Norah Jones is a singer, songwriter, actress and also Trevor Terndrup of Moon Taxi’s dog’s name. “Her name is Norah, like Norah Jones, but we call her Norah Bones,” Terndrup tells me. “She’s the cutest little cloud that just fluffs around all day.” The indie rocker is in Nashville at the moment, working on putting up a fence in his backyard as a gift to Norah. As we discuss Norah the dog’s life and her well-being, Terndrup jokes that his life is ruled by his nine-pound poodle. “Not my wife or my music, it’s the dog.” Terndrup is cheeky and playful even as he’s juggling Norah’s fence, checking out at the local grocery store and our phone call. “You know when people are in your personal space and things are in upheaval? I’m having that feeling right now,” he admits. In the background of our call I can hear arbitrary beeping, buzzing and the profuse apologies from Terndrup as he has a side conversation.
“It’s you and Yolanda, ya’all are crazy! I like your Santa hat, though,” Terndrup jokes to someone at the Kroger grocery store. He returns to our call saying, “I’m so sorry, this is totally unprofessional. But, I’m giving you a glimpse into my personal life. This is real life, ya know?” We laugh and I agree, I enjoy hearing the nuances of someone’s regular life, especially when it involves dogs and Santa hats.
We casually transition into discussing Terndrup’s music, specifically the band’s first single off their upcoming album, Let The Record Play. “Two High” was released in May 2017 and immediately catapulted the band to a new level racking up 60 million streams on Spotify within the first six months. “We thought it was a catchy tune and we thought the lyrics were appropriate for the unrest we were all feeling,” Terndrup says of the song’s spirit. “But, we did not expect it to do what it did at all.” He tells me that they released the song on their own as they always do and six months later they received a major label deal with RCA. “It was literally a life changing song for us,” he adds.
As a homegrown, grass roots band, Moon Taxi has released all of their music themselves, developing a loyal fanbase through word-of-mouth and relentless touring. The band has been featured on the bills for Coachella, Firefly Music Festival and Hangout Festival in the past. “You can only take it to a certain point before you need the help of a major music machine,” Terndrup says of signing with RCA. “I guess we’re giving up a little bit but it feels like we’re getting so much more,” he adds.
With “Two High,” the band captures a sense of inclusivity and fearless emotions through the lyrics. “We typically talk about escape in our songs and this is not a song about escape,” Terndrup says. “It’s about focusing on unrest; something that is really present.” He tells me that the positive reaction to “Two High” was by far the highlight of 2017 for him personally. “I don’t know what the long-term consequences of writing that song will be. That story is still being written out right now but it feels like it will really take the band to the next level,” he says.
With their fifth studio album, Let The Record Play, set to be released on January 19, 2018, Terndrup tells me that listeners can expect a continuation of the band’s vibe, with more in-depth stories and their same infectious sound coupled with their typical jam sessions during live shows. “I want fans to feel like they’re included. I like to make them feel like there is less of a disconnect between us and the audience,” Terndrup says of Moon Taxi’s live shows. “I want them to feel inspired. I’ve been so inspired by shows I’ve seen live, it would be an honor for someone to say they were inspired by seeing us play.” For Terndrup, he tells me that after seeing My Morning Jacket perform at Hangout Festival in Alabama a few years ago, they started taking cues from what they do in the studio versus live. “Their studio tracks can get to the point real quick and then they can really stretch the songs out during the live shows. Definitely a favorite band for us.”
Following the album’s release the band will head back on tour, hitting up festivals throughout the States and beyond.