“20 Questions” with Nick Ghanbarian of Bayside

November 26, 2013

(photo by: Cody Vickers)

Bayside bassist, Nick Ghanbarian, has become one of my favorite people in the world.  He is a hockey lover & fashion enthusiast with impeccable taste in music.. When he is not on tour with Bayside, he and two of his friends create designs for their company Born & Bred. I may be a little bias, but this clothing company is amazing. If you have not checked out B&B do so as soon as your done reading this. Just trust me…..you  will love it. Over the past few months, I have had the joy of getting to know Nick and I am honored to call this lovely soul my friend. This interview is just a glimpse into his world and the amazingness that is Nick Ghanbarian…or as I like to call him…Nicky Gee.


I present to you…

“2o Questions” with Nick Ghanbarian!





1. When did you know that you had officially fallen in love with music?

I think the romantic aspect of when I discovered music (other than what was on the radio and MTV), was seeing that it was a tight knit kind of group. It all started for me with the Bay area/San Francisco bands like Green Day, NOFX and Lookout Records type stuff. I think once I saw that there was good music out there and that it was all kind of connected, thats when I got really into the aspect of learning about the music that I liked. I then started to read liner notes of cds and figuring out new bands to listen to. It was then when I actually felt like it was MORE  than just music that I listened to, it was a lifestyle. That drove me to play music. I was about 13 or 14 when that happened. I think that aspect of it was the part that made me into who I am today, with liking the music I like and playing the music I play. The fact that it was real people and not superstar pop people. I had no idea about anything and it wasn’t really until bands like Nirvana and Green Day were “Top 40” that I kind of stumbled upon more punk rock stuff. I am thankful for that for sure.

2. What are your TOP 5 favorite albums?

I just decided that today actually. Well, not on ALL five, but I did add  ‘Sam’s Town’ by the Killers on that list. Weezer’s Pinkerton, Bad Religion’s Stranger Than Fiction. I don’t know, I have a hard time. I don’t ever really think about it. Those three are definitely on there. I don’t really know what else would be because it would be too impossible for me because I have like 10 Favorite bands. I have three TOP bands, but I can’t say what my favorite Bouncing Souls, NOFX or Rancid album would be. They are all top bands for me. Of course ‘Out Come The Wolves’ is a huge record for me. I like Rancid more than I like Weezer, but Pinkerton is one of the best, and may be my favorite album ever. It’s hard to say. I can give you three for sure. The Cardigans, Long Gone Before Daylight is probably in the Top 5. So that would be 4. I am starting to think of them right now. Four out of five is not bad.

CG: It would of been easier to ask you your Top 5 Favorite Bands instead of albums?

NG: Well, maybe 10 Favorite Bands. I don’t have it listed so I can’t ever think of it off the top of my head. I don’t know how I almost just forgot The Cardigans on that list.

3. What is your most memorable LIVE show moments?  Whether it is you playing or you seeing someone else play?

A bunch stick out definitely. Seeing Green Day for $13.00. They weren’t even in a bus yet, and still had punk show ticket prices. That was super influential to me. At the same respect, Rancid kind of blew up a year or two later and they were playing The Roseland in New York City and it was the same experience. I had to go on a school night because it wasn’t a local band, it was a touring band. When you are on tour, sometimes there is a show on a random night. I saw Rancid on a Wednesday or Thursday night in the city and I had to get my cousin to take me. Those were fun times. When you were kinda too young to travel places. I had to get my cousin or my mom to take me to shows. There are also numerous Warped Tours too. Recently, up until June I have been making up for lost time and going to see shows. I have been going to see all my favorite bands and not being lazy about going to shows. In June I saw Rancid for the first time in a long time. It was so cathartic and awesome that I got to see them. Recently I saw The Killers and I haven’t stopped thinking about that since then. It was just so inspiring and good. That is just such a different kind of band  for me to feel the way I do. I definitely just grew up listening to punk rock and being able to see my favorite bands play in front of a couple hundred people. But a band like The Killers playing in front of something like 60,000 people at a festival just rocked my world, yet still equally as inspiring. It was very very cool.

4. What city would you say is your favorite city to play in while on tour?

I feel like Chicago is starting to creep up on New York. Usually New York would be my answer but lately Chicago has been really really great for us. Philadelphia has also been great for us. Those are just the more fun shows. I enjoy playing places like Lawrence, Kansas as well. It’s a cool town. I love being anywhere in California. That is always the best week of the tour when we get to work our way down the coast. It’s sunny and the shows are great. I enjoy playing every night not matter what. It’s cool when the place you play and the venue is cool. It just adds to all of it.

5. Which band would you consider underrated, that you believe people need to know about?

I definitely pride myself on listening to new band and staying in touch with what’s going on. Underrated, I don’t necessarily know but maybe an unheard of band? A band like Bleached, surfy pop punk rock California, really catchy, really low fi  is pretty cool.

6. What is one thing, throughout all your years with Bayside that has never changed for you?

My favorite part about being in a band is playing. My actual happiness of playing every night on stage and seeing people singing along with us, is what really keeps me going. We make a lot of sacrifices do what we do, so every time our backs are against the wall when it comes to a decision, I just think about how happy touring and playing shows makes me. That is the one thing that has never changed. I just always continually have fun while we are playing. I love meeting people and that is something that will never go away for sure.

7. What would you say your biggest hopes and dreams are for Born & Bred would be?

I am definitely the retain hound. While I was growing up and playing music, I always worked retail jobs so I have a soft spot in my heart for retail and stores in general. Immediately I would love to start getting the clothing into stores. I would love to own my own boutique one day that’s only Born & Bred or something that carries Born & Bred and other stuff. That would be super super great to own my own business and kind of let it flow that way. I know I would have a lot of fun doing that. In the immediate future we are letting things grow organically. It’s funny, each sale that we have had over the past year or so, has really been like an investment. Anyone who has bought a tee shirt, a sweatshirt or a poster anything has been an investment in our company. The three of us haven’t made a penny off of it yet. I work with two other guys named Joe and Anthony out in Colorado. Every single penny that has been made has gone back into the company because we are growing it organically. We do have high hopes for it and hope that it will be something bigger. The reason we have hopes for that is because it is going well so far. It’s not really worth it for us to necessarily start making money off of it when we can just pump that money back into the the brand and make more stuff. If people buy more stuff then we can keep building the brand. Right at this moment I would love to see more stores carry it.

8. What would be your dream band collaboration poster to make?

Our posters are more artistic than our clothing is so it would be great to work with a band that has great lyrics. I think right now a band like Vampire Weekend would be something I would be into. It’s hard to say. I think Frank Turner would be a great one. We would do something pretty visual with his lyrics. Also a band like the Menzingers, they too have great lyrics. That would be a cool poster. I hope to work with them in the future. It helps if you work with a band you really like, and lyrically and visually they have something to offer in itself. That helps you come up with a better poster idea for sure. We just did a Taking Back Sunday one and they use a lot of the same elements as far as a panther or a tiger. When we were working on it, we thought of a new way we could spin a panther. What is a new way that we can present it to their fans that is not like the same old panther?  So we came up with something cool and that has been one of our better posters for sure.



9. What is next in the life of Nick Ghanbarian?

Born & Bred is front and center right now because of the holiday season. We have a new line coming out! I just wanna be there for all the shopping that is done during the holidays. Bayside doesn’t have any shows until the end of December. We have a  new album that  omes out February 18th. It’s called “Cults” on Hopeless Records. That’s going to make our next year very busy because we will have a lot of touring to do and a lot of supporting the record. We haven’t had a album out in almost three years to the day. Out last album came out February 22, 2011. It’s very cool.

10.  What advice to you have for anyone looking to pursue a career in the music industry?

The best piece of advice to anyone starting up in a band is to concentrate on songs and song writing. Writing the best song you can will help you stay relevant as an artist. It’s not how many backflips you do on stage or how your hair looks. Write great songs and believe in and all the other parts of being a band will follow suit.

(Begin the randomness)


11.  It is a well known fact that you are a hockey lover. Where did that come from? And if you could have a career in hockey, what position would you play and what year would Rangers team would you like to play for?

I started playing roller hockey, here in Long Island in the street. I liked the sport.  That was around 1992ish when Wayne’s World was out. I went and bought a Blackhawk’s jersey because I didn’t know any better. Then my uncle came over one day and was like, “why are you wearing a Chicago jersey? You should be a Ranger’s fan!”  I was like, “OK!”  and that is how I became a Rangers fan. Basically I played roller hockey and enjoyed the sport before I actually started watching it or rooting for the Rangers. If I played, as much fun as it would be to be a big scorer and score a bunch of goals, I feel like I would rather be lower in the line up and be like a tough guy grinder type of player. A guy that kind of keeps the team together instead of being the guy that scores like 50 goals. I’d be the guy who scores 15 goals and works my ass off every night. That would be fun. The only year that I have been alive that they won the Stanley Cup was 1993-1994 so I suppose that would be the year I would like to play. Would I be a normal age or would I have to be 14?

CG: OH! You could be a normal age! It would be kinda fun if you WERE 14. It would be like Rookie Of The Year, for hockey.

12. Let’s say there was a movie made about your life. Who would you want to play the part as YOU?

Let see…..Jason Schwartzman. I feel like he would do a great job.

CG: He has some nice eyebrows as well….so that would work out. ;)

NG: I think he looks enough like me and I think he’s short so it works. And he’s in a lot of my favorite movies.

CG: What kind of movie would it be?

NG: It would be like Curb Your Enthusiasm.

13. So….What if that movie made you into a huge star and you were the topic of the tabloid magazines. What would you want the headlines to read about you?

I always enjoy, whether they are true or not, when people are linked to other people. Like who’s dating who. It would be fun to just kinda see, even if it was just lies, who I am dating this week kind of thing.

CG: Anyone specifically you would like be dating?

NG: They would have to be single. Normally I would say Natalie Portman but she is married now. Blake Lively is married too.  I don’t know. I guess then I would be in the tabloids for having an affair. So I guess that would work.

14. What is a trend in music or fashion you would like to see disappear?

I don’t know if this is necessarily a trend, but it is something that has been happening for  years. Musicianship isn’t as nearly as high esteem as it should be. I think songs on the radio, very rarely are they great songs with decent musicianship. It’s always common denominator type stuff. I think that  in my lifetime, there has been a place for things like DJ’s, but the fact that they are the biggest stars right now kind of bothers me. Being a DJ is a super cool talent but their work is kinda done once the song is done then they just show up and press play. I’m kinda not cool with that. To me, being a live musician means you’re doing things live. If you are not remixing and having people perform the part that are on your song on the radio, then you are just showing up and  pressing play while people are dancing and drinking. I think performing live is exactly that, performing. Not just showing up and having a bunch of people dancing to a song that was made 6 months ago. When Bayside writes a song, six months later we go on the road and we play it. The same goes for most rock musicians. The whole DJ thing, to me is really just starting to grind my gears a little bit because they are becoming more popular than actual musicians. There is a place for it and it’s super popular so I know people like it. I think the songs are pretty decent, ya know? But I think fact of touring off of that or “playing shows” as a DJ is a little annoying to me. I would like to see that go away.

15. If you could go back in time and tell the 15 year old version of yourself one thing, what would you say?

Right now the one thing I wish I was better at was being more artistic and more involved with graphic design. That’s a hard one though, because at age 15 the internet wasn’t really around yet. I would have to explain what the internet was and the fact that graphic design is going to be a big part of my life. I would like to get an early start on that.

16. If you could live within a book or a movie, in full costume and character, what would you choose and why?

I love Tina Fey, and her books are more about real life and her talking about it. I would just be in her book and BE Tina Fey. Why not? Ha!

17. If you could acquire any superpower, which superpower would you choose and what would you do with it?

Teleportation. Definitely. I want to go wherever I want,when I want and to go for free. That would be great.


18. If you could commit one crime and get away with it, what crime would that be?

Rob a bank!

19. If you could chose one song to describe your life at this moment in time, which song would you chose?

The past couple of months or so, ‘The Wire’ by Haim has been my anthem. I love that song. I think it’s a great song and I am glad that once I read the lyrics I was like, “Ohhhhhhhh….it’s a GREAT song!” It would be that one.

20. What makes you come alive?

It was sort of an answer already, but I really love playing live. So playing shows, and going to shows are definitely a big part of my life. I vow to myself to never again become lazy about going to shows. I have been doing pretty ok with that. When Bayside plays a show I want to go out there and have fun because I want other people to have fun and I don’t ever want them to stop coming to shows.


I want to thank Nick for being the amazing guy that he is and taking time from his busy schedule to be a part of “20 Questions.”


And to the readers, be sure and check out Born & Bred and Bayside! It will rock your world. Duh.




Christie Gee