|Photo from Rolling Tuff|
DYD: I feel that there is a plague amongst South African artists, the plague of unoriginality. There is a general fear of really going out there and being starkly original, for fear that one might not find success. I know this because I have it. However, when South African producers emigrate, they seem to adapt to the creative liberty that is found in England, Europe and America. How do you come to terms with your own creative libertarianism? In other words, how did you learn to trust yourself?
MartyParty: I’m lucky – I never came from a music background, had no knowledge of other producers or other processes, and just worked in my own private sandbox, so I had no thoughts of sounding like anything else. That same plague is here in the US too – I get sent 100s of promos that all sound the same. People naturally copy – it’s part of evolution to reuse and recreate what we know, while slowly devising new techniques and understanding. It takes a few whacky scientists that really don’t give a f**k to take a big leap in a new direction. I admired ground breakers in the traditional software world, and now in the digital music world. Those are my people. They do it for love of the art, not for Facebook likes and money. Thankfully the internet does not have an ultimate judge – and they can share their creations just like anyone else who’s following the herd.
In general, the tools are easily available and the barrier for entry has never been lower, so there is a massive army of music making duplicates. Eventually we stop appreciating a style because there’s too much of it – and a new pattern emerges. The internet definitely speeds up musical evolution, but we still have to live through the over-saturation part of the cycle, and wait for the next big thing – but it’s always coming!
And a little more advice – it is good to travel and move, to tour and get out – it inspires us to new ideas and improves our adaptation skills and makes for diversity in our art, like producers who expand once they travel outside their home country.
DYD: A quote that is exceptionally meaningful to me: “Boredom’s not a burden anyone should bare”. Can you comment on the contrast between your life as a cubicle imprisoned programmer and your life now as a musician?
MartyParty: Holy crap. Two totally different lives! I was actually always the same person – obviously …but my craziness was never appreciated in the corporate world. My bosses were always telling me to “chill out” with my designs and the way I spoke to clients. They called me a cowboy. Now, I am empowered to ride like crazy! Every day I wake up and sit in my studio, and can be as whacky as I want. My fans at the shows that weekend know they are going to get something fresh, new and crazy!
I don’t really get bored. There’s so much inspiration – in samples, sounds, patterns, life – there is never enough time to fully produce the music in my head and be still enough for boredom to set in.
DYD: When you sit down to produce, do you actively engage your mind and think about what you want to create, as an artist thinking out a scene to paint, or do you just let it flow and see if something arises out of the ashes?
MartyParty: Both. Sometimes I get a melody in my head and have to get it down in MIDI. Sometimes I stumble on a sample or sound and spend 3 days obsessing on how to flip it as best as possible. Sometimes I build a few good parts but struggle to get them to work together as a song, give up, and then in my dreams work it out – wake up at 4am – run downstairs and solve the puzzle
|Photo from The Do Lab|
DYD: You’ve previously mentioned that you’ve developed a formula for producing your compositions. Do you use this technique on all of your tracks?
MartyParty: For a while – then the formula evolves – it’s all pattern theory. Beats, rhythms – all just patterns. My patterns change all the time as the audiences evolve and as the industry moves around.
It’s a big deal not to get stuck in one pattern – always stay relevant.
DYD: You have mentioned that you have a drive to teach. Imagine you are addressing a class of all the aspiring producers in the world. What are the fundamental things you would want to impart to them?
MartyParty: I dream of one day opening a MartyParty Beat Academy for 8-14 year old kids. I’m a great teacher and taught software for a few years. I’d love to teach young minds the tools, and the liberating energy of musical possibilities, and then let them loose on it and see what they produce. At the end of the semester we’d have a big show for their parents – like a DJ gig.
If I had to talk to a group of young aspiring music producers. I’d start with stuff like:
– Never stop experimenting
– Nothing is right or wrong, keep it in tune and explore. If you like it, find one other person that likes it, then it’s good.
– Keep it simple, if it’s easy then it’s probably good. If it’s hard, it’s probably not in tune or not good.
– Start with good quality sounds. Eventually the poor quality sound, even if you love it, will cause the mix to be poor and will drive you insane every time you hear it.
– Audio is mixed into one wave. If all the pieces are in harmony, that one wave will be huge and powerful. The pieces should all make sense individually, and as a mix.
– Don’t make music for boys or girls, make music for everyone. Make parts girls would like, and make parts boys would like. Balance your shit.
– Learn scales, stick to scale and don’t just reuse the same drums in every tune. Change drums like they’re diapers and tune every drum and sample to scale.
DYD: I have to ask about your website, it’s like being inside a MartyParty fever dream. You didn’t pay David Lynch to design it for you?
MartyParty: Haha – close! I got TwistedLamb to curate the Tumblr on the front page after my team built it – she is the best. It is my world depicted in images and gifs. I love it and hope a lot of people see it. Head to martyparty.com yo!
DYD: Lastly – if one had to strip away all your ego and you were left with just your own self, or soul (for lack of a better analogy), what would you describe makes up the essence of who you are?
MartyParty: I’m a white, jewish, African living in New York. I’m a complete freak. Spiritually I’m a Naturalist. I believe we are all animals and live in an animal world. This gives me great peace and grounding to release my insanity through my channels and my current channel is music. Through music I can talk to people about what I have seen and where I have been, the essence of Africa, the troughs and peaks of life, the beauty and the intensity of the experience, and the insanity of the modern world, layered over the basic primal energy that is common to us all.
I get to make these musical journeys, and then I get to stand in front of lots of people with giant sound systems and evangelize my meanings of life.
I believe we all need to just PARTY. Life’s not that serious. Smile, dance, jump around, grind up on someone, laugh, cry, scream, and then rest up and do it again in whatever part of your day is next.
Thanks for this awesome interview – my love to South Africa and my roots – peace out – Say no to slavery. Worship the sun.
From Kyle’s side he just wants to add: Well there you have it. I think someone in this booming electronic scene of ours should host a “homecoming” tour for MartyParty, as its a real shame he has never graced us with his presence. But you know that is just a thought *cough**cough*. I would like to thank Marty’s publicist; Lia Holland; for making this interview happen as well as MartyParty himself for taking the time to fill out such meaty and personal answers.