Interview conducted on 5 Jan 2018 with members James McDermott, Kris Roman
To be entirely honest, I never know how bands are going to speak to me as I am interviewing them. It could really only go one of two ways: either super pretentious and annoyingly hipster, or kind, funny artists who are eager to tell their story. Bay Faction maintains a mysterious aesthetic, so much so that I was hesitant in approaching them for an interview. I was nervous about the phone call until someone picked up on the other end and with exuberance, loudly asked, “Is this Ally? HI! How is your day going?” Granted, small talk is everyone’s least favorite thing, but the excitement and kindness of the two men who spoke to me on the phone was remarkable and shows the purity of the bands intentions and their well-deserved achievements. All of my questions were met with thoughtful answers and plenty of humor, and the interview turned into a conversation between people who seemingly had known each other forever.
The band came into fruition through the powerful means of media and the Internet. After posting on a site that helped connect musicians with helpful counterparts, Bay Faction arose consisting of a dynamic trio of late teens and early adults: James McDermott, Kris Roman, and Alex Agresti. I had the pleasure of interviewing McDermott and Roman, and their backgrounds are abundant with musical influence from early ages. McDermott even exposes, “My first memory is wanting to be Britney Spears”. Roman on the other hand, points back to Rush as being a huge influence in his childhood when he used to rip vinyl into MP3s. The two continued to rattle off names like Prince and Jackson 5, but when I asked about what currently influenced the band’s music, they drew a blank. After struggling to clearly explain where their inspiration came from, McDermott bluntly spit out, “New York”. This is an unexpected answer, for sure, but it makes the most sense. Musicians not only draw from other musicians, but also their environment. For Bay Faction, New York is the mother to their songs.
When asked about the genre of their music, both Kris and James almost simultaneously responded, “pop”. A simple, three lettered word that nowadays has a very bad rap in modern society. We coin “pop music” as highly auto-tuned, sleazy songs that play on the radio, and don’t give much thought to it. I asked Roman and McDermott about whether or not they saw an issue with current pop music, and they responded “no”. Elaborating on this idea, Roman said that pop is, “a group of people sitting down to write a song that makes people feel good. There’s nothing wrong with that.” This collaborative effort is an idea the two kept referring back to, McDermott saying later on that, “[making music] is kind of like architecture. It takes a lot of people to build a monolith.”
If you listen to almost any Bay Faction song, there is a person named “Jasper” who appears in many. When approached with this question, McDermott explains that, “[Jasper is] a character I made up when I was 18 to defer the responsibility of the things I was experiencing… You romanticize things so much. Jasper is someone I could put these experiences with.” Jasper is a very real person in a sense, as they are a composition of experience from each band member. It is a highly creative way of writing music that only a few people will appreciate if they know the story behind Jasper. This kind of creativity is just a glimpse into the expanse of Bay Faction’s potential and brilliance in songwriting and creating.
Bay Faction is rising in popularity as you are reading this, but they are not alone. The members of the band are working on creating a platform that they can lift others up and help display their work. Their self-interest is not a first priority, and their upcoming projects will surely reflect that fact. When I asked why they weren’t just exclusively focusing on themselves, McDermott responded with simply, “Well it’s boring if you don’t.” In this adventure, social media is their main driving force. However, what is special about Bay Faction is that every platform has a different vibe. Each is given proper attention and almost has a personality of it’s own. Roman says, “Not utilizing your platforms is just stupid. If you make all the platforms the same, no one will listen.” While twitter might be some comments you never thought you needed, “yu gi oh cards better make a comeback this yr or sean kingston” (Jan 1), Instagram will be full of saturated, artsy pictures of a few guys hanging out. Their social media is almost as diverse as their music and individual personalities.
Their newest single, “Nineteen” was recorded in a bedroom and was the first song that proved to the band that they really could follow their dreams, for lack of a better term. They released a music video for the song via Instagram Story, hinting at the fact that they are testing out their music for the future of the band. This future consists of a full length LP coming out in fall of this year. Roman describes the album as a different sound than the songs available now, “a bit lush and uptempo”. Until then, their songs are up on Band Camp as well as Spotify. Two songs will be released in the time from now until the album, so stay tuned for those, readers.
Until next time, I’ll catch you next month.
Written by: @alexanbhall (IG, Twitter)
Spotify: Bay Faction