Features April 2, 2024

An Honest Conversation with Tyler Ramsey

by Landon Ungerman

When it comes to lyricists, there are few artists as true to themselves as Tyler Ramsey. Through the vibrations of his Americana-tinted folk tunes, he delivers introspective and honest words, sharing insights into his life as an artist, husband, and father. In his latest candid interview with BandWagon Magazine ahead of his performances in Colorado Springs and Denver this weekend, the former Band of Horses frontman reflects on his journey as a musician, emphasizing the importance of real connection, emotional honesty, and simplicity in his craft. These three principles came through in BandWagon’s conversation with Ramsey, so rather than decorating this piece with words and metaphors, we’re delivering that same real, honest, simple conversation:

At what point in your life do you feel like you were living in a world that was as close to perfect as it could be, or do you think that moment is still on its way?

“Everyday I have a moment where I am trying to be more connected. I realize how fast time flies. I have two children, and seeing how quickly things move makes me want to be more and more connected with them. I want to learn how to be a better person, communicator and musician. Time is so fast, man. We all get a really short amount of time although there’s time in our lives where it doesn’t feel that way. It’s so fleeting and beautiful to get to play music for people, and to get to have a family that I love, and to get to talk to people. We all get to live this incredibly beautiful life, and slowing down and trying to connect with yourself and with other people makes it more beautiful I guess.”

As a songwriter who’s been on the mainstage and looked out into a crowd of indiscernible faces, to turning solo and focusing on honesty and connection, what has been the guiding principle to living the life that you so choose?

“The big production, main-stage stuff we were doing in Band of Horses, which is really an incredible experience becomes something different at that point. Some people can spend an entire evening in a crowd like that and not be there for the music. A lot of people are, obviously, for the music. But yeah, those rooms that are like a listening situation, it’s just such an incredible connection you can get with that kind of a crowd. Now, I can look out and see people really feeling some of the songs. It’s a powerful thing, and it’s a pretty simple experience. If you’re an artist and you want to apply simplicity or that idea maybe pay attention to what your expectations are for what you’re doing. For me it’s always been a pretty clear vision for what I wanted, and it didn’t really involve giant stages or big rock shows. It was a blast to do all that stuff, don’t get me wrong, it was fun, but it was never like, part of my vision.”

What advice would you give to an aspiring artist that is just looking for people who want to listen without getting wrapped up in the fast, altruistic culture of music today.

“Advice is hard to give because I’m still figuring it all out myself. If you really believe in what you’re doing, you’ll find people that want to be a part of that. If you’re satisfied with what you’re doing and happy with what you’re doing then staying on your path will get you down the road. Things are always going to change but if you’re following your heart will get you to where you want to be.”

What process is guiding the creation of your music? What would you say is the most important piece of that puzzle for you?

“Honesty. I want to make sure that my lyrics are honest. If I have the opportunity to make a full body of work like my album is, why not work really hard to make sure that all the lines are connected and honest. After the album’s done, you go out on tour and if you’re having to sing lines that don’t feel true, it gets difficult. I like there to be space in music. I feel like less is more, overproduced stuff is kind of exhausting to listen to.”

Your latest album, “New Lost Ages” blends so many musical landscapes together seamlessly. Walk us through what had to happen musically amongst you and your peers to pull something like that together?

Author’s Note: Phil Ek, legendary producer tied to works by Modest Mouth, The Shins, Band of Horses, Fleet Foxes and more, produced “New Lost Ages,” Tyler Ramsey’s latest album. Other collaborators on the album include Morgan Henderson of Fleet Foxes, Seann Lane of Heart, Russ Paul, Carl Carmel and Scott Moore.

“What I like to do is give as little direction as possible. [Phil] kind of shaped the sound of the album, taking what I had written and carrying it to where he wanted it to go as a finished album. I was kind of just handing him my demos and saying ‘anything goes.’ He didn’t end up taking it too far from my original vision. I got to see [Phil] dial in sounds that are so beautiful. That had everything to do with how this record turned out– making sure every single sound is just lush.”

What can somebody that is eager to see you live in the coming weeks expect at a Tyler Ramsey show?

“I want to play as many of these new songs that I can, and a lot of older tunes, and a couple that I wrote for Band of Horses back in the day. When I’m traveling and playing shows, I try to do everything that I can to make sure that I’m in the right headspace to deserve to be on stage for the people that are taking their time to come see me play. You can expect that I’m doing my best. Me going on this tour is a good representation of me realizing that I’m good at what I do, and that I can communicate with people well, I can be honest people, I can create an environment that people walk away from feeling good. Feeling like I’m connecting with people is very important to me.”

Catch Tyler Ramsey live in Colorado Springs on April 5th at LuLu’s Downtown and in Denver on April 6th at Mercury Cafe. Get tickets at bandwagonpresents.com