Bayside

Bayside

Bayside is currently supporting The Gaslight Anthem on their European and UK tour. We had the privilege of talking to Anthony about latest album "Cult", being a semi-DIY band, growing up, and lots more. 

Could you please introduce yourself to our readers?

I'm Anthony and I sing in Bayside.

You already have six albums under your belt. Could you tell us a little bit more about the latest one?

Sure! It's called "Cult" and we spent a really long time writing it. When we were starting out we used to really rush to make records because we were on tour all the time and we couldn't afford to go home for very long. We had to constantly be on tour, working and making money to pay our bills. But as we progressed over the years we could afford to spend a lot more time at home and concentrate on writing and things like that. So we spent a long time writing it. We thought that when we finished recording the album it felt like it was a good representation of our band as a whole and we felt that it had elements from our earliest records as well as our newest records.

Your lyrics usually seem to be written from personal experience...?

It's just the only way I know how to do it. When I first started writing I was very nervous about it. I never sang in a band and had to write lyrics before I was in Bayside. I was really nervous about it and it caused a lot of anxiety because you try to be clever and you try to be smart and then you just try too hard. It is a lot easier to just write what comes out naturally. With the new record I did change things up a little bit though. It is not so much about experiences as it is about the future. I really tried to touch on that subject.

What was the reason behind this shift?

When we made the record there were a lot of things that made me think about life in general. I had a couple of family members pass away in the same year and I had my daughter, so a lot of things have sort of opened my eyes up to the future. There are much bigger things than getting into a fight with your girlfriend.

Could you tell us why you decided to record this record with Hopeless Records instead of your own label?

We like to concentrate; we love touring and we love the business behind touring, we love making music, we love being in the studio. We obviously love to play music whether it is in the studio or on a stage. There are a lot of aspects of the music business that we really like: we do all our merch, we do the ordering ourselves, we work with the designers directly. When it comes to touring we are involved in the routing, what cities we are going to play in, what clubs you're going to play in. We really enjoy being a part of all those businesses. But when it comes to releasing and promoting a record, that is just not fun at all. That is one aspect of the business that we don't want to be involved in. So if we were to release it ourselves it probably would have been good from a business standpoint. We probably could have made more money doing it that way, but it is not fun. Really, we treasure how much fun it is to have the job that we have now. We try to stay away from anything that is going to make it feel like it is not fun and will make it feel like work. We do work and this is very much our job. It is a lot of business that you do have to pay attention to outside of playing, but it never feels that way now and certain things would feel that way if we released the record on our own label.

There are much bigger things than getting into a fight with your girlfriend.

Indeed, if you have to do all those little chores...

Exactly! And Hopeless is great! Some labels are very heavy handed and they want a hand in everything, but Hopeless is great because they recognize that we do run our own stuff. We steer the ship ourselves. When we met with them we said, you are going to do this and we are going to do this and we won't bother you and you don't bother us and everything is going to be great. And so far it has been exactly that; just great.

It's like a Do It Yourself band on a label?

It's a very do it yourself mindset except we basically have this partner who helps us. It’s perfect.

I did not know this kind of construction existed?

Well, when you're first starting out it doesn't exist. It's either all by yourself or you sign to a label. When you're not a certain size, you can't really negotiate. The label is going to want to have a hand in the merchandise and in all the touring stuff. But we are at a point were we could negotiate.

You have been around for 14 years now! What gives you the energy to keep on going?

Like I said, we genuinely love it. I think anybody who plays in a band loves to play music but we love the rest of it too. That's been our secret. We love traveling, we like each other’s company. We like to play new places and go back to places that we've been to. We love to meet people. We like doing the interviews. We like everything. I think a lot of bands hit a wall when all they have to look forward to is doing the hours that they are on stage and that is not enough sometimes.

Is it still as mind-blowing as it was in the early years?

Definitely! It's still so exciting. And there are days that aren't that exciting but as a whole when are  about to leave on tour it's all still very exciting. We've played well over 2000 shows, maybe even 3000 at this point, and every time we leave for a tour it is still pretty exciting.

Could you tell us some of the highlights of those 2000/3000 shows you've already played?

Every time we get to play in our hometown (New York) it always sticks out. Queens is sort of like a small section of the city so we play in Manhattan in the bigger clubs. Our first couple of times headlining anywhere are always really exciting. When we were first starting out and when we first started catching on in the US and filling up smaller clubs and then filling up bigger clubs: all very exciting. And next year we're talking about doing our first headline tour in the UK and Europe so that will be exciting too! After all these years there are places where we do really well and lots and lots and lots of people come to see us... But still when we go to a place like Amsterdam or Brussels and you spot a few people singing the songs it is still mind-blowing that people from the other side of the world are singing songs I wrote in my bedroom. It’s still pretty nuts.

 It is still mind-blowing that people from the other side of the world are singing songs I wrote in my bedroom.

So now you're supporting The Gaslight Anthem, how did that happen?

We've known the guys for a long time. They are from New Jersey which is very close to where we are from. We've always had a mutual respect for the band. There are a lot of bad bands and we like to think that we are two of the good ones (jokes). Even before we met we had a lot of respect for them. And they told us it was the same for them. It's like a fraterity and kindred spirits kind of thing. You all do the same things, you have the same hardships. You have very parallel lives in a sense. Even before meeting a band for the first time you feel like you know them. Especially when you listen to the music and connect and you know that they come from the same place as you. There are bands who don't write honest music and you could listen to that but, especially as a song writer, you know where they are coming from. I could listen to Gaslight and they could listen to us and we know that we are cut from the same cloth.

You said you headlined big clubs in America and then coming here, there's not that many people because you're from America and not as well known here...

It started that way there too and obviously we put a lot more work in over there. We took a long time and circled the country over and over before we ever caught on. We recognise that and like I said, we really do enjoy the work and for us that is kind of what this is. We know we're going to open. We know we're going to be in the small dressing room. We're going to have to play to people who have never even heard our name before and we have to try to convince them to like us. But we enjoy that. It's a different mindset than entertaining a room full of fans so it's a different approach. The challenge is much more difficult here but it's kind of fun. It keeps us fresh. It's like a game: you hope they pick it up and that they will come to the next show.

Next to music, what are the things that you are passionate about?

We are all really into sports. We all like sports a lot. Sports for me is great because it is something you can really could dive into. I mean, I really enjoy it but at the end of the day it really doesn't matter. Which is cool, because most things you care about a lot have great highs but with that also come great lows. Even with the band we have great highs and great lows because there is so much of ourselves in it so if anything goes wrong and things are bad and people don't like us you take that really hard. If my favourite team wins that's fantastic but if they lose it's still okay because it is not the end of the world. So I really like that and also music was always my escape when growing up. It was always my hobby and my passion. I had to do my school work and when I was done I could go listen to music and that was my escape. Now sometimes I need an escape from that because it has involved so much in my life. Sports is my councious effort. I needed a hobby because once your hobby turns into your job you need something to get your head out of that. Sports does that for me. And I love to read so I read a lot of books. And I love food, who doesn't. Baseball is my favourite sport, very American. I like soccer as well. I kind of watch anything. Sometimes when I'm in Australia for example I find myself watching cricket. I love the Olympics. I love that you just end up watching some sport you can't imagine you're actually are interested in, like curling. But for some reason you're just watching anybody who is really great at what they do.

If there is only one artist you want to promote, who should it be and why?

There is a band called "The Saints Of 35th Street" who nobody has heard of. They have never been on tour before and they have never played outside of New York. They are not even big in New York. Nobody knows who they are, but they are an amazing amazing amazing punk band! Absolutely amazing. They have a record that is on spotify and iTunes so you could listen to it online. That's a favour I'm doing, not for them but for the listener! Everybody should hear it.

 

Thanks a lot Anthony!

Bayside
Formed in October of 2000, Bayside consisted of four musicians looking for a chance to play music the rest of their lives. They recorded a demo and the band began playing shows around Long Island, NY...

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