Thursday, March 11, 2010

A look-back at a local Athens band before their current success in LA

My freshman year I remember seeing a student band open for Matt Wertz in Baker Center Theater called Urban Transit. It was a nice surprise since I was only really there to see Matt Wertz. After enjoying their music so much, I made an effort to see them play other times around Athens. Noticing that I haven’t heard about any of their shows recently and knowing that the lead singer had graduated from OU, I set out to find where the band is now.

I spoke lead singer, Dante Brunetto, who graduated with a degree in broadcast journalism in June 2009, to see what the band has been up to and what it was like to be in a band in college. Originally starting the band in high school, you may have seen Urban Transit the past few years at places like The Blue Gator, Donkey Café and the Front Room.

-Dante Brunetto playing solo at the Front Room in the spring of 2008

The band is composed of Joey Brunetto (Dante’s older brother) on drums, James Loy on guitar, Brett Dugan on bass guitar, and Dante on vocals, guitar and piano.

Our Q&A session follows:

Q: How did you come up with the name of your band, Urban Transit?
A: Our guitarist, James Loy, and myself were hanging out one afternoon, throwing around ideas for the band name when he blurred out "Urban Transit." I immediately wrote it down and loved the vibe. It made me think of everyday life, the journey we all take as human beings and the experiences we encounter on this journey. So we let the name soak in our minds and ran it by our friends and family. After about a week, we all still really liked it and decided to go with it. It definitely wasn't an easy process though. The music itself comes much easier than all the marketing and image building things that bands go through during that initial, developmental stage.

Q: How would you describe the sound/genre of your music?
A: For songwriters, I think categorizing or generalizing your music is one of the hardest things to do. The most common question I get from people when I say I'm a songwriter is "what genre?" or "who do you sound like?" For me, the best part about songwriting is simply creating something new. I have such a wide range of influences spanning from Frank Sinatra and Michael Buble to John Mayer and Jason Mraz. All of the things I like most about these different artists end up coming together to form my style.

Q: What do you like most about being in a band?
A: The best thing about being in a band is the same best thing about being on a team. It's all about working with people with whom you share a common bond and a passion for your craft. We all have this feeling that we were born to play. You just know when something feels right and that's the feeling we all get when we're up on stage doing our thing.

Q: What challenges have you experienced as a member of a band?
A: The biggest challenge we've faced as a band is distance. We all attended different schools and had to meet up on the weekends in Columbus. From there we would travel together to what ever city we were playing in that night. We never had time to rehearse either. Our shows basically were our rehearsals so we rarely got the chance to work in new material, which was always frustrating.

Q: What instrument do you like playing the most and why?
A: I was always drawn to the piano because my father was such a great player, but I've kind of taken the guitar on as MY thing. I love the rawness of sitting on the edge of my bed with a guitar in my lap and just letting the rest flow from there.

Q: What is your favorite part about the Athens music scene?
A: My favorite part about the Athens music scene was the fact that it was always my good friends in the crowd. No one is more supportive or cheers louder for you than your best friends. They showed up every time the band came to town and always made it a memorable night.

Q: Who is your biggest inspiration?
A: My family has always been my biggest inspiration and the reason my brother and I started playing music in the first place. My father was a fantastic pianist and an even better jazz organist. His twin brother is an amazing drummer and the leader of a 16 piece big band that my father also played in when he was alive. They brought the gift of music into my life and for that I will forever be thankful.

Currently, Dante is out in Los Angeles writing, recording and performing his music. He is happy to be growing as a person and songwriter, just as he did during his time as an OU student. He looks forward to coming back to Athens when the time presents itself for another memorable performance.


1 comment:

  1. I saw them play my freshman year! It's good to see that Dante is till in music. Good Q & A.