Coming off last's year's Acoustic Volume 2 set, Bayside is plugged in and rocking hard again on its upcoming album, aptly titled Interrobang, whose "Numb" is premiering exclusively below.
"We were already writing (Interrobang) when we were working on the acoustic record, so we did know this was going to be a heavy record," frontman Anthony Raneri tells Billboard. The Queens, NY, quartet has, in fact, been working on the album for two years, according to Raneri, and Acoustic Volume 2 — unplugged renditions of 10 past tracks — "was a nice break, really. It's always fun to be working on different things. It keeps you fresh, for sure." Bayside also wanted Interrobang to be not only loud but live, turning to Cameron Webb (Social Distortion, NOFX, Megadeth) to bring that to the table at the Foo Fighters' Studio 606 in California.
"I think it sounds like a Bayside record, but a new Bayside record, a progression," Raneri says. "We're definitely a live band. Our goal is with every record, if we can add some things that can become new staples and fan favorites to the set list. With this record, I think there's a lot of songs, maybe the whole thing, that can become new staples in our set."
Raneri counts "Numb" among those. It came out of a "game" Raneri plays when experiencing writer's block, to "trick my brain into doing something differently." His goal was "to write a slow, sludgy headbang song that someone would be able to start singing along to on the first listen. I programmed the drum beat into my ProTools and noodled over it 'til I came up with the riff I thought would work. I just knew I wanted to write something that would be very sing-able and really translate live. I worked really hard to make it happen like that."
Lyrically, meanwhile, Raneri wrote about some unpleasant terms in a relationship — but with a twist, at least for him. "I used to write just kind of angry songs where something would happen in a relationship, whether it was romantic or in a friendship or family situation," he explains. "I would point fingers and get angry and just vent. That was my catharsis. Now I've got that out of my system and I think as a writer, and as a person now, I'm trying to get into my songwriting that there's two sides to everything. So this isn't just me yelling and pointing fingers. I can recognize what part I play in things that are bothering me."
With Interrobang out on Oct. 4, Bayside are playing in-stories Oct. 2-4 & 9, with a tour kicking off Nov. 6 in Nashville and running into the third week of December. The advance promotion for the album, meanwhile, has also been a different experience for the band; It was announced just two weeks before release, with a barrage of special appearances in a compressed amount of time — although singles began coming out during August, with "Prayers." "Before we'd spend six weeks, eight weeks or longer building up to a record and try to hold on to people's attention," Raneri notes. "We thought this way it would be easier to keep everyone's attention. We're doing everything we would've done over the course of two months or more in two weeks instead, including announcing the tour and everything. I think people will be even more excited by the time this comes out. We're just hitting them with stuff and not giving them a chance to move on, and hopefully it'll work the way we want."