2012 was a fairly insane year when it came to the productivity levels of San Fran psych rocker, Ty Segall.
It began in April with the release of Hair, a collaborative album with White Fence. Segall followed this a mere two months later with another full-length, Slaughterhouse, this time recorded with his backing band. Finally, a solo album, Twins, was released in early October.
Lately, however, things have been comparatively slow – 2013 and 2014 have each seen the release of a mere one LP from Segall; Sleeper and Manipulator respectively. What gives? Is he getting mellow on us at the ripe old age of 27?
“Are you disappointed?” teases Segall with a laugh. “I don’t know if I can do it anymore, man. I’m running out of ideas! The crazy thing about it was that most of it was collaborations with other people. I didn’t write 30 songs – I wrote the 12 that are on Twins, and I wrote a couple that were on the Hair record. I wrote the rest of the material with the people I was collaborating with on that particular record. It felt like a sleight-of-hand sort of thing, where there appeared to be way more than there actually was. It wasn’t nearly as a crazy as people thought it was.”
Regardless of how many records one gets from Segall in a year, one can always anticipate top quality from each of them. Naturally, Manipulator – Segall’s eighth solo effort overall – is no exception. It’s another collection of hazy, wild-eyed rock’n’roll that’s sprung out of the garage and into the fire. Unlike many other acts who will have an army of musicians and producers behind them, a Ty Segall solo record is literally a solo record: what you hear is all from the mind, the mouth, the fingers, the hands and the feet of the man whose name is on the cover. With such liberal freedom in songwriting and creation, it’s an approach of ‘anything goes’ that gets things done in the world of the one-man-band.
“I don’t like repeating stuff,” says Segall on the creative process. “I do like improving on ideas I’ve already worked on previously, but I’m thinking a lot about seeing what I can do differently this time around. Sometimes I’ll just record a drumbeat and base a song around that; sometimes I’ll be playing the guitar and a melody will come to me. I might just mumble over a guitar part until I can find words to fit what I’ve written. Sometimes I’ll even write a song that just starts with bass. It’s really all over the place, y’know?”
The band will end the year with a long-overdue return to Australia for the first time in three-and-a-half years. Along with an appearance at Meredith Music Festival, Segall and co. will also be doing a run of headlining shows around the traps. It’s a hotly anticipated return, both from Segall’s fan base Down Under and from the man himself.
“I’m so excited, man!” he says. “Can’t even wait. I don’t know why it’s been so long. It should be really good fun. Last time was amazing, so we’re really looking forward to coming back. Charles was playing bass last time we were here, and we were touring as a three-piece. That was about two months before Mikal (Cronin) joined the band. So this will be his first time, and we’re all super-stoked.”