MEB staffer Jason Gardner recently caught up with Anthony Raneri and Jack O’Shea of punk rock group Bayside. They discuss their current tour, their newest record Killing Time, work on a new documentary and more.
Thanks for taking the time to sit down with us today. For the record, can you introduce yourself and say what you do in Bayside?
Anthony Raneri: I’m Anthony, and I sing in Bayside.
Jack O’Shea: I’m Jack and I play guitar.
You guys are pretty fresh into a co-headlining tour with Saves the Day with support from I Am the Avalanche and Transit. On paper it looks like a tour geared a little more toward fans who have been following you for some time. Was there a conscious effort to cater a little more towards your older fans with this lineup?
Raneri: Well Transit is kind of like a new, up-and-coming band that we’re really into. We wanted to give them the shot to be on this tour. Avalanche are like old friends of ours. Especially with the new record coming out, that was a real obvious choice for us. We love their band, we love their music. And they’re some of our best friends, so to have them out on the road with us is a good time. And Saves the Day, I mean we’ve all listened to Saves the Day for a very long time. This tour came together very easily. Every band was like an obvious choice.
You mention Saves the Day. What has it been like the first few shows getting to hang out with them and watch them play as co-headliners?
O’Shea: They’re great dudes and a good band, and again this is a tour where we’re all really friendly right out of the gate so it’s good.
Raneri: Everybody on this tour was friends before the tour.
O’Shea: It’s been real easy.
Raneri: I mean we’re all friends if we’re not on tour (laughs).
O’Shea: It’s just nice.
When you put this tour together, how would you compare what the crowds would be like to what they’ve been like the first few nights?
O’Shea: It’s nice because it comes down to all four bands being tight and really appreciating each other’s music, and I think the fans are respecting all the bands the same way. The way that we positioned this tour was that ‘Look, these are all our friends and our friends’ bands, and everyone’s coming to the shows to see all the bands, not just some of them.
Raneri: We all share a lot of fans, I think, who are pretty excited about the whole bill, not just coming to see one band.
Speaking of the tour, there’s a four-way split coming out between the four bands on this tour. What does it mean to be able to share a release with these bands?
Raneri: It’s cool. I mean it’s definitely something that we always have come up on every tour. Like it’s nice to have a tour release with everybody on it. But there’s always been like label red tape stuff that’s hard to get around. With this one, all four of our bands just put out new records on new labels. We all just put out our debuts for a new label. So we all just got into cool, new label situations where we’re all finally able to do stuff.
You guys released Killing Time earlier this year. Can you talk about how you feel about the record with everything that’s been said about it? With all the time removed since the release, such as how it’s hit people and how it’s affected you?
Raneri: We were super proud of the record when it came out. We spent a long time writing and recording it, which we really didn’t have a chance to do before. So we really got to make it something that we thought was perfect. I think seven or eight months later we still feel that way. We still feel like it’s perfect. And the fans have agreed; a lot of people who have been listening for years think it’s the best record. So it’s a huge accomplishment.
Kind of going hand in hand with that, you guys made the jump from Victory to Wind-Up for this record. Do you feel like there were any misconceptions about how people felt or how you felt about the move?
O’Shea: We were pretty open about everything. Our contract was up with Victory and we made a move to a different label to try something different.
Raneri: I think for anyone to conceive anything about the relationship is misconceiving. There’s nothing that should concern fans. Labels don’t make music, bands do. What logo is on the back of the CD has nothing to do with anything. It’s kind of like, if you buy a Coke from Wal-mart or the corner grocery store…it’s a Coke. It really shouldn’t matter.
As far as this tour goes, what thought process went into creating the setlist as far as mixing old and new? How much of the new stuff did you want to balance into a headlining set?
Raneri: Well, we want to be cautious of any old fans coming out who aren’t familiar with the new record yet. We don’t want anybody to leave the show thinking ‘I didn’t know any of the songs.’ We don’t want anybody to leave disappointed. We’re always conscious of putting in too much new stuff, but we are promoting the new record and the majority of the fans are coming out because of the new record. I think we’re doing about a third of the set as new songs.
O’Shea: We’re doing a lot of new old stuff too. Old stuff that we haven’t played. We go back and look at our catalog and look at the songs that we can play and have played and just make sure we’re putting on a show for a lot of the people who come see us ten, twenty times. Those people, we want to make sure they get to see a different show every time.
It’s come wind through the internet that you guys are starting to do a documentary on the band. Even though it’s still in its infant stages, can you talk a little about what prompted you guys to do this and what you’re hoping to do with the final product?
O’Shea: I have a friend who works in L.A. doing work on documentaries and he has always expressed interest in doing a bigger project, something that would be a full-length feature project. We all feel like our band has an interesting story behind it and we’ve never really released anything in terms of a DVD or anything that substantial, so we thought it’s an awesome opportunity for us and we’re at an interesting part in our career to get a definitive story about the band. From before we were a band all the way to the present time and a little bit of looking forward as well. It’s really just on the table right now, doing a lot of discussing amongst ourselves and with Neil to get stuff organized. This is something we want to spend a real amount of time with; this isn’t gonna be him coming out for some shows on a tour.
Raneri: It’s probably gonna be at least a year of him following us on tours and not on tour, which I think is what’s really gonna make the documentary special. I think the story of our band is really interesting and is something people will really grasp onto. It’s gonna be like a feature-length, serious kind of thing.
Have you guys started to consider touring for the near future, perhaps more headlining, support, international touring?
Raneri: We don’t really do support tours, we kind of like to headline. The reason for that is when we were starting out we never got those support tours, but then once we started getting support tours, we went out with Fall Out Boy, Juliana Theory and Mest. We always felt like we were coming off of those tours no bigger than when we started them. We didn’t feel like we were getting our message across. We just started doing our own tours, and there would be twenty kids, then fifty kids, then a hundred kids and that was really what would work for us. We kind of just left the idea of trying to open for people behind.
O’Shea: If Foo Fighters wanna call us, we might consider it (laughs).
Raneri: If it’s the right tour. We’re doing some holiday shows as support, but that’s kind of more a one-off thing that we’re gonna be supporting on. But the big U.S. support tour stuff is not really our style.
Wrapping up, how would you say you feel about this band compared to when it started and seeing how it has impacted people and yourselves as well?
O’Shea: It’s turned into everything I could have wanted it to be. It’s an amazing feeling to be in a band that counts, that takes themselves seriously and is taken seriously and is credible and I’m lucky to be in a band with a good group of people who play for a really dedicated crowd every night. If you’re into music, those are the reasons I got into music and I’m happy to do it.