Mikal Cronin is a busy guy. When he’s not writing, recording, or touring under his own name, he’s usually playing bass in his friend Ty Segall’s band. Based out of San Francisco, the garage rocker is taking a short break to write his third album as he preps for some shows with the Ty Segall Band. Cronin will be playing this year’s Austin Psych Fest under his own name, which is one of just a handful of festival dates he is playing this year. He answered a few questions about playing in Austin and the differences between playing in his two bands.
The Daily Texan: Is this your first time playing Psych Fest?
Mikal Cronin: Yeah. I’m really excited. I’ve heard nothing but good things.
DT: Do you see any psych rock influences in your music?
MC: I definitely wouldn’t call it psych rock. I can see a little influence in there. It’s such a vague term to me. a lot of guitar or rock based music is at least a little bit influenced by psychedelic rock. I wouldn’t call my music psych but it’s definitely worked its way into some of the guitar solos or sounds.
DT: Do you have any favorite psychedelic bands?
MC: I definitely like Thirteenth Floor Elevators. They’ve been huge for me for a long time. It’s probably one of the most directly psychedelic bands that I’ve listened to for a long time. Also a lot of the early stuff like when the Beatles got all psychedelic and weird. I was really digging the Beatles when I was young. A lot of stuff like Sleep, which is super psychedelic to me.
DT: Are you taking a break from touring behind your material right now?
MC: Yeah. I’m going to be recording a new record so I’ve dialed back on the tour dates. I’m also doing a lot of touring in Ty Segall’s band, and that touring is picking up again. I just wanted to make sure I had a little bit of free time to write and record the next record I’m going to do.
DT: Have you started writing it already?
MC: Yeah. I’m in the early stages of figuring it out. I was doing a lot of singles and one off things but I’m just now getting down to the serious collection of ideas. I’m excited to start working on it.
DT: When you’re touring, what are some of the differences between being the frontman for your band and just playing in Ty Segall’s band?
MC: For right now, after touring so much behind my own record under my own name, it’s very much a welcome relief to just play some bass and be the second man. It’s very different and I stress myself out a lot more with my band. When it’s my name on the bill I have this pressure to do the best I can, and I want to do the best I can when I’m in Ty’s band as well. It’s just a different experience. We’re doing different things in both groups. It’s really nice to take a step back though. It’s a definite relief and I appreciate being able to ping pong between both of them and cool my jets a little bit playing in Ty’s band, having some fun without as much pressure.
DT: What’s your opinion of SXSW? Do you think it’s fun or is it overblown and getting annoying after a while?
MC: I’ve had both experiences with it. The first couple times I did it we tried to play a shit ton of shows, like 9 shows in 2 days or 12 shows in 3 days. That kind of wears me out and is a little too overwhelming. The last couple times we’ve done it, like I was there this past year with Ty Segall’s band and we did no official shows, just some house parties. We did one show a day and that was super fun. If you tour a lot, a lot of your friends from around the country and people you know are all in one place at the same time. It’s really fun catching up with people and seeing a bunch of your friend’s bands that you don’t get to see a lot. I still like it, but it’s definitely a shit show. I try to avoid Red River as much as possible. I think I just discovered that you have to keep it kind of mellow and don’t try to play too many shows and stay away from the crowds. It can be really fun.