Contributors Grace Eire and Clay Pacelli saw Bayonne live in studio last week. Here’s a rundown of the otherworldly experience.
Clay: I wish you could have heard what we heard, because it was pretty incredible. I had seen Bayonne a couple years back opening for Minus The Bear and wasn’t especially blown away, but I figured opportunities to hear a musician live in studio shouldn’t be passed up. Now that I’ve experienced Bayonne in a properly tuned environment, I can easily say my previous impression was completely incorrect. Dude can play.
Grace: Honestly, I’d never really heard of Bayonne before this event. I kind of responded willy nilly because I saw free drinks and snacks and because a listening party through really fancy Sennheiser headphones sounded like a really cool experience I wouldn’t have the chance to be a part of again any time soon.
Clay: Full disclosure, Man Made Music teamed up with Sennheiser and Bayonne to play his new album live in studio through some of their incredible headphones and invited us to check it out. The free snacks and beers were a nice bonus.
Grace: Artists like Bayonne simply aren’t really on my radar. I somehow am drawn to crusty punk music and super mainstream pop these days, couldn’t tell you why. Anything in between those two opposites hasn’t resonated with me as something I want to come back to again and again.
Clay: Same, my tastes are all over the board but Bayonne was always just outside my periphery. Not anymore!
Grace: However, something told me I should go to this, if for nothing else, the unique experience.
They split us up into two groups since there was a limited amount of headphones available, I got a red brain stamp on my hand indicating I was on the A-side of the album. Clay and I and the rest of us red brains were ushered into the studio, which was decorated to look like some kind of coffee shop in Bushwick even though it was on the penthouse floor of a Wall Street building. The entire Man Made office was very cool.
Clay: Even the audience was cool. It felt like a scene from Nick And Nora’s Infinite Playlist, in a good way. Very new New York.
Grace: With a little introduction on how to use the headphones (you turn the volume up….), Bayonne came into the room to set up and play.
Clay: When you think of some of the great studio artists of the mid 20th century, Brian Wilson comes to mind, using the studio itself as an instrument, we got to see and hear that happen right in front of us. Bayonne played the room live. Guitars, keyboards, drums, the physical space itself was one of his instruments. And the Sennheisers were an amazing way to listen.
Grace: The headphones were incredible. So much more detail and clarity than what you could ever get from live speakers blasting into a room. It was like I was in my own little world or personal show, just me and Bayonne taming his extensive gadgets with impressive ease like he was born with a dang looping pedal in his hand.
Clay: Roger Sellers is pretty unassuming, he looks like a regular guy until he gets behind his gear where he transforms into a mad scientist of sound, a kind of Thomas Dolby for the new millennium, blinding us all with science. Those orange NASA sneakers he had on were pretty rad, too.
Grace: They couldn’t have chosen a more appropriate artist for this event. I was cheesing with a big grin the whole time because the sound that was being filtered directly into my brain was so big and present, and so complicated. You’d miss so much seeing a typical live performance.
Clay: Seriously. Nothing beats live music in a club environment for a truly visceral experience, but this was on a whole other level of audio clarity and precision.
Grace: Occasionally I’d lift the headphone from my ear and hear nothing but the live drums getting absorbed by the studio walls to bring myself back to reality. Experiencing live music like this was such a treat. It made me think about the way I take in music, and what it means to give a live performance. Bayonne’s performance was absolutely enhanced by this intimate, crystal clear sound.
Clay: I’ve never attended a silent disco before, but I can imagine with the right equipment you’d get a pretty similar experience. I can see the appeal.
Grace: For side B, we were allowed to post up in an adjacent studio and watch it through the glass. It felt so crazy cool to hear music in this setting, next to a giant soundboard with a free beer. I couldn’t have left happier and more refreshed. Sometimes reminding myself to stray from routine is the best thing I can do, and this immersive experience was exactly what I needed.
Clay: Agreed, completely. I’ll be saving up for a pair of Sennheisers so I can relive the moment listening to Bayonne on my commute.