The Transits bio - November 2022
Members:) Ryan Lunn (vocals, guitars, synths - Durban, South Africa, Dom Antelme (vocals, bass - Auckland, New Zealand and Tyrone Smith (drums - Auckland, New Zealand)
Release: When You Went Away (single) out January 2023; two EPs coming in 2023
Style: Punk-rock / indie-rock
Not many of us get a shot, years later, at correcting the past, of rediscovering the dreams of our teenage youth, back in the company of the very same people that made it special way back when – your friends, colleagues, creatives, like-mindeds, the people that know you best.
But this is what’s happened to the members of reborn New Zealand-via-South Africa punk-rock outfit, The Transits. 30 years after the formation of their teenage first band – after divergent musical journeys comprising live, chart and radio success - they’ve gone back to the future like Marty McFly and gotten the band back together, man. But first, let’s rewind.
Just as grunge was taking over the world in the early-90s, high school teenagers Dom Antelme (vocals), Ryan Lunn (vocals, guitars, synths) and Tyrone Smith (drums) formed their first originals band, Cabbage, in Durban, South Africa.
Practicing before, after and even during school, the trio found their inspiration in guitar-heavy pop outfits like Weezer and The Pixies.
Cabbage lasted only a couple of short years, before adding two members and renaming themselves Manchuri Resin. Finding a sweet spot, this band toured heavily, released two albums, achieved four top ten radio hits and became one of Durban’s biggest bands of the 90’s.
Splitting at the turn of the millennium, Antelme branched out in the noughties with electro-pop project, Waverley, (signed to Universal Music, releasing four albums studded with radio hits), while Lunn and Smith moved to the UK to form Alpha Jerk and then Starplayer, the latter of which released two albums on a major label, achieved impressive chart success, toured the country extensively and won a SA Rock Award.
By 2011, Lunn had ceased Starplayer, and Antelme and Smith had both emigrated to New Zealand, the latter becoming a member of Radioglo and The Emitters.
Fast-forward to August 2022 and, with the pandemic having forced many musicians into learning how to create and record remotely online, the world suddenly didn’t feel so large. The original Cabbage trio began writing and recording together, Lunn contributing his parts in Durban and Antelme and Smith from Auckland, the band self-producing and mixing.
To their astonishment, it all fell into place with ease. Commencing with the reconditioning of an old Cabbage gem, Drop the Medicine, the new songs were coming thick and fast.
The timing has been serendipitous. As Blink 182 announce that their original line up was getting back together, sending their fans into delirium, there is also an irresistible resurgence of the vintage pop-punk sound. There is no doubt The Transits’ time is now.
If we didn’t know any better, new single When You Went Away might have come from a hotshot new So-Californian outfit souped up on testosterone and amphetamines. Hooky, powerful and compact, instead, it channels 30 years of experience, worldliness and musical intuition into its jittery, spacious grooves. The band’s sound can be described as rock infused with punk, indie and synth-pop. Complimented by dual singers.
Plenty more where that came from, The Transits are doing it all again, proving that, just like in Back to the Future, lightning can indeed strike twice in 30 years.