Bay Faction: Crack Your Knuckles In My Mouth
Haunting vocals and rhythmic drumlines beat through my speakers. From the first few seconds, I was instantly hooked. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve pressed repeat, or how many scenarios I’ve attached to each of their songs, a soundtrack for moments that have yet to happen.
Bay Faction is a hypnotic New York group of musicians, playing out their stories on strings, and putting words to feelings you can’t seem to describe.
Here’s what they had to say.
“Writing music for people feels similar to wanting to take care of them.”
Can you give me a little bit of background about the band? How did you initially form and such?
James: Before going to school, I was looking for people to write and perform with. Kris and I met on the internet; after messaging him, I got a response at 3am saying we should meet up during the week. Turns out it was actually his friend who replied, but he’s a nice boy and showed up anyways. About a year or so later we met Alex at school and he joined the band.
How did you choose the name “Bay Faction?”
Kind of the same way people choose usernames on Instagram, to be honest.
What kind of mindset do you find yourself in when writing new music?
I feel the most emotionally balanced when I write. We’re all empathetic people but we sort of turn into each other’s emotional caretakers when we start creating something together. I don’t know why but writing music for people feels similar to wanting to take care of them.
What’s the band dynamic like?
Kris and I live together, along with our manager and a few of our close friends/collaborators. When we’re not at work we’re generally in the apartment working on Florida Guilt or other projects. Alex is an audio engineer, which usually keeps him in the studio at work or in his room. I swear he’s never not working. Andrew’s always everywhere doing everything at once, and we love him for that.
Could you take me through what inspired the following songs – what they were about? Were they personal experiences or…? – Pendulum – Bloody Nose – Are You In The Mood? – Sasquatch .22 – Nineteen
‘Nineteen’ and ‘Are You In the Mood’ are kind of the same song, When I was younger, I grew up in a very religious school and environment. Those two songs are about reconciling my bisexuality, queerness and the emotions I hid then. Parochial and “single sex” education was popular where I grew up but not always ideal for a healthy self-image. It took me years to feel comfortable and justified in loving whom I want, and these songs are reflections and recollections from that period of my life.
Everything on the S/T (an album) weren’t about experiences I’ve had personally but were observations into the tumultuous youth culture that I and a lot of young people are surrounded by. Both ‘Bloody Nose’ and ‘Sasquatch.22’ were documentation of toxicity in romantic relationships.
“Those two songs are about reconciling my bisexuality, queerness and the emotions I hid. It took me years to feel comfortable and justified in loving whom I want. They’re reflections and recollections from that period of my life.”
Who’s Jasper? This is something I’ve always been so curious about – you mention him quite a bit throughout your music.
Have you seen that episode of Rick and Morty where they go to the alien spa and get all of the toxicity sucked out of them? But it creates a toxic version of them in a parallel dimension, or something? He’s a lot like that. He’s really helped me put a lot of difficult parts of people into perspective.
What lyric that you’ve written thus far are you most emotionally attached to?
“Crack your knuckles in my mouth” because everyone thinks it’s supposed to be kinky, but it’s actually about getting punched in the face.
How have you developed your sound so far? And what are some artists that have influenced you on that side?
James: Since the release of the S/T we’ve kind of gone in all directions, dedicating the time to exploration and perfecting our craft. We got really bored of the whole rock band thing and started to treat Bay Fac like a producer project. Rather than trying to pigeonhole ourselves into a specific genre, we just want to write the best music we can write.
Right now, Vlokken and Nicolas Jaar are some of my biggest influences musically. BbyMutha and Dua Lipa have been some of my favorite lyricists lately.
“We got really bored of the whole rock band thing and started to treat Bay Fac like a producer project.”
What’s something (not musical) that’s influenced your music? Like, New York, the ocean, a kitchen sink? Anything you find yourself drawing inspiration from.
Mostly clothes. Looking back, so much of the North East dresses so conservatively. But in NY people dress however they want, which is both stimulating and funny, sometimes. I know this isn’t supposed to be musical but the feeling of creating clothing I want to wear and share with people feels really close to songwriting.
What can we expect from you in the future? Any projects you can let us in on?
The second half of this year is going to be a lot of fun! We’re releasing Florida Guilt, plus a few other surprises. Watch this space.