Bayside's Anthony Raneri Talks New 'Red' EP, Covering Kacey Musgraves (Exclusive)

It's been three years since New York-founded rock band Bayside released their last album, Interrobang, and now the guys are on a path toward a brand new record, which starts with the release of The Red EP. A collection of three incredible new tunes, the new EP finds the band doing what they do best: pumping out catchy, guitar-driven rock songs. Recently, PopCulture.com had a chance to speak with Bayside lead singer Anthony Raneri to talk about the new project, as well as what it was like to work with Blackbear and what sparked the band's desire to record a cover of the Kacey Musgraves song "Rainbow."

When asked what prompted the band — rounded out by Jack O'Shea (lead guitar), Nick Ghanbarian (bass), and Chris Guglielmo (drums) — to start working on new music, Raneri explained, "I mean, it kind of hit the point where, career-wise, we were like, 'okay, it's time.' He then added that while "as far as the Bayside timeline goes" they were ready to make a new album, "creatively" they just were not in the headspace for it. "I don't want to write 10 or 12 songs," he said, then joking, "I don't have 10 or 12 good ideas right now." Raneri continued, "So, instead of filling a quota, we were like, 'Why don't we just do the whole next record in batches of songs? Why don't we write as many songs as we're excited about, and then go record them.' And we'll just record three or four songs at a time, however many we write."

At this point, Raneri says the band discussed a new structure for releasing the new songs they'd been working on. "Then we got to thinking, well then we could just, why don't we just release them once we record them? So, this is all sort of adding up to a record, but we're releasing them as EPs," he clarified. "So we did that, The Red EP was one recording session that we did three songs that we were excited about. Put them out. And now I'm actually in the studio right now. We're working on the next batch of songs. So, we're recording those right now. And then those will come out as an EP, and then we'll do a third batch of songs and then we'll just put it all out as a record."

Raneri went on to say, "I guess for us it's more creatively driven where we're just, I don't have 12 good ideas. I have three good ideas. So, we're just kind of recording as we have stuff that we're excited about. And then also, you put out a record with 10 or 12 songs or whatever, 14 songs and people gravitate towards two or three or one. And there's always going to be the die-hards that love every song, but then it winds up that record a year later... That record winds up being whittled down to one or two songs that gets added to your set list and then the other songs go away."

So, by utilizing this new method, Raneri and the rest of the band feel that it "gives every song a chance." He added, "Also, every song can get full attention from everybody. It doesn't have to get whittled down one single or two singles out of 10. Every song's a single."

Speaking of singles, we also asked Raneri about "Strangest Faces," one of the tracks on The Red EP, and he offered some insight into how the tune came together. "I do a lot of pop writing for other people, co-write stuff. That actually, I came up with that chorus, it as a pop idea," he revealed. "When I sat down to work on some Bayside songs, I was going through different song ideas and I had originally written that on piano and I picked up a guitar and I started playing it on guitar."

Raneri continued, "Then instead of doing the chords... I kind of wrote the riff under it and I was like, 'this is actually this...' I can hear this as a heavy spooky thing. So it definitely came out of a weird spot creatively. And then I just leaned into the mood for sure. The spookiness of it."

Ahead of the new original Bayside songs, the band put out their aforementioned cover of "Rainbow," by Kacey Musgraves. "At this stage in our career where creativity... is the driving force of everything," Raneri said of why they chose to record the song. "We think so much less than we once did about publicity or growing our careers or anything. We kind of learned that if creativity drives everything then all those things are side effects of it like growing the career and exciting the fan base with... It just happens on its own. So we really stopped thinking about any of that stuff."

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He continued, "With 'Rainbow' it was the same thing. Nick, just in our group chat was like, 'I can really hear you singing this song. This sounds like a song you would've written and I can hear your voice singing it.' So we were like, let's just do a cover of it just because we really like it and we think we would do a good version of it for no other reason. We're just like, oh we all really like this song and I think that we would do it really well. So let's do it just because we really like making music and that'll be fun to do."

The Red EP is out now and available to stream or download from most music streaming services. Fans can also click here to pick up a physical copy from the band's label, Hopeless Records. Keep it locked to PopCulture for more music interviews, news, and reviews!