Drag City Prolific fuzz-rock youngster Ty Segall's new album, 'Goodbye…
- Posted on Oct 20th 2010 5:15PM by Marsha Casselman
Then the band broke into a grunge-y hook and the crowd erupted into a sweaty mosh, as if Segall's corny joke -- or maybe just his relaxed beach vibe -- gave the too-cool club patrons permission to let their guard down.
Based out of San Francisco, Segall isn't the only musician to cite the beach recently. A slew of indie bands like Real Estate, Best Coast, and Wavves with his hit album 'King of the Beach', are combining their love for the beach and '60s rock with reverb-heavy production.
"There's a total lo-fi beach-pop thing going on," Segall tells Spinner. "But it's coming from everywhere. And that's cool you know, because everyone listens to the Beach Boys."
Segall -- who released his third fuzz-filled psych-garage album, 'Melted,' this spring and will be performing at Halifax Pop Explosion Wednesday (Oct. 20) -- may only be in his early 20s, but as a student of media studies and a music history buff, he knows trends aren't simple in a post-modern world.
"There's been so many years of surf bands, beach bands, and '60s/'70s pop bands, and even '90s pop bands have been influenced by them; it's a big hodgepodge. I don't think I'm into the same stuff Best Coast is, maybe a little bit. There are a lot of people sharing a couple of influences, but we have a lot of differences too."
The Kinks-loving singer-guitarist's sound is a lot harsher than his predecessors and while the Beach Boys might have been all about girls, Segall had a different experience growing up near Laguna Beach, an area that's become synonymous with the MTV teen-approved reality show for which Segall released this snarky spoof video with former band Epsilons.
Of course, Segall's formative years were a bit less shallow than his reality show stunt would let on.
"Surfing is kind of like a religious experience. Call me a hippie, but I'd rather believe in this than a lot of other bullsh-- out there. But to anyone who's reading this, I dare any one of you to go surfing and knock a surfer after."
"Surfing is therapy," he adds. "It's the closest you can get to where you come from, to where you're going. As you stand there, you don't think, you just connect. You leave the water and you feel like you've set the restart button, like on a Nintendo."
The beach obviously, then, influenced his music as he discovered in his teens surf movies like Bruce Brown's 'The Endless Summer.'
"These movies had surf music, and when you're 12 or 13 you're like, 'Whoa, what's this? This is rad, totally tubular bro!" he says. "So I eventually got a record player and bought surf records."
Like many surfers, Segall eventually turned to heavier music like punk and metal. "I had a neighbour who gave me a Black Sabbath record and an Alice Cooper one with 'I'm Eighteen' on it, and I was like, 'Holy s---, heavy music is psychotic,' and it actually kind of fit into the surf culture, too."
Segall is too young to have been there, but he knows about the first encounters between punks and surfers in the early '80s, when hardcore punk formed in the suburbs in response to the exclusivity of the Los Angeles punk scene.
"In hardcore history, the surfers were the bad guys -- the Huntington Beach scene, withT.S.O.L and all these fantastic bands. Maybe I grew up in a different surfing culture because back then, the surfers were the jocks and the bullies, and they'd think, 'Hey, these dudes are knocking into each other, let's knock into each other for no reason.' They would take it over the line and like punch a girl in the face. I guess maybe they didn't understand the connection that surfing is therapeutic, and also that hardcore shows were supposed to be a positive way to get your energy out."
Despite all this surf talk, Segall is reluctant to become the poster boy for beach-grunge or any other genre.
"It's all about not getting stuck in a sound, a lot of which are just trends. It's all about the songs; if it's a good song, it doesn't matter how it's recorded."
In fact, whatever happens, Segall is fine with D.I.Y. productions, bare-bones touring with his band (which includes his girlfriend on bass), and living fame-free.
"The goal is to do what you want to do, and live off of it, so if it happens it happens. If I get to just watch a movie with my girlfriend and buy some nachos that have been paid for by the record I made, I win."