Ty Segall

By
Photography Christopher Melton

Published August 24, 2012

Glancing at Ty Segall’s discography, one might conclude that he is a man in a hurry. By the end of 2012, the ultra-prolific 25-year-old San Francisco psych-rocker will have released three full-length albums this year alone: Hair (Drag City), a collab- oration with Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter Tim Presley, a.k.a White Fence; Slaughterhouse (In the Red), which he recorded with his touring band; and his latest solo effort, Twins (Drag City), a collection of fuzzy guitar anthems featuring Segall’s signature blend of ’60s- and ’70s-inspired garage rock, punctuated by crescendos of noise, punishing rhythms, and incongruously pretty melodies.

The title of Twins is a reference to Segall’s zodiac sign, Gemini, and is an oblique allusion to the album’s general theme of mental disturbance. Segall plays nearly every instrument on the record, and in doing so, churns out the kind of rock-’n’-roll that is undoubtedly meant to be listened to on a turntable, from the epic dirge of “Thank God for the Sinners,” to the propulsive crunch of “Love Fuzz,” and the joyful, blaring mess that is “Handglams.” It’s an album that also reflects the world that Segall inhabits in San Francisco—a city, it seems, that has fallen in love once again with psychedelic guitar music, with the emergence of bands like The Fresh & Onlys, Sic Alps, and Thee Oh Sees. “It’s been just long enough since psychedelic music happened, or rock ’n’ roll was popular, for people to admit to liking classic rock again,” Segall says. “When I was younger, it was weird to admit you were obsessed with Hendrix or AC/DC. Now people are more open-minded. They accept and agree that rock is rad. I’m stoked because I’ve always been into that.”

Originally from Laguna Beach, Segall moved to Northern California to attend the University of San Francisco. By his account, he had a raucous upbringing: His mom liked to listen to hair-metal while his dad was also into the heavy stuff. (According to Segall, he played drums in a band that was “like Judas Priest meets Mötley Crüe”; these days, though, Segall’s father is a realtor. “But he still rocks,” the son notes.) Segall himself learned to play drums at age 2, and took up the guitar in high school, fronting a critically adored outfit called Epsilons. He began releasing albums and seven Ì? singles at a furious pace in the mid-aughts. In fact, Twins is his ninth proper album, not counting compilations and live releases. Next year, though, Segall plans on taking it easy—when he’s not touring. But his definition of easy isn’t one that most people subscribe to. “I think I’ve gotten it out of my system,” he says of his recent fits of manic recording. “I’m definitely not going to put out another record for a year after this one comes out.”