Four Questions for Sego's Spencer Petersen
by John Noyd
April 2019



It hits you right from the start. Smart, sharp and restlessly catchy, Sego’s music pops, rocks and dazzles. Recording two EPs and a debut as a duo, co-founders Spencer Petersen and Thomas Carroll grew into a foursome, recently releasing the vibrant, “Sego Sucks.” On tour promoting the album, the band stops at Milwaukee’s Back Room May 16th. Spencer was kind enough to answer a few question to help pave their way into the hearts and minds of savvy music lovers.

MAXIMUM INK: Moving from Utah to L.A. seems like a good decision today, but there certainly must have been times when it seemed just the opposite. Any string of bad breaks you’d care to revisit now you’ve got your feet planted on solid ground?

SPENCER PETERSEN: I’m not sure if there’s ever been a clear “Good job self.  You made the right call here” since I started pursuing music.  It’s more of a constant stumbling forward without much of any path to follow.  This does add to the exciting element tethered into anything of a creative nature.  Haha, now that I think of it, I sound kind of ridiculous, or at least I can see why my dad chuckles at my periodic life updates.  I’ve always felt that if you stumble along long enough, your chances of making your way get better and better.  I’m quite happy that things are ramping up so quickly with this new record, but it’s quite a maze to the present day.  Anecdote: I was touring through Texas in the dead of summer forever ago.  We played a random bar in Fort Worth and had no money for hotels, so we opted to sleep in the van in the parking lot outside of the venue.  It was so darn hot that I slept out on the pavement in front of the van to get some breeze, but that breeze carried a lot of pollen, so I was sneezing all night.  When I woke up, I went to wash my puffy itchy eyes in the bathroom of the venue and was stopped by the owner.  He was very kind and recommended a homeless shelter down the street where I could get some supplies and a good meal.  I was confused, but then realized the reality of my physical appearance (long beard at the time).  I told him that we were the band from the night before and he apologized and awkwardly continued on with his tasks.  In the end, I suppose he wasn’t that wrong.

MI: The new album, “SEGO Sucks,” is your second as band but the first with the expanded line-up. What was the most unexpected difference between recording as a quartet instead of a duo?

SP: Since we expanded to include Alyssa and Brandon, the energy of the band also seemed to have expanded.  There’s a lot you can do with more hands/ideas.  In the live show, I’ve found that having the consistency of the four of us created much more vast soundscapes and bigger/louder shows.  I think knowing this informs quite a bit of the studio experience.  More confidence in getting rowdy and adding in some complex elements. 

MI: Your lyrics and song’s subjects suggest an eclectic education, was there a particular style or genre of movies or books that informed your popular culture vision.

SP: Jeez.  Can I just thank you for having a unique approach to interview questions.  Anyway…  Yeah.  You know, I grew up the youngest of seven kids, so I was always trying to pretend to be older than I was to fit in.  This was both in my conversation style, but also in music and movie taste.  Movie quotes were always a second language at the dinner table.  I later became obsessed with b-movies in college.  We’d scour the aisles at blockbuster to find the worst looking horror covers.  This requires a constant commentary from all watching to round out the experience, so you’re always looking for a good detail/line/reference to drop.  Unfortunately, this behavior crept in to our regular movie watching, thus turning any movie into a B…  I’m getting better. 
Early on I was much more interested in reading non-fiction.  I wanted to know how everything worked and what happened.  Lot of biographies and science reading.  It wasn’t until later that I discovered a strong interest in writers like Steinbeck and Hemingway and some of the mid-century beat writers.  I feel like I relate to their nomad existence that is tied to a strong sense of home somewhere. 

MI: Playing a relatively intimate venue in Milwaukee in May then swinging back around for Summerfest, Milwaukee’s biggest concert of the year, how does the band adapt to such different spaces?

SP: Learning how to adapt.  We’re relatively new to playing festivals.  This will be our first “festival season” actually, which is exciting.  I’ve played a million intimate venues through the years so I feel ok there.  The big shows can still a mystery for me personally.  Ya know, all of that “MILWAUKEE!!! HOW YOU FEELIN?!?!” banter.  I have friends who live for that stuff and can get crowds waving in unison or whatever.  I suppose I need to invest in some confetti and work on my cartwheels.

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