New York quartet Bayside have been a part of the punk rock scene since 2000. Prior to the release of their latest album, Cult – we sat down for a chat with bassist Nick Ghanbarian to talk about music, art and touring with Alkaline Trio.
By Mark Plummer
The new album is released soon and fans have already had a taster of what to expect, are there any tracks that you can’t wait to perform that may not have been heard yet?
I think the song called Stuttering is going to be a lot of fun to play. It has a little bit of a different vibe for us.
We all really like Rancid and wanted to have sort of Rancid-ska vibe for the song, so we did our own take on it.
With the cover contest and music video for Hate Me, the promotion for this album has been slightly unusual; what was the inspiration behind all this?
Well it’s our 6th album, so we just wanted to do some things differently this time around – to shake things up. Einstein said it best; “insanity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” We tried things a little different this time around and hopefully it advances us further in our career.
Cult saw the return of Shep Goodman as producer, how important was it to have someone who you’d previously worked with on this album?
It was cool to have someone back in the fold who was so important to us finding our sound 9 years ago. We also just felt comfortable with him in a working sense, so it helps us relax in the studio.
You also worked with Aaron Accetta on this album, how did the combined workforce of Shep and Aaron help to make Cult the record it is?
It’s always good to have a few different ears listening to your songs. You never know who will hear something differently; then something super creative and spur of the moment happens that will take the song somewhere new.
Personally I’m loving the track, Stuttering – it has a great funky bass line, the organ was unexpected and it has an awesome quality about it that just makes you want to move; is there any song that was a joy to write or record?
I enjoyed writing the song Hate Me. It’s a typical Bayside song, but we really tried to mess with the structure in order to keep it interesting. I really like that song a lot.
What’s the story behind the album title and the artwork that goes with it?
We are very proud of our accomplishments over the years. Very few bands get to make 6 albums, let alone more than 1. Our fans refer to themselves as ‘cult’ like, so this is us acknowledging the fact that we have been on a 13 year journey along with them.
The album artwork looks dark and mysterious, but all the symbols reference the 4 band members, all of our previous albums and how we are all interlaced in time. We wanted it to look negative but have positive connotations.
Hopeless Records have got a fantastic roster of bands, how does it feel to be a part of this record label?
We are super happy to be a part of the Hopeless Records family. There are great bands who have all done things the right way over the last 10 years. It’s great to be a part of a roster of bands that have had such longevity and such an impact on people’s lives.
The Long Island music scene has an impressive part in musical history and culture; does being a part of this factor at all in your music and the fans who have made this scene what it is over the years?
I think, if anything, being from NY has just always made us work harder. We see bands around us all the time take off and land and we are inspired by that. I think places like LI, Philly and Jersey are weird places to live, and some of the best bands over the years have come from these places with intentions of being able to travel and leave their hometowns.
You’ve got a tour of the US in March, followed by a UK and Europe tour with Alkaline Trio in April and May, including a couple of small festival appearances; is there anywhere/anyone in particular that you’re looking forward to playing?
I’m most looking forward to playing in places like Sweden and Finland. We have never played anywhere in Scandinavia before, so it’ll be exciting. I’m a huge hockey fan and those are all countries that take a lot of pride in their hockey teams, so I’m stoked to be around that culture.
Is there anywhere that you haven’t toured that you’d like to on the back of this album?
We still have never been to Japan. We have to make that happen on this record cycle. It’s a must!
Many thanks to Nick for taking the time to chat to us. You can keep up-to-date with all things Bayside, by heading to their website at: http://baysidebayside.com/