“We always ask ourselves before we do anything ‘Are we going to be embarrassed about it in ten years?’ That line of thinking certainly has a lot to do with the longevity of the band,” he explains. “We never really tried to jump on any trends because we thought that was going to make us bigger or because that was the cool thing that was happening. We always just do things that we think are timeless and cool, and I like to think that is paying off.”
Trying to keep a band relevant in the music industry for almost two decades is no easy task. Witnessing many acts in his time capitulate by following short-lived trends, Raneri was eager to create music that made him proud to play. It’s for that reason that Bayside are now playing their biggest headline shows after all these years.
“We set out 16 years ago to be a band that lasted for a long time. We always wanted to be Social Distortion or Bad Religion. We wanted to be a band that had a career for decades and decades. To see that the tours we are doing now are the biggest ones and our chart debuts on records are at the highest we have ever had… Just sort of tells us that we stuck to the right path.”
Vacancy was written in the aftermath of the dissolution of Raneri’s marriage. Moving to Nashville to start his family life, the record is a telling memoir of a frontman left to his own devices in a new city. It’s these times of despair that the esteemed songwriter did not shy away from writing about.
“To write lyrics about what I’m going through and to write what’s on my mind is really the only way I know how [to write],” Raneri admits. “I didn’t grow up writing lyrics. It never really was my thing. I was sort of the default lyric writer for Bayside and I was really nervous about writing anything that was going to be halfway decent. And the only real thing that I could figure out how to do was to write journal entries and try and fit them into melodies.”
Sonically, Bayside has remained consistent across all of their seven studio albums. Their debut release Sirens and Condolences established their unapologetic and self-reflective alternative punk music; a formula that has built up a loyal cult following.
“We just try and one up ourselves every time,” he admits. “I don’t know if we do, but this late in our career it is all about adding stuff to the discography. I think all of our fans have favourite records of ours and it’s sort of out of hands how they get received. We just try and one up ourselves and get excited about what we are doing… The main thing is that we just think what Bayside is supposed to sound like and we try to maintain that Bayside sound and experiment within it.”
Bayside will be landing in Australia next month on their first headline tour of the country. For a band that has established themselves down under on festival circuits, Raneri admits that there’s nervous anticipation surrounding the tour’s reception.
“We have really only done one club tour and besides that it has been all festivals, which is really kind of small sets. So we are very mindful of the fact that there are going to be a lot of fans there that will want us to play stuff from the older records. So I don’t think we are going to come over and play all new stuff. We are going to try and cover all of the records equally.
“We are coming into this tour not knowing what to expect. Because, when really your only history there is with festivals, it’s really hard to gauge. We are just excited to go though. We get a lot of mail from over there, so we are just excited to go and see where it all stands.”
Vacancy is out now via Hopeless Records. Bayside will be touring Australia this month in support of the album. For tour dates, head to baysidebayside.com.