Haven't read Drew's review for The Transit War's newest, Miss Your Face? Well, here you go. A big thanks goes out to Jaime from TTW for taking time to answer these questions.
Please state your name and what you play in The Transit War?
Jaime, and I play guitar.
What bands were you in before The Transit War? How soon after the band formed did you get a feeling that TTW was something special?
Well we all played in a bunch of different local bands from the time we were about 14, nothing terribly mentionable. Some of us played in gutter punk and east coast hardcore bands while others played ska and skate punk type bands. It probably sounds silly or a least a bit contrived but after our first practice with this line-up things felt like they were different. Good different, we just kinda explored each other musically for about the first week or "practice". It was so much fun, things just flowed very naturally and evenly.
Can you please give us a brief history of how TTW came about?
Well the band existed in San Diego for a couple years, started by Jim Hughes then joined by Mike Frey, and the two of them started playing out locally while going through some member changes. Our line-up now is what we all consider to be the actual birth of the band, Brad Bohensky and myself joined up after our respective bands went south, and the four of us set our sights on doing a new EP (the band had released one already) and playing shows as frequently, and as well, as we possibly could.
Is there any special meaning behind the name The Transit War?
The band already had the name by the time Brad and myself joined up so we've never really gotten a straight answer. Only a bunch of different stories, like it has something to do with a re-occurring nightmare about not being able to perform cunnilingus on a woman properly. She just looks down dissatisfied and says something like, "Why don't you try spelling The Transit War while you're down there?" I don't know, it's an enigma.
When and why did you decide to sign to Orange Peal? What other record labels do you think TTW would fit nicely on?
We signed with Orange Peal in October/November of 2005 and we did so because they flat out offered us the best deal we'd been approached with, on top of the fact that we instantly connected with them as people. I can't say we were fans of anything on their roster but their hearts were in the right place. They were true music fans, and that made it a lot easier to do business with them. As far as what other labels we'd "fit" on, who knows, I've never been a fan of looking at a label as one big generalization of how a band might sound. Seems awfully counter productive to the artistic process. You know, like oh they're just another Drive-Thru band, or something like that. We'd fit anywhere where we were wanted.
What sorts of things would you like to accomplish as a band? What festivals and tours would you like to be a play?
As a band I think we'd all just like to continue to be able to make records, and hopefully have people wanting to hear them! As far as touring, we're making Japan and Europe both goals to get to this year. As long as we can support bands that are making music their career and who are good people, we'll be happy. That and maybe go out with Soundgarden circa Bad Motor Finger. Miss Your Face was released in October of this year but Orange Peal re-released Ah Discordia in January of 2005. What are some differences between the two releases? For your next recording, what kinds of new elements will you try to bring in?
Well Ah Discordia was essentially the product of the first few months the four of us were writing as a band together. It was very spontaneous right down to the way we tracked it. Miss Your Face was a bit more organized and thoughtful as far as the writing and recording process went. I wouldn't say it was thought out note for note per say, because a lot of the writing had been done while we were on the road the previous year so things were always changing. Also with Miss Your Face we had much more time to explore things sonically in the studio, which was great. Next record, I'd like to work on a sound that moved away a bit from this bigger than life, pro-tools created sound that seems so popular these days. Don't get me wrong, we're a loud, high energy band I think, I'd just like to bring out something reminiscent of a band like The Weakerthans or Jawbreaker. Something rooted in just good songwriting.
Write a review for Miss Your Face. What adjectives would you use to describe your sound?
Ah geez, um, an album that moves quickly yet has plenty of space within each track to explore. Layered vocals and vocal melodies running along side angular guitars with a solid rhythm section. Honest lyricism, and some interesting production. A really really good time? I'm awful at this...
Are you ever discouraged when you read negative reviews of Ah Discordia or Miss Your Face?
No absolutely not! That’s one of the most exciting things about the artistic process, knowing you've made enough waves to make someone else want to stand up and make waves too, regardless if they're for or against you. It's a daily reminder that music is powerful and that’s a great thing.
Can you give us some meaning behind the album titles?
Ah Discordia was a reference to a series of books called The Dark Tower, discordia was a place as well as a phrase in the stories. We thought it fit the record because it had been created in a such a state of flux and change. Kinda like giving a toast to a big mess or something, a cheers to your favorite mess! Miss Your Face was just a phrase that our friends including ourselves had used for a long time. A nice way of saying you were going to miss someone, and since most of the record had been written on the road, a definite sense of being alone far from home seeped into the sound I think. It just seemed appropriate.
What did TTW release before Ah Discordia, and are they still available?
The Transit War released a self-titled EP that has come to be known as the blue record. Take a guess why? Lots of blue in the artwork. There are still some available but it's just about out of print, kinda got to come to a show if you want one.
I imagine tour can be very stressful, running around from city to city and trying to find comfort in foreign places. What kind of things do you do in your down time? What do you guys like to eat when you're on tour?
Touring can be really stressful but you do get incredibly used to it. After a while you realize that you can't live without the stress and you miss it constantly when you're not out on the road. We're relatively quiet guys, we all read quite a bit and Brad and myself play a lot of Sudoku. We're also just big tourists, we love to see whatever scenic sight there is to see, museums, nature, tall ass buildings…you name it. As far as food is concerned, it's a total crap shoot! Sometimes we're stopping to BBQ or something, other times is just keeping stocked up from the grocery store. We do love a chicken wing though and love finding any place that brags that they have the best.
If you had to choose, would you rather be an excellent studio band or an excellent live band, assuming you could only choose one?
Definitely live. Being on stage is where the action is, feeling the energy of a crowd and living in that moment that only a band can create. That’s where I'd love to be exceptional. Besides if you were great there, I'd just track every record live!
The music industry can be cutthroat and can be disheartening. What kinds of things upset you about the current state of music today? What would you like to see change?
Well I don't think there's any stopping the smoke and mirrors hype machine of the American record industry, I just hate to see so many young musicians buying into it. Do your homework, learn your instrument and don't worry about your haircut or t-shirt until it's absolutely unavoidable. On the other hand, at least the markets been so saturated that it's practically impossible to make any kind of real living in a rock band and we might just see some real music in the spotlight.
According to Spin.com, you arm wrestled Mike Tyson at a dinner in LA. Is that true? Who won?
Yup it's true, nobody one, he was wrecked, so were we, and it ended up him face down in a plate of halibut. True story.
User question: Will you be touring the UK anytime soon?
We're trying our hardest to get across the pond this year so hopefully yes!
Any last words?
What you guys do here at Absolutepunk.net is so important and so appreciated! Thanks for the support and the opportunities you've given our band, we'll be forever grateful.
I saw The Transit War in Atl. a few months ago and i fell in love. they r awesome, especially Jamie .. I actually hung out with them for awhile after the concert..they were really cool guys..I can't wait till they come back to Ga. i will be there in the front row...If anybody reads this article and has not checked out their music, u really should because they are one of the best new bands that i have heard in a long time....Sandy, The Transit Wars #1 fan in Ga...