There’s an old saying: Progress makes perfect. If there’s one band who has wholly adopted that as a mantra, it’s Transit. After helping lead the resurgence of pop-punk, the Stoneham, MA quintet have been moving farther and farther from the genre with each release since last year’s Keep This To Yourself, culminating with this year’s fantastic Listen & Forgive.
“A lot of the songs kind of just wrote themselves,” singer Joe Boynton said. “It’s kind of just all of us are getting older and we are trying to take what we learned with music writing.”
Guitarist and backing vocalist Tim Landers echoed a similar statement. “It was a very natural progression. It just kind of happened.”
“I just think no one is ever the same person forever. Everyone changes. It depends on what your life’s like and who you are. We are different people than when we made Keep This To Yourself, Stay Home and Something Left Behind. It’s all just happening together. Whatever happens, happens. We didn’t try to have an idea of what it would sound like, it just happened along the way.”
The band was initially set to begin production with Brian McTernan in the summer of 2011, but the familiarity of home would sway the group into recording at the studio of guitarist/vocalist Torre Cioffi’s brother Gary, Maximum Sound Studio.
“It was a really cool thing because we practiced for the record in that studio and that is where we wrote the entire record, pretty much,” Landers said. “So it was cool that the record was born and conceived and recorded all in the same place.”
“And nurtured,” Boynton added, with a smirk.
“And grew up,” Landers joked back.
“And got sent out to school,” Boynton retorted, one-upping Landers.
“And grew into a really beautiful woman of a record,” Landers said, with a laugh. Victory Landers.
The band is not one to ever shy away from running with a joke. The youthful energy the band displays is one of the many draws that help fans connect with the band.
“I think it’s the age,” Boynton said, giving the reason for the passion displayed by fans of the band. “They see someone around their age and they say, ‘Hey, this kid knows what he’s talking about. He’s coming from the same perspective as me. We are both growing up at the same time.’ It also has to do with our community of bands. You see one band and they tell you about five or six other bands. It’s really everyone keeping up with everything and helping get stuff out there.”
Reaction to songs from Listen & Forgive has been great, at least in the eyes of Torre Cioffi.
“Tonight I would definitely say I saw the most people singing along with the new songs,” Cioffi said.
“It seems like a lot of kids are singing along. We’ve had really good reception and we couldn’t be any happier,” Boynton said in agreement.
The band has always had a strong relationship with fans, going as far as releasing an acoustic cover every week for 22 weeks in a segment they titled “Transit Thursdays.”
“It could happen,” Boynton said, regarding whether they would bring the series back. “We might surprise people here and there. Not on a scheduled basis like we did before. We had a lot of fun and those bands influenced us. It might be something someone who is a fan of Transit hasn’t heard. We just want to share as much music as we can.”
The band even heard back from one of the band’s they covered, receiving a positive response.
“Fairweather heard our cover and they said it was cool,” Boynton stated.
“I tweeted our American Football cover to Mike Kinsella. He responded back to me “Cool,” Cioffi said, with a laugh.
American Football is one influence that is obvious from Listen & Forgive. The band provided some less-obvious choices as to other influences during recording.
“I’d probably say my biggest influence is Rocky Votolato,” Boyton said. “What about you guys?” he asked the two guitarists.
“Jimmy Eat World. Old Jimmy Eat World,” Landers answered.
“Jeffree Star,” Michael Ireland, I Am the Avalanche’s guitarist, said, speaking for the band.
The room fills with laughs.
“Jeffree Star. Blood on the Dance Floor. All really good bands,” Boynton joked.
After the band performed a fantastic set at the Sauget, IL stop of their tour with Bayside, Saves the Day and I Am the Avalanche, they were kind enough to answer my questions regarding the tour and the album. Even after playing a high-energy set, the guys were the picture of a lively band. Landers didn’t stop noodling on his Taylor acoustic guitar for the course of the interview.
With such well-established bands taking a risk bringing a younger band on the road, Transit believes it has to do with a similar mindset between the bands.
“I think it’s because they (other bands on the tour) are people who actually pay attention to the bands they tour with and the scene,” Landers said. “They are well aware of the difference between bands who write music because they want to be the next Katy Perry and the bands that write music because they love it. They recognize that and that’s why they take bands like us, Title Fight and Balance & Composure out. They started making music for the same reason as us and they appreciate that.”
With bands like that as a standard, Transit doesn’t have to worry about the progress slowing down any time soon.