Roger Sellers is a lot of things. He' s a minimalist composer with a knack for making hypnotic, enveloping songs from a few repeated musical phrases. He' s a gifted musician who is mostly self-taught, having abandoned formal study because it was draining the life from his work. He' s a self-described disciple of Phil Collins. What he is not, however -- despite multiple press reports to the contrary -- is a DJ.
"I started developing a decent following in Austin," he says, "but most of the time when I would play, the press would say something like ' Local DJ Roger Sellers,' or ' Roger Sellers is playing a late-night DJ set.' I think it was maybe because my live set involves a table full of gear, a drum set and headphones, but the average person probably knows more about DJing than I do.'" To combat the misunderstanding, Sellers printed up stickers reading, "Roger Sellers is Not a DJ,"and eventually adopted the alias Bayonne, changing his name without altering his approach. And it' s a good thing: Primitives, Sellers' debut as Bayonne, is a rich, complex work, the kind with no clear rock parallel.
Earlier this year, our ears were treated to the sounds of Roger Sellers for the first time. This Austinite is making music with feeling, using various instruments and visuals to drive that feeling all the way home - and he's just getting started. We've been getting the feeling that Roger's year is about to get massive with lots of exciting things, so we wanted to ask him a few questions and make sure you knew what was goin' on before you blinked and he blew up:
Tell the Feed The Beat community about Roger Sellers in one sentence: Imagine a a blend of Phillip Glass, Animal Collective, and Sufjan Stevens produced mainly through layering loops.
You have a handful of tour dates coming up, along with an appearance at a massive festival in your hometown. What is your favorite part about playing your music for new fans, and for people who have been around to watch you grow? It's always great to play for new audiences on tour, but there's something special about playing hometown shows. I'm always excited to see the people that have been there from the beginning at my shows in Austin. There's always such a warm welcome when I come back and play for my hometown friends and fans.
What is your biggest "must have" while out on tour? When you're on the road, there's a handful of things that you need to take care of yourself or even to keep yourself sane. Sometimes when traveling you can forget to do some very basic things, like staying hydrated, for example. I always carry multiple gallons of water with me so that I can stay hydrated and alert. Also adequate sleep is extremely important, even though it can be hard to attain sometimes.
There are LOTS of different instruments and sounds floating around in your music (which we love) - what instruments do you like to experiment with? Are there any specific influences you draw from when you're writing? I usually don't approach music in one specific way, but there are certain elements and instruments that I will often go back to. A huge go-to instrument for me is my piano. Through my history of writing I've used the piano in many different ways, whether it be the driving instrument of an entire song, or adding subtle details to fluff a song out.
What does the rest of 2015 look like for Roger Sellers? Are you spending the time cooped up with new music, preparing for exciting new things, or hitting the road? (Or maybe all of the above!) Definitely all of the above. I'm beginning to work on new material through the rest of the year but I'll be hitting the road for the first half of October. I'll also be playing Fun Fun Fun fest in Austin this November. It's shaping out to quite a busy year, with a healthy balance of writing, traveling, performing, and planning out the next year.