Though Nashville indie-alt rockers Moon Taxi are used to rocking big bills and festival stages, making the rounds on the late-night circuit with the likes of Conan, Letterman, and Seth Myers, we were recently struck by both their humility and just how well their slick, upbeat, and infectious sound translates in the intimate environment of the Baeble Studio. During the band's recent NEXT Session, we got to talk about everything under the sun, including the zombie apocalypse (that part is coming soon). There's talk of where the name Moon Taxi came from, and yes, it involves a butt, but just whose butt exactly is still up for debate. The boys reminisced about some of their fondest moments in the band, and even give a few hints about what to expect from them in the future. You'll even get to hear a little bit about their music-making process, including what went into the song "Two High". While reflecting on the social climate and events of the last year, the band channeled the emotions and spirits of the world around them into a song that they aimed to provide others with two much needed thingshope and unity.
But of course, you won't just hear them talk about their music, you'll also get the chance to listen to an intimate and moving live session. Moon Taxi played a few cuts from their forthcoming album, Let The Record Play, including "Trouble", "Two High", and "Moving To The City", and it's a performance you won't want to miss.
"Baeble Music. " - You should say, "from Moon Taxi. " - I though you'll say that? - I didn't. - You're going to though? - This isn't live, is it? - Yeah, it's live, right now. - Oh. Okay. Hey, this is Wes and I'm Tommy from Moon Taxi. - And you're watching "Baeble Music. " Moon Taxi. Hope you enjoy this first song. It's about road tripping with your love. It's called "Trouble. " Drove through the night Seven hours straight Saw the sun rising over the Golden Gate You and me staying together Tore out a page from a book I read Turned the Chevrolet into a king-size bed You and me know no better You and me know Oh that trouble's gonna find us No matter where we go Oh trouble's right behind us No matter where we go Oh oh Spell out your name On the windowsill At the break of dawn When the world is still The sound of nothing around us We let the ocean surround us Wind down the road, Can't find the words They don't wanna sing You and me know no better, yeah You and me know Oh that trouble's gonna find us No matter where we goin' Oh oh Trouble's right behind us No matter where we goin' Oh, oh, oh, oh, Oh oh, oh, oh, oh music Oh that trouble's gonna find us No matter where we goin' Oh oh trouble's right behind us No matter where we go Oh oh trouble's gonna find us No matter where we go Oh oh trouble's right behind us No matter where we go Oh - Moon Taxi started in my basement when we were in high school, me and Trevor, the singer. We played in a band together called Apex, and that was when I was about 14. And we moved to Nashville to go to college at Belmont where we met Wes and everybody else, you know, within the first two to three years, I think, and formed the band, and just kept playing ever since. Just trucking along for years now. - No, there's no story behind our name. Next question. - Really...and this happened, Trevor mooned a taxi one time. But if you ask him, he'll tell you that I mooned the taxi. - Hey guys, this next one's about hope. It's called "Two High. " - One, two, three, four. When you feel the world around you Spinnin' out of control You can find someone around you To bring you out of the cold But you don't ever have to hide What you really feel inside So put 'em up Two high We can walk together with our hands up in the sky So put 'em up Tonight We can come together We won't give up on the fight Woah-ooh So put 'em up Put 'em up Two high 'Coz sometimes it's hard to tell What we're really living for Hear the voices calling out from the street They're singin' get ready Get ready for more Singin' get ready Get ready for more now So put 'em up Two high We can walk together with our hands up in the sky So put 'em up Tonight We can come together We won't give up on the fight Woah-ooh So put 'em up Put 'em up Two high Put 'em up, woah Put 'em up Two high Woah-ooh Before we're gone Woah-ooh Keep holding on Keep holding on And put 'em up Two high We can walk together with our hands up in the sky So put 'em up Tonight We can walk together We won't give up on the fight So put 'em up Two high We can walk together with our hands up in the sky So put 'em up Tonight We can come together We won't give up on the fight, hey Woah Put 'em up Two high Put 'em up Woah Put 'em up Two high - "Two High" is a song about hope. And, you know, we're kind of faced with tumultuous time right now, I think, in a lot of different ways in a very divisive country. And this song is about hope, and coming together, and unity. And I think that that message really resonates with, you know, it can resonate with anybody no matter what you think or, you know, where you stand in any kind of situation. So the impetus for the song started with…Trevor called me the day after the election, and he was noticeably upset, and I said, "Well, what you need to do at times like these is you kind of capture the climate of, you know, the people around you and what the people are feeling and try and turn that into what our artform is is making music and just capture the vibe of the country. And then, he and Wes had an exchange about, completely unrelated, about...what was it that...? - I had an autocorrect fail on my phone. "Two High" was spelled like the number, and I showed it to him and I just thought it looked kind of interesting. And he interpreted that as a peace sign. So we sort of ran with that, and with everything going on, it just sort of, it was born out of what was happening in the country, so. - And then he watched the women's march, and that was kind of the final thing. He saw these people marching together and wrote the lyrics based on that. to watch myself Why don't you go to tell somebody else I'm going, going at the love is free I'm going where they got the energy I'm movin' to the city And I'm never coming back Oh oh moving to the city And I'm never coming back Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh Movin' to the city And I'm never coming back 'Coz these people, he don't understand me These people, they are my family There's nothing, nothing left for me to see No, there's nothing left here for me Everybody's been living in the past But I want to go where the living's fast I'm movin' to the city And I'm never coming back Oh oh oh movin' to the city And I'm never coming back Oh, oh, oh, oh music Movin' to the city And I'm never coming back Oh oh oh I'm movin' to the city And I'm never comin' back Never comin' back Never comin' back Ain't never comin' back - Our new album is pretty much finished. - We self-produced this one, which we didn't do the last time. We mixed it, Spencer mixed it. So they were really just our hands in the pot this time, which was, I think, refreshing for us. And how we, ideally operate anyway, it just sort of took us a few tries to realize that. So it's very, you know, reflective of who we are now and, you know, where we hear our sound going. - I feel like every record we make just gets better in general, just a little more polished and smarter and more accessible. And I think this one's just a continuation of all that. And you know, our current fans will still like it, and I think we'll gain some new ones. Just try and capture the feeling of the times right now, you know, and document it. I mean, if you think back to the '60s, you know, and all the things that were going on then, you know, the Vietnam War, and one of my favorite songs that encapsulates that is where it's Crosby, Stills, and Nash, Ohio, where they're, you know, documenting the protesting students that got shot. Four dead in Ohio and I was like, "Man, that's such a powerful song," and it just kind of resonates. You know, I just feel like it's important right now. played, 2012, that was really special. We had all our significant others there, riding in golf carts to the show, and just so excited. - That was definitely the biggest milestone show we've ever had, and it really kind of put us on the map. Prior to that show, you know, we were... there were probably 14,000 people there. It was the biggest show we've ever played in our lives. And prior to that show, you know, we could go around the country and do a handful of people maybe, and then when we're done there with that, it seemed like we could go anywhere and we'll get 50 people there. Just kind of the buzz got out. - He went to the very first one. - We played That Tent, which was the first show that Trevor and I saw together at Bonaroo. It was the same tent, same spot and everything. Yeah. I never know when to say when The sun is settin' once again And underneath the stars we have until the morning comes And washes us away And I'll be going All day and all night Eyes are open
Moon Taxi is one of those rare bands that unites musical ingenuity with thoughtful lyrics and still somehow manages to wildly entertain and thrill a crowd. Their new record, Cabaret, is a layered, multi-dimensional endeavor that displays the bands maturing sense of their own musical identity. A follow-up to their live album, Live Ride, Cabaret illustrates the challenges of defining yourself in a world that seems to be suffering from its own identity loss. Lead singer Trevor Terndrup says, Its about juxtapositionputting together seemingly opposite ideas and finding a strange harmony. Inspired by surrealist artwork and novelist Tom Robbins, Terndrup says, I guess we are trying to say that things are not so black and white, or good or evil, but relative to your own perspective.
Evoking the musical revolution of the sixties and seventies, Moon Taxi ignites their eclectic sound with unique melodies and energetic shows. The band has already formed a loyal fan base across the Southeast, selling out clubs and creating a strong grassroots following. Keyboardist Wes Bailey says, Its an incredible feeling to see people who weve never met before in a town weve never played before, dancing and singing our lyrics at the top of their lungs. Thats what really gets us off.
The songs on Cabaret are stories in themselves, each contributing to the continuing narrative of ideals lost to youth and also newly discovered for the futureboth of revelry and social-consciousness. On Hideaway, an anti-war protest is heard in the background. The chant was recorded on the spur of the moment when Trevor and guitarist Spencer Thomson followed an anti-Middle Eastern occupation march during a trip to New York City. Spencer opened his laptop to capture the moment, and the use of the chant, he says, shows the bands hip-hop influences. Songs such as Southern Trance, Whiskey Sunset, and Cabaret, perpetuate youthful visions of campfires, torn jeans, and a good roll in the hay with the cutest stranger at the party. Spencer says about the variety of their songs, Moon Taxi is unique because we dont have preconceived notions about who we are supposed to be so there are no boundaries for what we are willing to do or try.
Inspired by artists who push the envelope, such as minimalist composer Phillip Glass, Director Quentin Tarintino, and bands like The Beatles and Radiohead, Moon Taxis study of the greats is apparent on Cabaret. The record was recorded at Alex The Great in Nashville, where others such as Gomez, Yo La Tengo, and Be Your Own Pet have also sojourned. Cabaret was impressively produced by the band's guitarist, Spencer Thomson and Hank Sullivant (Whigs, MGMT, Kuroma), mixed by Grammy award winning sound engineer Vance Powell (Raconteurs), and features folk/hip-hop artist Matisyahu, who the band has also opened for, on the track Square Circles.
The band has worked hard to develop their well-executed stage presence. Drummer Tyler Ritter says, What's great about our touring resume is that we've been able to create an interactive dynamic between the five of us that doesn't take away from the songs, but ultimately adds to a more energetic and (dare I say) 'high octane live show. We constantly keep our eyes and ears open onstage, so we can change direction if we need to. Its like a really intense conversation with your best friend at 2am, after several drinks, where every topic in the world is up for discussion, and you both have to be quick on your feet to follow each others train of thought. Equally important as the practice of performing regularly, the guys have also shared life experiences that strengthen their sound and camaraderie. Tom Putnam (bassist) says, Even experiences that werent directly recorded, (like the rally in NYC, or the lobby hotel sounds in Mississippi), influence our writing, like riding in a Lamborghini at 150 miles an hour with a drug dealer in Memphis, or when we were en route to St. Louis and watched the sky turned dark brown with tornadic winds and hail. Everyone in the band thought for a second we would die, and if they tell you different, ask Tyler for the video. That stuff changes you and your art. It is the willingness to change and constantly evolve that will carry Moon Taxi through many records, and a long and successful career as a band.