Ty Segall: Riding a Wave of 7 Inches and Tape Hiss

Share this:Share on Facebook0Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+0Pin on Pinterest0

Since 2005, Ty Segall has been leaving his dirty, tape-delayed impression on vinyl, originally with Epsilons, then Party Fowl, followed by The Traditional Fools, The Perverts and even Sic Alps. Most notably, however, he has released his music under his own name, with four full-length albums and countless 7”s released on notable garage rock labels like Goner, Burger Records and Castle Face (John Dwyer’s label). With surf and garage rock gaining acceptance and notoriety outside of the garage rock scene (via Pitchfork darlings like Best Coast, Wavves and Surfer Blood), Segall could not have come along at a better time. Over the last few years his sound has matured, trading in undirected aggression for a much more calculated, yet noisier sound.

On his latest release, Goodbye Bread (released on June 12), he has moved away from the floor-stomping, rhythmic punk rock element that made his last few LPs so exciting and stepped to a more mature place. “I definitely wanted to make a mellower record, but there wasn’t a very strong idea of what that would be,” says Segall. The new album has garnered many classic rock comparisons, from Neil Young to John Lennon, but songs like “My Head Explodes” (which was featured on a split 7” with Jeff The Brotherhood) and “Where Your Head Goes” stay loyal to the crunchy, noisy sound Segall has boasted since his self-titled solo debut in 2008.

With the new sound came a new label. “I felt like the new record sounded different and I wanted to try it out, work with as many people as possible,” says Segall. Goodbye Bread was released through the label Drag City (home to larger artists such as Bonnie “Prince” Billie and Joanna Newsom—a native to the San Francisco freak-folk scene). “Drag City has always been one of my favorite labels, and to get the chance to work with them has been unbelievable,” says Segall.

As part of the youngest portion of the large San Francisco garage rock scene, Segall has definitely made a name for himself. Moving to San Francisco from Laguna Beach after hearing a couple of Dwyer’s (many) bands—The Hospitals and Coachwhips—Segall felt as though he was arriving upon the death of the scene as those bands were no longer producing music. He was wrong, though, and soon became part of a vibrant movement, just before it began to garner national attention. Among his San Francisco peers, Segall quickly carved out his niche. Thee Oh Sees (Dwyer’s current project), have taken on the spacey psychedelic side of garage rock. The Fresh and Onlys have their fuzz and distortion-drenched pop songs. Sic Alps have their own warbling, stoney, clumsy sound. And last but not least, Segall has his incredibly strong voice, bubble-gum melodies and tape delay. Even when being aggressive, he tends to evoke happy feelings, with most of his songs written about romantic situations—even though it can be hard to discern through the grainy distortion.

Segall graduated with a degree in media studies in 2009 from the University of San Francisco, which would be an incredible lesson in marketing a band, for most. Segall, however, has taken a far more analog approach, letting his releases speak for themselves. “I honestly don’t do anything on the Internet, I just do the records and leave it up to everybody else to do the rest ... I am not too into the Internet, I try to stick to what is tangible,” he says. One of the things the San Francisco scene has done to keep their fans engaged, in addition to their digital presence, is maintaining a constant barrage of small releases and split 7”s. “The cool thing about a small release is you can do a different sound, and only have to do two or three songs, it is really fun ... You can do whatever you want,” says Segall. Releasing at least eleven 7”s since 2008 (exact numbers are hard to calculate given the small runs on various labels), Segall has essentially done whatever the fuck he wants.

One of the more notable releases was a collaboration Segall did with long-time friend and fellow California native Mikal Kronin (of The Moonhearts). Kronin will be joining Segall for a US tour this year, along with which you can expect a new release. The new collaboration (which has yet to be written or recorded) will be released through Goner, while In the Red Records will be doing a re-issue of Reverse Shark Attack (the original collaboration). Segall also joined Sic Alps temporarily this year on tour due to their loss of a member. While he will not be a permanent member of the band, you can expect to hear him in some capacity on their newest album.

Segall’s upcoming Kilby date on Oct. 7 with Spell Talk will mark one year since his Woodshed date and last Utah visit. Segall says that the songs from Goodbye Bread are “definitely the mellowest songs we have ever played live. In the past it has been really straight forward, there is a little bit more of a dynamic vibe, but I think it is better ... More of a build and release thing.”  The show is cheap (only $8-$10) and definitely worth checking out. You can probably pick up some sort of limited 7” while you’re there.

Photos: