Glam Adelaide music writer Will Oakeshott spoke to punk outfit Bayside’s Nick Ghanbarian on their upcoming album ‘Cult’, and a possible tour of Australia this year!
It’s funny how quickly time passes and age can catch up with an individual. Whilst enjoying some downtime at home, bass player for New York’s alternative punk outfit Bayside Nick Ghanbarian expresses how surprising and unbelievable it is that the quartet are on the brink of releasing their sixth studio album entitled ‘Cult’.
“It’s actually really crazy when we think about how long we have actually been a band for, I mean we have put out six full-length records that people actually want to hear. The reaction that we get is just a great feeling, especially since we are now getting a bit older. We have always been really appreciative of our fans and the following we have, but ‘Cult‘ is our sixth album of new material, for us we obviously reached new heights of inspiration to create this record, but we also have reached new heights of appreciation for our fans and following. It’s a really great feeling and impossible to describe.”
However, do not lose hope that the four-piece have hit a creative block by what Nick previously mentioned, the fire is still well and truly raging inside these four gentlemen. With an instantly recognizable sound for those who have followed the band for whatever amount of time, this new record finds Bayside impossibly expanding their alternative punk recipe to a sensational degree. One such example can be found with the adventure of a song found in Objectivist On Fire.
“It’s kind of funny, because we love our sound and there are people out there who love the way we sound too, I mean for six albums I think we have stretched some limits of our song-writing but it never got to the stage where we have taken an acute left turn from what we sound like. I think a big part of our growth as songwriters has come from learning each of our identities and obviously not pissing off our fans. We wouldn’t be anywhere without the people who listen to our music and obviously we want to expand that number of people who enjoy our band with each release we do. The song Objectivist On Fire is a bit of a stretch for us, but it still sounds like us you know? We may have taken a few small chances with it which differs from what we have done in the past, but it’s not outside of the dimensions of Bayside by any means. Someone who may have never heard of our band may just think it is a great song, which is cool, but then someone who has followed us for a little while may recognize the minor risks we took with the song. It’s definitely a roller coaster of a song which to be honest makes me super excited to play it live.”
Nick continues – “Sometimes songs just write themselves and yet others need just a little extra help. This one was right down the middle of both ends of the spectrum. I think the weirder we thought it was getting, we needed to tame it a bit. But then those weirder upbeat and opposing downbeat parts, especially where it cuts out, it felt really good to go on a strange tangent with that song. Once it was all recorded and finished, we were not so much surprised as just stoked on how it came out because it had the possibility of being a bit too much and maybe not making the final track listing, not that we were going to give-up on it, that’s not who we are.”
Not that experimentation is a new endeavour for these Queens locals, returning to their long-time producer friend Shep Goodman (Lydia, From Autumn To Ashes) after a priceless experience with producer extraordinaire Gil Norton (Foo Fighters, Jimmy Eat World) for their fifth album ‘Killing Time‘, the band expanded their instrumentation as they had utilized on prior records. The impact that this development has showcased on ‘Cult‘ is simply, brilliance in accentuation.
“If I go back to 2007 with ‘The Walking Wounded‘, we actually experimented a lot on that album with other instruments. We didn’t really revisit it live though, the title track of that album has quite a bit extra on the recorded version, but when we do it live we have always just done it as the four of us. With ‘Shudder‘ and ‘Killing Time‘ we went back to that more basic structure of just the four of us building a sound, I mean there are some small horn and piano parts throughout those records but it’s far from a focal point. With ‘Cult‘ we went back to the same producer, Shep Goodman, who did the self-titled and ‘The Walking Wounded‘ and those ideas popped up again to use extra instrumentation to amplify sounds and make parts moodier, or a bit more full or a bit more volume. We were comfortable with the idea, but we have this mindset of just relying on the four of us, because that’s all that is presented to people when we go on tour. We don’t really have the room to bring along all those extra instruments, but don’t get us wrong we will present those songs in a different but still awesome way when we do perform live.”
On the topic of live shows, it has been three years since Bayside’s last Australian appearance with the Soundwave festival. So surely with a new album and such a lengthy absence, these four men should be due to infect the fans of our fine nation with their contagious alternative punk sooner rather than later?
“We are working on getting to Australia at least this year, we have let all of our management teams and everyone else now that it is a priority we get down there. We just want to get down there and be the energetic live band we are who have a great connection with the audience, that’s what makes us feel the best when we are out on tour. We don’t necessarily feel good if we have a show where we played our instruments perfectly, the thing that makes us feel good is the crowd reaction. Which Australia has provided both times we have been there, so we obviously want to come back as soon as possible.”
Bayside’s ‘CULT’ will be in stores on February 21 in Australia and New Zealand via Hopeless Records/Unified.
Interviewed by Will Oakeshott