Q&A: Bay Area garage-rocker Ty Segall

Ty Segall headlines Neon Reverb’s kickoff party September 11 at the Bunkhouse.
Photo: Annabel Mehran

The Details

Ty Segall
With Thee Oh Sees, Tijuana Panthers
September 11, 9 p.m., $10-$12
Bunkhouse, 384-4536

You’re releasing three albums this year. Can putting out too much music hurt, commercially speaking?

If it’s going to affect the labels supporting me—their sales and the money they invest in me—then it’s a problem. But I don’t think there’s anything wrong with putting out a couple of records a year. And they’re all basically different bands.

Let’s run through them, starting with the White Fence collaboration (Hair).

That’s a total collaboration, fully equal and shared writing, so the outcome is something I could never achieve by myself. It was supposed to be a split 7-inch, and then it got up to a split 12-inch—we were each gonna have our own side—and then it turned into a full collaborative record. Three of those songs we wrote together. And then [White Fence’s] Tim [Presley] had three songs, and I had two songs finished, so it ended up being eight songs. It’s cool, because I played drums on Tim’s songs and Tim played guitar and did some some backup vocals on mine. Everybody was all over the whole thing.

Slaughterhouse, by Ty Segall Band, sounds like it’s probably closest to the live experience.

Yeah, that’s the live band. All of the records I’ve done before have been just me … but we wanted to do a band record. It was people I’ve been playing with for a couple of years, but this time we wrote all the songs together and recorded it live. I’m super happy with how it turned out. And again, it’s funny because it was only supposed to be an EP, but it turned into a full-length. So it was an accidental LP again, and it turned out great, I think.

Tell us about your upcoming solo album (Twins, out October 9).

Someone told me it sounds kinda like [2010’s] Melted and [2011’s] Goodbye Bread mixed together. I wanted to put this one fuzz pedal on every song, so it’s pretty fuzzed-out stuff, but more poppy than Slaughterhouse.

When you play live, and you have all this from which to stuff, how do you decide what to play?

We like to do a little bit of everything. When I see bands play live, I enjoy those kind of sets the most, so we try to do that, play at least one or two songs off of each record. On this last tour, we played four or five songs off of Slaughterhouse, and then the rest of the set was all old songs. And we had one song from the new record that’s not our yet. So it ends up being a complete mix of stuff, which is fun.

You’ve said albums are more important to you than songs. Why?

A good record transports you to another place. Ziggy Stardust—all of a sudden you’re with Bowie, and it’s a weird party with a bunch of glam people on drugs, and that’s awesome. When you’re 15 in your bedroom and you put that record on, it makes doing your homework all right.

My favorite records are, like, The Pretty Things’ Parachute and S.F. Sorrow and The Mothers of Invention’s We’re Only in It for the Money and The Kinks’ Village Green Preservation Society—these records that have a story—even if it’s not a literal story—because of how they’re sequenced and flow. It’s like a novel with sound.

Anything you’re listening to at the moment you would recommend?

I just got the second Roxy Music record [For Your Pleasure], which is amazing. This Australian punk band band The Chosen Few; I just got one of their records. One of the best songs I’ve heard recently is “No Fun on the Beaches” by them.

I’m jamming Black Sabbath Vol. 4 all the time. Zappa’s Cruising With Ruben & The Jets. A lot of Gong lately. Some Hawkwind. The Residents’ Duck Stab is amazing. Some Fugs. Lots of stuff, man. I’m pretty schizophrenic with records

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Spencer Patterson

Spencer Patterson is the Editor of Las Vegas Weekly, having previously served as Managing Editor, Arts & Entertainment Editor and ...

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