In Transit are a new force in Melbourne's heaving alt-rock scene, so we had a chat before the release of their fourth-single 'Breathe'.
“Harry had always had this idea in his head to skull a jug of beer on stage coz the lead singer of The Cherry Dolls use to do it. This ended up being a bit of a stupid thing to do. Harry’s guitar stopped working on stage and he was adamant the amp had blown up or his guitar was fried. He then proceeded to wander around the stage and the green room like a fucking dickhead looking for gear while the rest of the band jammed onstage. He emerged from the crowd holding some random amp and a guitar and continued the set before the guitar and amp died again. Turns out Harry was just a drunk idiot and kept accidentally kicking the power socket out of the wall and not realising.”
In Transit are a new force in Melbourne’s heaving alt-rock scene with “an absurd collection of pedals” and a determination to make music with lyrical depth and a notable textural thumbprint.
After meeting in highschool with members playing in various groups over the last decade, Harry (vocals/guitar) Callum, (lead guitar), Schoof, (bass), and Cormac, (drums) bonded over a mutual love of experimenting within pop and rock structures.
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“Between the four of us there’s a pretty broad range in our listening and probably in what kind of music we imagined we’d been creating outside of high school, but we’ve been able to explore and experiment with our sound within contexts that are pretty heavily influenced by artists who touch on those genres,” Callum says.
“This is exactly what some of our previous singles like ‘Twice’ and ‘I Wait’ really did for us as songwriters, as they’re not necessarily representative of any direction we wanted to go in as a band. But they did give us a space where we were able to pick and choose certain elements of our influences across a range of genres in a way that worked for us.
With elements ranging from dreampop and indie-rock to post-punk, psych and garage, In Transit reel off the usual suspects; Arctic Monkeys, Wolf Alice, The Stone Roses. “We can probably draw loose resemblances to influences like Sonic Youth or My Bloody Valentine,” Callum continues, “[plus]…The Drones or really any Gareth Liddiard project is always going to have some bearing on our music.”
Their latest single, ‘Breathe’ – which you can watch In Transit’s loyal audience moshing to above – showcases how In Transit’s amalgamation of influences juxtaposes with Harry’s highly personal and often fraught lyricism.
“‘Breathe’ is, at its core, about my Nana’s battle with cancer when I was 13 up until I was about 15,” Harry says. “I think I found the whole thing very traumatic and ‘Breathe’ is me sort of recalling moments and speaking directly to my Nana. It’s also my own commentary on friends smoking and typical attitudes I find many young smokers have. Discussing the vicious cycle that smoking evokes, smoking as a social tendency, addiction setting in, quitting, and then eventually repeating.
“The outro of the song is written directly speaking to our guitarist Callum, as I was genuinely worried about his smoking habits. It’s pretty melodramatic, but the first line sort of sums it up – ‘the nights of drinking, no sight of thinking, seem to be the best we’ve had. So, I’m just asking please that you quit so we can see them all.’ The final line of the song ‘I know what I did and I’m sorry for that, but I must admit I wouldn’t take it back’ refers to me turning my back on a close friendship but coming to terms with it and freeing myself of regret.
“I often don’t write songs with the intention of a narrative or subject matter, but let the lyrics reveal themselves based on the songs feeling. I am proud of the lyrics in ‘Breathe’, as each verse is trying to say something different and each speaks to an individual experience I’ve had. From the seriousness of my Nana’s fight with cancer to dead friendships. I am potentially most proud of the lyric ‘to c’est la vie don’t say it all’ in Breathe. Partly because it’s a condensed sentence with ‘c’est’ and ‘say’ being interchangeable, but mainly because I think it resonates with what I find a lot of smoker’s attitudes to cancer and addiction are: ‘That’s life’, whatever will be will be, and it’s an inevitability, well it’s fucking not.’”
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It’s hard enough to start a band, record singles and eek out a following without emerging during a pandemic in the most locked-down city on earth. While the guys admit the challenges they’ve faced as a band have stemmed out of Covid’s limitations, they still feel lucky to be in the heartland of Australian music culture. They’ve earned an impressively dedicated fanbase that appreciates their musical direction and what’s more, they’re doing it for the right reasons: mateship and getting trashed at The Gaso.
“Of course, it would be amazing to be successful to the point where we could depend on music as a livable income,” Callum notes, “but that degree of success isn’t nearly as important to any of us as the enjoyment we’ve had from playing in a band with a few of your best mates, which is something we’re pretty set on not losing sight of.
“We never really get used to people moshing at our gigs and singing along to unreleased tracks, but that’s definitely been a major boost through COVID and keeps us coming back time and time again. I think every gig we host feels like a celebration, just because of the energy of the people you see there, whether that’s your mates or total strangers, but particularly post-covid everyone is just happy to be able to have that kind of powerful communal experience you get in live music again. So it is easily the biggest reason we continue to perform as a band, and the thing we look forward to most on our calendar.
“Our first ever headline gig was for the release of our first single at The Gasometer Hotel. We were all super anxious and nervous because tickets were to be sold on the door, so we had no gauge of how many people would rock up. At this time the Gaso were selling $15 jugs, we’d been there since about 4pm and our set was to start at 10pm. So we were fkn sauced. We ended up selling out the show and the room was packed. Harry had always had this idea in his head to skull a jug of beer on stage coz the lead singer of The Cherry Dolls use to do it. This ended up being a bit of a stupid thing to do.
“Harry’s guitar stopped working on stage and he was adamant the amp had blown up or his guitar was fried. He then proceeded to wander around the stage and the green room like a fucking dickhead looking for gear while the rest of the band jammed onstage. He emerged from the crowd holding some random amp and a guitar and continued the set before the guitar and amp died again. Turns out Harry was just a drunk idiot and kept accidentally kicking the power socket out of the wall and not realising.”
In partnership with In Transit.