Bayside have just released their seventh studio album Vacancy. We caught up with singer, guitarist and songwriter Anthony Raneri to discuss the deeply personal new album ahead of their upcoming November 2016 Australian tour.

SCENEzine
Firstly how was the experience of recently jumping on stage with Good Charlotte?

Anthony Raneri
So much fun, that was super cool. It’s funny I remember we did Warped Tour and we were a brand new band I was 19 years old we didn’t have a record deal or anything in 2002. Good Charlotte were one of the big bands they were so massive at that time. I remember being this small band on a small stage and seeing them be this big giant thing. Now all these years later to be able to share a stage with them was a lot of fun. They are such nice guys we had a good time hanging out. We spent a few days together rehearsing.

SCENEzine
Congrats on your latest album Vacancy it sounds awesome. You must be stoked to be putting out new music again?

Anthony Raneri
Yeah it’s always a exciting time. It’s a nerve racking time but it’s always a exciting time.

SCENEzine
You put out a video for “Pretty Vacant” from the album. Were you involved in developing the concept and how did you get the socks to float?

Anthony Raneri
(laughs) Well those are industry secrets we can’t share that. It all happened within about 2 weeks or so. I did a video for my solo record for a song called “sorry state of mind” and I worked with these 2 directors in LA on that video and I had a great time working with them. I loved the way that video came out so I basically just called them and we spoke on the phone for an entire day and brainstormed and came up with that idea. Then it got shot a few days later that was pretty much it. It’s probably my favourite Bayside video so I think it came out really good.

SCENEzine
Is there a story behind the photo on the cover of the new album?

Anthony Raneri
I wrote the whole record while I was living in an apartment. I had recently split up with my wife. I moved out of my house and was thinking about buying another house maybe buying a house in Nashville or maybe going to buy a house in New York. I wasn’t really sure of what was going to become of my life. I was trying to figure out what was going to happen next.

I was living in this little apartment in a place called Franklin Tennessee. I didn’t know how long I was going to be there I didn’t know if I was going to stay or move out the next day. I never unpacked I never hung anything on the walls. It was really like I was just stopping over indefinitely. Jokingly I would used to call it the Franklin hotel it wasn’t a hotel but I treated it like a hotel. It was a place I was at for now. So that’s really what the whole record is about my experience at that time in my life. I wrote the whole record in that apartment. I was just sitting in the apartment and all I really had was my bed a desk, my computer and guitar. That’s why we went with Vacancy for the record and the hotel on the cover that was the theme of the record that Franklin hotel that I was staying in.

Bayside

SCENEzine
Lyrically it’s a very honest album. Is it therapeutic for you to get your feelings out through songs?

Anthony Raneri
Oh yeah it’s the only way I can survive at this point. I’m just about at the point in 2 years or less than 2 years I’ll have been in Bayside longer than I wasn’t. I started Bayside when I was 18 and I’ve been in the band going on 17 years now. So it’s sort of like I don’t know how to be anything but the guy from Bayside at this point. I can hardly remember a time when I wasn’t so I need it to survive. Everything that happens to me I have to put it on paper.

SCENEzine
Our favourite track from the album is “Enemy Lines” can you tell us how you developed that really cool guitar riff throughout?

Anthony Raneri
It took a long time. Some songs I write and they just come together in the one sitting but some of them you really orchestrate. That intro riff of “enemy lines” I had kicking around for years literally I had that kicking around when we were working on cult. I just was never able to finish it and knew where it should go after that riff. The verse in “enemy lines” is really when that song took shape. To me the song centres around the verse.

SCENEzine
Is your daughter a fan of Bayside?

Anthony Raneri
I don’t think so because right now she doesn’t really like loud music. She’s really into pop music. She likes my solo stuff and a lot of the stuff that I work on for other people like pop and country artists she always loves it when that stuff is on. She gets really happy. I don’t think she is ready for Bayside it’s over her head.

SCENEzine
It’s not long until your back in Australia touring are you excited about the tour?

Anthony Raneri
Oh I love it I always tell everybody in any interview when they ask me what my favourite place is I always say Australia. I’m really looking forward to it. It’s our first time headlining there.

We did one support tour there 7 years ago in clubs but for the most part we’ve just been doing festivals there. So I’m excited to go over and play clubs I much prefer clubs over festivals. I much prefer headlining over anything else. The rest of the world we only ever headline so it’s very strange that it’s taken us this long to do a headline tour over there.

SCENEzine
Do you have a favourite Australian touring memory?

Anthony Raneri
All the Soundwave’s were so much fun. There’s literally too many to recall. When your on Soundwave your staying in the hotels with all these other bands and travelling with all these other bands. You have all these I can’t believe that just happened moments. I remember being in the airport in Adelaide at baggage claim and I was standing next to Trent Reznor and Jared Leto was doing tai chi at baggage claim. Trent Reznor turned to me and shook his head. Those are the kind of strange moments that happen when your on Soundwave (laughs). You wind up hanging around with people you never thought you’d be hanging around with.

SCENEzine
It’s well known that Australian’s love beer. Is it true that Bayside have their own beer now?

Anthony Raneri
Yeah we always like big ideas we always try to come up with new creative things to do. Bayside is a band first but it’s also a business. So when we are not on tour we have a business to run. We did coffee and that went really well. The coffee was a modest release mostly online. But with the beer we reached out to Oskar Blues who is one of the bigger craft breweries in the country to see what they thought about the idea. They actually went for it we didn’t think that they would but they actually did. It’s a pretty massive undertaking the beer industry is insane the laws are crazy. It’s actually getting distributed to liquor stores and bars all over USA. It sort of took on a life of it’s own it’s a pretty huge thing right now.

SCENEzine
We caught you at Riot Fest Chicago and Toronto playing self titled in full last year. Was that a fun experience for you?

Anthony Raneri
Yeah it was fun we just decided the day before to do that actually. We were in Wisconsin and we decided let’s play this tomorrow because the record was 10 years old last year. So we said lets just play the record in full. So in sound check the day before Riot Fest Chicago we practiced whatever songs we hadn’t played in a while but yeah it was a lot of fun.

SCENEzine
Going way back in time one of our favourite and crowd favourites from Bayside is “Devotion and Desire”. Do you have any memories of how that song came about?

Anthony Raneri
I remember when I wrote it I still lived with my mum at the time. I remember writing it in my bedroom. That song opened a lot of doors for us. I also remember recording the record in Manhattan towards the end of the recording we had to take a break to fly to Austin to do South by Southwest. I knew a lot of our friends would be at South by Southwest so I brought a burn cd of just “devotion and desire” on it. While there I remembering sitting in a van with a bunch of other friends bands playing them that song. There’s a big difference from our first record to our second record stylistically. We were still figuring out who we were at that point. Once we figured it out on the self titled record we always have tried to maintain that similar sound.

To never reinvent it just improve on it. That song was the definition, the blue print of Bayside. I remember playing it for people while we were still finishing the record and everybody was just saying yeah you found your sound.

SCENEzine
When you play older songs on stage do you still sometimes think of John “Beatz” Holohan and smile a little?

Anthony Raneri
Yeah all the time. I was actually in a bar recently and the “devotion and desire” video was playing on a TV screen. I looked up and there’s a couple of close ups of him in the video and I smiled I was thinking about him. I think about him everyday.

SCENEzine
Is there a story behind the iconic bird logo?

Anthony Raneri
To be honest not really. Jason who worked at Victory forever ago when we first signed there and he did the artwork. He did the artwork for Sirens and Condolences, self titled, Walking Wouned and Shudder. Did not do Killing Time or Cult but he also did the artwork for Vacancy. So he’s a big part of the band he’s done most of our album covers. He was coming up with the Sirens and Condolences artwork and we were brainstorming some ideas and he found a piece of wallpaper in his grandmothers attic that was the bird over and over, just like a pattern.

He scanned it and isolated one bird from the wallpaper and we put that on the cover and it just kind of stuck. It just came to symbolise who we were and what we stood for. It became a symbol for the band, the symbol itself came from a random place but it holds a lot of meaning and still does to this day. I get so excited when I see it I think it’s the coolest thing.

SCENEzine
It must be cool seeing so many tattoo’s of it as well?

Anthony Raneri
For me it’s the most powerful symbol it has so much meaning When I’m on stage and turn around and see it on the backdrop, on our guitar amps, on the drums, on shirts and I see people’s tattoos I get so psyched. It’s like a fire in me when I see it.

SCENEzine
Can you leave us a last message for your Australian fans who are stoked on the new album and excited for the tour?

Anthony Raneri
I hope everybody likes the record we are super proud of it. I think it’s another great addition to the collection. I can’t wait to finally get down there and headline. From what I hear we are going to some strange places. I know we are going to a lot of places that I’ve never been to before, some places I’ve never even heard of before. I’m looking forward to it. It’s going to be a really fun tour.

Interview by Christian Ross

bayside

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