Particle Devotion (formerly Gardens) is a Baton Rouge-New Orleans band that formed in 2013. This orchestral indie rock band is made up of: Brian Bell, Scott Graves, John Mann, Nick Garrison, John Cleere, Chloe Johnson, Ryan Erwin and Clyde Bates. Particle Devotion is releasing their first album on October 22nd of 2015.
We met up with Particle Devotion’s lead singer, Brian Bell to get the low-down on Particle Devotion. Brian Bell grew up in Tampa and started playing music in elementary school. He moved to Baton Rouge and studied percussion as a performance major at LSU. Brian recently relocated to New Orleans but remains engaged in the Baton Rouge music scene.
JF: How / When did Particle Devotion form?
Bell: Particle Devotion was the result of a year of song writing I did in Tampa, Florida the year after I graduated from the LSU School of Music. I was in this dark place in my life after college. The band is mostly a result of having a really beautiful couple of years in my life followed by a couple really shitty years of my life and not really knowing how to cope with that and missing something that I knew was gone. I felt really inspired and there was this outpouring that happened. The whole time I was away, I was having phone conversations with Scott Graves and with John Mann and I was letting them know, ‘I’m writing this stuff, I feel good about it. I’m thinking about moving back to Baton Rouge.’ I moved back to Baton Rouge in 2013 and that began a long period of time of bringing my demos to those guys and fleshing it out. We took my starting points and everyone put their spin on it. It started with John and I doing a duo set and the band grew from there.
JF: Where did your new name come from? / Why did y’all change names?
Bell: The new name comes from a lyric from one of our songs. It is a nice enigmatic phrase that encapsulates the whole image of what the record is about.
We changed the name for practical reasons, there were a lot of other bands with the name Gardens. We didn’t want to approach a national stage or release something that we wanted to tour with and have a band name that people already had. Particle Devotion is a unique phrase; it makes finding our band a lot easier.
JF: Where did you record your album?
Bell: We recorded in two different locations. We recorded at Baton Rouge Music Studios, a local music school, recording space and performance venue where some of our band members have taught. They had just constructed a new studio space. A lot of the initial tracking was done there. Doug Gay, the owner of BRMS allowed us 24-hour access and Baton Rouge Music Studios was incredibly supportive. It was totally great.
Everything else was done at the bands house in the Garden District. We made the record for free; we did it with our friends and on our time schedule. We did it in really comfortable environments and we could stay up until 5am bouncing around ideas. Ryan Erwin, one of our band members, produced our record. He did an amazing job and literally put in hundreds of hours to make this thing happen.
JF: What is unique about this album?
Bell: On an emotional level, it is the most honest work that I feel like I’ve ever made. I would hope that what seemed like really personal experiences and confessional song writing has something in it of the universal and relatable. I would hope that someone finds this record and it makes them feel the way that all of my favorite records have made me feel and been there for me when no one else was there. I hope that it creates some feeling for a person, some feeling of the truth and of beauty.
On a physical and technical level, I think there is something to it. Objectively, it is a grandiose, emotional and large-scale record. I think the performances that everyone gave are incredibly beautiful and virtuosic. The whole album has this feeling of being very intense and honest and I would hope that someone else would find it and feel moved by it. My hope is that people would join us in the space we were in when we were writing and recording this album.
JF: What is the future of P.D.? / What do you hope to see happen?
Bell: We have all wanted to be on the road together for a long time. We would like to embark on a modest touring schedule and hope to take it on the road for longer periods of time and share it with as many people as we can. We made something we believe in so much; we think it’s so beautiful and if you let us play it for you, I think you will think so to.
Other than that, I think we are excited to start in on a second album. We’ve been working on this material for a really long time and we feel like we have finally got it crystallized into its definitive form. Now that that is done, we’re excited about a second album and seeing where that goes.
Look out for their debut, self-titled, full-length album, "Particle Devotion" available for sale on October 22nd! It will be available as a hard copy (CD) and as a pay-what-you-want digital download via their website.