For over a decade, the New York punk powerhouse, Bayside, have been an unstoppable force in the punk scene.
This summer Bayside will be one of many bands playing the Tilly’s Stage at the Vans Warped Tour 2012, and we couldn’t be more psyched. We recently caught up with Bayside bassist Nick Ghanbarian and chatted about New York, pizza, label switches, Madonna & more. Read on and get a solid glimpse into what Bayside is all about.
You guys are about as New York as they get. Aside from the accent, what makes you guys so completely New York? I think it’s a work ethic. I think different parts of the country make different kinds of people. You can’t breeze by in New York. It’s fast paced and you get rewarded for the amount of hard work you put into your life and your career. I think that that’s definitely the way we’ve carried ourselves as a band through the years. We never take anything for granted and we do a lot of the hard work ourselves to this day, no matter what label we’re on, it’s always just been the four of us. We’ve always done things on our own and kept things in our own hands as much as possible. I think that’s kind of a New York thing, just putting your head down and getting to work.
When you guys are on tour, do you even bother trying to eat pizza? Yes, but it’s usually chain pizza. I can’t think of any instance where I’d gone to get local Italian pizza. I usually know what I’m getting into when I order Papa John’s or Dominoes or something like that.
How do you hook up your pizza? I love pineapple on there. Pineapple and pepperoni. That’s always the way to go. It’s pretty funny because I have a couple of kick-ass pizzeria’s around the corner from my house and sometimes when I’m home from touring I’ll get crazy and order Papa John’s, just because I start missing that pizza from the road. But I’m also a big sandwich guy. I like Jimmy John’s a lot. That’s usually my go-to meal on tour.
Bayside has seen a greater portion of the world than the average human being, just through touring. Ever think of a new location for the band? For me, my families a big part. I value family a lot and I think being close to my sister and parents, I think that’s the reason I stay here. There are a lot of places we play where I’m like, ‘I could totally live here’. Chicago, or Southern California or Florida, I could see myself living there, but the one thing that always anchors me is my family here.
You guys were on Victory for four records. What was it like switching labels and how did you decide to sign with Wind-Up? Switching labels was kind of cool. I mean, we worked really hard to fulfill our contract and when we moved on from Victory we were in a good place in our career. We were the most popular and successful that we’d ever been. So we were in a good spot. And we were lucky enough to have a couple of labels that wanted to work with us. We talked to everyone and Wind-Up was just the most personable, and they were in New York, and seemed the most excited. And that really meant a lot to us. We didn’t really fit in musically to their label but it didn’t really matter. I think we had a strong enough fan base, and we always knew that that would be there, but we really wanted to build an even stronger fan base. Bayside pays our bills, it’s our life, it’s something that needs to keep growing. Wind-Up seemed like it was a good opportunity for us to reach some new people. What we really liked is that we didn’t fit into Wind-Up musically, but they really didn’t care and didn’t want us to fit in. If anything, they helped us embrace who we were and what made our brand popular.
These days, how do you discover new music? I think that the younger bands that we bring out like Balance and Composure and The Swirlers, bands that we brought on tour for the last year and a half, I really go to know them and value their vibe. And from there I’d get recommendations from them about other bands like Title Fight or Tiger Shock, Living Hawaiian. Bands like that are really cool up and coming bands that need support. And I’m glad I found out about them through bands that we’ve toured with. Everyone these days has something going on with Social Media. And you come across a friend whose opinion you value and they’re listening to something, which is great for world of mouth. It’s good if you’re into music, but bad if you’re in a band because people aren’t buying music like they used to.
Is there anything you listen to that might shock some fans? I don’t know. I think I’ve been pretty open. I think I tend to stick towards punky, alternative stuff. People won’t be surprised to know that I really love The Cardigans or Nada Surf, which is a little more mellow stuff. But I don’t really have too many types of music I listen to. I don’t listen to hip-hop or anything like that. I don’t think I really have anything that’s totally out there like Miley Cyrus album or anything. I don’t really have any guilty pleasures. That was a talk we had on tour. Everyone was talking about their iPod guilty pleasures. I was like, ‘I don’t think I have any’. I legitimately like everything and stand by everything I have. The closest thing to a guilty pleasure was Madonna. But I’m an 80’s kid. I don’t have new Madonna; I have Like a Virgin and True Blue, stuff I listened to when I was kid.
You’re a die-hard Rangers fan. Is it a weird dynamic when a tattooed rock guy like yourself can talk shop with any old jock at a sports bar? The only thing that’s weird is that nobody can keep up with me. Whether it’s a jocky dude or normal dude, I’m so passionate about hockey and the Rangers, that very few people can keep the conversation going. It’s usually just like, ‘Rangers suck’ and it’s the end of the conversation. It’s funny, because I don’t like other sports. I like hockey so much.
You’ll be on the Tilly’s stage at Warped Tour 2012. What’s your experiences been like on Warped tour in the past? This will be our third year doing this thing. The best thing in the past has been getting to know people in bands that you wouldn’t necessarily get to know. We’ve gotten to become friends with bands like Bad Religion, NOFX and Bouncing Souls. When we were on tour with bands like, who wouldn’t have normally watched you play, when you’re on tour for 8 weeks, they come and check you out and you can hang out with them. It’s like when you’re on a regular club tour, there’s not that much time in the day when you’re at the venue. So Warped Tour is a 16-hour a day thing where you have to occupy your time. It’s definitely cool and it’s a good opportunity to make new friends. And you can always eat pretty well on Warped Tour. The catering is pretty decent, so that’s something to look forward too.
What’s next for Bayside? We haven’t really talked about what’s next after Warped Tour. We started to talk about the next record and a general time frame of when we’re going to start putting it together. So I think after Warped Tour we’ll probably take a little time to decompress and then start on album number 6, I’m guessing.
Catch up with all things Bayside HERE and be sure to check them play this summer on the Vans Warped Tour 2012. For the newest from Vans, hit up the Tilly's shop today.