By Quinn Thomas
While Ty Segall is a becoming a more recognizable and household name, there is still a veil of mystery around him, despite having released 18 records in just over decade. With a fresh album on the way dropping October 28 it isn’t quite what you would expect.
Adopted by a family of lawyers and artists Segall’s first love was surfing. He was gifted a stack of Black Sabbath and Alice Cooper records during his pubescent years and his life was changed. Head over heels for music, he started creating grimy authentic garage-rock inspired by bands like Thee Headcoats. Switching up labels, band line-ups and instruments Segall, has seen it all and he’s about to bring us into his world of taste and interpretation on his latest release, Chocolate Fudge.
To call it a new album is a stretch, considering it’s an album of covers. The selection spans from the likes of John Lennon, Sparks, War, The Dils and Neil Young.
“It’s a bizarre challenge. Cover albums are kind of a faux-pas. They’re either awesome or totally horrible. So rolling the dice is always fun and it’s a good way to make sure you don’t take things to seriously,” Segall says. “I think it’s really important that you make a cover feel like your own, especially if you’re recording it. And there’s a million ways to do it. What constitutes a song? What is a song? Is it melody? Lyrics? Instrumentation? I mean change any one of those things and it’s a completely different song.”
This is interesting coming from someone who makes a living creating original music. Breaking songs down and analyzing them is important for Segall’s own work.
“Deconstructing a song is always a good practice when writing your own music because you get inside what a song means,” he says. “Keeps my mind fresh in the sense of let’s not do a 4/4 beat or a traditional drum pattern.”
Perhaps the secret to such a strong consistent output has been learning covers. Not only does Segall find them important, but he also believes in pushing his limits as a songwriter in a live setting. Despite being a artist who thrives on wailing his distorted guitar, he booked an 18-stop acoustic show tour. When asked about his string of live acoustic shows, he shared: “For a songwriter to be able to just perform with just an acoustic and their voice, it’s a very important almost test. I like putting myself through that test every once in a while.”
Segall’s name has been able to get its foot in the door of many common households despite not appealing to mainstream taste. Perhaps it has been his incredulous work ethic. From delivering albums upon albums of new material and old alike to testing his mettle at stripped back acoustic shows, he sets a certain standard for how hard you have to work to earn your keep as a musician.
Ty Segall performs a solo acoustic show at the Biltmore Cabaret (Vancouver) on October 25.