Since 2000 Bayside has putting out the tunes to make an impact on fans. This year, they’re teaming up with Take Action to support the New Jersey-based sex education website and publication Sex Etc. to help educate fans the importance of safe sex practices. I talked to bassist Nick Ghanbarian about Take Action, how sexual education can be improved in schools and Bayside’s new album, Killing Time, which is out now on Wind-up Records.
So what made you guys want to get involved with the Take Action Tour?
Well, we were talking to Silverstein about doing a tour together because we haven’t done a tour in a few years, and they’re on a new record label called Hopeless Records that’s involved with Take Action, so we thought it was cool. We know a lot about Take Action; they’ve been around for 10 years and we thought it was a good opportunity to be involved with a tour that had something to do with charity because we haven’t done something like that before. It was a great opportunity and we’re buddies with Silverstein so from the get-go we were happy to be part of it. And being a positive influence to anyone who comes to our shows or listens to our music is kinda our M.O. We want to be out there putting out a positive message to young people or whoever listens to our music.
How do you think sex education can be improved in schools?
I think with this charity and website—it is kind of graphic but I think that’s the best way to do it. People shouldn’t be so afraid and uptight about being honest about things and not skip around wording that might make things more confusing or awkward. Things shouldn’t be so taboo and if you’re straight up honest with people, and if we’re targeting teenagers who might be just becoming sexual active, I think just be honest and be up front with things so the facts are there in black and white. If you tiptoe around telling people how to be aware of these things and responsible with these things, the point might get missed.
I think with this site and a lot of the points they make, it is pretty blunt and might be a turn-off to some people. But I think it’s part of the reason right now some people might not be as knowledgeable sexually because of the wording and how it is presented to them. So I think when you put facts in black and white, it is what it is: black and white, and it’s easy to handle and easy to understand. I think that’s what this charity is mostly about, and I don’t think it is an easy thing for that charity to be out here and get a lot of support because people are so uptight, and the verbiage that [Take Action] use. But we’re doing the best we can out here, and it feels good to actually be doing something positive.
Do you have any expectations for the upcoming tour?
As long as we put a smile on people’s faces and people are singing along, that’s enough for me. That’s the reason why we leave our homes, girlfriends, wives, pets and all that stuff. As long as we’re happy being far away from home that’s all that we really hope for and expect.
Is there any place you’re looking forward to playing?
Oh yeah, I mean once you hit the West Coast, California is so different from where we’re from in New York. It feels natural, the weather is nice and people are generally in a good mood, probably because the sun is always out. We’ve been having great weather since we hit Florida, and we’re in Texas right now. Whenever I go too long without being in California I really miss it, which is weird to say because I’ve never spent more than six weeks at a time in California, except when we’re recording. I don’t know. It’s hard to explain if you’ve never been there. There’s some sort of aura that makes you feel energetic and lively.
How was recording Killing Time different from recording The Walking Wounded or Shudder?
The recording process of [Killing Time] was mostly different because of our producer, Gil Norton. He was such a pro that it made it seem that everything that he was doing—that we were doing in the studio—was fun and we were not stressed out at all. Being in the studio in other experiences has been stressful and very tedious but having him around and him being all work and all play was very unique. I think we were all super comfortable while recording. That translates into the recording. What you’re hearing is very true, honest performances on the album. I think that adds another layer to the songs, we were confident and happy and just nailing our parts. It was just totally teamwork while we were recording, which was the best feeling for sure.
What is your personal favorite track off of the new album to perform live?
I love them all. I’m so proud of what we’ve done with the new album and I think it’s a good representation of who we’ve been in the past and what we’ve become. I think that if we could, I’d play the entire album every night. I just want people to like it and embrace it like they do our old stuff. I think it’s going well with playing older songs that people want to hear and some people already have our new album. It’s been out for two months now, and some people are coming out to the shows singing those songs just as loud as they are the old songs. That makes me feel good. If we could play the entire album—which maybe we will do just randomly on a night—it could be a lot of fun and we’ll be prepared to do that. I mean the album has 10 songs on it; it’s really not that big a chunk of a set. We wrote the album with playing every song live in mind, which I don’t think we’ve approached an album that way before. Songs in the studio are what they are and whatever people want to hear live is another entity in itself. But I think we’re fully prepared to play all these songs live and shove them down people’s throats.
Would you say that’s an approach you guys are going to take again?
I think so. The landscape of the music industry is changing so much that the album isn’t the most important thing anymore. The songs obviously have to exist and be out there for people to listen to, we could write songs, not put an album out but we could go on tour. But we couldn’t live with putting an album out and not going on tour. I think that the shows have to be the unique experience of a band that can never be taken away. And as much as people could download shit for free or bootleg things, you’re never going to take away what you get when you buy a ticket to a show and have a unique experience.
Every show is different, every crowd is different. Even on a nightly basis the songs that we’re going to play are going to be different. We’re not out there playing our instruments perfectly, we really do like to perform and have an experience every night with the crowd. I think that’s one of the better parts and more unique parts of our band. Our shows: There’s so much we put in them. Everything we do as a band is about getting on stage for however long our set time is and we know that and we’re happy to be that type of band. As albums move forward, we definitely will write towards songs that will be fan favorites to hear live and for us to have fun performing live.
What track off the album do you feel that you performed your personal best?
I guess it might be a tie between “Sick Sick Sick” and “The Wrong Way.” I think I’m pretty proud about both of them. And when we’re playing them, some how we feel like the energy and it’s hard to hold it back. If we’re feeling that good while holding our instruments in our hands then I know it’ll translate into a live performance, and so far those are two of our better songs when we play them every night.
Bayside will be performing at the Best Buy Theater in NYC on May 28. Their latest album, Killing Time, is available now. For more information, go to baysidebayside.com.