Earlier this month, the Verge Team had the opportunity to speak with the powerhouse American punk rock band, Bayside, as they were on their UK tour with the Gaslight Anthem. Over the last 15, yes, 15 years, Bayside has released 6 full-length studio albums, with their most recent being ‘Cult’; an album that focuses on mortality over technical guitar riffs and edgy vocals that provide songs with a bit of punk-metal, without steering too far away from the sound Bayside is known for.
In the interview featured below, Emma (Editor of Verge) spoke to Bayside about their UK tour, upcoming 15 year anniversary, and their own ‘cult.’
Have you enjoyed the UK tour so far?
Bayside: Yeah, it’s been great. So far we’ve played one headliner and five other shows. Our time slot’s pretty short on this tour so it’s going pretty fast. But it’s been brilliant; we always love the UK.
Last year you signed with the powerhouse that is Hopeless Records, how has your experience with them been?
Bayside: It’s been fantastic. When we were first looking around for labels, a lot approached us for this record, but we really liked what Hopeless was doing. It’s easy to look at labels, look at the younger bands, and the bands that are really blowing up on the label and judge them on that, but what we were doing was looking at the bands that have been around for a long time, the legacy bands, because that’s more of how we see ourselves. We loved what Hopeless was doing with Taking Back Sunday, The Used and Yellowcard, and that’s been great for us. We are at a point in our career now where we want to do what we want to do, we don’t want to do anything we don’t feel like doing. Hopeless helps with that; they help with the record, making it and putting it out, but then after that they leave us to do our own thing. They help when we ask for help, and they leave us alone when we ask for that. They’re great people.
You’ve described yourselves recently as being ‘the most Bayside you’ve ever been’, could you expand on that a little? How does it compare to previous years or albums?
Bayside: I think our sound at this point is fully realised; now when we sit down to write a song it always sounds like a Bayside song. With all our records, we’ve always tried to maintain the same sound, and we really like the sound that we’ve created. We always want to hold on to that, we want to give our fans what they’ve grown to like. With the new record we really wanted to improve on that sound, just get better at song writing, get better at our instruments, just do everything better, but still stay characteristically Bayside.
Where did you find inspiration for the material on ‘Cult’?
Bayside: It was a lot of different things, musically it comes from everywhere, and that’s with every record. I try to listen to everything when I’m writing a record, from show-tunes to reggae, to foreign music, anything at all to pick up interesting ideas. Lyrically in the year that we made the record, it was a pretty big year in my life. I lost a few family members, I gained a daughter, I gained a wife, it was a pretty heavy year for me as a person. I was thinking about life on a much bigger scale than I ever have before. That definitely made its way out on the record too.
Are there any plans for 2015 that we can look forward to?
Bayside: We’re planning on coming to do our first European and UK headline tour. We’re really excited about that, we’re also doing a big US headline tour next year. Next year is actually our 15th anniversary as a band, so it’s our 15th anniversary tour in the states. We’re also doing the Soundwave Festival in Australia next year.
What’s the highlight of Bayside’s career so far?
Bayside: The thing about Bayside is there’s not really any standout career highlights, it’s not really our style. We’ve never been the band to get magazine covers or to ever make these big statements. We’ve kind of quietly just caught our way up to where we’ve gotten.
Could you give us some advice for young people or students who are looking to pursue their goals in the music industry?
Bayside: Just really focus on music and you’ve just got to put blinders on, don’t pay attention to what’s cool or how well other people are doing, don’t spend all your time trying to find new fans, just concentrate on making good music and if the music’s there then everybody will come to you.