Interview: Meet Bayboards

Just over a month after the release of their 2023 6-track EP Modern Age Disaster, the boys of Bayboards took to the stage at the iconic Band on the Wall for their first headline show of the year. The band are breaking the stereotypical post-teen angst/indie pop barrier with their new EP, a collection of self-learning and loathing songs about the deformation of the planet and how real-life situations can impact the reality of life; Modern Age Disaster is one to add to your playlists. 

Discovering the band a few weeks prior to them being an opening act at a concert I attended in 2022, I was fascinated and immediately drawn into the sound, but didn’t set my expectations too high, I severely underestimated the skillset and buzz that the band are capable of producing, their stage presence is phenomenal and I have been invested in the creativity of Bayboards ever since. 

I had the experience of seeing them at their biggest show to date and subsequently took the opportunity to sit down with drummer, Javan, to ask a few questions and get to know the band a bit better. 

To start things off, I had to ask a very important question – What is the band’s favourite cereal? Here’s what the drummer had to say: “I don’t really eat cereal but if I was going to pick one maybe the crunchy nut chocolate and hazelnut one, but I feel like Ben’s answer would be Coco Pops. I do like Coco Pops but I honestly don’t really eat cereal that much, I don’t get up that early so I barely eat breakfast.” 

Kicking the year off with such a strong start, I can’t imagine the feeling of such success in a small period of time, but the drummer tells all; “It feels good, well great actually” Javan expresses. Having their last Manchester headline appearance over a year ago, there’s a completely elevated atmosphere in the performance skills as well as the vibes of the audience, “nobody knew the words to our songs the last time we played in Manchester, so it felt surreal and sort of weird in a way to hear our songs sung back.”

Bayboards also released physical versions of their music with this EP, which is a first-time experience for the indie pop rock band: “It’s actually so cool having our records to sell. Obviously, we’ve never had the chance to do that before so it’s just nice knowing it’s not just your mates buying the records or coming to the gigs and it’s people who’ve shown up because they resonate with what we have to say. I mean we’re not going around saying we’re the best band ever because we’re not but it’s crazy how people that had no idea who we were like the music we make enough to buy tickets and make the effort to see us.” 

The boys met in school where Ben and (ex-band member) Will used to play together. The duo asked Javan to join them in high school where they had the opportunity to play some music showcases which were “pretty terrible” Javan admits. The band went to different colleges but still played some pub gigs until they climbed their way into the Manchester music scene. The drummer was inspired to pursue a career in music when he saw someone playing the drums in school as a child, “I just wanted to learn the drums so that’s what I did, but I also played the trumpet as well.” Guitar and vocals member, Ben, got into music through his dad, who played guitar in the punk rock band, The Violators.

“They were massive, they still have more monthly listeners than us,” Javan reveals. 

Curious about the origin of the band name, I had to query Javan on who came up with the name and how they knew it would stick. The unique name [Bayboards] came about when the drummer was driving around in Birmingham, “I saw a baby on board sign in a car and I just squashed it together to Bayboards, it just sounded like a band name” he recalls, “I like getting asked that question because people think there’s gonna be some deep meaning to it but there’s not.”

Prior to being Bayboards, the band had a plethora of names that they trialled before committing to the current and best name. “The first ones we had we were just messing about,” Javan confesses. One of the first names the band went by was ‘Central Station’ which came about as his dad’s shop is a station building. “We then had ‘’Monroe’ which was Will’s idea, then ‘Concrete’, which was Ben’s idea and that was rubbish” he declares, laughing about the various names. My personal favourite of the abundant names Javan disclosed is ‘Brain Salad’ which occurred when Will had left the band for a brief period of time, “Me and Ben did our own thing where we called ourselves ‘Brain Salad’ then he [Will] came back to the band.”

Ensuring that they would be the top Google search, the band collectively decided that Bayboards was the end of their name search. 

I asked Javan about the creative process of writing and the communication of the band. “I think he [Ben] just messes about with chords and riffs, then puts the lyrics over the top, he does a lot of our writing, then I’ll come in to do the drums.” The band ensures they have the honesty to communicate anything they aren’t happy with, “we’ll tell eachother if something sounds bad and we work our way to something we’re collectively happy with, I think we just rely on being critically honest with each other in a respectful way and not taking anything personally because at the end of the day, we are just mates who make music together so it’s never that serious.”

In their downtime, it is evident that the band are passionate about their artistry, and is keen to share their work “I don’t think I really do much outside [the band], it’s all I do but I genuinely really enjoy it so even if I’m busy it doesn’t always feel like it if we’re going to chill or go out for a drink, most of the time we end up talking about the band anyway.” 

At the moment, there is no news of a tour, however, the band are dedicating their time to focus on building up their catalogue, which I was graciously given the opportunity to have a sneak peek at, and also expanding their fanbase with their slight rebrand before heading out on the road again; but I can assure you that you will not be disappointed by what’s up their sleeves for future releases, with “big singalong summer indie bangers that are sparkly, they’ve got a bit of glitter to them” set to be the direction of the new tunes. As for venues, Javan seems to have quite the liking for the O2 Ritz in Manchester “I saw The Snuts at O2 Ritz, and I also got to see IST IST at the O2 Ritz. I love IST IST, I think they do a great show, to be honest, and I really like the O2 Ritz. I’d love to play there. I think the dream venue is probably AO Arena [formerly Manchester Arena] or the new Co-op Live venue but O2 Ritz is great.” The drummer went on to state that he saw Queen (with Adam Lambert) at AO Arena and it was one of his favourite concerts he’s been to along with the IST IST gig. 

Intrigued by the different genres that the band listen to, if they were given the opportunity to open for any artist, the lads of Bayboards would have varied answers, “There are bands I’d want to open for but we have different styles of music, I know Ben would want to open for a band called Shame but in all honesty, I’d want to open for Louis Tomlinson or someone like that” the drummer expresses.

Last year, Bilk, who like Bayboards, is signed under the Manchester-based label Scruff of the Neck, had the opportunity to be an opening act for Louis Tomlinson’s World tour, which helped to skyrocket their success, so it is completely understandable to aim for those aspirations. Bayboards have yet to collaborate with any artists on their music, but if the occasion arose, Javan would definitely win an award for most out there based on his ideals of having very different genres of music to the band: “I’d do it with someone random like Tyler the Creator, I just think it’d be funny and actually really cool, he seems like a funny guy, or maybe someone like Aitch and get a rap verse in because why not, it’s a bit out there but I think it would be entertaining for us to create something like that.” 

The band will be playing the Scruff of the Neck stage at Ynot festival at the end of July along with other artists signed to the label such as The Hara, Bloxx, Swim Deep and more! The song Mean Girls is not only a favourite for Bayboards fans, but also one of the band’s favourite songs to play live, “everyone goes for it, I love it when you can see the crowd moshing and you can see all the different types of people, some look terrified standing at the edge then you get all the crazy people in the middle going for it, it’s interesting for us to see from the stage.”

Javan continued on to talk about how great the atmosphere is when the opportunity to mosh at their gigs arises. “Everyone is dead nice in the Bayboards mosh pits, not like when you go to see certain bands and its just scary lads in bucket hats, I don’t think we’re a band for that type of people, no offence to them though, I just can’t see them at one of our gigs,” the drummer divulges, which from first-hand experience of attending various concerts is very true, there’s no hostility or fear of getting seriously damaged in a Bayboards crowd. Since supporting Since September on tour, the band have gained a wider female demographic, which is nice to see that an all-male band in their genre is not predominantly a lad-based crowd, “It feels weird saying we’ve got fans but I feel like there’s a bit of a community, everyone just nice and there’s not much of a rowdy lad fan base; sometimes when I go to gigs, the fans are a bit terrifying, to be honest, so it’s refreshing to be able to feel like I could talk to everyone at a Bayboards gig.”

Along with having supporters from various parts of the UK, the band is making their way around the globe with a fan account based in El Salvador, which is crazy! 

Ending the interview on a lighthearted note, I was curious as to what article of clothing was the drummer’s favourite and what the best advice that the band had been given was. “I tell you what it is, my Lidl socks, they’re pretty sick. I’ve got some sliders as well but my Lidl socks I’d have to say.” Javan then mentioned that the best piece of advice was probably their manager telling them to not stress about numbers, it’ll work out eventually, I then also chimed in to say that you can’t be stressed if you’re well dressed, which received a chuckle before he stated that many people had given them advice but you can choose whether to take it or not and it all depends on whether you believe you can achieve your goals.

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