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Band focused on originality: Downvalley-based Days in Transit creating sound that stands out

April 29, 2013

YellowBrix

April 29--A Metallica song plays over the speakers whenever, it seems, Days in Transit enters a stage for a gig.

The members of the Downvalley-based, three-piece band don't really know why. Their indie, alternative rock sound is far-removed from heavy metal, and they've become known more recently for their acoustic gigs as much as their electric ones.

"It just became a trend," guitarist and lead singer Brent Guzik said on a recent afternoon at his home in Moosic, where the band rehearses. "They'd be playing a jukebox or something, or whatever, an iPod, and Metallica would be on for us."

If Days in Transit continues the hard work and originality that has landed it consistent work in Northeast Pennsylvania, it could find its own music accompanying other aspiring acts onto the stage one day.

Formative years

The band formed nearly three years ago, though its members -- 23-year-old Mr. Guzik, 24-year-old bassist and backup singer Mitchell Smith of Taylor and 27-year-old drummer Bryan Fauver of Moosic -- have played music and even performed with some other local bands through the years. After kicking around 100 potential band names, they picked Nights in Transit but swapped it to Days after thinking it be misconstrued as "knights."

"Aesthetically, I think it sounds like a pleasing name," Mr. Guzik said.

Their set list includes mostly original music, whose compositions and lyrics Mr. Guzik starts and then fleshes out with his bandmates. It's a unique blend of rock influenced by acts such as the Killers, Phoenix and Coldplay.

"We don't arrange our songs in typical ways," Mr. Fauver said. "Brent doesn't really write ... conventional lyrics."

They also throw in some covers at shows, but only of songs they like and think fit their mold. Audiences won't hear the "greatest hits of the 1980s" from them, Mr. Guzik pointed out.

"A lot of them are (from) indie bands most people wouldn't know that well, he said. "We do Decemberists (songs) and stuff like that."

While primarily a three-piece electric band, their ranks included another guitarist until last fall. And more recently, Days in Transit has performed acoustic shows with two additional members, including a backup female vocalist, and instruments like a cello and the cajon, a type of drum.

"It's kind of cool," Mr. Guzik said. "It makes our songs sound folky, sort of. It's fun. It's really mellow. We've just been doing that for a little while, but we're getting back to electric now."

Studio time

They'd like to return to the recording studio, too, though Mr. Guzik noted that is "an issue of money," something original-music groups like theirs don't tend to have.

"We have material we can record, but we kind of broke the budget doing it the last time," Mr. Guzik said. "We saved up a year-and-a-half of playing shows, and we recorded and that was it. Everything was gone."

That last studio session resulted in "American Art," the band's 2012 album fans can buy at their shows or stream online at ReverbNation and SoundCloud. It features six tracks, the title song plus standouts like "...To Humble Endings" and "Keep Me Company."

"It's also cool because ... on our ReverbNation page like a week or two ago we got a bunch of requests from England," Mr. Fauver said. "We got a bunch of requests from Tennessee, people who would never otherwise seem to find us."

They play as often as possible and frequently perform in Scranton at the Keys Beer & Spirits, New Visions Studio & Gallery and the Vintage Theater. They've also done open mics in Philadelphia and shows in Luzerne County.

Like many other bands before them, the musicians have had to balance performing with work or school, but the most challenging part of performing has been just getting people to come out for shows. Days in Transit has a lot of support from friends and family, however, and they have developed a fanbase by frequenting certain venues. Their fellow area musicians help, too.

"That's definitely a big support," Mr. Smith said. "The local band scene, we try to support each other and just bring new people to see other bands."

"The camaraderie there is really important," Mr. Guzik added.

Since plans for a tour last summer didn't pan out, the band hopes to put together a lineup for this year. In the meantime, they have an all-ages show scheduled for Friday, May 10, at New Visions.

Days in Transit enjoys performing for fun for now, Mr. Guzik said, but eventually the musicians hope "to go somewhere with it." And, Mr. Smith noted, "it seems like we have a different sound than other local bands."

"That's what we try for anyway," Mr. Guzik added. "You don't want to blend in with everyone else."

Contact the writer: cheaney@timesshamrock.com, @cheaneyTT on TwitterDays in Transit

Founded: 2010

Genre: Indie alternative rock

Members: Guitarist and lead singer Brent Guzik, bassist and backup singer Mitchell Smith and drummer Bryan Fauver

For fans of: The Killers, Coldplay, Phoenix

Online: reverbnation.com/daysintransit, soundcloud.com/daysintransit and face book.com/daysintransit

Up next: The band's will perform an all-ages show on Friday, May 10, at New Visions Studio & Gallery, 201 Vine St., Scranton.

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