By Jeremy Hallock
By James Khubiar
By Observer Staff
By Kelly Dearmore
By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
In the latter half of the previous decade, Denton was a pretty great place to be a musician. With several DIY venues running simultaneously, bands, DJs and other projects had places to play out and audiences to play in front of. There was a cross-pollination of rock, electronic music, DJ culture and blog hype swirling around the city—and from the center of this rather productive period in the city's recent history arose Alan Palomo.
He formed Ghosthustler in 2007 with Noah Jackson, Gray Saint Germain Gideon and Shane English, combining musical, visual and social knowledge into a project that gained popularity more quickly than any of them expected.
"Going from film and just making music on the side, to just a few months later reading about it on blogs I'd been following for quite a few years was pretty real and surreal and awesome," says Palomo from his current residence in Brooklyn. "It made things feel very attainable."
Music that had a visual accompaniment was something that helped propel Palomo to national recognition, beginning with the band's "Parking Lot Nights" video, and continuing on to his future projects.
"Paying attention to the idea of the aesthetic that's outside of just the song itself allowed me to view music as more than just these consumable pieces of music," he says.
After the breakup of Ghosthustler, he continued applying this idea to his musical outlets. After moving to Austin in 2008, he started working on his Vega project.
"Then," he says, "Psychic Chasms happened."
After recording Neon Indian's first record in his apartment in Austin, the same sort of rise that occurred with Ghosthustler happened, but to a much larger degree. This time around, he was garnering worldwide acclaim. It effectively changed his life.
"I didn't have much of a personal life in the last year," Palomo says.
For a break, Palomo recently spent some time alone in his synth-filled efficiency in Helsinki, Finland—more, he says, for personal development than anything else. He returned to the States with material for a new Neon Indian album, which has already been recorded in upstate New York, and is now in its mixing stages.
He was afforded more experimentation time recently, recording in New York a limited-edition four-track 12-inch EP with Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne.
It's been a busy couple of years, for sure—and years, Palomo says, he couldn't have survived without his time in Denton.
"In terms of sharpening the axe," says Palomo, "there couldn't have been a better place to do it than Denton."