Interview: Nick Ghanbarian (Bayside)

Before Bayside’s packed and very awesome October 28th show at the House of Blues, Punks in Vegas’ Felipe Garcia sat down and talked to their bassist Nick Ghanbarian about being on tour with bands that he loves, what he likes to do when he’s in Vegas, and what the future holds for Bayside.

How do you guys like Vegas? You play here pretty often.

I personally love it. I have a lot of fond memories of playing here a bunch when we were just starting out when I got in the band. We used to play here a lot more frequently actually. We haven’t been here in 2 years. But last year my girlfriend surprised me for my 30th birthday with like a 4 or 5 day trip to Vegas so that’s my ultimate new memory of here, that I got to spend a very cool 4 or 5 days, actually on vacation. Being in a band, we get to see a lot of cool places but you don’t really get to relax, especially for an extended period of time. So it was really cool to go somewhere that I was familiar with and just have fun and relax by the pool and in the casinos, all that type of stuff.

What do you like to do in Vegas?

I do love gambling but totally have control over it, I never lose my mind. Like I was just watching our sound guy Josh and our drummer Chris gamble and they both already lost almost $100 in like 20 minutes and I’m just sitting there watching them like “whatever.”

But there are other things to do too. I like the Fashion Show Mall and all the way down to old Vegas. When I was here for my birthday Tokyo Police Club was playing at the Beauty Bar and that was a really fun show.

In general, how is the tour going?

Awesome! We’re kind of sad because we’re leaving the West Coast now but it’s been fun. We came into this tour already buddies with Transit, I am the Avalanche and Saves the Day which is the first time that’s ever really happened. On the first day of tour we already knew everybody so there wasn’t any tour awkwardness or learning people’s names or anything. So it’s cool and we’re proud to be on tour with all those bands and the shows are all going really great. There are a lot of tours happening right now and this is like our third time in a lot of these areas in the past 12 months, so we’re happy that people are coming to the shows and singing along. And all the bands have new albums out, so it’s great.

One of the coolest things about this tour is that you’ve got a band like Saves the Day which has been around for forever and influenced a lot of bands Nick Ghanbarian and Felipe Garciathat came after them, and also a band like Transit which is still fairly new.

It’s cool just thinking about the timeline of things. Saves the Day was a band before any of us were a band. They certainly influenced all of us musically, and just to be in a band. When I was 17 or 18 and I heard Saves the Day for the first time, I mean, they’re from Jersey. It was just something that became super viable to be in a band playing fast punk and all that. And they’ve developed over the years, the older they get, into something more substantial. I used to be in The Movielife with Vinnie and we used to listen to Saves the Day when we were 17 and 18 years old and we were just starting that band out. And the guys in Transit all have Saves the Day tattoos and stuff. For us to be able to take a band out like Transit who has just started out over the past couple of years feels great. We never got that opportunity when we were coming up. Our favorite bands never took us out. We just did our own thing for years. 5, 6, 7, 8 years in maybe, New Found Glory started to notice us and Alkaline Trio and stuff but it never was that early on in our career.

It seems like you guys have a really good relationship with I am the Avalanche.

I was 17 and Vinnie was 18 when The Movielife got started so I’ve known Vinnie for almost half my life now. When I am the Avalanche put out their first album about 6 or 7 years ago, we took them on tour because we loved them and knew them as people and we knew they were a great band. They kind of went through some label troubles for a long time but they made it through. They’re strong dudes and a great band. And the second they could they put out a new album (Avalanche United) and it’s absolutely amazing. It’s been a long process for them but we’re proud of them and the first chance we had to bring them on tour and help them out, we did.

Were you involved in the Movielife reunion shows?

No. I mean, I was only in the first 2 demo tapes of The Movielife. I think what most people know of the band, I wasn’t involved in that.

What have you guys been listening to on the road? Are there any new bands that you’re getting into?

Usually on tour is when I kind of, not stop consciously listening to music, but in my bunk I prefer to fall asleep watching TV or movies or something. When I’m home, that’s when I start discovering new bands. Just in the past year there have been so many bands that we feel comfortable taking on tour and that we want to take on tour in the future. There is such a good crop of up-and-coming new bands that have the same influences as us, and just fit in with what we do stylistically. A year ago we took Title Fight and Balance and Composure on tour, which are great younger bands. The last tour, we took The Swellers, and this tour we took Transit. I really like that band Hostage Calm. I hope we do something with them in the future. There are just tons of bands out there. For the first time in our career, there are options as far as taking bands out on tour.

Like I said, no one really took us on tour when we were starting out, and once it was financially viable and made sense for us to start headlining, it was really hard to find bands that fit in with us. We took out bands that we were friends with that didn’t necessarily sound like us. We’ve done tours with Valencia and The Matches. We love those bands but you can’t necessarily say that either of them fit in with us. So it’s really cool to have younger bands starting to crop up that make sense for us. These are bands where we can put a tour together and say “if you like us, here are 2 or 3 bands that you could like and support.” We’re going on like 11 years as a band, and it’s really important to us that there is community and a scene that we have to support and nurture, because that’s going to help us in the long run. And we want to help younger bands because it’s good for that scene and we never had that opportunity.

Nick Ghanbarian and Felipe GarciaAny new music planned?

I don’t know. We’ve always talked about doing like a cover, not a record, but maybe a series of 7 inches or something. We cover a lot of songs just at sound check or even in our set if we have time and I think it’s a really cool idea. For us, the more time we have to write a song, the better it’s going to be. With our new album Killing Time, we took a lot of time on those songs and we feel like they’re the best 10 songs we ever wrote. We don’t want to necessarily write a song just to write a song. So I think that’s where doing a cover thing or maybe an acoustic thing will take the edge off of us trying to write a perfect song. And it’s just something fun for the fans. And it’s fun for us to do a take on the song. I don’t know that you’ll necessarily hear a new Bayside song this year or in 2012, but we’ll see.

Anything you’d like to add?

As far as touring goes, we’re probably going to take it easy in the states for the rest of the year but I think we’ll be back around in the summer.

Interview by Felipe Garcia (with Steven Matview)
Transcribed by Ashleigh Thompson
Photos by Steven Matview (edited by Tyler Newton)

About the author  ⁄ Felipe Garcia

My name is Felipe. I'm 21 years old and a Journalism major at the College of Southern Nevada. Music, friends, and a good time is pretty much all I need.

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