Like a potent combination of LCD Soundsystem and Mac DeMarco, LA based Sego are hardly your average band. Not least because one half of the group, Spencer Petersen, is a Utah-born Mormon whose life is a half-analogue, half-digital, anomaly in our tech era: he loves GIF art (who doesn’t?) and modern production techniques but firmly rejects the smart-phone addiction that the rest of us our in the throes of. But what of the music? Part slack rock and part DFA, Sego create a hazy, guitar lead sound and pair it with stream-of-consciousness lead lyricism. It’s a winning combination, and one which, in tracks like “Stars“, explores the tension between the natural, honest roots of their native Utah and the ambitious, plasticine glitz of the Los Angeles they call home now.
With their new album Once Was Lost Now Just Hanging Around out already in the US, and coming soon to the UK, what better time could there be to talk the importance of home, punk friends, and why Mac’n’Cheese recipes and song writing really are are as unrelated as you would think.
How did the two of you meet? When did you decide to start a band together?
Thomas and I met while listening to Led Zeppelin in a parking lot after a battle of the bands (his band won).
We started playing together in a Provo band called Elizabethan Report (later Eyes Lips Eyes). Through the years we ended up playing/touring with multiple groups together. Sego was the natural outgrowth of all of the wreckage.
Do you feel growing up in rural Utah has influenced your sound at all?
I suppose so. Wherever you grow up will determine a great deal about who you and, subsequently, what you produce.
Utah was an amazing place to grow up. Ideal American childhood. There is an interesting thing that happens up there, though. There is something about the social normalcy and homogeneity that is present that inspires more interest in the bizarre and motivates a push back. The music scene in Provo had quite an impact on me. It seems like everyone was pushing boundaries and exploring very unpopular (and very popular) territories. This motivated me to investigate music in a much different way.
How are you finding living in Los Angeles compared to back home?
More palm trees and bikinis.
Who are your biggest musical influences? Are they similar to each other?
They are different but we have a lot of common ground.
Family has a lot to do with it.
Thomas was sculpted musically by a family of all drummers. His grandfather, uncles, father, and 2 brothers are all drummers.
I’m the youngest of 7 kids, so I was on a steady diet of whatever my elder siblings were getting into in the 80/90s.
As far as particular artists, Thomas is quite fond of Patsy Cline and The B-52s.
I was very much altered by Domenico Dragonetti and Violent Femmes.
Your sound is a real mix of genres – do you have a label for it?
We’ve been called slacker punk…but to all of my true punk friends, please don’t slash my tires for that. Maybe I’ll just settle on Slacker….or Alternative Whatever.
Talk us through your creative process. How do the two of you go about making songs?
I’m definitely a person that enjoys process, formula, math, Mac n’ Cheese cooking instructions, etc. Makes life understandable. Unfortunately, at least for me, there is no real consistent creative process. Every song takes a different path it seems. Lots of jams, lots of tinkering on the bass or tape machine, lots of staring at my computer. Lately I’ve been taking my cell phone to bed and writing stream of conscious while I’m in and out of sleep. You tap into some strange territories.
We love the new single ‘Stars’ – is there a particular message behind the track?
Yeah. It’s essentially a grass-is-greener story. Shortly after moving from Utah to Los Angeles, we recognized conflicting attraction/interests between the two places. Choices close doors.
Your new album is called Once Was Lost Now Just Hanging Around – can you explain the title?
In general, this body of tunes is a chronicle of my 20s. Coming of age, but never quite making age.
It also roughly follows me, geographically and chronologically, from life in Utah, venturing out with music, landing in Los Angeles, to experiences around the country, then coming to terms.
When is the album out and what can we expect from it?
May 6th. I’ve been collaborating with this awesome Argentinian artist, Gustavo Torres (a.k.a. KIDMOGRAPH) on a series of animated loops. Each song on the album will have an accompanying loop that communicates the essence of the song.
Will you be touring the album? Do the two of you enjoy performing live?
We’re headed out on tour with Mothers and Mr Little Jeans this spring, and we’ll be out on the road as much as possible. Live shows are a rush in different ways every time and can be slightly addictive. While we’ve each played our fair share of shows through the years, this is my first time stepping up to the mic and singing. Pretty foreign experience for me. Completely different energy.