Interview with Bayside's: Anthony Raneri

 Bayside's: Anthony Raneri
With Song River
Song River: Would you say this new album, Vacancy, was a process of healing? (Tell as much as you are comfortable with).
Anthony Raneri: It was a healing process in a way. Writing lyrics for me is always very cathartic. I'm lucky to be able to have an outlet to get things off of my chest. It's a lot like going to therapy and just talking about what's on your mind with someone.

SR: Music at times is really all about opening the wounds and letting the world see, touch, feel, relate. Not an easy thing to do is it?
AR: I do it because it's the only way that I know how to be. If i was trying to write lyrics to be clever or invent stories out of thin air, I don't think I'd be good at it. Some people tell fictional stories or write songs about other people and they're good at that. I only really know how to write down what I'm feeling

SR: “Enemy Lines” was the first single released off of your new album. The song projects an emotion of being upset/angry. Fans will take their meaning from the lyrics, do you want your fans to understand what it is you are writing about or is it okay for them to take their own interpretations?
AR: To me, the song isn't quite as angry as it sounds. In the bridge of the song, I talk about how I had to write this song because it's the only way I knew how to cope but I realize that I might be wrong and the person I was writing about may have been right. I have spoken to people in the past where a song meant something different to them than it did to me when I wrote it. I think that is totally cool. If something that I write means anything to anyone for whatever reason, I’ve done my job

SR: Is the essence of alt/punk to create lyrics which are metaphoric in nature? It seems many bands do this, leaving of course an open discourse of interpretation.
AR: I don't think it's necessarily a punk thing. I think to write metaphoric lyrics is just a style of poetry that some people use and some don't. There are lots of different styles of music and writing that are metaphoric and lots of punk music that isn't. I would say that some of the best punk music is not at all metaphoric but straight to the point. 

SR: Healing is a process.  Tell me when you decided in that hotel room where the soul felt its dark vacancy, do you recall the first line you wrote to express your emotions that became a part of a song on this album?
AR: The first song that I wrote for this album was "Pretty Vacant" and i think it perfectly sums up where I was and how I was feeling at the time. The line "I can't believe this is my life" i think is something that everyone has said to themselves at some point. 

SR: What is it you want your fans to do with this album's lyrics/sound? 
AR: I want them to take it for whatever it means to them. If the lyrics are static and the songs are just fun catchy songs, that’s alright. If the lyrics mean anything to anyone whether they've been through a similar situation or they relate to it in a different way, that's great also. It's not for me to decide how people enjoy what i do

SR: How do you hold to your established base, yet build upon your sound that undeniably is Bayside?
AR: We feel like there are a few characteristics that make us who we are musically. We have been able to single those out over the years and experiment around them but always make sure that the main characteristics about the Bayside sound remain

SR: Taking chances, growth, development, heck life... all create variances. Sometimes they work out really well, other times not so much. Yet, each step outside our own comfort zone we learn something, do we not? What have you as individuals and collectively learned sitting here on the other side of all that Vacancy has meant in its development? Are you all relieved that it has been  finished and is now ready for consumption?
AR: Making this record was one of the more difficult recording processes we've had in 16 years as a band. We really went out of our comfort zones a lot in the process and a lot of times we weren't happy about it. Now that we're done and we have been able to hear how it came out, we're very happy and glad to know that everything doesn't always need to go according to plan to be good

SR: Your Twitter account announced that your single release, “Enemy Lines,” was placed on the Spotify #PopPunksNotDead playlist. Are you comfortable being tagged as Pop Punk or do you think labels like this still matter?
AR: I don't think labels ever mattered. I think it's important to blur the lines and not try to stick to one thing. Pop punk means something different to younger kids now than it did to me when I was a kid anyway. 

SR: At the place of maturity you are now as a band, since the original formation back in 2000 and with tragedy, triumph and lineup changes... is it still hip to be pop punk to your fans and as you look out over your audiences are you noticing a blend of all ages coming to hear/watch/ and partake in what you have to offer?
AR: We've never been hip and we don't really care if we are now. People call us pop punk, punk, radio rock, whatever. The reason we have lasted as a band for so long and we have everyone from young kids to their parents at our shows is that we've always just been Bayside. You don't have to like pop punk or whatever else to like us. There have been a lot of trends that came and went through our tenure and because we never aligned ourselves with any of them, we didn't die with them. 

SR: With the band spread out geographically, has that changed the way you work or helped/hurt in any way?
AR: We have been a band for so long that we really think the same way about writing now. Being spread out added some new challenges that we had to figure out but the writing and ideas didn't change much because of it i think. 

SR: Vacancy seems to spill a lot of emotional uncertainty even as you gaze at the album cover, do you feel though as this project came to its finish and production, engineering, etc... were completed that somehow life maybe wasn’t so vacant and some things had been settled? Or are you still in the process?
AC: I am still in the process of sorting it all out. I think the most valuable lesson I've taken from my life experiences over the past year or so is that you're always just trying to sort it out. The reason that all of the uncertainty in my life hit me as hard as it did was because I thought I had it all figured out. Now I know that no one ever has it all figured out and I think as long as you accept that, you can be a little more malleable in rolling with the punches. 

More information on Bayside:

YouTube: Album- Vacancy Track: “Enemy Lines”