Ty Segall, the prolific San Francisco garage mastermind who's released a slew of ever-improving records since 2008, and Larry Hardy, the founder and head of venerable In the Red Records, have been looking to collaborate ever since John Dolan of Bay Area psych-rockers Thee Oh Sees introduced them in 2009. Ideas were tossed around - an EP, a 7-inch single - but it wasn't until after Segall's 2011 album, "Goodbye Bread" (Drag City), that the two started assembling the pieces that would lead to the June 26 release of the Ty Segall Band's "Slaughterhouse."
A relatively subdued record, "Goodbye Bread" marked a departure of sorts from the brashness of Segall's older solo material. But for the next record, Segall wanted to get loud again, while still trying something new. He approached Hardy after "Goodbye Bread" and, Hardy recalls, "we hatched the idea like, 'Well, let's make it different from the other stuff you're doing. Why don't we record in a different studio, and rather than you play all the instruments, like on all your other stuff, why don't you do it with the band?"
That last part was crucial: Like working with Hardy, Segall had wanted to write and record an album with his touring band for some time as well. The group, comprising Segall (guitar/vocals), Charlie Mootheart (guitar), Mikal Cronin (bass) and Emily Rose Epstein (drums), was a close-knit one that, during the past year, had developed a live rapport heavy on the thrash. It was the perfect fit for the Ty Segall Band and In the Red.
But they had to work fast. Segall and company were set to tour stateside throughout May behind "Hair" - a collaborative effort between Segall and White Fence's Tim Presley that arrived May 4 on Drag City - leaving a small window to write and record. "We just set up a tape recorder and messed around with riffs," Segall says of the "Slaughterhouse" sessions. "Then we'd come back the next day, listen to it and go, 'OK, we should work on that one.'"
It was a wholly collaborative effort, with tracks born out of jam sessions followed by tinkering that allowed the band members to each bring something to the table. After two weeks, the group joined punk producer Chris Wodehouse at his Sacramento, Calif., studio the Hangar, set up shop and hit record. A week later the band had knocked out "Slaughterhouse"'s 11 songs, tracks partially inspired by groups like Black Sabbath, Hawkwind and Blue Cheer.
"It's all our favorite kinds of music," Segall says. "We were like, 'Let's do Alice Cooper. Shit, let's get weird. Let's try it!' because we'd never tried that kind of thing before."
The result is one of 2012's most exciting rock records with two ear-splitting early singles ("I Bought My Eyes" and "Wave Goodbye") and a double 10-inch vinyl release with fitting freak-out artwork.
"It does seem like he is catching on," Hardy says of Segall. "Even before 'Hair' came out, it was like he was getting a lot more popular. But ['Slaughterhouse'] was going to be a priority with me anyway just because I love his records so much and we've been talking so long about doing the project together."
In mid-July, the Ty Segall Band will take off on a summer-long European tour, followed by a North American stint in the fall-one that should synch up with the release of Segall's third 2012 effort: a solo record for Drag City. The project comprises tracks he was working on while writing and recording "Slaughterhouse."
"I don't ever want to do the same record twice," Segall says. "I just try to do different stuff. I'm a very lucky person to do what I'm doing, to keep putting out records."