Bayless a band that creates great music with a message.
I have your last album Within Your Reach. It has a Gothic Metal tone. Sounding like Evanescence. Unlike Evanescence you state on your Kickstarter page that you are a “ministry first and a band second.” Do you preach within your lyrics?
Our music exists to offer hope, but to not shy away from real issues and real feelings. We write about other people’s stories, anything from addiction, to the loss of a loved one, to questioning who God is. These are all real issues many go through in this life, but we offer a way of hope when in those dark times. We aren’t guaranteed a perfect life if we follow God, but we are given hope for what’s to come and a promise that God has something on the other side of the darkness for us. We can either keep going deeper into the unknown abyss, or we can walk towards the light illuminating our path in this life.
Would you allow one of your songs to be put in a movie that is not faith based?
We would be open to that as long as the message of the movie didn’t contradict what our music talks of or something we couldn’t feel good endorsing. But, if it’s something that could have a big impact in even intriguing one person to check us out and in turn, helps them? Sure, we’d be open to that. Our music isn’t for Christians exclusively, it’s targeted for everyone. We want to say something in our music regardless of the walk of life the listener is in.
Now being a believer and they always say that “if a door closes another opens.” What would you do if your Kickstarter is not fully funded?
We also addressed this on our Kickstarter homepage, but if we do not raise our goal, we would still find a way to fund this. We feel strongly about this opportunity and we feel we have an awesome support system and fan base who would help us figure out a way to fund it. We know God opened a big door for us and so we’ll walk through it regardless of what’s on the other side. But, so far our Kickstarter is ahead of schedule by a long ways and we are ahead of schedule to make our goal. Let’s hope it continues in that trend!
Your Facebook page states that you’ve toured with Thousand Foot Krutch, and Disciple. How was the atmosphere when touring with them? Did you have a great time? Would you tour with them again?
Actually, we did not go on tour with them, we’ve just done some shows with them. We’d LOVE to be able to tour with either of those bands. Who knows? Maybe down the road that could work out somehow. They are both a group of humble, considerate, and talented musicians who we look up to. We hope to work with them again in the future.
Your website state’s Jared never wrote, played, or even sang until 19. How many hours a day did you spend practicing once you sold your PlayStation 2 and got your first guitar?
Jared: You’ve done your homework on me! (Which is flattering! Haha!) That’s correct. I actually sold my PS2 at the time to learn Metallica songs. I had this passion like never before to play. Had a friend come over and teach me like the first 30 seconds of about 4 of their songs. After that, it was too complex to learn. At the time I thought 30 seconds made me an expert. 🙂 I soon went off to college, met people way more talented than me, and they just invited me to come play guitar with them in their dorm rooms, practices, etc. It was brutal for them to probably listen to me chunk the chords, drop my pick in my acoustic guitar hole, and stare at their fingers in confusion like a Lady Gaga song. But, not long after I prayed a simple prayer to myself during a dorm devo “God, if I do this music I’ll do it for you and no one else.” And then, I just took off. My skills improved dramatically, I had people who forced me to sing, lead some chapel services, get over my fear of playing in front of people, and then suddenly the writing started. Music is an addiction for me now. I love arranging and writing. It’s my therapy, my escape, and my return back to God for His faithfulness to me.
You attended Nebraska Christian College. Do you feel that attending college helped your current path or was it just a rock in the way of your true calling?
Jared: My time at NCC was one of the greatest times of my life. I met lifelong friends who I still talk to today. People, professors, and acquaintances from my time there that I still call on for prayer or advice or just to chat. I even got to do an internship in the music department after I had graduated, even though I didn’t get a degree in music (I got it in Family Counseling). It was far from a rock in the way, quite the opposite. It woke me up, gave me a faith of my own, let me be around other strong believers who were just like me, struggled like me, came alongside me when I needed them and vice versa. It was where I saw that it was ok to truly be a Christian and it didn’t make you a nerd or an outcast or socially awkward. It was where I developed my leadership, grew my talents, and learned how to communicate with passion. If I had not gone there, I would never have been the man I am today.
Do you listen to other bands music secular or Christian? If so which ones and why those particular ones?
Absolutely. Demon Hunter, Project 86, Metallica, Evanescence, Skillet, Florence + The Machine, Thousand Foot Krutch, Breaking Benjamin, Flyleaf, Red, Adele… there are just so many talented artists out there. How could we not listen to them? We strongly believe in supporting our fellow musicians as well, so when we come across an artist we feel strongly about, we purchase their music and promote them. It’s the same we’d want someone to do for us.
Where did you and the band meet?
Jared: I originally started out on my own under my own name “Jared Bayless”, but after Vanessa and I got married and began writing songs together and the power in her vocals that added a different dynamic to the band, we dropped my first name and just became “Bayless”. I’ve been so blessed to play with so many amazingly talented musicians over the years, including Rod & Christian currently. We started out in Omaha, NE and continued to grow and flourish in our time in Wichita, KS. We’re continuing to build upon that out here in the Colorado area now.
Where do you see your music and band in the next five years?
We hope to continue our ministry regardless of our popularity or status. It’s not about fame. It’s about changing lives. With that said, of course we’d like to take our music to a larger platform and reach more people. But if we’ve ceased to open people’s hearts, and change lives, then it’s all been for naught.
Have you had to overcome major obstacles during your music career?
I don’t know about major, but every band/musician goes through the same thing. It’s a TON of work to do music and to continue to do it and be successful at it and maintain that. Bands come and go, interchangeable parts, internal conflicts, chemistry between band-mates, having the right song with the right sound, etc. On top of that, you have to balance your work, which supports the music and your family as it unfolds for each person. Our biggest obstacle has probably just been what every band strives for – credibility. You work so hard to have people give your music a chance, and decipher through what is constructive criticism and what is actually going to just be discouragement from outside opinion. Music is all about opinion and is a war no one will ever win. Some people will love your music, some will hate it, and some will only like it if their friends like it or if it’s on the radio. Just continuing to not give up on what God was putting on our hearts so many years ago and striving to be different than what was out there, but not so different that you alienate yourself from progress. Add all that up and try to balance it, you can see why it’s such a tough industry, but also so rewarding on every level.
Are you trying to mimic anyone musically or set yourself apart from others?
We have our influences in the way we write, sure, but we are trying to be our own. Every band, (except cover bands), wants to be different and have their own sound. We feel our sound is unique in our arrangements, our dual male/female vocal leads, and hopefully we keep the same message of hope running through them that people can easily pick out. We just want people to be encouraged/challenged/inspired by our music more than anything. The message is more important than the style, ultimately.
If you were out eating would you stop and give any fans that want an autograph one?
Well, sure! Hopefully, we’d be able to offer more then just a lousy autograph haha! One of the biggest highlights of our shows is getting to talk to people afterwards. We LOVE this part of our ministry. And this is what it’s all about. Loving on each other, regardless of who you are or where you come from, praying with and encouraging one another, and giving each other hope, helping them realize that their stories -their struggles matter to us.
Would you preach to anyone you meet or just let your music and lyrics do that for you?
It seems the age of the “door to door evangelism” or just walking up to a stranger to talk about Jesus is dead in terms of being truly effective. I’m not even sure how effective it was when it was more prominent in culture. The word, ‘preach’, has become more stereotypical and almost seen as a negative term outside of a church service. We do all this so that we can have a chance to talk to fans after the shows and listen to them, not so they will come talk to us and tell us what they think of us. When we started asking our fans their stories, that’s when the true blessings came. That’s when our writing changed and we wanted to tell our fans’ stories. We’ve met some amazing people, heard some amazing stories. Some have been heartbreaking, and some joyful. But we just want to be real with people. We don’t want to be “rock stars”. We just want to be real people who want people to find the message of hope in our music, in the way we live our lives, and know that we aren’t perfect and will never claim to be, but we have a hope that only Christ can provide. We want to be a source of strength for people who are hurting, a source of encouragement for those who need a pick-me-up. Ultimately, who we are as people in our daily lives comes out in our music and writing. We will never jam God down anyone’s throat, but we won’t shy away from sharing where we’ve found strength, comfort, and assurance in this broken world. And if the music brings about those questions, we’d be happy to talk with someone about it, but if not, we’re super happy just to get to meet new people and make new friends.
What is one word that describes you and your music in whole?
I can’t think of just one word. We would hope that “A light in the darkness” would be closest to describing our vision for this ministry.
What are any other hobbies you have other then your music?
Jared: I love doing video work on the side and have done some work for churches and organizations doing promos etc. I also love watching movies, playing sports, hiking, and writing. Vanessa: I’ve been a nurse for 7 years now and love it! But in my spare time (besides doing music of course), I love being active, baking, gardening, or just chilling at home with Jared. I’m also passionate about medical missions and traveling. So many things to do, so little time.
Check out Bayless’ Kickstarter to help them fund there next EP.
The Band includes:
Jared Bayless – Lead Vocals, Guitar, Keys
Vanessa Bayless – Lead Vocals, Keys
Rod Nance – Keys, Synth
Christian Lee – Drums
Original posting of this Interview was June 2013