Five records, three years and a whole dose of love-struck diary entries later – Rise Records newcomers and Boston city long-timers, Transit find their way to Australian territory in the form of a Killyourstereo conversation. Despite their cross-filled tour calendars and relentless writing ethic, they managed to take the time to shed light on releases of the past and those to come.
Well, I just feel like calling the shots today so this interview is going to go out to all the fans in Australia, knowing there’s a fair few of them. Could you give us a brief summary of your role in Transit and your band’s overall assumptions of life in our country?
My name is Tim Landers, I play guitar and do some vocals in Transit. I think your country is awesome. It looks beautiful. Everyone I’ve met from Australia is a great human. Also, our bassist PJ has a strange obsession with Kangaroos. We want to come tour Australia so very badly. We’ll make it happen in 2011.
So almost two years ago your widely acclaimed EP, Stay Home was released through Run For Cover Records. How far do you believe that CD has brought you, and how has your experience been working with one of America’s fastest growing pop/punk labels?
Well, it’s actually a very strange realization that Stay Home was two years ago. It seems like it was so recent, yet at the same time feels like forever ago. But, I’m not sure how far exactly it brought us. People seem to feel the songs and sing along at shows, which is the coolest feeling ever. Working with Run For Cover was a blast. Jeff and I became good friends because of our time together, and RFC’s roster claims such an amazing group of bands we’re charmed to be mentioned in the same breath with.
Working hard seems to be second nature for you guys: launching a split with Man Overboard and debut full-length, Keep This To Yourself since Stay Home. Can you describe the reaction to both of these releases over the past two years?
Hmm. Well, it’s difficult for me to really understand the reactions to our releases. I can read reviews on line and have people tell me they like it, but I’m on the complete opposite side of it. I don’t know if people really like us, I feel like people are lying to me, because any sort of recognition we get is always so surreal. It’s just strange to write a few songs in my basement, and have them turn into something people love and respect. So with that being said, I think the reaction to both the split and KTTY we’re awesome. It was great to be able to do a split with our best friends, so it’s even cooler that people we’re into it. Keep This To Yourself is a really important group of songs to all of us- and it means the world any time I see someone singing along.
I guess a huge part of your success has stemmed from your unique sound; delivering the pop/punk style in your own catchy yet complex way. What were your biggest musical influences in writing Keep This To Yourself, and did they change since the EP?
We all have so many different bands and music we love that influence us in different ways. So, I’ll speak for myself. My musical taste is consistently all over the place. I just try to do everything in my power to write interesting, memorable guitar work. If I had to narrow it down, I’d say that a lot of influence on that record came from Braid, Hot Water Music, and Taking Back Sunday. I was also listening to a lot of Phoenix at that time too, oddly enough. A lot of the stuff we’ve been writing now seemingly has a more Death Cab For Cutie and American Football inspired kind of feel.
Who writes the material in the band? Please, take us through the Transit writing process.
It’s an interesting process. It happens either one of two ways:
1. I’ll write a song, record an acoustic outline on garageband and send it to the dudes. We’ll take it to practice, pick it apart, and everyone will do their thing over it. JoeB will write vocals over whatever demos we can scrape together.
2. It’ll just come together at practice. We’ll just be hanging out and a song will just come together. Just something from nothing. When it happens, it’s always rapid and natural. It’s a very strange, yet awesome thing. It just kind of happens.
A large part of your thematic concerns throughout all your songs seem to be aimed towards, love, tough love, relationships and sometimes even a certain individual. Are there many stories behind a lot of these lyrics, and what inspires you to write a song?
I don’t write many lyrics, but I know there are many stories and thought behind them. We strive to get messages out through our songs, and the lyrics have everything to do with that. JoeB likes to keep the real meaning of a lot of the songs under wrap, because whoever is listening should be able to take what they personally hear from it. That’s something we love about music, when it you’re listening to a song and it’s just like "man, he’s singing about my life."
I think it’s safe to say that for many bands, especially within this and neighbouring genres, both the music and message go hand in hand. What would you say is Transit’s message?
That you can be what you want to be. You don’t need to conform to all the bullshit that’s going on all around you. If you want to do something, do it. Forget everyone’s standards, and do what you want to make yourself happy.
Especially for many American groups, there seems to be a strong sense of patriotism towards their city of origin. What are your ties to Boston and how has it played a role in the music you make today?
We definitely love the city we’re a part of. We’re all from the outskirts of Boston, and did a lot of growing up in that city. I increasingly appreciate it the more we travel. See, it’s this little, interesting, beautiful place on the surface, but there’s so much more to it. There’s so many little details, so many different people, so many outstanding sights all packed into this one little city. It’s got its shit parts too- but that’s part of what makes it the awesome place it is. I guess you can kind of parallel that with our music. We’re tied into whatever genres people wanna call us, but we’re just focused and infatuated with the little details and creativity that make the song.
Since your latest release you guys have done some extensive touring alongside some amazing bands including Man Overboard, A Loss For Words and This Time Next Year. What has been your favourite show so far and most enjoyable place to visit?
It’s so hard to pinpoint a favorite show. We’ve been blessed with making some great friends, and being able to share the stage with them all over. In my head, it’s all just this one big blur of awesomeness. One show does come to mind, though. Chain Reaction in Anaheim on the Fireworks/Swellers/Man Overboard/Transit tour was just all too surreal. I’ll never forget that show.
Currently finishing up a tour with Death By Stereo, in March you’ll be set to hit the road with giants, Senses Fail, The Ghost Inside and Man
Overboard. It seems that the tours just keep getting bigger! What are you looking forward to most about future tours as such?
I’m really excited to be playing in rooms that sound good. It’s a nice feeling. I’m also just stoked to play to as many new faces as possible. I don’t care if they like us or not. I just want to turn some heads.
So aside from your huge schedule, your latest release scored you guys a part in the Rise Records family. How did this come about, and what are your plans with this label?
Rise contacted us while we were on tour in the summer, and just let us know they were interested in the band. We met with them, got along well, saw eye to eye on a lot of things- and that was pretty much the end of the story. RIght now, we just finished recording a 7 inch with two brand new tracks called "Promise Nothing" that will be out on Rise in April, and a full length will come in June. Really excited about that and how it came out.
Despite also recently signing Man Overboard and A Loss For Words, Rise Records is widely known for their largely metal and heavier roster. Do you see yourselves joining more mixed bills in the future as a result, and if so what are your thoughts towards this?
No, I don’t see us playing with any bands like Attack Attack, etc. It just wouldn’t really make sense. Rise would never put any sort of pressure for us to tour with any of their other bands, either. They’re entirely supportive of who we are and what we do. We’re just going to keep making and playing music we want to play, and try and get as many people as possible to hear it.
Already starting 2011 off with a huge bang, what does the rest of this year hold for Transit?
Hmmm. There’s quite a few things. Like I said before, "Promise Nothing" seven inch in April. We’ll be playing Bamboozle and a couple other festivals, with some short tours in between. We’re writing a record and recording it in June. It should be out in September. After, we’ll be touring as much and far as possible. Hopefully a trip to Australia! I think that’s about it.
You guys have seen Europe, Canada and America (many, many times). When’s Australia hitting your calendar?
As soon as possible, promise. We really, really want to.
Please, give us your heads up for some sweet bands coming out over your side of the world!
So so so many. Seahaven, The Story So Far, Citizen, Camden, Everyone Everywhere. SO many.
Thanks heaps for this interview, please don’t stay home (yeah, I went there) and make it out over our way soon! Any last words for the lovers down under?
Thank you for having me. Hope to see you very soon. Listen to our new EP "Something Left Behind", please.