Every week, DEMO:LISTEN will premiere a new demo (or demos) by a band of heavy nature. There’s no boundaries here: death, black, doom, sludge, progressive, stoner, retro, whatever! It’s all fair game. For this week’s premiere, we venture into the outer limits with Transient…
Deep in the darkness of a dozen late night driving shift propelling seminal metalcore progenitors Overcast along the path of one of its last only tours (and only!) tours guitarist Scott McCooe and future Shadows Fall vocalist Brian Fair bonded over a shared love for bands like Spiritualized, Spacemen 3, Bowery Electric, The Cure, Ott, and others of a decidedly non-brutal persuasion. After Overcast broke up, the pair hit the jam room with Voyager 01 mastermind Timmy Hayes and, a couple minor musical chairs line-up changes in the books, began churning out enlivening, transcendent, straight-up gorgeous “delay driven rock” under the moniker Transient.
“I’m sure most people will agree that the music you listen to as an adolescent has a lasting impact on your life,” McCooe tells Decibel. “That holds true for all of us in Transient. We grew up on metal and hardcore music and, although our music now is consciously non-metal in nature, the general attitude and experience of our past shines through. We certainly took with us a general sense of songwriting, but our approach in music creation is much different than that of a metal band. Where most metal is carefully crafted and brought together like pieces of a puzzle, Transient’s music is derived mostly from spontaneous jams, which are then carved in stone once we feel they are complete.”
This melding of spirit, experience, instinct, and boundary obliteration is in full effect on Transient’s sublime debut full-length self-titled supernova, which showcases not only a mastery of ethereal journey-not-the-destination riffs and grooves, but also an unusually keen ability to configure a heavy accent chord for maximum impact blowing open doorways to beguiling sonic multiverses.
Check out an exclusive stream of “Ditch of Doubt” below.
“We’ve always had the same core members and vision from day one believe it or not,” McCooe says of the inner (r)evolution that led Transient to its signature sound. “Brian Fair started on drums and eventually moved to guitar and vocals. [guitarist/vocalist] Tim Hayes did a majority of the writing at first and once Brian moved to guitar and vocals he began to write some songs as well, which certainly had a different feel, but were a nice balance to what we had been writing already. All members have had a part in writing, whether via bringing riffs to the table or adding a distinct feel to our jams during the creative process.
“The writing process is derived from a series of jams that we eventually piece together to form a song,” he elaborated. “Parts of these jams have sections which don’t have a definitive length to them, which are then signaled by a vocal line or drum fill or a guitar riff to come back into the structured part of the song. I call this organized improvisation, as we have a combination of calculated improvised parts, mixed with definitive structured sections. As far as Transient is concerned, some credit must also go to our producer/engineer Pete Rutcho, who’s name you might have seen on a handful of metal albums out there today. He had a lot to do with making that album sound the way that it does.”
To the band’s credit, Transient has mostly sought to establish itself on its own terms — remaining, perhaps, something of a too well kept secret in the process, but free and clear of the strings that can come with pandering.
“In the beginning we name-dropped Overcast/Shadows Fall in hopes to get some people to check it out, and I think we’ve gained a few fans from that,” McCooe acknowledges. “Fast forward sixteen years and we have long since spread our own wings and are our own entity. If anyone knows where we came from and think that’s a bonus, great. But I hope we can also grab the attention some people that have nothing to do with that genre as well.”
Anyway, for McCooe it’s all part of the same continuum.
“We were into heavier music so that’s what we did then,” he says. “Once our tastes delved into more ambient sounds, we wanted to try to create something like that on our own. Speaking for me personally, I had to learn to play bass, which is not far off from playing guitar. But a lot of my bass parts are minimal and kept fairly simple along with the drums. The guitars do the hard work, as they do most of the improvising and intricate playing, while the bass and drums hold down a foundation.
“We never had any intentions of making it big, so to speak,” McCooe concludes. “Most of us are older and have families and careers now, so we have always just wanted to make music we wanted to hear and if anything extra came along with that, great. Some of our members have been in or working with touring bands, which can certainly slow things down a bit. At this point, we’re just doing this as we have the time and hoping that we gain some fans along the way.”