In this round of Inbox, XLR8R gets down to business with techno DJ and producer, Nightlight Music founder, and graphic designer, Alland Byallo. The snarky San Franciscan hates on Dell computers, flaunts his extensive sock collection, reviews his culinary school notes, and keeps his fingers crossed that either Enya or Bobby McFerrin will sit down for some studio time. Byallo’s album Brick by Brick comes out August 27 on Nightlight Music.
XLR8R: What are you listening to right now?
Alland Byallo: I’ve had my own tracks on repeat lately as I’ve been scrutinizing a healthy handful or two of new remixes and two new EPs to follow up my album. One’s for Missive Music and the other for my own Nightlight Music. Also listening to Luciano’s new album and a Wolf + Lamb podcast.
What's the weirdest story you ever heard about yourself?
I wish I had something more fun to offer for this question: I was recently informed that I snore. I spent so many years of my life being happy that I didn’t snore—right out the window with that! It’s something that bothers me so much, and here I am the culprit. I know I’ve heard weirder stories about me after a long night of Jameson binges, but luckily I don’t remember any of them.
What band did you want to be in when you were 15?
I dreamt of being a DJ for a hip-hop group. I thought the DJs/producers were the coolest part of any group. I listened to mostly jazz, hip-hop, and some house music back then. There were some bands I loved like Weezer or Green Day or whatever KROQ was playing those days, but I never was an “OMG, BANDS?! I want to be in one!” guy.
Worst live show experience?
I’ve had two. I opened for 3 Channels at [KONTROL] once, playing a live set (which I rarely do), and right as my last, most well-known track started to come in, the whole thing crashed on me. Big bummer. Then I had another breakdown at a gig in Portland when I played with the rest of the [KONTROL] crew. It just started stuttering and crackling and slowing down. Since I switched to Mac, nothing has gone wrong. Dear Dell, I hate you.
Favorite city to play in?
San Francisco. I haven’t been anywhere that’s matched the spirit and energy of a hyped-up S.F. crowd. It’s magic. A close second is Berlin.
You create graphic designs for a number of labels, including San Francisco’s well-known minimal techno club, [Kontrol]. So how did you end up working with the American Taekwondo Association?
I was referred to them by one of my best friends, Sam Khorshid. He works with feature film-CG and is involved in kung fu. He has quite the network and whenever something design-related pops up, he always lets me know. I actually was involved with taekwondo for many years, and I think the working relationship was pretty natural. I still never received any copies of the collateral I made, which is kind of a bummer. I worked hard on those posters!
What is your favorite thing you own?
My Macbook Pro and my fancy-pants expensive graphic-design magazines.
Name one item of clothing you can't live without.
Weird Socks. I like argyle the most. But I have some great checkered ones, too. I also can’t live without my pajama pants. I wear those things around the house all day. My buddy Marc calls them my sporting pants. The current ones have deer heads all over ‘em.
If you could reduce your music to a single word, what would it be?
What did you always get in trouble for when you were little?
Drawing during class. You couldn’t stop me from doodling during lectures, from grade school up until university. Was a bit of a smart ass, too.
What other artist would you most like to work with?
Enya, Enigma, and Bobby McFerrin.
What's the last thing you read?
It was lovely, actually. It went a little like this: “What’s the last thing you read?” I haven’t read a book in a minute. I’ve been so tied up with my album and music production in general that I hyper-focused and forgot to stimulate this ol’ brain with much else. I have a few books that I will get to. Sian just recommended Cormac McCarthy, and my girlfriend has a small stack of books building up for me. I have been re-reading my notes from culinary school—does that count?
Complete this sentence: In the future...
I will have a Schnauzer named Geoff the Dog.
Stupidest thing you've done in the last 12 months?
Forgot to pay a power bill on time. We had to put down a huge deposit because of my dumb ass. Messed up my finances proper.
The singles I mentioned earlier, remixes for Poker Flat Digital, Auralism, Airdrop, Ransom Note, Eighth Dimension, Chillin’, and a couple more. My album, Brick By Brick, comes out August 27 on my own label, Nightlight Music. I’m playing a few new U.S. festivals, heading to Europe for my third tour, and plans for my first South America tour are unfolding right now. I’ll soon be releasing EPs by Dead Seal and myself on Nightlight, and one by super-talented new guys from S.F., Gus & Griz, on my net label NLMX. I also just started a collaboration with Worthy from Dirtybird/Anabatic. Now, if you’re talkin’ what’s next in general, then I think a klezmer and hip-hop hybrid is the next shit.