Steffen Vala: Mind-Blowing Music for Motion (Graphics)!

Music. It makes good times brighter and bolder and more memorable, adds an extra dose of emotional despair to bad times, banishes boredom, sparks fantastic new ideas, and provides a soundtrack to each and every day.

Especially the workday.

And XYO is a music lover’s paradise! When XYO team members aren’t sporting headphones or earbuds, the stereo is pumping. It’s just how we do things here.

For this new series, XYO Playlist, we’re interviewing XYO team members about their musical tastes. What they listen to when they’re designing or coding or writing or organizing. From highly unusual, old-school soundscapes, to breezy pop songs with unforgettable hooks, we’re asking about the music that keeps XYO staffers on their game, every single day.

Our first guest? Steffen Vala, our Senior Multimedia Designer. From creating the motion graphics on our website’s front page to developing animated content for Spatial, Steffen’s art is a huge part of the XYO brand identity.

But he also has a big artistic life outside of XYO, and you can view some of his art and follow him on instagram to see what he’s creating next!

This is his music story.

“Music has always been a vital element to my creativity. Air, water, music and occasional sleep.

Denmark. 1996.

I grew up listening only to Rap. My brother’s a singer-songwriter who gave me “It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back” by Public Enemy when I was 11 years old. Rap was how I got into art, via graffiti and hip hop.

My heavy rotation these days still includes essentials like J Dilla, Alchemist, DJ Premier…etc.

Miraculously I have ventured beyond one genre over the years.

Other tunes that I enjoy: most recently, BAILE is a New York artist that I’m into when I’m trying to conjure some inspiration. It’s soothing, rhythmic and keeps my mind on those alpha theta wavelengths…focused, almost meditative.

We have a speaker set up in the creative pod. When we’re trying to get the groove going in the creative loft, I’ll turn up some Souleance or Blockhead, Emancipator, something along those lines.

That kind of rhythm and drum beat reminds of being on the, let’s say, “landscape crew”, breaking stones, trying to crack the code of visual treats we’re cooking up.

Once the code is cracked and now we’re just cooking, putting the ingredients together for the recipe we know to be it for a particular project, then I’ll get into your Gesaffelstein, or Aphex Twin, some higher bpms.

Now the pots’ boiling and the fire is all the way up! Turn down for what?!

Like LL Cool J said, ”I can’t live without my Radio!”