MartyParty Brings His "Purple Opera" To The Shrine
Whether he's mixing sexy sounds with Josh Mayer (a.k.a. Ooah) of The Glitch Mob in their project PANTyRAiD, or hitting the stage solo as he will at the Shrine Auditorium for the Illumination Tour with Pretty Lights and DJ Shadow, Folb radiates with originality.
"I'm not [producing] for any other reason beyond I want to evolve music," Folb explained. "And sort of evolve the whole stereotype of DJing and the stereotype of music production. I think I've been pretty successful up to now and I'm only going to keep pushing that."
Born in South Africa, Folb graduated from the University of Cape Town with a bachelor's in computer science. He moved to the States in 1994 to take a job in the booming Dot-com industry and ten years later became a DJ.
MartyParty's style is layered with heavy beats, melodies and basslines that build up multiple times in every track. Coined as "purple" music, Folb claims his sound breaks the limits of any genre and in some cases, sets the trend for what's to come in EDM.
Headlining shows like Lighting in a Bottle, Monsters of Bass Tour and Camp Bisco MartyParty continues to rise as a rampant force in music producing. His upcoming album "the MVP series" will be released sometime this fall as full 14-track album, but leaked previews of the tracks can be found for free on his website.
"This time around I've just be dripping the tracks slowly with early versions, giving people previews," Folb said. "In the end, after I've played them a few times I'm going to sit down and release them all."
What should fans expect to hear from you on the Illumination Tour?
I'm going to play at least six or seven [of the new tracks] this weekend. I'll also be playing the new PANTyRAiD material as well. Josh and I have been working over the past 2 months and the new album is called "Just For You" and that's also coming out in the fall and I'll be playing about six or seven of those tunes at the shows as well.
Tell me more about your work as PANTyRAiD. How would you describe the difference between MartyParty and PANTyRAiD?
I always make the PANTyRAiD stuff more sexy, down tempo. I mean when we made the first album it was really trappy before trap was really known. Now trap is huge and if you go back and listen to the first album, it's all trap. The new album is much more advanced… We sat down and decided we'd go in a whole new direction completely with regards to the vibe. It's still very chill, beautiful listening music, but you'll definitely hear a new edge to the arrangements and the sound. We're pushing a little bit more in that direction just to try and interest people again. We didn't want to just make more trap again because everyone's doing that now and it's boring. A lot of bass lines again, nothing hard or intense, no dub steps, nothing like that… We kind of invented a whole new type of music again.
In your own words, can you describe what "purple" music means?
What I like to do as MartyParty is get really experimental… It's much more crazy. Everything I do as MartyParty I try and make it completely new and special, that no one will have ever heard anything like that. It tends to be more genre-bending and heavy, it can get really heavy at times. The purple thing I do as MartyParty is like my own vibe, I like poly-melodic music, I don't like single melody music which is pretty much everything out of EDM. Up till now there's been this weird rule that you can only hear one melody at a time and I've never understood that. My purple is really just progressive hip-hop or progressive trap music that is poly-melodic. The MVP series is all purple again, but it's all various versions of purple -- purple trap, purple dub step -- just like before and you'll see it's like an evolution of that. It's all the introduction of a melody, and then another melody, and then another melody -- pretty much up to 3 or 4 melodies at a time progression.
You've said you aim for your shows to be spontaneous and give the audience something they haven't heard before. Can you elaborate on that?
When I started I said I wanted to make my live shows completely random because I tend to see people doing these set-up, preprogramed shows where they just push play. I hate that, I can't stand it. From the beginning, I was like, I'm going to invent a whole new way of preparing a set and delivering it. I've just been evolving that, this is my sixth year and I still use the same sets. All I do is I have various groupings in my sets… When I deliver it, I'm dragging in tracks just like a traditional DJ, mixing it in, but at the same time playing over [what I bring in] so I'm writing three or four channels at a time, instead of just one to two like a regular DJ. I used to just start with one bpm (beats per minute) and then go to another bpm like a traditional DJ would start at 70 and end at 90. Since the whole trap thing came along, I've noticed people are much more comfortable with slower music so now what I do is I'll start with these short of trap bpms and work up really fast to 90 bpms - kind of like a dubstep vibe - and then I'll do it again, and again, and again, so it's like slow to fast to slow to fast. It really gets the energy going because they progress several times instead of just once throughout the show. The reason that I do my sets like that, and the reason I have an advantage over other DJs, is I can be so spontaneous -- I can change it on the fly, I can change it on the day, I can drop in anything I want.
Do you see any other DJs or producers on the scene trying to live up to the same principles as you?
I mean to be completely honest with you, they're all trying to do it - they all want to do it. I've influenced people in a lot of ways and one of the ways I've influence them is in the DJ style. I think what people have seen with me is you can have a kind of energy on stage and it makes a huge difference. And the other thing is to be spontaneous and have these loosely woven sets. I think everyone's trying, but one thing I see that a lot of the young DJs are doing and missing the point is they set up their spontaneous sets with too many controllers and equipment. I've always stuck with the trigger finger - it works - it's really simplistic and it's all I use because I have a very stable environment on stage and I can be spontaneous. A lot of people are trying to be more advanced with their stage set-up and I think nobody really gives a shit about how much equipment you have up their anyway. What they're doing is making it harder to have a stable environment on the stage that can be very spontaneous. I'm hoping to see people get over that whole gadget-fetish that they have and go back to the basics; you have to have good tracks, the confidence and ability to change things on the fly… That's the part I love about my job - how I influence the younger people.
What do you see for the future of EDM?
I think that kids are already over dubstep and being shocked in the face. I think those drops are really relevant and will always be in EDM, but they will be set up in a way that will have more of an affect at the right time, instead of one after the other for an hour. I think trap has been great because its introduced [TR] 808-based, sexy, minimal, down tempos as an EDM genre that's acceptable. It's allowed people to blend that type of music and not always have these drops one after the other. You know, at my shows, I go really slow at times, I go really atmospheric at times and I go really intense and loud at times. The kids are starting to like that because it's natural. You don't want to stay at one pitch because you get bored.
But the most important thing I think will change is that the fans are going to start expecting to see the producer on stage playing their own music. The word DJ is going to die; DJs will be out of business. We'll start seeing the producers playing their music and more of it. They'll be playing their slow tempo stuff and not just these banger hits. There's becoming this cultural expectation that the person delivering the music made the music. Just like when you go see a band, you can see they know the music well because of their movements and emotion - it's special when it's their own song. The next few years are going to be really cool because anybody that has really invested time producing, and put out a lot of music of high quality, those people are going to start getting more attention. And the people who just play the bangers and the hot tracks, these DJ characters who just stand up there and push play - that's going to die.
Reach staff reporter Lauren Foliart here.