Roger Sellers, also known by his stage name Bayonne, has been traveling around the world in support of his record Primitives.
The musician is known for his dynamic movements on stage and his ability to freeze audiences in their tracks with futuristic sound.
“I always just allow myself to act like a nut when I’m performing and just express myself as much as possible and not be afraid and not really think of anything around me,” Sellers said. “I think wearing the headphones is definitely a big help for that, because I can just get into my own world.”
For Bayonne, it’s all about having fun on stage and leaving it all on the table. The first time I witnessed Bayonne live, it was supporting Two Door Cinema Club prior to the release of the band’s latest record Gameshow.
People were antsy to see Two Door, but the minute Bayonne stepped on stage with his trademark headphones and explosive mixture of sounds, the atmosphere completely changed. People were stuck in a trance. Lights, fog and immense heat all came together and provided a new kind of vibe, a tranquil, unique and weird vibe that only Bayonne can produce.
“That was a huge show, I think there were 2500 people there or something. I think that was the biggest one that we did on that run,” he said.
Every show Sellers plays has a different crowd and a different vibe, but he doesn’t let that deter him from his attitude on stage.
“On any tour there’s a lot of differences in the cities and the different markets that you’re playing. Everywhere you play it’s a different room or it’s a different vibe,” he said.
Recently, Bayonne had a gig in support of El Ten Eleven in Philly, but according to Sellers, Philly has one of the toughest crowds to appeal to.
“It’s something that I’ve heard from a lot of people … even a lot of the people there that I was talking to were like, ‘yep, that’s just kind of how it is here,’” Sellers said. “Even the band I was touring with was kind of … they’re the people that sold the tickets and people bought tickets to see them and even when they were playing people were slightly bopping their heads.”
For many artists, getting the attention of the crowd may be difficult, especially when you’re the supporting act. Sellers flips that discouraged feeling off almost immediately and just has fun with it.
“It happens, but then it’s just a flip of a switch I feel like,” Sellers said. “There’s definitely points in the set when you’re playing in front of a rough crowd where you feel a little discouraged, yeah, but you just turn it off real quick and don’t worry about it.”
Primitives is the first release under Sellers’ new stage name Bayonne, but the songs on the debut have been floating around for years. After five years of touring with the tracks, Sellers decided to put it all together and release something that strayed from what he was doing as a folk artist.
“It was a collection of songs that I had been performing live for a long time that I never thought I’d put out. For a long time, I was doing folk music and all this different kind of stuff, and I also had this electronic, looping type set that I had been working on for five years before the record even came out,” he said. “A lot of the songs are really old that I’ve been developing throughout the years. I never thought I would put them on a record … they were just for performance. I guess I just needed to put something out, and I decided to go for that.”
“There’s a lot of attention to detail on the record, so it took like seven to eight months of non-stop work pretty much,” he added.
When asked about the switch from folk to an electronic-type sound, Sellers said the transition was natural.
“I was doing a lot of it at the same time … one of the reasons I changed my name to Bayonne was because it was an electronic thing so people and myself could have a distinction between the two styles and know what to expect a little more,” he said. “It was really just a method of … I wouldn’t really even call it electronic music because most of it is acoustically recorded really. It was just a way to do it and a way to perform it.”
“Whether it’s performance or writing or recording, I always try to keep things as natural as possible and not try to second guess things. I try to do things intuitively.”
Sellers sticks to that “natural” mentality when writing, so much that when it comes to songwriting the process turns into a discovery instead of a set formulaic way of writing. You can hear this process come together in his music. The sounds and loops blend together flawlessly and put the listener in the world I’m sure Sellers gets lost in when he’s on the stage.
When asked about what he thinks fans take away from his music, he paused a bit.
“I don’t know … I know what it feels to me, so if I like something when I first make it then chances are other people will like it. I don’t think I could answer how other people see it … maybe it’s because there’s a lot of attention to detail I guess.”
One thing’s for sure, Bayonne puts everything on the table. Whether you’re listening to Primatives or watching a live set, there’s no doubt Sellers puts his heart into what he does.
You can check out Primitives below.
Featured Image: Pooneh Ghana