Queens-bred punk rock outfit Bayside are gearing up to release their sixth studio album, Cult, the follow-up to 2011’s Killing Time, later this week. The album is being touted by the band as their most autobiographical work yet and a culmination of Bayside’s time as a band over the last 14 years.
“To me, it is… every Bayside record all mashed into one. It is the earnestness of Sirens, the riskiness and creativity of our self-titled record and Walking Wounded, the quirkiness of Shudder and the experienced solid songwriting and aggression of Killing Time,” said frontman Anthony Raneri.
To get the behind-the-scenes scoop on the recording of Cult, we spoke to bass player Nick Ghanbarian, who told us about the band’s painstaking songwriting process, which he says began with their previous album, and how the band constantly strives to push their own boundaries.
Music Feeds: You guys had to repeatedly rewrite songs for the new album, Jack rewrote solos, and lyrics were fine-tuned. Why was there such a meticulous process behind Cult?
Nick Ghanbarian: Honestly, the meticulous song rewriting process started on our last album Killing Time. I think the longer we are a band, the harder we try to write better songs. We push ourselves harder to do better.
MF: You’ve described the album as a sonic greatest hits of sorts, combining all the hallmarks from your career into one album. Did the band go into the studio with such a game plan in mind?
NG: We do try to write cohesive albums with lots of peaks and valleys. I don’t believe we set out to write a career spanning album, but I think it’s just how we write these days. We are comfortable with who we are and we appreciate all the feedback from our fans. They’re happy with what we sound like so we want to keep them that way.
MF: It gets said that a band releasing an album that sounds the same as all of their others indicates a lack of progression. How do Bayside remain true to themselves while staying vital?
NG: When the four of us write together we feel that we grow as musicians and songwriters, but within the bounds of the sound we’ve created over the past 14 years. To say that there is no progression from album one to album six wouldn’t really be a true statement. We are always going to sound like us and we think we push our own boundaries with each album.
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MF: Has there ever been a desire to contradict yourselves or what people expect of you guys and completely react against your sound? How has that manifested itself?
NG: We have never wanted to stray from what we love and what our fans love. It’s much harder to stick to your guns and try to get better at what you do than to try and reinvent the wheel.
MF: Why was Time Has Come chosen as the first single?
NG: When we pick a single we always pick a song that would be a good glimpse as to who we are as a band so new people can be introduced to us and [it can also be] something our existing fans will enjoy.
MF: Anthony said that part of the album was an exploration of whether life is about leaving a legacy. What was the result of that investigation?
NG: Wether we know or not won’t be something we realise anytime soon. We do something that affects us positively as well as everyone who listens and that’s all that matters.
MF: You guys will soon launch a North American tour, are there plans to come to Australia soon?
NG: We are currently figuring out the rest of 2014 and we hope to have it include some Australian dates.
MF: What is a fond or not so fond memory of Australia that sticks out in your mind?
NG: The few times we have been there we just enjoy how pleasant everyone is in the country and how genuinely excited everyone is at the show.
MF: What can a fan who has never heard Bayside expect to hear on the new record?
NG: I think our album has something for everyone. We have more aggressive punk style songs, some Weezer-esque songs and some slower acoustic type stuff. We have a lot of influences that we try to put forth in our music.
Bayside’s ‘Cult’ comes out Friday, 21st February.