Whether you’re a native or freshly relocated, do us a favor and imagine yourself in Nashville back in 2008. You could catch a Pitchfork-approved set at Mercy Lounge and a punk mosh-fest at The Muse. Grab a shepard’s pie at The Family Wash. The local rock scene is alive, and Nashville bands like The Features and The Pink Spiders put out music with major label deals. And Moon Taxi is starting to go from Belmont band to an emerging national act, a cycle that will continue with projects like Judah & The Lion, COIN and others.
Here in 2023, we caught up with Moon Taxi’s Tyler Ritter about their 6th studio album Set Yourself Free, Moon Taxi easter eggs you might find in a local bar and some of their favorite Nashville artists.
What’s a Nashville-related story you’ve always wanted to share?
We used to hang out at the Villager Tavern, a lot. I joined the band I was 20, so my 21st birthday was my indoctrination to the Moon Taxi tradition of darts, beer, and smoke. I won’t go into the lurid details of my Shiner Bock filled “dog bowl” experience that night, but let’s just say if you want to spot some cool MT related easter eggs here in town, there are several pictures of us scattered throughout the Villager’s walls.
Who is your creative community in Nashville?
At this point, my neighbors. No joke, my wife and I went from recognizing a few faces here and there in our neighborhood to getting to intimately know about 20 of our fellow Nashvillians on our block. It’s one of the few things I’ll thank lock-down living for. I’ve gotten to know these musicians, authors, painters, sculptors, and coders who are super enthusiastic about their collective crafts, and that passion has rubbed off on me. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I needed a tribe like that to reignite my creative fires.
What does the city of Nashville mean to you?
At this point, we’ve all lived in Nashville longer than the towns we grew up in, which is crazy. Everyone reading this knows that the city has exploded, but I think the ethos of the working musician (or just your average “creative” in general) is still the same as it was 20 years ago.
The Set Yourself Free artwork by Naomi Amber-Dawn Allen is sick. How does it fit into the themes and moods of the album?
Thanks! We definitely dig it, and funny enough, it might have been the easiest collaborative decision the five of us have made in our career. We knew we wanted the look of the record to match the psych-rock sounds we started to explore again, and there’s just something about us southern boys and mountains. I don’t know what it is, maybe it’s the years of touring out west and in Appalachia, but there’s something about that aesthetic that just fits with our sound. I like to think this record evokes a sense of adventure, both from us and for the listener.
Moon Taxi’s Set Yourself Free is out now! The band curated a mix of new songs combined with their Nashville favorites like Flight Attendant, Angel St. Queen, Airpark, Future Thieves, All Them Witches and more. Hit play below!