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Last Night a DJ Saved My Life
by Christina Li on Jun 02, 2009
With his first full-length album about to be dropped this summer, Alland Byallo has been hard at work with his numerous global DJ gigs and renowned parties such as Bay Areaís own KONTROL. Fresh off a tour in Europe, this DJ can rock crowds with his innovative takes on techno whilst adding creative spins to house and minimal. Taking time to answer some questions from SF Station, itís not difficult to see why the Bay Area has nothing but love for Alland.
SF Station (SFS): Are you originally from San Francisco?
Alland Byallo (AB): I'm not. I was born and raised in Los Angeles and spent a year in Toronto about 15 years ago. I've been in SF for about six years.
SFS: How did you get into DJing? How long have you been doing it?
AB: I got into DJing by just being a music nut, collecting rare and great CD's when I was younger. I started listening to a lot more electronic music, going out, and such. I heard more DJ's and downloaded more DJ sets, and finally my young broke ass dropped an entire paycheck on two used 1200's, a cheap Vestax mixer and a crate of old random vinyl. I didn't eat much for the following two weeks, but even if I had money saved, I would have probably not stopped playing with the decks long enough to eat. It's been about 10 years now.
SFS: Tell us about the history of KONTROL.
AB: KONTROL was Greg Bird's concept. He was offered a night at the former Rx Gallery, taking over for somebody who was leaving town; I believe it was Phil Sherburne. So he got Sammy D and Brian Walls involved, and Sammy called me later that day asking if I wanted a residency. It was basically some of the few kids in town that play techy and or minimal stuff since the first wave of laptop minimalists like Kit Clayton, Sutekh and Twerk toned down their gigging to focus on other things.
Our first night was a great success. Gallopierende Zuversicht, an incredible Swiss live act, were our first guests. There were very few techno events at the time, and I guess SF was ready for something like this because the night blew the hell up. We had a line down the block and squeezed as many techno-lovers as we could into that spot. We lost and gained some members along the way, Craig Kuna and Nikola Baytala joined us down the line, our crowds seemed to get bigger and bigger and we finally moved to The Endup. And here we are a little while later... four years deep. 48 shows, plus our satellite underground and club events... it's been an awesome journey.
SFS: Four years! That's quite a feat. Any good stories you would like to share?
AB: On a good night at the Rx shows, the whole place smelled like fried chicken. The liquor store next door served some damn fine breaded bird. I kinda miss that smell, honestly. Our parties have almost always gone fairly smooth, outside of the usual trials and tribs that come with working with close friends. I wish I had more hijinx to retell. I'm sure once this is published I'll think of something and curse myself for not retelling it!
SFS: What is your favorite type of music to play?
AB: I play somewhere between techno and deep house. My sets usually have the drive of techno, but the moods and sounds of house. Lots of organic elements, but the whole affair is usually very drummy, and builds from one style to another. I can never play a whole set of just one style. Occasionally I'll get in a harder techno mood and play some darkness. Gotta work it out sometimes!
SFS: What inspires you to keep on making innovative music?
AB: What else is there to do? Everything inspires me. My friends and family, the world around me. If I'm not here to say something unique then why am I here? I have a chance to make some noise, so I'm making lots of them... then arrange and mix them!
SFS: How has it been putting together your first full-length album?
AB: It's been incredible. Lots and lots of work; time and money spent to no end, but it's such a nice feeling to know I'm working on this solid piece of work. There are a lot of varied elements joined together by one theme, rather than just spitting out singles and remixes, as I have for so long. There's a lot of second guessing, but I try to keep it raw and from the gut, not over-thinking as much as possible. At first, I wanted to make something more conceptual, but decided to just take it to a more reflective yet DJ-friendly place. There will be time for artsy fartsy down the road. I didn't think it appropriate for a summer release.
SFS: With your fantastic musical taste, who are some of your personal favorite DJs?
AB: SF's own Nikola Baytala and Clint Stewart are my favorite DJs, hands down. Ben Sims, Luciano, Dixon, Doc Martin, Cassy, Dan Curtin, Radio Slave, Seth Troxler, and Derek Plaslaiko are all heroes of mine. I have a new favorite, and that's Julietta, the Harry Klein resident in Munich. She played such a wonderful set before my live set at that club, after which we tagged one record each for like three plus hours!! It was an honor and a blast! Eurokai from Liebe*Detail impressed me to no end while I was in Hamburg. Don't miss a chance to hear him play. Closer to home I really love to hear Mossmoss and Christian Mora play. Those guys are something special!
SFS: Any dream collaborations for you?
AB: Alland Byallo and Enya.
SFS: What is your favorite thing about San Francisco?
AB: I can't pick just one thing. Having been on tour for the last month, I've realized I most miss my girl, my friends, the weather, Dolores Park, PPQ off 19th, Bi-Rite, Thai House Express on Geary, The Endup and our incredible dance music community as a whole.
Check out what this DJ is up to at http://www.allandbyallo.com/music.html and be sure to keep ears perked for his much anticipated CD dropping in July! Catch him this weekend at KONTROLís anniversary party, and get yourself geared up at http://www.myspace.com/alland.
by Christina Li on Jun 02, 2009