DYD: DJ 3Lau recently tweeted: “Bottom line, most people see the partying, the booze, the booty. No one sees the grind, the self-pressure and the fear of failure.” What’s your opinion on this statement?
MartyParty: Of course there is a fear of failure, as in any profession. The best way to beat fear is preparation! Spend longer working on your music, longer in front of the computer, hone your craft, play all kinds of gigs, practice, and eventually you will walk up to any stage and be in position to succeed. It’s such a cliche, but sometimes cliches have truth to them! In music you shouldn’t be competing with anyone but yourself – if you start in a competitive frame of mind you might not make it very far. As a producer, the second you make that song in your studio and hear the coming together of the pieces you invented, the magical sensation of music, that is the success. The rest is unpredictable anyway. I take nothing for granted. I just like to party, on my own, with 5 people, with 50,000 people – it doesn’t matter – once you have found the rhythm that moves you, you don’t fear anymore. My biggest fears now come from not having the time to perfect all the songs in my head.
DYD: Was there a specific moment in time when you realized that you were gaining success; a moment where you thought, “Wow, this is really going somewhere and people are listening”, or was rising to prominence a subtle experience for you?
MartyParty: I never expected much from my career until I witnessed people reacting to my music on a dance floor. My music isn’t typical dance music- it didn’t form to any conventional methods- but it worked. When I saw people finding a new dance, that was when I knew I was onto something. And that’s what fuels me to this day – to make a new dance. As far as “commercial” or “social” success, when I sold out my first tour, even in places I had never been, with almost no promotional budget, I knew my persistence and message online was working. I’ve always approached this game for the humble long haul. It took a while with no labels, PR companies, managers, or any traditional music industry types, but the fans found me, bought tickets, partied and HEARD my music. It is still a pretty subtle incline, and I like it that way, I am an acquired taste because that’s how I designed MartyParty.
DYD: I have aspirations of being a musician in the electronic genre, I feel that my greatest challenge is learning to become technically proficient. I understand people can have musical talent, but no one has a talent for synthesis, knowing how to use Ableton, how to correctly process a sound or when and how to resample etc. How did you learn?
MartyParty: I’m a computer scientist – trained in the management of files and in how to repeat a pattern iteratively. I have a BSC Computer Science from the University of Cape Town. When I finally had enough of the rat race in the computer industry, I ran away to surf in Costa Rica for a few years to unwind. I took Ableton Live as a piece of software to study in my spare time – like others would read a book. My friend Justin Boreta of The Glitch Mob told me it was super cool and I would dig the software.
I had never thought of myself as a professional musician up to that point. I knew I could bang chords and melodies on a piano, but I don’t remember thinking I had talent. I got into Ableton and I realized this tool could save the arrangement, allow me to iterate over a pattern of sounds until I felt it was rhythmically correct and save my work in a way that made sense to me. I learned computer production by ear – making what I thought was good.
Then, I was obsessed. I wrote 300 original songs in my first 3 years on Ableton. It was an addiction – I could make all the music I always wanted to hear! I guess I found a talent?
As for sound, I have an instinct for when it sounds right. I LOVE melody, and HARMONY – a lot of times I’ll spend hours inventing new pathways through the scales. Sound design is a science. You learn by practice. Like any technical professional – you collect the best tools, always searching for the new plugins, the new effects, the new techniques, and applying them back into your patterns and approaches. Think, experiment, practice, and desire to create work that pleases you.
DYD: I feel that a personal motivating factor, albeit a superficial one, is that I want to create music to leave a legacy. To be able to materialise something in this life that lastingly affects people. Would you say legacy is a motivating factor for you?
MartyParty: Absolutely. When you realize you have a unique voice you can use the internet the way it was intended – to spread your work forever, faster than ever before, and more deeply than we may ever live to see. I love that we can all release our art into the ether and move on – while the track has a life of its own. Sometimes a link will pop up on my twitter and I’ll find a wormhole I never knew about where a tune from a year ago is getting moved and manipulated by all walks of life- as a part of someone else’s expression. The whole life cycle of music is so fresh and fun and I feel like I’m one of those on the crest of a wave, and we will not know its full effect… But the process has started and the files are OUT THERE!
DYD: How exactly did you and Josh Mayer (of Glitch Mob fame) become collaborators?
MartyParty: I threw a music festival in Costa Rica called Manifesto. I invited Josh down to DJ one year. He came into my garage (where I had my music laptop and speakers), heard my music and was like, ‘Damn, let’s do something together’. So we did – PANTyRAiD. Since that day we have been close friends and worked together flawlessly. We are def brothers from another mother.
DYD: I can’t say that I’ve heard anything like your music, yet it definitely has roots buried inside hip-hop, dubstep, and general electronica. What process did you go through to develop the MartyParty style or Purple, as you have affectionately named it?
MartyParty: Ha – yes – it all keys off the hip-hop beat- the broken beat, and the minimal use of drum and maximum effect of melody. I don’t sing, I don’t rap, so I had to create leads out of instrumentation and synthesized sound. I have used melody, basslines, cut up audio, all kinds of synthesis to recreate the “lead” that chats up the beat. When I started, there was no dubstep, so I tried to make instrumental hip-hop. I made basslines that kinda sang like rappers. When dubstep appeared it made what I was doing with instrumental bass drops relevant! I first hooked up with dubstep through Blentwell.com, a website way back that fed me Loefa and Hatcha, and when I heard Ruffage I was so inspired! I set a goal to make instrumental hip-hop that was as intense and club-worthy as rapping.
That is where my sound came from, bassline hip-hop, or, like I like to call it Purple. I was never obsessed with bpm, or timing – it just always feels like hip-hop and always uses synthesized sound to conjure up the same emotion and intensity a singer would. I sing with sound.
Since dubstep moved on last year and we are in “Trap”landia, my music is more relevant than ever. Producers are using cut up vocal samples and sounds peppered over hip-hop beats to create and release club hip-hop songs, and they are now getting into the use of basslines…which is pretty much the same evolution I went through. I’m really pumped to watch the game come full circle around to Purple. I truly believe it will go mainstream one day – I just heard Skrillex and ASAP Rocky’s new tune – I’m a stoked fan!
That’s it for part 1. Kyle and MartyParty will carry on with part 2 next week Friday.