joe zorzi speaks with Anthony Raneri of pop-punk band Bayside …
These days, many people tend to cringe at the term “pop-punk.” The genre is flooded with bands that are carbon copies of each other who don’t have much originality. But within each genre there are certain bands that tend to think outside the box. Bayside is one of them. Having formed in 2000, Bayside have always made their music with the certain edge that’s missing from so many of their contemporaries. They released their fifth studio album, Killing Time, this past February, garnering many positive reviews from fans and critics alike. (You can see my review here.)
This past week, I was fortunate enough to speak with Bayside’s vocalist/guitarist, Anthony Raneri. We had the opportunity to talk about the new album, his views on where Bayside currently stands, and life on the road. This Friday, Raneri will be playing a solo set at Maxwell’s in Hoboken N.J.
Pop-Break: How has the reception been to the new album?
Anthony Raneri: It has been great so far. It’s possibly the best response we have gotten from any of our albums from the fans and the press, which gets harder and harder to do with each album. A band is always looking to make changes and take new chances, whether they are small or large. Each chance you take, you roll the dice again on whether the fans are going to come with you. We’re really happy that they are satisfied with where we took this album
PB: So you’re touring solo at the moment. How different is touring solo compared to touring with the band? Do you have a preference?
AR: I don’t have a preference. I really enjoy doing both equally because of how different they are. The Bayside tours have become much bigger productions now then when we started. We have a tour bus, a large crew and we get to play in larger and nicer venues which is obviously great and fun. The solo tours are a nice break from that once in a while where I can play small clubs in a more intimate setting like it was when we were starting out. For as great as it is to have become more successful, I do get nostalgic for the old days from time to time. The solo shows are my chance to relive the.
PB: Later this month, Bayside is going to bring out the Massachusetts band Transit on tour. These guys have been making a lot of waves in the scene. Did you guys pick to have them open for you, or did it just pan out that way?
AR: We did pick them to open the tour. We are always paying attention to what is happening in the scene and who the best new bands are. It’s great to be able to take out younger bands that we really like. We want to give the opportunities to great bands that we wanted when we were starting out.
PB: Killing Time is your fifth studio album. After so many albums, do you ever find it hard coming up with new ideas that will keep your fans interested?
AR: We never really find it hard to come up with ideas. We love brainstorming on the direction of new records and we always have a ton of ideas to choose from. The main thing that we have learned after five albums is that you can never plan for the fans to stay interested. You have to just do what you think is best and what your heart wants to and hope for the best. You can’t chase anything or anyone.
PB: You guys have a pretty big following. But with the music scene the way it is these days and CD sales at such a low point, do you find it hard to live comfortably as a band at your level?
AR: The industry has definitely changed a lot, even since we’ve been a part of it. The way that we approached our band and our career ever since the beginning has made us really fortunate in the sense that most of these changes don’t affect us. We had to figure out how to make a living before we sold any records and had any fans. The fact that we have a bunch now hasn’t changed our outlook or any of the decisions we make. We figure out how to get by and live comfortably and be happy. We were never a blockbuster success and we were never a hot trend and while that obviously has it’s downsides, it has helped us become our own entity. We don’t depend on most of the things that other bands have to depend on because we never had them.
PB: What kind of advice do you have for kids who look up to you guys and want to make it in the music industry?
AR: The best advice I can give to anyone is to concentrate on their music. If you spend one hour a day writing a song and 23 hours of the day trying to get people to hear it, then you are doing it wrong. I think a lot of people looking to break into the music industry make that mistake. People spend some much time and effort and money promoting their band and looking for a label and a manager and whatever else. With the way music works on the internet today, if you focus on the music and write amazing songs, people will come to you.
PB: What do you like to do on your days off?
AR: I’m a really big sports fan so I go to a game or two a week while I’m home. Watch games every day. I also read a lot. I’m a pretty mellow person.
PB: Where do you see yourself and your band in 10 years?
AR: I think we’ll be doing the same thing as we are now. We have built a six-story building out of solid bricks that we can live in for a long time. We have watched 20-story buildings made of paper crumble around us over the years and we’ll watch more shoot up next to us and fall down too. It took us longer and we may have only been able to go six stories up, but we can stay here for a long time.
For more on Bayside, visit their website.