Q&A: Ty Segall Talks His Favorite Music Formats and Becoming "The Next Jay Reatard"
By our estimation, 2010 can be best summed up as the year of beach music.
All year long, it seemed, new bands from coastal regions were cropping up with their hazy guitar tones and rich vocal harmonies, all soaked in reverb and packed with more pop hooks than we previously thought could fit in a two-minute capsule.
With his fuzzed out garage tones and super laid-back vibes, Ty Segall, as far as we're concerned, is pretty much the king of the whole San Francisco garage-punk scene.
But Segall is no flash in the pan. He's been honing his craft for some time, playing in bands like The Traditional Fools, Epsilons, Party Fowl, Sic Alps and The Perverts, on top of touring the country as a one-man-band, releasing four solo LPs and, more recently, assembling a band to recreate his most recent record in a live setting.
We spoke with the prolific youngster a few weeks ago about his gig tomorrow night in Denton, getting into his thoughts on the death of the LP, how he'd never heard a Daytrotter session until recently and what he thinks about being called "the next Jay Reatard." Read our Q&A in full after the jump.
What do you think about bands like Best Coast and Wavves and other so-called "beach music" acts becoming so en vogue at the moment?
They've got some catchy songs. I don't want to bash anybody. I think that's good for them. I think it's interesting to call it "beach music," [but] I guess it is. The only thing I can say is beach music is like pop music with reverb and catchy melodies and simple stuff. So it's beach music for sure. I think it's good for them. It's good that they're doing what they're doing.
You've released music on a number of various formats, cassettes, etc. Do
you have an affinity to any one format, or prefer one over the others?
I really like vinyl and cassette tapes. I'm not a CD guy. I mean, I really like high-quality music, but I lose CDs. They get scratched. I don't have a place for them except for in my car, and I'd rather just make a mixed tape. I prefer vinyl because I've been collecting for a really long time and I just prefer how it sounds. And they really don't get screwed up as much. They don't get messed up as easily as a CD. I feel like CDs break -- they're brittle, they get scratched super easily. That skipping that you get in a CD is the worst thing in the world. If a record skips, they're easy to fix. There's little pops and hisses and stuff, but I don't really mind that stuff.
So, when you record, do you have that in mind? Do you tailor your
sound to be heard on vinyl? Or do you even think about that at all while
in the studio?
I would like it to sound good on all formats. I do think that loud fuzzy stuff sounds better on vinyl. To be honest, I definitely put in a little extra effort on the vinyl mastering of a record, because that I think is what is truly representative of the record and how it sounds on vinyl. But I guess I just like to record for everything.
You've recorded both in the bedroom and in the studio, which method do you prefer?
They're both awesome. I wouldn't want to pick or choose any which one. The home recording thing is really cool because you get to just be really creative. You're kind of writing while you're recording. The fidelity doesn't really matter because the creative process is so great. But what I like to do is do that, and once I get a couple of songs going, then I like to go into a studio, take that stuff there, and then you really get to work on the fidelity of it and really make the recordings work well. So they both have their merits.
Some music journalists are citing 2011 as the year in which less
emphasis will be placed on recording/releasing full-length albums, as
more artists will start focusing on releasing singles. What is your take
on this whole concept?
I think that's already been happening in mainstream music for years and years. I think the LP died as soon as visual music happened. There are still a ton of people out there that buy records for records, but if you look at the masses who are buying popular music, they're buying Ke$ha or the new Madonna single. I feel like a lot of people that are into popular music just want to buy songs. Yeah, they want to listen to a record too, but I don't feel like it's a number one priority for people in the popular music world to create an LP. But if you look at the '60s, that's how it was then too. So many awesome bands put out an LP with a hit single on it and then a bunch of filler tracks, so half of the record is great and half of it is crap because that's how it worked back then. I feel like it's similar now. I like LPs. The whole goal is to make the LP. Singles are great too. I feel like I have an equal appreciation for it because I'm a really ADD music listener. I love making mixed tapes because I love just listening to my favorite songs. But there's another side of me that's just all about the LP -- listening to the best LP, or making the best LP you can as a full music experience. Because I feel like that's one of the most important things about music, making an experience for someone, having an effect on a person, trying to change an emotion, trying to create something else to make you think -- whatever you want to do with the LP. It's hard for a single to do that because it is just one thought. An LP has 12 or 14 thoughts running together to create a full conversation or full emotional range or whatever you want to do with it. Even if it's just the emotional range of a punk record where it's just aggressive for half an hour I think that's really important too.
Tell us about your recent Daytrotter session. Most people tend to go the
stripped back or unplugged route when doing Daytrotter, but it seems
like you had a completely different approach with your [recent] session.
To be honest, we just went in and played. I didn't think about it really. We just went in and played. To be perfectly honest, I've listened to Daytrotter once, and I hadn't heard of it before Thee Oh Sees played on it and I checked them out. I didn't really know. They were really nice people and it was really fun.
A lot of folks have been calling you "the next Jay Reatard" as of late. How do you feel about that?
I think it's an honor, a compliment. It's a huge compliment because I've been a fan of that guy for a long time. I really love all his records. I see it a little bit I guess. I'll just leave it at that. It's a very good compliment.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene each week with music news, trends, artist interviews and concert listings. We'll also send you special ticket offers and music deals.