Particle Devotion just wants to play great music. But, like any other successful band of the modern era, the job comes with hustling, gigging and recording.
The Baton Rouge-based band's schedule is stacked in the coming weeks. On Friday, it will perform with Pacifico at Dyson House Listening Room. Doors open at 6 p.m. Tickets are $10. On Aug. 26, Particle Devotion plays a back-to-school bash at The Parlor, which also features performances from Humble Kind, The Easy, Alabaster Stag and Brother's Bear.
The band is currently recording its sophomore album. In fall 2015, the band released its self-titled debut. Guitarist and Baton Rouge Music Studios (BRMS) sound engineer Ryan Erwin was behind the boards, acting as producer.
“A lot of the reason the album feels how it does is because we recorded it live with no click-track,” said Erwin. “Listening to it really felt the way the band's shows felt."
Using the resources at BRMS, the band set out to craft an album with a professional sound within a do-it-yourself framework.
“I think the era of going into big studios with big producers is not the way a lot of great albums are made anymore,” said singer/guitarist Brian Bell. “The bands I was inspired by made records themselves.”
“In the ’60s, ‘70s, ‘80s, if you were a band, you had to be good live, and if you were good enough live, you got lucky enough to get to a studio one day,” said Erwin.
The newer music generation has a more level field when it comes to recording, but that led to a saturation that makes “making it” even harder.
“I honestly think the days of big rock bands are over – a lot of the greats are normal people now,” said Erwin. “Most of the famous musicians of our generation don’t have recognizable faces.”
Bell agreed, adding that the business model of a working musician is different.
“Now, if you are able to sustain touring and live a moderate life, then you are successful," Bell said.
As bands compete in a market that seems infinite, the goal for Particle Devotion is for each album to be successful enough to warrant another.
“Making any work of art is valuable. Making a record and feeling like you created something beautiful is its own end,” said Bell. “Everything after that is, to a certain degree, out of your control.”
Bell wrote the band’s first record while living out of state after graduating from LSU with a percussion degree. New to songwriting, he envisioned soundscapes first and then brought together a band that could bring the music to life. Half of the original line-up were LSU-trained percussionists.
“I think one of the strongest things we do as a band is rhythmic execution,” said Bell. “We’re familiar with highly organized music.”
The band experiments with sound, but lyrical content is its foundation.
“Thematically, (our music) is dark, but it’s tempered by a sense of hope. That’s the common thread I seek in writing – those moments of transcendence,” said Bell. “Whatever inspiration or beauty you see in the things that inspire you, that’s always what you’re subconsciously after to recreate.”