Pushing the Decibel Levels into the Stratosphere: The Flashy Surrealism of Oog Bogo
Last year, the Los Angeles garage post-punk outfit Oog Bogo returned with their full-length debut album, Plastic, a deranged and conceptual collection of manic, groove-heavy art punk that drips with macabre psychedelia. We caught up with bandleader Kevin Boog through email to learn all about how the recording project turned into a four-piece powerhouse and collaborating with garage-psych wunderkind Ty Segall.
Last year, the Los Angeles garage post-punk outfit Oog Bogo returned with their full-length debut album, Plastic, a deranged and conceptual collection of manic, groove-heavy art punk that drips with macabre psychedelia. Oog Bogo originally began as a solo recording project for bandleader Kevin Boog, best known for playing bass in the garage rock outfit Meatbodies, before settling into a four-piece comprised of guitarist Shelby Jacobson, bassist Kora Puckett, and drummer Marley Jones.
Released through the Drag City imprint GOD? and recorded and produced by garage-psych wunderkind Ty Segall, Plastic is a psyched out metallurgy of mutated garage punk, outsider guitar pop, apocalyptic disco, and more electrifying sounds. All of this was also Boog's first time recording away from home as he was like a kid in a candy store, experimenting with everything at his disposal at Segall's Harmonizer Studios while at the same time having the word "fluidity" ingrained in his brain. As Boog's fellow bandmates eventually joined the session, there was a synchronicity and community with everyone involved that was much more momentous.
Following their West Coast tour with Segall and his Freedom Band in February '21, the band recorded a live set alongside Segall and Mike Kribel right after the tour that ended up being the live tape The Beat Sessions. The live tape consists of spiky live treatments of five new tracks and an ear-piercing cover of Kleenex's "DC-10."
We caught up with Boog through email to learn all about the progression of his recording project, the Plastic sessions, and how the collaboration with Segall came about.
Paperface Zine: How did Oog Bogo start and what was the vision when later forming a band around it?
Kevin Boog: Oog Bogo really started in my bedroom on a 4 track cassette player I bought at a thrift store in Burbank for $50. I was living with Shelby at the time and would experiment with writing and recording on it in my free time between tours. Just for the sake of staying creative and being drawn into making weird no-waves kinda recordings.
PZ: What other projects have you been part of outside of Oog Bogo?
KB: I've been fortunate enough to have made a lot of fond memories playing in other projects, sometimes as a mere "hired gun" and other times as a member. Some projects include Meatbodies, C.F.M., Mikal Cronin, C57BL/6, Bleached, and Girlpool. Oog Bogo is my main focus now, but I am always happy to play music with friends for other projects.
PZ: How do you approach your songwriting? How do your initial ideas develop into songs?
KB: It really varies from song to song. Some are written with a guitar and note pad while I figure out lyrics and melodies to chord progressions at the same time. Or sometimes a bass riff might pop into my head and the rest unfolds after. Sometimes even just recording drums with no melodic structure in mind at all. It feels good to approach it from every angle.
PZ: Following a couple EPs, you released your debut album Plastic in July '22. When did you start recording it and how did the recording go?
KB: The demoing for Plastic started sometime in the summer of 2020, bringing my tascam to my rehearsal space. The sessions at Ty Segall's home-based Harmonizer Studios where Plastic was recorded and mixed began on March 3rd 2021 and lasted ten days. The demoing process was a great way to focus on staying creative and the recording process at Harmonizer was pretty mind blowing. Insanely fun, definitely challenging, but in a good way. Like breaking through any sort of wall and getting to the other side.
PZ: What was it like working with Ty Segall when recording the album?
KB: Working with Ty was a blast. Super eye-opening. Seeing his creative approach to different aspects of recording was constantly impressive, the man's a sketchy magician.
PZ: This was also your first time recording away from home.
KB: Yeah, recording my own songs away from home was super exciting. The discussions about tracks on the most microscopic level were consistently inspiring. The possibilities were pretty endless. So much to do and it was all so fun. It made creative speedbumps transform into new interesting riddles to solve, which pulled my brain away from ever feeling too daunted.
PZ: Were there any songs that turned out different than what you originally envisioned for them during the sessions?
KB: "So Well" definitely turned out the most different than expected, but in a good way. The original demo is sort of sleepier and dazed. Pretty much every song has something that was a bit different, but that kind of felt like the best part about the record. Wasn't precious about keeping the demos super intact. That would be like trying to recreate a crayon drawing with a full oil paint set up with four more expert painters or something.
PZ: Who did the cover art and how did that come about? Also how important is it to pair visuals with your music especially with the album's otherworldly concept and cast of characters.
KB: The cover art was made by me and Denée Segall. I made the sculpture of the twisted glitter face and the letters for the insert, while Denée piloted the layout flight. She is a layout and photo/ collage mastermind, also works for In The Red doing so. I think we spent like four hours picking that shade of orange for the cover. That being said, it's vastly important. The artwork informs the listener of the setting they're about to step into. Brain postcard.
PZ: Drag City is easily one of the most prolific independent labels in the world. What has it been like since joining their roster and how did it happen?
KB: Feels incredible… everyone there is a sincere and actual legend of a human. Sue, Caroline, Kathryn, Dan K, Dan O, Rian — the list goes on. When Ty heard some recordings at a party after asking what I'd been up to between tours he offered to put them out through his subsidiary of Drag City called GOD? Records. At first I thought he was just being nice, but boy was I wrong.
PZ: Back in September, you released your live tape The Beat Sessions which was recorded right after your West Coast tour with Ty Segall & Freedom Band in February. Talk to me about how this one came together and why you were particularly fond of these recordings?
KB: That was Mike Kriebel's idea who played in Oog Bogo at the time and also helped engineer and record Plastic and The Beat Sessions. He helps run Shout Recordings, which started doing live "Beat" sessions to be released on tape. We chose to do it right after the tour because the band would be at its tightest. The recordings give you an idea of what our actual live shows are like.
PZ: What's next for Oog Bogo?
KB: Up next are some shows to be announced soon, some tours in the works, more music, more fun, that kind of stuff.
Plastic is out now through Drag City.