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Ty Segall's Flying Circus to Blow Through L.A.

Posted by Billy Gil, March 1, 2012 02:30pm | Post a Comment
Ty SegallIn a short amount of time, Ty Segall has provided us with so much musical goodness in the recorded form that it’s hard to believe he’ll be releasing two (well, two-and-a-half-ish) albums this year. He’ll release a mini album on In the Red in June under Ty Segall Band, recorded with his touring band, which includes Charlie Moothart guitar (“He’s a complete shredder and dominator, he taught me everything I know about playing guitar,” Segall says), Mikal Cronin on bass and Emily Epstein on drums. The record will be mixed in Berkeley’s Fantasy Studios — where Creedence Clearwater Revival recorded, Segall points out — and recorded with Eric Bauer, who has recorded with Segall several times, including his most recent studio album, 2011’s Goodbye Bread.

A regular full-length also is due on Drag City under his own name in the fall. On top of all that, he’s releasing a collaboration LP with White Fence on Drag City in April, which he’s currently touring behind. Ty Segall and White Fence appear together March 3 at the Troubador.

I took some time to speak to Ty, who’s S.F.-based but was born in Laguna Beach, about his upcoming tours, release schedule, and how many songs he’s recorded.


PST: Last year, around the time Goodbye Bread was released, you said you wanted the next album to sound like Satan in Space, Hawkwind meets Sabbath and that sorta thing. Is that the direction the new material has ended up taking?

Segall: Well, there’s a couple different directions. This is really fun for me because this new record with White Fence I did is not that. It’s like totally weird new thing that Tim (Presley, of White Fence) and I kind of did. It doesn’t sound like either one of us, and it definitely doesn’t sound like [the earlier description]. It sounds pretty all over the place. It sounds almost like a mixtape, almost like a weird comp of some kind, which I’m way into. Working with Tim was great because we both bring something totally different to the table.

There’s this record I’m gonna be recording starting [in February], and that’s totally heavy, fuzzed-out Sabbath, Blue Cheer-like noise rock kinda stuff. Which is rad. And I’m doing that with the whole band. It’s kind of more how we sound live than a lot of the records sound. That’s the weird, heavy, fuzzed-out record. And then I’m working on another one that’s gonna come out in September/October on Drag City. It’s not as heavy or punk or anything. It’s still loud fast rock ’n’ roll. It’s kind of channeling these three different things in these records.

PST: You seem pretty prolific. Is there a steady flow to your songwriting? How often do you write?

Segall: I kind of write whenever I can at home. A lot of the stuff is really bad. I throw away most of the stuff I write, to be honest. I try to write a song a day. If you write 10 songs, there’s gonna be one of them you think is pretty OK that you’ll keep around. That’s kind of my rule. A lot of times you’ll have a riff and it’s like, I’m gonna toss this riff.

PST: If you had to guess, how many songs have you written? How many bands have you been in?

Segall: Aw man, I don’t even know! There are 12 songs on average per record, I’d probably say I’ve released 180-200 songs. There are about 300 throwaway songs that will never see the light of day.

PST: You’d never release them in some form?

Segall: No way. They’re bad, man. They’re real bad. Like me trying things that are out of my comfort zone. It’s like, yeah, there’s a reason it’s out of your comfort zone, man.

PST: Goodbye Bread saw you trim the fuzz a bit. Should we expect the sound to continue to get cleaner and/or more focused, or is it more that that’s just what you happened to want to do then?

Segall: Definitely not cleaner. I think, no maybe you could say it’s recorded better, because EricTy Segall Amoeba Music San Francisco [Bauer], who recorded Goodbye Bread, got a new tape machine and it’s technically more high-fidelity. I don’t think it’s cleaner. We’re just using it in different ways. It’s definitely not part of that trajectory. It’s a totally different thing that’s not following that path. It’s a whole different thing, you know what I mean? Which is what I like doing. I like starting over for each record. To be honest I’m not the best at explaining where my head is when I’m making my records. The main idea is to make something different than before and make something that is better. Hopefully better.

… The Drag City release will be more song-focused than fuzz-focused. It’s kind of like the left and right sides of your brains. One is getting really loud and fucked up live and try to sonically hurt people. Like hurt their ears. And that’s something I want to achieve. And the other side is trying to write songs. … I had to get the band that I’m playing with in the studio because I really do feel like they’re a special group of people. We gotta record them because I feel so lucky to be playing with them. … Everybody rips so hard. And it’s totally different than on record. So I’m just super psyched to have them make a record.

PST: As far as the White Fence collaboration goes, how did that come about? And how will those live shows with the two of you play out — one at a time, and then together or something like that?

Segall: I just asked him, dude, we gotta do a record together man. I was like, I bet you I could get Drag City to do it. And they were like, yeah man, just go ahead and do it, and when it’s done, we’ll do it. So Tim came up like four diff occasions for two days, and we just wrote a lot of songs together and already had two each. It was super fast and really fun. He’s just insane at what he does, and it was really cool to have a different perspective on songwriting and push you to do things you’re not used to doing. He plays guitar like Jimi Hendrix, man. He’s a psychotic guitar player. … We’re basically gonna pick two or three of our favorite songs from the record and maybe play it in the middle of my set, Tim’s just gonna walk up and play it in my set, but it’s basically gonna be White Fence set and then my set after, and then in the middle of it we’re gonna play two or three songs from the record.

PST: When did you start playing music? What was your first band?

Segall: I started when I was like 15. I started playing drums. My first band was this like no wave dancepunk band called Love This. (laughs) We only played house parties. It was a ridiculous band. And Mikal Cronin was in that band. He played saxophone.

PST: I loved the Ty Rex mini album (a six-song T. Rex cover EP, released last year for Record Store Day). Would you do another for another artist?

Segall: Yeah man. Totally. I don’t know which artist. It’s not on the top of my agenda right now. I’d like to do a Bowie one. … Basically I tried to think of the most ridiculous thing I could think of that you’re not supposed to do. … It was like really fucking scary, man. You’re not supposed to do that. I think it turned out pretty good. I tried to do like 10 songs, but I ran out of time.

PST: Speaking of covers, I also really like the “Bullet Proof Nothing” [by Simply Saucer] cover you did and the Sabbath cover I saw you play in Eagle Rock last year. What covers are you playing lately live? Or would that ruin it?

Segall: We don’t really have any new covers. Usually we just throw in a couple of things — we covered “The End” by The Doors the other day. I haven’t figured that out yet. But hopefully something will come. Something ridiculous. I wanna cover that song “Moonage Daydream.”

Ty’s World
Ty Segall has some seven albums, two splits LPs, nine EPs/45”s, five split EPs and countless collaborations to his name, in addition to the albums he’ll release this year. Here’s a quick rundown of some of the best releases from Ty and his collaborators.
 
Ty Segall SinglesSingles 2007-2010
 (2011, Goner)

A great overview of his records, singles et al. and as good a place as any to start with Segall’s catalog. It’s also a great place to pick up non-album tracks, like his screamy, nasty cover of OG punks Chain Gang’s “Son of Sam.”






Goodbye Bread
(2011, Drag City)

His most put-together record, aided by slightly cleaner production and slower tempos, which allow his hooks to shine through. Segall taps into late-era Beatles territory in songs like the spare title track and glam rock with the terrific “You Make the Sun Fry.”




 
ty segall meltedMelted
(2010, Goner)

As usual, Melted sports a variety of sounds, from sludgy rockers (the title track) to Beatles-esque folk rock (“Caeasar”), but it feels like his most cohesive and well-considered release to this point. And it has perhaps Segall’s catchiest song yet — the acidic “Girlfriend.”






Ty Segall LemonsLemons (2009, Goner)

 
Psych-folk adds to the lineup of rockers for a rough-and-tumble set. Maybe his most psychedelic record.







Ty Segall Ty SegallTy Segall
(2008, Revolver)

This is lo-fi rock ’n’ roll at its finest. Like early White Stripes or Jay Reatard, it’s raw and unpolished in the best way possible, but you never get the sense he’s just dicking around — there are great tunes under the din.







Horn the UnicornHorn the Unicorn (originally released on tape in 2008; reissued in 2010 on Captcha Records)

Segall’s first solo release wears its influences more proudly on its sleeve, from the Nuggetsy organ on songs like “Apples” and “Skin” to the old school punk of “Shoot Me in the Head” to the T. Rex stomp of “Can’t Talk to You.” If it’s less cohesive than other releases, it shows the scope of what Segall would undertake with future releases.



Mikal CroninMikal Cronin – Mikal Cronin
(2011, Trouble in Mind)

This beautiful psych-pop record from Segall’s longtime friend and collaborator was released last year and was a little too slept-on for my taste. A great and tuneful rock record with some gloriously heavy moments (“Green and Blue”).





White FenceWhite Fence – Is Growing Faith
(2011, Woodsist)

Super weird psych-pop from Segall’s current collaborator. “And By Always” sounds like a C86 tape left in the wash, while “Enthusiasm” makes compelling listening out of hearing a catchy garage-rock song try to escape the copious noise piled atop it. Recommended for fans of Elephant 6, ’80s college rock, weirdo garage rock — everyone, really.

Relevant Tags

Beatles (98), T. Rex (5), Jay Reatard (11), Goodbye Bread (1), White Fence (15), Mikal Cronin (11), Ty Segall (27), Glam (8), Garage Rock (12), C86 (4)