By Willow Grier
CALGARY – The setting is The Gateway, a college bar packed with fans throwing up “2” with their fingers, a testament to the rebranding of local hip-hop artist Transit to his slightly altered, but easier to recognize, moniker Transit22. The evening is the first time Daniel Bennett and DJ Johnny Williams have played Calgary in a long time, and it happens to be the album release party for their latest album, dubbed Pity Party Project. The crowd is blowing up, screaming along to every word of the tongue-in-cheek dance party album.
In BeatRoute’s last talk with Bennett, his recent divorce was the subject of his darkest album to date (2015’s Occupy Tall Trees), but with Pity Party Project, that tumultuous topic takes a different turn.
“I wanted to make something that I could express what I was going through but also that I could really vibe out to,” Bennett describes. “Something you could play at a party and that you could also play and reflect on.”
The project came to life especially with the help of fellow former Peak Performance Project veterans Little India, who lend a sharp pop retrospective to the admitted “dark raps,” and helped the vision of an “‘80s indie pop divorce record” come to life.
The whole album gives off a blithe, bouncy elation, offsetting the sometimes-heavy lyrical content. It’s metaphorically a mud splattered, broken glass covered, track-suit wearing break dancer, having the time of their lives, hitting every beat with ferocity despite the chaos of it all.
“If you’re having a good day [the album] will feel different than if you’re having a bad day. It has that duality,” Bennett concurs.
Stand out tracks “Thinking of You” (featuring Little India) and “Throw the Match” (featuring P.O.S.) are prime examples of why the album resonates so strongly. So much of our current culture involves escapism: finding the happiness in little things while the world slowly burns around you, overwhelmed by mountains of stress and deadlines.
Perhaps, this album is a testament to broken hearts and bruised egos or perhaps it’s a testament to millennial culture. Yes, the job market is at an all-time low. Yes, we have higher debt than anyone imaginable. Yes, our degrees are becoming obsolete as we graduate and industries die. Yes, young people today are experiencing more pressure and stress than ever before. But damn, we sure know how to party.
Catch Transit22 on May 18 with Astronautalis and Brom as they return to the Gateway (Calgary). Stay tuned for the release of a music video for “Throw the Match,” coming soon.Astronautalis, Brom, Gateway, Throw the Match, Transit 22