An actor and a singer-songwriter walk into a bar… Scratch that. A comedian and singer-songwriter attempt to connect to a Zoom call from opposite coasts, while one uses his wife’s new iPhone for the first time. So this conversation between musician Ty Segall and comedian Aidy Bryant – a longtime Segall fan – began earlier in the week, when the couple jumped online to discuss the Laguna Beach native’s new album. , 34 years old. Harmonizer. As you might expect, the rock star and improv legend have not missed a beat. Below, the two pals discuss the anxiety of play live, make old-fashioned music, and even make a surf date.
TY SEGALL: My wife [Denée Segall] I just got an iPhone so we are trying the iPhone. I have a flip phone.
AIDY BRYANT: That’s so, it’s for the best. I would have liked to have used a flip phone, honestly.
SEGALL: There are pros and cons to this life – this Zoom fiasco and me not knowing how to use anything to be a jerk. But it’s nice.
BRYANT: Have you ever had an iPhone? Do you live free from the start.
SEGALL: I totally did, for a few years, and it was good. But I think I just needed a solid disconnect. Now when I’m sitting on a bus, or waiting for the doctor, and I see everyone looking at their phones, it just seems crazy to me. I much prefer to look at the walls of my doctor’s office.
BRYANT: Well, I’m very honored to interview you. It is very fashionable.
SEGALL: As well, thank you. It’s great to talk to you.
BRYANT: We had such a funny, I’ll almost say a no-meeting, in many ways remember? Basically, I walked into the locker room and asked, “Does Mikal [Cronin] here? ”And you guys were like“ No ”.
SEGALL: I don’t know where he was, did you find him?
BRYANT: I don’t think I ever found it.
SEGALL: Well, I told Mikal we were talking today. He says “Hi”.
BRYANT: It’s so sweet. I am a big fan of you and a big fan of his too, just like my husband, who sometimes works with Mikal. He produced some of his videos.
SEGALL: I’ve seen a handful of these videos, and they’re amazing.
BRYANT: Are you ready to answer my hard-hitting journalistic questions?
SEGALL: Let’s do this. I’m ready.
BRYANT: I love your new album. It is so good. Now tell me if you think I’m completely wrong, but I still love to sit down and work on your albums as a whole. I don’t do that with most artists. When you make an album, what comes first? Do you have the full concept before you start recording? Or do you start with a little piece, and see where it takes you?
SEGALL: I’m all over the place. I think half the time I react to any album I’ve done before. There’s always a little reaction to the last album I did, sometimes you just do a bunch of songs and then you step back and you’re like, “Oh, there’s a story here. I like when a record is unified by a single idea.
BRYANT: I can feel it. I like the cohesion of the visuals. Do you think about the visual component when you record, or does it come later?
SEGALL: It’s hard to imagine the visuals until the music is over. They go hand in hand, you start to get ideas along the way, but nothing happens until after the fact.
BRYANT: How old are you?
SEGALL: I’m 34 years old.
BRYANT: Okay, me too. I know you’ve been making music since you were very young. What aspects of making a record did you think were very important when you first started out and are less important to you now? When I started out, I was only interested in writing jokes. Now I care a lot more about writing stories.
SEGALL: When I was younger I was a bit obsessed with making the album which would be “My Best Album”. This feeling has bothered me a few times, where instead of making the funniest or most satisfying creative choices, I tried doing things that I would help to fit this album into boxes for others to do. people appreciate it. So nowadays I really like making albums that don’t fit into any genre or framework. I’m making music for myself now, fully, and I hope people enjoy it.
BRYANT: I think that’s the right way to do it, it’s really the artist’s way. So much better than worrying about what your audience will think. How do you keep making music fun? I don’t know, sometimes I feel like there is such a misery in doing something that I really love. I love the song you did with your wife – I’m embarrassed, because I know she’s in rom with you, hearing me ask a question about her.
SEGALL: [Laughs] She is here. Collaboration is seriously, like, the best thing ever. If I had to make music on my own, I wouldn’t really enjoy what I’m doing. There’s a real creative fulfillment that comes from working on your own, but the coolest part of collaborating is that you create something that you never could have imagined before.
BRYANT: In quarantine, I found myself writing a lot with my husband, just because we were together all the time. You do a lot of your music with analog recording. TO SNL, we still do television like in the 70s, with three cameras and cue cards. I feel like it shaped the way I approach all of the other projects. How do you relate to using old school methods?
SEGALL: There are definitely limits with analog recording, it’s archaic in a way. But for me, using an old mixer is like involving another instrument. It adds a whole new layer. I think live TV is very similar to mixing music.
BRYANT: Maybe more like playing live. Like, doing shit like playing music or standing up for an audience is weird, right? Especially after confinement. It had been so long, so it was very unusual, almost like it was my very first time. Super fun and really trippy. When you first started playing live, were you scared or gasping for your breath?
SEGALL: I was totally terrified. What’s really strange is that the bigger the room, the easier it is for me. A smaller crowd scares me more. But I started playing when I was very young, because my mom used to make me play guitar at dinner parties and all that.
BRYANT: Oh, my god.
SEGALL: Luckily I had a little practice in high school, because I was in the choir and did a few plays, so I had a sense of what it was like to be on stage.
BRYANT: Ok, now you have to tell us what rooms you were in and what games you played.
SEGALL: I was in the barber quartet at The man of music. In sixth grade, our drama teacher created a role for me in this play A goddamn Yankee— I was the bat boy. I was just running around singing stuff. And then, what is this Shakespeare play—A comedy of errors.
BRYANT: Oh damn, so we’ve got a real comedian on our hands here. When I was around ten, my sense of cool was exactly what was going on. I would listen to everything on the radio and say to myself, “Reads, this is what is happening. It’s sexy and mean, and I’m bad to the bone. Before you found what you really liked, before you even found your gateway bands, what were you listening to?
SEGALL: I mean we’re the same age, we know we listened to the same garbage. I had a 311 CD. Some Korn. I was also in classic rock, and in the 7th grade talent show, and I played Led Zeppelin’s “Dazed and Confused”, solo, on bass.
BRYANT: It’s the engagement.
SEGALL: I used a wah pedal, because I thought that would make the bass sound like the guitar does in this song. All the dads in the audience came to see me afterwards.
BRYANT: Do you like touring? You’ll be back on the road soon, aren’t you?
SEGALL: I love touring so much. I have to get used to it again because right after the 10 day mini thing we did recently my body was just dead. I think it’s like I’m a die-hard smoker. You quit smoking, then a year later you just have to smoke a pack of cigarettes. It hurts.
BRYANT: I mean it’s natural energy that just goes into your bloodstream. It’s good.
SEGALL: Do you do comedy tours?
BRYANT: I used to do it. Long before I was sure SNL, I drove from Chicago to Ohio through Indiana and many other beautiful states like this. I did shows for people who didn’t want to watch them. I think it was the best thing I ever did, because now I’m not afraid to do anything. I once did a business buyout with all the cops, literally all the police chiefs in Texas. It was really bad. Demonic, honestly. I’m not sure if you know, did you know that Conner named our dog Fuzz after your group? Can you believe this?
SEGALL: What kind of dog is he?
BRYANT: It’s a dirty little terrier mix. We don’t really know what he is, but he’s a die-hard fan.
SEGALL: It’s blurry, I hope?
BRYANT: A little. Where are you now? You’ve been on the go while we have been chatting.
BRYANT: Right now we’re in the parking lot next to our house. We live somewhere in LA. Are you still in New York?
BRYANT: Yeah. We are about to start the new season of SNL, so I have to be.
SEGALL: All I wanna do is go to the Grand Central Oyster Bar.
BRYANT: It’s a good New York ritual. I feel like my ritual in LA is to arrive, spend time in West Hollywood, and then I have a nervous breakdown. I can’t handle the showbiz. But I love LA
SEGALL: I actively try to avoid all the industry stuff. Are you a beach person?
BRYANT: I love the beach, but the thing is, my husband hates the beach. It’s hell for me. You’re from the beach, aren’t you?
SEGALL: Yeah, I’m from Laguna Beach, so if you ever wanna go down, I’ll take you surfing.
BRYANT: Don’t we always say that 34 is the ideal age to learn to surf?
SEGALL: I’ve been surfing since I was eight. I just do it for fun, I’m not like a wild surfer. Well, I’m quite a man in some ways, but I don’t aspire to be. I think it’s just the way, you know, my hair looks. I have to cut it.
BRYANT: You’re going on tour, so you’re going to need that hair. Do you have a favorite song on your new album?
SEGALL: I can definitely pick my favorites. I have a few songs that I like because they are different from my usual stuff, “harmonized it “ is quite different for me. I also really like “The Pictures”, there’s this weird electronic techno breakdown thing. If you are soon in LA, contact us. I would love to take you surfing.
BRYANT: Oh, I will. It will completely change who I am as a person.
SEGALL: Yeah, I have extra planks.