What’s your name?
FA: Who are you?
R: I’m from Japan, I was born there. My mom is Sri Lankan. I’ve spent time there too. I came here for high school because my grandmother lived here, so she sponsored me for a student visa and I ended up in Minneapolis.
FA: Did you stay because you liked it, or did you stay because it was a better life choice at the time?
R: It was a better life choice at the time because I liked it.
FA: And why are you here today?
R: Today I’m here working for Atmosphere, and I’m a lighting designer. And I work for First Avenue, seldomly these days, but I’m still an employee. I mean, I am special teams. I’m like the punter in a football game. I just kind of come in when I’m needed, do my job, get a pat on the head, and go out to the sidelines until I’m needed again.
FA: What’s up with the Rhymesayers disco ball?
I guess that’s my pièce de résistance for Rhymesayers. It all started with Bird because he always came out to shows and was like “Hey! You gotta get a disco ball.” He was just talking about a regular, round disco ball, you know? One year, I was like, “Listen, we do this Rhymesayers afterparty for Soundset and we should make a centerpiece for it because all the Rhymesayers acts come up for it.” So I presented him the Rhymesayers logo, but made that into a mirrorball. And they were actually kind of interested.
FA: What are the dimensions of this thing? All I know is that it’s giant.
R: It’s 6 feet wide, 5.5 feet tall, about 1.5 feet thick, and it weighs about 200lbs. It has actual glass, not plexiglass, and it’s fully custom-built and kind of a pain in the butt. Every year I hang it up at First Avenue and the whole time it’s up in the air – which is about 12 hours – I think I’m going to have a heart attack.
FA: It’s totally a danger ball! There’s no way you’re taking that on tour…
R: I HAVE taken it on tour! Lots of cuts on my hands to prove it.
Ryo is a man of intellect and leisure, coming to a town near you, worldwide. Hit him up… you won’t regret it.