Interview by Ashlyn Taylor
Mylo Bybee is a rock group formed in Boise, Idaho in the midst of the pandemic in 2020. The trio combines alt rock and lo-fi beats together to form upbeat, melodic music. Similar to Death Cab for Cutie and Brand New, Mylo Bybee breaks traditional genre rules and creates their own unique sound. Tyler Schalagenhauf is the lead vocalist and guitarist, Wes Schalagenhauf is the bass guitarist, and Koji Crill is the drummer. I had the opportunity to speak to both Tyler and Wes about their music, creating a band in the middle of a pandemic, and their time at Treefort so far.
Ashlyn Taylor: So, you guys are from Boise and you’re brothers! How has working as brothers influenced your music?
Wes: I think because we grew up together, we come from a sort of musical foundation that’s kind of all the same. We kind of listened to a lot of the same stuff up through high school and things like that, but then we kind of both branched off in two different ways, including when we were writing these songs. Our drummer too, he has a very like, like hardline punk background, so all three of our kind of musical styles kind of influence what the sound is.
Tyler: Yeah, like he said, we’ve played instruments individually for a long time and written different styles ourselves and then just when we formed this band, a year-and-a-half ago, we started playing together for the first time. It was kind of a mesh, a little bit of all that he said we listened to and then continued to progress our sound together.
AT: Since you guys did form your band fairly recently, in the middle of a pandemic, how did that affect how your band has come to be?
Tyler: Yeah, so we just started playing and going into it with really no expectations, just going in and wanting to write some songs together and jam around, you know, just have fun playing music first and foremost. We had a dedicated practice space here in town where we could actually make a lot of noise and not bother neighbors and what not, and just, obviously then the pandemic hit, and we couldn’t actually go out and play shows or gigging or anything when we had some actual songs so that allowed us time to write a lot of music and write a lot of songs, and get really polished in those songs, and then even actually go record an EP…we went and recorded an EP before we ever even played a show. So that was kind of a fun way to do it because we could immediately go out there with songs and some content to share with some other people. So, it was fun! And then of course, when things started to open back up a little bit, we started to play a couple of shows here and there, and then continue to write while we were doing that.
AT: When did you guys get to do your first show?
Tyler: Our very first thing we ever played was still kind of in the middle of the pandemic, but it was…
Wes: But it was like a live stream, so nobody was there.
Tyler: Yeah, it was a virtual live-stream show at a local place here called The Boise Hive. They’re a nonprofit organization that focuses on mental health awareness for musicians, so they’re a really great organization, and we did a live video, really good, produced live-stream series there with musicians and we were able to do that one early on. Our first in-person show was at Ironwood, it’s a local, uh…
Wes: We opened for like, an album release party for our friends, Barron Lands, who are also playing here.
Tyler: Yeah, another really good band. so that was our first in-person show and that was a lot of fun.
Wes: Yeah the other thing that the pandemic did though too was it just like, stripped away any pressure of any kind, cause we didn’t even have to focus on shows because nothing was happening, so we were able to go to the practice space and just work on shit, you know? So, it just like, helped us not kind of put the car before the horse, I guess.
AT: So obviously, I listened to some of your guys’ music, it’s a little bit different than other alt-rock music that I’ve listened to, because you guys definitely have the lo-fi influence, how did that come to be? How did you decide to mix lo-fi and alt-rock together?
Tyler: I wouldn’t say we intentionally did anything, mixed anything, I think going back to that first question, we all kind of bring our own influences and styles into our music. Like you mentioned, our drummer, was traditionally in some punk bands and that has a lot of faster beats than I was kind of used to playing, with. We’ve all been in our own bands on the side, played all sorts of different genres of music, I think for at least my writing style, I tend to navigate towards bands that I listen to a lot, and like a lot, which is kind of that lo-fi, that alt-rock, indie rock vibe, with a little bit of heavier notes in there from some heavier bands, so I think it’s just kind of a mash-up of all of those things coming together
Wes: Yeah, it’s easy to be lo-fi when you only have three people in the band. Not a lot of layers to have to dance around.
Tyler: That’s I think a component of our music that stands out a little bit too, like I’m not the guitar player that’s going to go bust off a ten-minute guitar solo, you know, so I’m just playing some melodic, basic riffs, and then Wes, being the bass player, carries a lot of those tunes and a lot of those songs with some bass riffs, and then our drummer, has some really intricate beats that he’ll be able to put into place, so I think all those elements by their lonesome mesh together just to give it that interesting sound, especially as a three-piece.
AT: I guess following that, since you guys all have a little bit of a different background, who are some of your biggest inspirations behind your music?
Tyler: It’s kind of funny, because a lot of the people that I would draw off of as artists, from a lyric standpoint… like telling a story, some of my big influences there, and then I really get deep into that type of songwriting is Jim Croce. I listen to a lot of Jim Croce as a singer-songwriter, but obviously that is far away from our genre as you could be, but like that’s where I kind of draw some influences from a lyric perspective, and from a vocal perspective as well, just because it such a, like I said, a storyteller and that’s kind of what I try to do. Musically, I feel like I write a lot of music that I liked to listen to back in the day, and then, some of those bands that I really liked and navigated away from, and got into a lot of other bands, and now navigated back to them. So like, I’m a huge Manchester Orchestra fan, I’m a huge Coheed and Cambria fan, I’m a huge Thrice fan, Brand New, like those were my core bands for a long time that I listened to that I’ve kind of come full-circle back with, but then again, just kind of listened to anything in the realm of alt-rock, indie rock, soft-core rock, and super hard rock, some punk in there, emo even at times. So, it kind of spans a pretty wide genre. I know Wes is along the same lines, but it’s a little different as well.
Wes: Well, those bands that you named I do think that those are kind of like our biggest influences as far as what the sound is, like Thrice and Brand New, and some of the other bands that you mentioned, but I think we’re like way less…angry than those bands.
AT: I agree!
Wes: We love to turn it up to a ten, but our outlooks are different, probably just because we’re not nineteen and twenty years-old like those bands were when they first started. But yeah, I’m a pretty big folk guy, I love the rhythm of a lot of like, roots-rock bands, and things like that. His Golden Messenger is one of my favorite bands, and they’re just a really cool, groovy, like Americana band, but kind of have a lot of jam influences and things like that. I really like Kurt Vile a lot; I love the progressions and their ability to repeat themselves over and over again through the song but you’re still kind of like lost in it. As far as like, the bass goes, I don’t know, I mean I love the swing, groove of a bass. I think my favorite bass player is like, the bass player from Creedence Clearwater, he’s like such a big part of their music, which I think it cool, because a lot of times the bass keeps the train on the rails, so to speak, but it kind of gets lost, and blends in, but his stuff is a little more hooky which I gravitate to. Especially because we only have three people in the band, so I’m playing the bass, but I’m also, there are parts of it that, I don’t know, is the lead part, while he’s playing rhythm at times and things like that.
Tyler: Oh and its funny too, one thing that I reflect on and have been recently, which is kind of funny is two of those bands that I mentioned that I was huge fans of, like Manchester and Coheed, its super funny because I think I relate to them a little bit more because I have a super high vocal range, like, and not like saying “Hey I can sing in a super high range”, that’s literally my range. I can’t really sing low, so I think I kind of navigated back to those bands in kind of a funny way, and I reflect on that sometimes. Especially Coheed.
AT: Who would you say would be someone that you, as a group, would really love to work with?
Tyler: Oh geez.
Wes: We just saw Doug Marsh warm-up for his Built to Spill thing, that is sweet. Those guys rip, and they’re definitely more droney than we are but I feel like there’s definitely some Built to Spill in the stuff that we do a little bit, or just like, the Boise influence in some degree.
Tyler: For sure, I mean, Doug is another one too, he’s got a high vocal range too that I look to and I think he’s just amazing and not only him being from Boise and being biased because he is, but I think they’re just an amazing band too, and they’re a three-piece right now also, and just make a ton of noise, so obviously them, as a high-bar would be super fun to work with. I think that’s one of the great things about Treefort too, is that you get a lot of these bands coming into town that you meet, and that you know, that might be from other places, or even surrounding areas, you know, your Seattle’s and Portland’s that you can easily connect with, and even maybe jump on a couple shows when they’re coming through. We saw, there’s a band that we saw last night with Built to Spill called Prism Bitch, they’re an extremely fun band too, and we, little bit different genre than us as well, but I think we would also mesh together well. They would be super fun to work with. There are some local bands too that would be fun to kind of partner-up with and maybe play some out-of-town shows with, we mentioned our friends Barron Lands, they’re a way different genre than us, they’re post-rock, but still, it’s kind of a fun mix there. They’d all be really fun to work with. So yeah, those are just some that come to mind.
AT: So, since you guys, again, did start very recently, I assume that you started playing instruments a while ago. What brought you guys into the music scene in the first place?
Wes: I wanted to be the little boy drummer, I wanted to be him.
Tyler: And now we are the modern-day Hansen. Um yeah, we started playing, each of us started playing guitar at a young age, and yeah, just continued to keep playing guitar throughout the years and I started to kind of dabble in playing piano a little bit, I would not call myself a piano player but, just branching out from other instruments, tried to start doing it a little bit, but mainly, with a soul focus on guitar, and yeah, just kept playing that for a long time. I played in, I lived in a couple of different states and played in multiple different bands and got into the music scene in those areas too, and then after moving back to Boise, was really invested in the music scene here in high school before I had left, and would go to a lot of local shows here you know, never have played in Boise before this one actually, so I was always in the music scene as a viewer, but always wanted to create my own thing here, and play with the guys, and whatnot. So that’s what kind of, really allowed us to really integrate ourselves in the music scene now.
AT: I guess I have kind of a weird question for you guys now, what kind of movie do you think you would find your music in? What genre of movie?
Tyler: That’s a great question
Wes: I don’t know, like a new age, rom com. Like a new age, raunchy, teen comedy. The new age American Pie.
Tyler: Yeah, that’s a good one, I can’t top that, so we’ll go with that.
AT: Who would you want to play you in a movie of your life?
Wes: Of our biopic? The Mylo Bybee biopic? The Mylo Bybee pic? The Mylo Bybo pic. Oh man, probably Morgan Freeman. I think he and I share similar essence.
Tyler: I’m gonna say this only because I, at one point, someone told me a long time ago I looked like him, which couldn’t be further from the truth, but I think it’s hilarious because he used to be the teen heartthrob, was Jonathan Taylor Thomas. Put a beard on him? That’s who’d I choose.
Wes: JTT and Morgan Freeman.
AT: Who do you think your drummer would be? If Koji had to be anybody.
Wes: If Koji had to be anyone, he would be…
Tyler: Jonah Hill.
Wes: Yeah, or maybe Seth Rogan from Knocked Up.
Tyler: It’s a very specific character but that would be Koji.
AT: See the first thing that came to mind would be like, Colin Farrell and like, Paul Dano.
Wes: Wow! Okay, cool.
Tyler: Those are way better than ours.
AT: I don’t know, I think Morgan Freeman would be interesting.
Wes: I mean yeah, I think he’s always interesting.
Tyler: At least to do your voice over
Wes: Yeah, at least for my voice.
AT: Oh yeah, just like the voice behind the camera, narrating the entire thing.
Wes: If nothing else, if he doesn’t wanna step up to the plate and play me, the least he could do is narrate the Mylo Bybo pic.
AT: Like some nature documentary.
Wes: Exactly! Like seeing us in the wild!
AT: I have another weird question…
Wes: I like these more.
AT: Have you guys watched the Simpsons? If you had to be any Simpsons character, who would you be and why?
Tyler: Krusty. Because he just doesn’t care.
Wes: I think I would have to say either Ned Flanders, because he is just in his own world of positivity. But he does have a few breakdowns, that turn out to be ugly. So, I would say Ned Flanders, but also cherry picking the idea that he doesn’t keep things too bubbled up inside for them to explode, because that’s not a good way to be.
AT: So, you’re totally cool being enemies with Homer?
Wes: Yeah! I think that a fair adversary for me.
Tyler: Mr. Burns would be cool too, have all that money and can’t really do anything, and everyone does anything for you.
Wes: Or just, Itchy and Scratchy.
AT: Okay, where do you see you guys in five years?
Tyler: As a band? So, I mean, we’ve, I mean right now we’re having a lot of fun playing, and we all have our own day-jobs that we’re doing and, you know, playing stuff like this. It’s our first time playing Treefort and playing stuff like this is super fun. I foresee us going back in and recording a lot more. We definitely have the content and I have a lot more content to come and bring to the guys to make into a new song, so I would love to record a full-length album. I would love to play some surrounding, out of state shows. Get to see some of the Salt Lakes and Portland’s and those areas too, and play in. I think just continuing to produce that content. I don’t have any long-term expectations right now, just having fun with it right now and yeah, continuing to get our content out I guess, and getting our exposure out there.
Wes: Yeah, I hope we can just become more of an engrained part of the Boise music scene. I think that’s, if we get to go and take anything on the road to surrounding areas, that would be awesome and great, but I think just getting to go… just getting the band a little deeper inside the Boise music scene I think, would be cool.
Tyler: One thing I’ll add on that too is I think as we continue to become more synched to each other, as band members, just continuing to progress that sound and kind of push ourselves to the limit I guess, as far as writing and not falling into like a safe kind of category. I think especially our style of music lends itself to be in a super-safe writing process, writing style, and it can get repetitive, so just to continue to progress our sound and progress as musicians.
AT: How has it been performing at Treefort then? Since you guys haven’t been here before, how has it been so far?
Tyler: It was awesome! We had our first show last night at Mad Suede, didn’t really know what we were walking into, didn’t really have any expectations, neither of us, or none of us have really even been there, at Mad Suede before, the downtown one, and gosh, it was a super great turnout, it was just a lot of fun. it was a great setup, we really enjoyed it. We have a drummer who stepped in to fill Koji’s spot about, a week ago. Because Koji suffered an injury and so, we know him, he’s our buddy Nick, and we’ve been working, I’ve known him for a while. He jumped in and was able to take the reins about a week ago and, so that’s been a lot of fun, playing with him and getting him up to speed. A little bit of shaking out those nerves, with having a new drummer, but he’s a pro at what he does. It was just super; super fun and I was telling him that I’m really glad we were able to land a second show. And it’s kind of been like, a perfect situation. It’s an outdoor show, its free, it’s all ages, it’s like 75 degrees, it’s on a brand-new stage at Boise Brew Company, so yeah, just really excited about that too.
Check out their 2021 EP below!