For the past decade Lord Byron has been contributing to the fertile gloom-and-doom landscape of Dallas nightlife by way of his Panoptikon residency, where he leads his loyal goth fanbase on a journey through the annals of industrial, dark wave, electronic body music (EBM) and new wave classics. There is no shortage of dark music nights in town, but Lord Byron has managed to hold down the second longest running residency for this particular niche. For this week's mixtape, he connects the dots between the dark synth music of Clan of Xymox and more modern fare in the vein of Crystal Castles.
Dallas Observer: How did you get started deejaying?
Lord Byron: One of my earliest memories of just trying to start to DJ in a club … I left a mixed cassette tape either in the mail slot or the front step of Aqua Lounge on Elm Street. Soon after, I was given a weekly industrial dance night on a Wednesday. I carried crates of vinyl and played lots of Wax Trax! and New Beat, plus Clan of Xymox, Siouxsie, Tackhead and just whatever I was into at that time. I really had no idea what I was doing, but I was doing it. I also picked up gigs in Denton while going to school and other bars around Dallas. Those were really fun times. I self-promoted, created fliers for my nights by copying inserts and artwork from record covers and staying up all hours at Kinko’s copying, cutting and gluing images and letters to create the fliers on colored paper. Then I would tag the heck out of everyone’s windshields.
How was this mix made? Is there a particular theme for the track selection?
Every year, I — along with Son of Sam from Panoptikon — each create our own mix anniversary CD for Panoptikon and we give everyone our 2 CD pack set — white-faced CDs with the Panoptikon logo stamped boldly in red ink and stuffed into nondescript, white CD envelopes with no track listings. This mix is from my 10-year anniversary CD. I changed the end of this mix and added a few of my favorites from my previous anniversary CD mixes for the Dallas Observer mixtape.
How long have you been doing Panoptikon?
I started Panoptikon in May 2006 – over 10 years ago. I quit drinking in 2003 and took a break to figure out life without alcohol. What I really missed was club life and the small parts I played in the Dallas underground club world. Diamanda Galás is one of my all-time favorite artists. Side A of her self-titled and second record is a track called “Panoptikon” — named after a type of prison building called a panopticon. I was always infatuated with the word and thought how cool to create a club night called Lord Byron’s Panoptikon. Approaching my third year of sobriety, I partnered with the former Club ONE location in Deep Ellum and launched Lord Byron’s Panoptikon. I never thought we would still be here 10 years and several venues later. We have to thank all our friends; patrons; regulars; newbies; door team; DJs; bartenders; former and existing venue partners; and the self-declared group, the Pan Fam, for keeping Panoptikon and Disco vs. Retro moving forward all these years. I feel we still hit that underground niche. So many people here in Dallas are still unaware we exist.
Where do you like to dig for tracks?
Panoptikon is a mix of old and new. It’s easy to pull from old club classics and favorites from the Pan Fam — Panoptikon family of friends ad supporters — like Depeche Mode, Nine Inch Nails and early Covenant. But the Panoptikon sound has evolved over the years. Today, I’ll mix in Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Crystal Castles, Peaches, Deadmau5 and Robyn along with the industrial and synth favorites like VNV Nation, Solar Fake, Rotersand and She Passed Away. I dig less these days. I love it when friends and patrons of Panoptikon hit me with suggestions. They get me to listen to what they are listening to and I love that. They often challenge me and I am totally OK with it. I want to know what they are listening to. It has helped shaped our Friday nights to what they are today.
What new music catches your ear?
I love music that takes me on a journey – not necessarily the words, but the music. Two of my favorites I listen to all the time are Trust, aka TR/ST, and Zola Jesus.
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Do you still buy vinyl?
Sadly, no. But my collection is fully intact. Every time I come across someone’s collection, I still want to flip through it. I still get that [special] feeling when you see records, or a post about “limited edition, colored vinyl.” But I’m just not making the purchase anymore. I think my last vinyl purchase was an Adult 7” about seven years ago or so.
What has been your most significant musical experience of the past year?
That’s kind of a tough question. I’ve seen lots of great concerts and met many of my favorite bands and artists. One of the most fulfilling experiences this year was seeing Kraftwerk live at The Bomb Factory.
What gigs do you have in the near future?
Panoptikon takes place every Friday. And I have a monthly party called Disco vs. Retro (DVR) that takes place every third Saturday, for now approaching eight years.
1. Intro (mixed excerpts from Eraserhead Soundtrack, a David Lynch film)
2. Moby - Disco Lies (Freemasons Radio Edit)
3. Clan of Xymox - Blue Monday – (New Order cover)
4. Clan of Xymox - I Want You Now
5. Sara Noxx - Colder and Colder (feat. Frank M. Spinath of Seabound)
6. And One - Shouts of Joy
7. Solar Fake - All The Things You Say
8. VNV Nation - Epicentre
9. Deadmau5 - My Pet Coelacanth
10. XP8 (feat. Daniel Graves of Aesthetic Perfection) - Want It
11. Schwefelgelb - Den Keller Volllaufen (Radical G Mix)
12. Peaches - I Feel Cream
13. Beborn Beton - 24/Mystery
14. Gesaffelstein - Pursuit
15. Iris - I Wanna Be Adored (The Stone Roses cover)
16. Crystal Castles - Baptism
17. Iris - Phenom (Elevated Mix)
18. S.C.U.M. - 5 8 6 (New Order Cover)