Sego Sucks!: Front man on how a petty hashtag informed ‘loud’ new LP

“People are much more willing to say something like ‘Sego sucks’ than ‘Sego rules.’”

Featured photo courtesy of Sego.

On February 5, a video appeared on Sego’s Facebook page.

Gilbert Gottfried, who voices Iago in Disney’s Aladdin and the duck from the Aflac commercials, looks into a webcam and says, “Hi! I’m Gilbert Gottfried and I think Sego sucks! I’m just kidding of course. I know Sego sucks!”

The jab wasn’t real. Los Angeles-based Sego had announced their second LP, Sego Sucks (Roll Call Records) a few days before. The band invited famous friends and acquaintances to submit the videos for promotional purposes. Depeche Mode front man Martin Gore, rapper Flavor Flav, and Warpaint bassist Jenny Lee appear in the others.

“People are much more willing to say something like ‘Sego sucks’ than ‘Sego rules,’” Sego front man Spencer Petersen said.

Sego Sucks is due out April 5 with an accompanying release show at Velour Live Music Gallery that evening. (You can find tickets here.) Pinguin Mofex (fronted by UVU adjunct professor Nate Pyfer) and Heber City’s The Sardines are slated to open. In a phone interview, Petersen discussed the “aggressive” new LP, the petty hashtag that inspired the writing and how they’re pulling out all the stops for the release.

UVU Review: Can you share a little bit about how the Sego Sucks! concept came to be?

Spencer Petersen: It was a Twitter hashtag that some disgruntled audience member started. Right after our band started we were at a show for our friends in (Brooklyn band) Rubblebucket. (Band member) Alex (Toth) kept calling out, “You guys should listen to Sego!” Some people weren’t too fond of the recognition we were getting. [Laughs.] They started this hashtag, which I thought was kind of interesting. It’s funny breaking down this band that’s not even a band yet. It strangely encapsulated the ethos of what I was writing on this record.

UVU Review: Going off the writing ethos, it seems like you’re talking about the pressures of social media on the new songs. On (the new single) “Neon Me Out” you mention “posting a new persona.” I interpreted that as a commentary on the LA scene.

Petersen: “Neon” is more about being bombarded with content at all angles, feeling this expectation to compete, being buried by the noise, opinions and ideas.

UVU Review: I might have been projecting then. [Laughs.] Everything you just referenced is how people around here probably view a place like LA.

Petersen: [Los Angeles] gets a good amount of criticism for being a hotbed of vanity and fame-seekers. The irony is now you don’t have to go to LA to find it. Every mommy blogger, travel blogger, Instagram makeup person or, name your thing, is trying to get followers and influence people. It’s made a brand out of your average citizen. LA is everywhere now I guess.

UVU Review: They recently featured that song on NPR’s All Songs Considered podcast. One of the co-hosts said that the song didn’t sound like a band from Utah but it made sense when (host) Bob Boilen said you were based in LA.

Petersen: You know, I hear that sometimes. “I never guessed this would have come out of Utah.” It’s a backwards perception people have even though Utah has been the source of these amazing bands. I’ve been in California for a while but I still claim Utah.

UVU Review: I discovered Pinguin Mofex at your last Velour show. They immediately became one of my favorite Utah bands.

Petersen: Those guys are unreal. We wish we could take them on tour but there are freaking 10 members of the band. I’ve worked with Nate (Pyfer, Pinguin Mofex front man) for a long time. They bring exactly the kind of energy we want.

UVU Review: Is there anything else we can expect at the show?

Petersen: We’re doing this experimental setup we can’t really do on tour. We’ll be setting up the show in a 360 format. There will be four stages on each side of the room and the crowd is in the center. We’ve done it once and had such a blast. These (album release) shows are our excuses to really go all out and this will be no exception.

We’re also going to be unveiling some unreleased, unplayed stuff at the show, which I’m selfishly excited about.

UVU Review: You added two new members of the band last year, Alyssa Davey on bass and Brandon McBride on guitars and keys. How did that influence the new record?

Petersen: My favorite part is the live element. It’s so much more tight and exciting. When you’re constantly swimming upstream trying to teach people parts it’s hard, but when everyone’s fully invested you can take things to the next level. That naturally informs the writing; we recorded with the knowledge that we could really blow this up live. It’s definitely just energized the band in a lot of ways – we’re a little more rowdy. I’ve grown up being in bands so I have this romantic idea of what a band is like. Having this weird hired gun solution is not as cool.

UVU Review: The new songs sound a little more rock-ish and, I’d say, a little more focused. When I first heard (lead single) “Shame,” I remember smiling during the chorus because it sounded like you were really opening up your vocals in a different way.

Petersen: Vocally it’s all kind of been a grand experiment. Before Sego, I’ve never really sung in a band so I’ve been figuring it out.

Overall, there’s a little bit of an aggressive tone to the sound, which is kind of a reaction. There’s a lot of synth-pop going around and we did our fair share of it with our last record. With this one, I just wanted to play guitar and be loud.

I was talking to a label executive at South By (Southwest). They were saying something to the degree of, “We’re not looking at guitar bands.” What do you mean? If something has a guitar you’re not looking at it? Maybe the defiant end of me wanted to fight against that.

The album release show will take place 8 p.m. at Velour Live Music Gallery on Friday, April 5. Tickets for the show can be found at Listen to Sego’s music below.

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