Alexandra Snow @ alliesaurousrex

Bayside – Tattoos, Technique, New York, EPs

Did you know that 30 days have passed since The Blue EP landed in our lap? And there is still more to come?

In 2005 the world got a taste of Bayside as their single, “Devotion and Desire,” gained mainstream success. No one would truly understand the band’s untapped potential at the time. A lot of bands from that early 2000s era had success with a song (or two) and fizzled away; doomed to be shelved forever as nostalgia.

Bayside did no such thing. 

This band has given every release their all and continue to make some of the best music in their discography with every record roll out. Their fanbase has grown astronomically since 2005 and continues to expand this day. Bayside’s consistency in growth and sound is beyond admirable and, at this point, just expected. You know a Bayside song is going to be legendary, regardless of it’s coming out of 2003 or 2023. 

We got the chance to chat with Anthony Raneri, lead vocalist, frontman, and rhythm guitarist of Bayside, in person just hours before their concert in Jersey City. As I walked backstage of White Eagle Hall to begin the interview, Raneri was laying down on a couch, a table of ink placed right beside him. He was set on getting a tattoo that afternoon, even while we spoke, and it was honestly one of the most memorable interviews that I, Valentino, have ever conducted.

For a band that’s so prolific, and a man in the middle of being tatted, Anthony was humble and hysterical. There was zero ego here – just a refreshing conversation about good music, new chapters, and decades of Bayside. 

Right off the bat: The Blue EP, how are you feeling?

Feeling good! It’s the second in the EP process that we’re doing. I love it! Creatively, it’s been great all along because we’ve been able to just write a couple songs at a time and I think that it’s producing better songs: being able to focus on small batches.

As far as the fanbase goes, I think this is where it’s really starting to bear fruit because “How To Ruin Everything” just came out and the fans love it. It’s getting a lot of attention. It’s doing great at the shows. It’s streaming really well which is cool because if this was an album this would have been the fifth single. If we had just put an album out last year when we put out the first EP, we wouldn’t be talking about a fifth song. Everybody would have stopped talking about that record nine months ago. 

Every song gets the right amount of hype!

Exactly! Every song gets a chance. Like I said, we would have been five songs in right now. Nobody would have been talking about track five on the record. 

Is it cool to have that immediate reception? Usually you write a song and wait a few years. To write it and then in a few months it’s out… that’s a different kind of thing.

What is cool, too, is that it gets to come out right away while we’re still really excited about it. Yeah, this EP we didn’t finish up until like December… actually, I think we finished it in November and the first track came out in December. Now it’s March. I love that.

That’s great because you’re still excited about the song as the artist. You get to see fans get excited about it right when you’re still feeling it. 


I know it can be frustrating to write a song you’re pumped about, then three years later be like, “Oh, they’re excited about it now. That’s cool. I’m just not in the same headspace.”

The promotional period has definitely shrunk substantially since we started. Our first records would be a whole year of setting a record up and that was torture. Now it’s like a month!

When you give people these more bite-sized EPs, I feel like it has got to be nice because they’re always talking about you. It’s not just one two month process and the album’s out. All of last year was The Red EP, all of this year is The Blue EP.

That’s the idea! We also get to strategically release them around shows and tours, so every time we do a tour, we have a song to put out to help promote the tour.

Obviously the new EP has “How To Ruin Everything” featuring Spencer Charnas of Ice Nine Kills. How did that collaboration start?

Super organically, actually. I had never even met him before, but we ran into each other briefly at a show while we were recording The Blue EP and I was introduced to him very very quickly. Then in October we both did When We Were Young [Festival] in Las Vegas and a mutual friend of ours showed me an interview he did at When We Were Young where he asked him what bands you would like to collaborate with on the lineup, and he said us! So we’re like, “Oh, give me his number.” We started texting and then in a couple of weeks he was on the track.

That’s insane that it was that immediate! Especially because When We Were Young was this October then boom we have a new song.

Yeah, we were very organic the way it happened. 

Did you send him the finished track and he just put his own flair on it? Did he help write his verse?

The verse existed already, but I really do love his voice. We haven’t had a guest singer on a song since 2007 when Vinny from I Am The Avalanche sang on “The Walking Wounded.” We really don’t do that kind of thing very often, so I wouldn’t have done it if I didn’t think he was going to add to the song. It’s not something we do just to get their fans to listen to the song. I really like his voice, so I did tell him, “Do you on it. I want the Spencer thing.”

That’s incredible! I’ve followed Ice Nine Kills since they were a local band up in Boston. I’m from the Boston area.

Oh, cool!

It’s cool to see two of my favorite bands artistically mesh. I know you mentioned it, but with I Am The Avalanche, we’ve got to talk about this tour. We’re right here at White Eagle Hall in Jersey City. How’s this tour been so far?

It’s been amazing! Just about the whole tour sold out and it just makes everything easier. You don’t have to worry about anything. The Avalanche guys have been some of our closest friends since… a very long time. The Koyo kids are great! We just met them on this tour but they’re another Long Island up-and-coming band. They’re just really similar to us in personality – at least, similar to the way we were when we were their age. It’s cool to have that kind of energy around. It’s like hanging out with your younger self. 

I love that! It’s got to be nice being in this New York emo/punk/post-hardcore scene. It has 1,000 different names, but it’s just ‘The Scene.’ All the bands on this bill are from that – from the New York area. That’s got to be cool that you all share these similar values and beliefs about music.

Yeah, it’s a lot of shared experience. It’s funny; with us and I Am The Avalanche it’s literal shared experiences or things we’ve been through together over the years. Also, we talk a lot about growing up going to shows we’re at, even before we started out bands, and the shows we attended as kids… we were at the same shows. It’s funny to see how similar Koyo’s upbringing has been to ours even though it’s 20 years apart.

The fact that it’s 20 years apart but that scene is still there, I think that says something about the New York area.

That’s what’s amazing about it! To hear them talking about them growing up going to shows and what the scene is like right now that they’re a part of. It’s like, “Wow, it’s the same as it was [for us]!”

As I said, I’m originally from the Boston/Rhode Island area. I love that area and there is no shame in it, but moving down to Jersey the last five years has been the craziest punk rock experience of my life. People are hungry for it. It’s totally different from anything I’ve experienced. 

There’s always been a great great scene for that kind of stuff here. You go back to the Misfits all the way through Saves The Day and My Chemical Romance, you see it’s always been a hot spot. 

Of course! Going back into the EPs, it’s insane you guys have these two incredible collections of songs. When you finish with all of these EPs, are you going to drop one big ‘colors’ album? Or are they going to live as their own respective releases?

So the next thing we do will be an album since we’ve basically been releasing an album little by little. The next thing we do… we’re going to go in the studio and we’re going to record four or five more songs. Then we won’t release it as an EP – it will be two EPs plus those four or five songs and that will make up the album. 

Again, and I know we talked about it earlier, but fans get to get excited about every track. 

It took a while to figure out if that was a good idea or not. Creatively, it’s been great the whole time. As far as how the fans were going to recieve it, it took a while to see if it was working. Like I said, now that the fifth single is performing as well as it is, it’s like, “Alright, this works.” 

You guys are always very creative with your record releases. We have to talk about the Interrobang record cycle, where in two weeks it didn’t exist and then it existed from the fan’s perspective.

That was as close to doing a Beyoncé thing as we could without having the power of Beyoncé. If it was up to us, we would have released it in one day! You know what I mean? But you’ve got to have the kind of clout to pull that off.

Exactly; especially in our scene when the preorders account for so much of a record’s sale. 

Especially for bands like us, in our generation, where it’s still a very vinyl-buyer sort of thing. Newer bands? It’s about streaming. With us? We still needed time to get the vinyl to make the label back their money. 

Of course. While we’re talking about the record as a whole, is it tricky to put in a tracklist? You’ve got these songs that were released across a span of time. How do you make those flow into each other?

We don’t! That’s the best part! Every piece is a moment in time. When we were recording The Red EP, The Blue EP songs didn’t exist. It was cool to get inspired, have some ideas, do that session, then put that session behind us and look for new inspiration/ideas and start completely fresh on The Blue EP. You run into this thing when you’re writing and recording 12 songs at a time where the ideas start to fuse together and you start running out of ideas. It’s really cool to do an EP and completely forget about it to start fresh. 

It’s a perfect capture of who you are in time. You aren’t who you were when you wrote The Walking Wounded. You’re a very different person now.

Yeah, for sure! I’m really lucky to have this musical timeline of my life. Every record is who I was and what I was going through at that time. 

It’s like a photobook you can look back on. You can even see people scream the songs live back to you currently.

It’s cool that people give a shit about it. When we play “Don’t Call Me Peanut” and the whole room is singing along… every single night I think back to sitting in my bedroom at my mom’s apartment in Queens writing that song. “I can’t believe this is happening!” I think about it every night.

Even for someone like myself – I’m 23 years old, so when “Don’t Call Me Peanut” was released I was 6. [Laughs] I didn’t know who Bayside was at that time, but as an adult, tracks like that got me through so much. 

Well, it got me through so much, too! I remember what I was going through when I wrote that record and it was cathartic to write it. It’s crazy that it’s cathartic for somebody else 20 years later. 

As you’ve changed over the years, has your songwriting process changed or is it very similar?

Oh, yeah! For sure. I think the way I approach starting a new song has changed a lot. I used to just sit down when I was a kid and play guitar for hours and hours and days and days until something sounded cool. Now I conceptualize a lot first before I even pick up an instrument. I think about what kind of song I want to write and find an influence. It happens a lot, but I don’t write a lot for Bayside in-between albums. I’ll go months without writing a Bayside song and then it’ll just happen. I’ll be in the car listening to music and I’ll hear something. I’ll be watching a movie and be like, “Alright, I know what I want to do now.” I guess that partially comes with necessity. I don’t have the time I did when I was 20 to sit and play guitar for hours and days, but I think it’s cool that I would have to stumble onto a concept or stumble onto a good idea. Now, I’m always thinking about ideas, and when I have a good idea, I write a song.

It’s almost like because you’ve done this for so long you’re an industry veteran. You’ve proved your stripes. You’ve cut your teeth. You’re there. You have that experience that comes with that.

Yeah, but I try not to rest on that. I’m always trying to learn more. I always think I can learn more.

Of course. I always say music theory is a black hole because you could learn more for the rest of your life and never stop learning.

I’m more of a student of songwriting theory than music theory. I remember being a kid and listening to music. I remember when I really first started listening to music purposefully; dissecting songs and thinking, “Why do I like this? What makes this good? I just got chills during that part, what changed during that part that made me feel that way?”

“What caused that emotional resonance inside me?”


Right, and also, when you sing, you have a lot of theatrics in your voice. It’s not just that old school punk, same-note yelled out, kind of vocals. 

I’m really just in this band until Broadway calls [Laughs], just biding my time. 

When you’re doing that theatrical vocal stuff, is that an afterthought or intentional?

I’m a big fan of show tunes and Broadway, also classical singers. My favorite singer is Michael Bublé. I’m just a fan of that stuff so it’s going to come out in my style. A lot of it also came out of necessity; just being on tour for so long and having to play every night for so long, I had to learn how to really sing just to keep my voice healthy. When you start learning proper technique, you start sounding like the people who sing with proper technique. You don’t start sounding more and more like a punk singer. You start sounding more and more like a Broadway singer. It sort of came out of necessity of just needing to learn proper technique to survive on the road and not lose my voice. Like I said, I am a fan of that stuff and have leaned into it, but it’s a little of both. 

Your vocal delivery has a lot of grit, too, so you want to make sure you’re doing that right, as well.

It’s funny how the more proper technique I learn, the better I get as a technical singer, but also the more grit. Grit is a flavor I have now. Some people sing gritty because that’s how they sing. They sing very loudly and they yell. I sing very quietly and the grit is a character that I add. 

Like pepper on top!

Yeah, and it’s not gritting because I’m yelling. It’s not gritting because my voice is actually breaking up. It’s because it’s something I’m putting on it.

That’s cool because every time that happens it’s intentional – you’re emphasizing a lyric or a moment.

Which is cool! Being able to add that kind of stuff to my voice – the grit, the growls, the vibrato, all that stuff – is cool because it makes singing the same songs everyday a lot more fun. I can do something different with them. I am not doing the same exact thing every day. I almost get to play around with the vocals. I can put different inflections into different parts than I did yesterday.

I think what you’re talking about is what makes Bayside, Bayside. It’s unique! It’s not just a cookie cutter, “Alright, well this is going to be the heavy song.” It’s more, “This is a great Bayside song that has a heavy moment in between.”

We definitely have rules for ourselves when we write songs. Sometimes we’ll write a riff or a song or just a part and we’ll say, “That’s good but it’s not Bayside.” It makes writing a lot harder. It’s got to be good, obviously, it’s got to be interesting. It’s got to be something fresh, something that we haven’t already done. Then it also has to be Bayside. We can’t just do whatever we want. 

This is probably why your career has been so consistent. Fans like myself, I’ve listened to every record you’ve ever made. I can confidently say there’s not a bad record. I’m not just saying that because I’m talking to you. 

Thank you! I’m a music fan first. I think that’s important when you’re in a band: remember that you’re a fan, think about the things that you like and don’t like and how you would feel/hear a song. There are so many bands that I’m a fan of over the years that make a record where I feel like they lost themselves. We talk about it all the time. We never want to make that record where the fans are like, “Oh, that’s the one! They totally lost it!”

Every band should experiment, but never forget why people like the music.

Like I said, it’s much harder to do this because anybody who can write a song and play an instrument can do whatever they want. Writing whatever you want is easy. Needing it to fit into a mold and be good, and be something you’re proud of, is much harder to do. I could pick up a guitar right now and write a country song. Doing whatever you want is easy. Trying to write something specific is much harder.