In Loving Memory of Alland Byallo (1979 – 2023)
In Loving Memory of Alland Byallo (1979 – 2023)August 18, 2023
“Learn the history. Read the books, dig through the records, enjoy the process. You’ll get so much more out of creative life if you’re not racing to be a star.”
Those were the golden words of wisdom DJ, producer, designer, gourmet cook, and all-around underground hero Alland Byallo dropped this July in an interview with 5Mag, as he neared the 20th anniversary of his career in techno. Alland, who passed away suddenly on August 10th, was an ace at heeding his own advice. Although he might have scorned the title “DJ’s DJ,” he approached techno not as a celebrity vehicle but a specialized craft, a form of personal expression that demanded immersion, sophistication, experiment, and, above all, a dedication to dance floor history.
If that all sounds too serious, Alland made it anything but. An absolute joy to hang out with, he loved funny socks, long strolls on the beach, bowls of noodles, cuddly dogs, and goofing around. He happily bragged about his 12-ingredient chili oil and his love of the Moog ladder filter. Born in Los Angeles (where he worked at WAX Records) and deeply enmeshed in Midwest techno culture, he found his way to San Francisco toward the beginning of the century, and immediately fit in with the gently playful freakiness of the city. Tributes that poured out in the wake of his passing included memories of pillow fights in hotel rooms, spontaneous lasagna-making, random acts of silliness, and deep late-night phone calls.
But it was his endless flow of kindness and support that most left his mark. That and his music.
It’s hard to imagine a time before the well-greased international touring DJ circuit, when “laptop DJs” were scorned and little attention was paid stateside to the advances being made in Europe. Alland helped revolutionize how techno was presented in the 21st century with the notorious monthly Kontrol parties he threw with Greg Bird, Sammy D., Craig Kuna, and Nikola Baytala. Launched in a tiny art space reclaimed from the then-wobbling tech industry, and later moving to the legendary EndUp club, Kontrol had a huge part in introducing the West Coast and its many visitors to the global techno scene of the ‘00s, from minimal and micro-house to cavernous Berlin-style. The party brought giants like Cassy, Pan-Pot, Martin Buttrich, Ben Klock, Marcel Dettmann, Audion, Guy Gerber, Steve Rachmad, and Paco Osuna into a sacred nightlife space that was truly open to all.
Over the course of three albums, beginning with the 2012 classic Brick by Brick on his Nightlight label, and dozens of EPs, remixes, and singles, Alland conquered club bangers (“Buckets”), trippy excursions (“Karma Beach,”) and house grooves (“Ascender”). With his oft-partner in production Dave Aju and friends Marc Smith and Kenneth Scott he released the gorgeous 2020 Cookie Policies album that harkened back to a love of ‘90s MoWax beats. Like many of San Francisco’s best people in the early 2010s, Alland moved to Berlin to chase his passions in a more affordable and supportive city for artists. There, he continued to make excellent music, art, and food while providing a welcome beacon for visitors. (If you posted that you would be coming to Berlin, you’d surely get a ping from him.)
A holistic artist, Alland saw music, art, design, cooking, history, and everything else as part of “one big thing.” His absence on the scene means that one big thing is missing, but his collective expression and kindness lives on.
During his time working as Beatport’s Art Director between 2017 – 2023, Alland poured an endless amount of time and passion into creating stunning artwork for Beatport’s various campaigns and for our articles here on Beatportal. Below, we’ve compiled a few examples of the project work that he was most proud of.