?
Yeah, most of the time I do. Especially when I’m traveling, I always bring a field recorder around with me. If I hear something interesting, I just record it. I love putting it in my music, and I think I’ll always do that; putting sounds in the background is a lot like journaling, and it just makes the song feel so much more valuable to me. There’s always something I can go back to, like a piece of a memory that’s there.
I think that’s super interesting! What’s the weirdest or most unexpected sound you’ve recorded? Is there one that stands out?
There’s this one…I was at my parents’ house, actually, and I was kind of working on this thing that was supposed to be for a scary movie trailer, and I wanted some of those squeaky, dissonant, metal-type sounds. So I was using my parents’ oven door that has this really crazy squeak to it, and I ended up using it on this record; I manipulated it a lot, put all this delay on it, and it sounds crazy. It’s really crazy. It’s on…the song is called “Enders”, I think it’s track five, and it sounds like this sea creature, like a dolphin or something.
That’s amazing! Well, now that we’ve brought up your parents’ house and we’ve touched on being at home a bit, what does it feel like for you to live these sorts of extremes – the highs of touring, and then the comedown when you get off the road?
It’s rough. I mean, that’s kind of what a lot of the record deals with. That’s been a really hard part of doing this professionally, is learning how to get on and off the road. There’s definitely a post-tour depression that lasts for a couple of days, because it’s just go go go, and then you’re home. It’s really crazy, but I think I’ve learned to expect it. It’s easier to deal with that way, if you just prepare yourself for it. I’ve always said it’s kind of like you’re driving a truck, and you’ve got a big trailer connected to it behind you. The trailer is just like your thoughts or whatever is going on at home, and it’s following you, but then right when you stop it all hits you. That’s just kind of how it feels. It hits you like a ton of bricks.
What’s been important for you, personally, to sort of facilitate that process? What are some things you find helpful in terms of staying centered or grounded in those moments?
The biggest thing I think is just trying to maintain your relationships at home; keeping in touch with your family and friends is super important, because after a long time of heavy touring, home can start to feel like an illusion. Therapy also helps, I think. It’s kind of hard to do it on the road, but making sure you’re in a good spot is important. And also just taking care of yourself physically, you know? It’s really hard to do that, but at least trying…stretching and staying hydrated, not overdoing it.
Definitely. I’m sure eating well also plays a role there, which’ll segue us into what you like to eat when you’re on the road; according to Instagram, you’re pretty big into eating rad stuff while you’re on tour! You’ve also hit some pretty great food cities so far this go-round, so is there anything mind-blowing you’ve had?
Oh yeah, definitely. When I was in New York my manager took me to this Mediterranean place…I forget what it was called, but it was amazing and really close to the venue. I really like Mediterranean food. When I was in Montreal I went to this little pita place that was close to the venue, too, and it was so fresh and incredible and delicious. I think Montreal has some of my favorite food in general. Really good food there.
Totally. I just watched some video the other day of some guy who went around to like twelve different spots in Montreal to find the best poutine, and I was so incredibly jealous. Alright, and while we’re talking food, I’ve also got to ask whether or not you’re still in the hot sauce game for your merch? It seems like you are!
Oh yeah. The hot sauce is still going strong.
And what is your role in all of that? Do you develop the flavors at all, or are you more of like a certified taste tester?
The company that makes it sends me samples, like bottles that I get to try. I want to tell people I’m the one that makes it, but that’s just not the way it works. [Laughs] So yeah, I’m a taste tester and I give the stamp of approval.
Can you handle really intense spice? Like, would you be totally cool and calm in a Hot Ones interview?
Probably not anymore. When I was in my early twenties I was really into that, just wanted to eat the spiciest shit I could, but nowadays I try not to do that. Especially when I’m on the road, you know? I don’t want to get a stomach ulcer or something. I still do go for the hot, though.
God, same! I’m thirty-one now, and I’m just like, I can’t handle that stuff like I used to. It makes me furious! Okay, but back to the music – obviously the focus now is on tour, but do you have a sort of finish line? What’s the plan for afterwards?
I’ve just been putting the record on the priority list, so any touring that comes up, that’s what I’m mostly invested in this year. But I want to get into doing some scoring work. That’s really something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time, and I want to kind of start pursuing that this year on my off time. Also just starting to write again, making that shit whenever I can, and trying to do it quickly. Just get creative again.
I think it makes total sense that you’d get into the scoring space. If you could re-soundtrack any movie in existence, like maybe not scrap the existing soundtrack, but offer your spin on it as an option in the playback settings, is there one you’d want to take a stab at?
In terms of re-scoring something, I’m not sure. But if there was a style of film, like an indie film or something, a Wes Anderson movie or something, that’d be cool. I also think doing cool, modern documentaries would be fun, too. I think I’d be good at that. But I’m not sure, it’s all dependent on what’s available and being approached, I guess.
Do you get much time while you’re on the road to watch movies or TV? Or are you listening to music or podcasts to pass the time? (Or maybe just sleeping when possible?)
I definitely try to sleep. [Laughs] But I don’t really watch much, because there’s usually not time for it. There is definitely time for music, though, because there are extremely long drives. I’ve been listening to a whole bunch of stuff, and I also do podcasts.
What podcasts are you into right now?
Good picks! And I’m gonna let you get back to them (or at least to something which isn’t the sound of my voice) in a second, but to wrap up, fill in the blank: “I hope 2019 will be the year of _________.”
For me, personally, I hope 2019 is the year of inner discovery. That’s the best way I can put it. Personal discovery, self-discovery. Yeah.