Ty Segall talks about his new album, 'Freedom's Goblin,' out Jan. 26

Ty Segall
Ty Segall (Denee Segall)
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Ty Segall talks about his new album, 'Freedom's Goblin'
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Ty Segall has announced the release of his new album, Freedom's Goblin, releasing Jan. 26, 2018, on the Drag City label. Freedom's Goblin is a 19-track double album, and Segall and the Freedom Band will be embarking on a North American tour following the album's release, with a show scheduled for April 7 in the First Avenue Mainroom in Minneapolis.

David Safar, The Current's music director, recently connected with Ty Segall to talk about the making of Freedom's Goblin. Use the audio player above to listen to the complete interview, which is transcribed below.

DAVID SAFAR: "The Main Pretender" [is] a new song from Ty Segall, who has just announced a brand-new album; it's called Freedom's Goblin. We are on the phone with Ty. Ty, how are you doing today?

TY SEGALL: Good. How are you?

DAVID SAFAR: So, you're in your studio. Please set the scene for us.

TY SEGALL: Actually, my studio is on the fritz. I don't get cell reception in the studio, so I'm actually in my kitchen using an eight-track to talk to you guys. So you're in my kitchen right now, actually.

DAVID SAFAR: That's great. Have you recorded any music in your kitchen recently?

TY SEGALL: No, but actually, testing the setups about 20 minutes ago, there are some nice acoustics in here. I would definitely do it.

DAVID SAFAR: You're sounding great. Let's talk about the new album. You just announced Freedom's Goblin, it's coming out in late January. Who is Freedom's Goblin?

TY SEGALL: Everybody. It's a loose idea of the duality, or more the ever-unfolding idea of freedom. It's just one component of freedom, our goblins and things. I'm a goblin, you know, but I'm also not a goblin, you know?

DAVID SAFAR: I was listening to this album, 19 tracks. The album is described as "days of vomit and days of ecstasy and escape too, and days between." Is that accurate?

TY SEGALL: Yeah. I mean, there's a lot of stuff there, so it's not easily streamlined into cohesive thoughts. It is very folded on itself and multi-faceted and multi-sided of a thing going on.

DAVID SAFAR: You're constantly writing and recording, and listening to this album, there's one word that came to mind on first listen, which is that this album is radical. Is that kind of what you were going for?

TY SEGALL: Well, that's awesome to hear. Cool! I think I just wanted to make the freest record I could, in the sense of there's no rules for what's going on. So it's not a rock record, it's not a punk record, it's not an anything record. It just is what it is. That's cool that you feel that way. That's awesome.

DAVID SAFAR: Let's talk about the making of it because you stopped at a few studios along the way over the course of many months, making the songs that are on this new album, all 19 tracks. Where did it start?

TY SEGALL: It started at my house. I have the studio in the back of my house, you know, just tinkering away, writing tunes, and then eventually the tunes became this group of songs that really didn't have a defining theme or a string that tied them all together and I felt like that was the thing that could tie them together was making them as different from each other as possible, so then the idea came about where, "Oh, why don't we just try to record in as many studios as possible and in as many ways as possible in order to just get as free as possible in order to make it as interesting as possible."

So it started at my house, and then slowly started booking studios and did some songs on tour, had [Steve] Albini come out here and record at my house, and then we also did some tunes at his studio [in Chicago], and recorded at Royal Studios in Memphis, and then I did a bunch of stuff here, too. It was super fun. We did a bunch of different, many, many different sessions, and that was really, really fun.

DAVID SAFAR: Talk about Steve Albini and your relationship with him. How have you gotten to know him over the years?

TY SEGALL: Steve is the best. He just wants to enable you to make what you want to make. He's an encyclopedia of knowledge, recording insight, and he's a master engineer. It's just a pleasure to work with him.

So he came over, and it was so cool to see him work on all my gear and figure it out. He's a good friend of mine and I ask him for advice and for recording advice, and he helps me all the time. He's a wonderful person.

DAVID SAFAR: Many have described Steve Albini as an enabler just as you have; he also uses his studio as an instrument in a way. He becomes a part of the album, but without having a strong impact on the music. Are you the same way as an engineer?

TY SEGALL: Me?

DAVID SAFAR: Yeah.

TY SEGALL: I think I'm a bit more … I'm obviously nothing in comparison to him and his knowledge and ideas. Mine's a bit more sketchy and almost bootleg. Luckily, because it's my music when I'm engineering it, I have the creative freedom to do anything I want. I think Albini obviously is going to leave that up to the band's discretion. So I think that's the only difference is that when I'm doing my own thing, I'm leading the ship or whatever.

DAVID SAFAR: How was it to go from your home studio to his studio and work in his space and engineer alongside with him?

TY SEGALL: Oh, it's great. I've recorded at Electrical Audio before, it's the best studio around, and he's the best dude to work with, so it's a no brainer. It's just easy and fun. He's a very open person, so it's great to work with him.

DAVID SAFAR: Let's talk about the third song on your album. It's called "Every 1's a Winner," and it's a cover from the band Hot Chocolate, and for those not familiar with Hot Chocolate, they're a U.K. soul and funk band, and they had a hit, like, every single year in the 70s. How did you come upon this song?

TY SEGALL: I've just been a fan of this song for a long time. Yeah, I mean, you know, people hate disco, people hate that era of music, but I don't hate any kind of music or any era of music, and that band rules. I'm a fan of good disco, and they're considered a disco band, and also a soul and funk band, too. I just think it is a great song, and I get excited to cover songs that probably people would tell me not to cover or that it might be a bad idea to cover or it's not in my wheelhouse or something, so to me, it's always fun to try to find a cover that's a little outside of the box. And that one, I was just so happy with how that one turned out. Often times, you try covers like that and it doesn't work out because you're going to embarrass yourself because the original is so good. That was just really fun to try.

DAVID SAFAR: When you were making this album, you talked about all these sounds coming together, and you're a fan of different styles of music, just the way you identified a cover like "Everyone's a Winner." Was there something going into this album that made you feel different from making your previous albums?

TY SEGALL: I think as I get older, I kind of … I think I kind of have less of an idea of making something perfect. So I think going into this, it was all about making the performances shine how they are and not trying to perfect anything too much and just have fun with it. The idea of it was to be as free as possible, so if there's anything that's going to limit you from being free, don't do it; keep it as open-ended as possible.

I think I've had that idea for a long time, but I guess I just wanted to do more of that, whatever that means. I'm not even sure what that means.

DAVID SAFAR: You've just announced a new tour. What is the Freedom's Goblin band going to look like?

TY SEGALL: It's the same band that I've been playing with for the past couple years, the Freedom Band. There's a lot of freeness going around in our group of friends at the moment. Yeah, same thing. We've been kind of playing a lot of those songs before the album came out, so I can't really describe any difference in what we have been doing and what we will be doing. We'll just be playing, you know?

DAVID SAFAR: It sounds like on this album, you've leaned really into more synth sounds, saxophones, horns, harmonies. Is that something that you're taking on yourself, learning more instruments yourself as you travel through this journey, or is it something where you're adding people to the party?

TY SEGALL: Mikal Cronin plays a lot of the saxophones and he arranged all the horns. I have no knowledge or experience playing any horned instrument. I love them.

All the keys are Ben [Boye], who plays keys with me in my band. I dabble. Those guys are masters of those instruments. I'm not going to pretend I know how to play those things too well. If there's a synthesizer that sounds completely screwed up and bad, that's probably me. But all the good-sounding things are Ben.

DAVID SAFAR: You're making a stop in Minneapolis on April 7, you're playing at the First Avenue Mainroom which you've played at before. Tell us some of your experiences playing in the Twin Cities.

TY SEGALL: It's just a great place. I'm sure everybody talks about Prince, but I'm a massive Prince fan, so it's super cool to play there. Yeah, just a great town. Unfortunately, I haven't really gotten to hang out too much because we're always just going in and out of the town. But great people and a great place to play.

DAVID SAFAR: Ty, thank you so much for chatting with us today. Freedom's Goblin is coming out on Jan. 26, on Drag City. We'll look forward to seeing you and the band in the Twin Cities on April 7.

Audio edited and transcribed by Luke Taylor

Resources


Ty Segall - official site

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  • Ty Segall, 'Freedom's Goblin'
    Ty Segall's album, 'Freedom's Goblin,' releases Jan. 26, 2018. (Drag City)

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