As part of a spring tour, MartyParty teams with British producer Joker, to bring Deep Bass Purple to 1015 Folsom on March 7.
The South African-born Martin Folb performs solo as MartyParty, or as a member of PANTyRAiD with Ooah (Josh Mayer) of The Glitch Mob. His musically diverse, all-original live shows feature complex and unusual beats that still stay rich and melodic, ranging from spacey trance with gleaming synths to hard-hitting trap with crowd-pleasing hooks.
We asked MartyParty about switching from a software career in Silicon Valley to a wonky DJ, why he gets along so well with Joker, and how he gets his inspiration yet stays original.
Why did you move from South Africa to the U.S.?
I live in Miami after living in New York for five years. I moved to Miami last year. When I was in South Africa, I got a degree in computer science from Cape Town and then worked in the computer industry when I got recruited by a company in Silicon Valley. I moved to San Francisco in 1994 for 12 years.
Did you enjoy your time in San Francisco?
Yeah, I had a great time. I bought a couple houses. I was working and able to ride my motorcycle across the Bay Bridge. I made a lot of friends and got into rave music. San Francisco was like my first taste of the U.S.
When did you realize you no longer wanted to be a computer programmer in Silicon Valley?
I just worked my way up from being a junior developer all the way up to being in management of a dot-com, which became Oracle. It just became really dreadful; I was just over it. It was like 15 years in the IT world and I kind of got to the top of where I could possibly go. Eventually, took off and went to the beach. I took two years off and learned Abelton Live, started writing music and realized I saw potential.
Basically I came back to the states and got together with Josh Ooah and started PANTyRAiD and Martyparty, and the rest is history.
How did you cross paths with Ooah from The Glitch Mob to form PANTyRAiD?
I was in Costa Rica. He came down for a music festival that I had there. I booked him there as a DJ, we hung out and became friends. He heard the music I was making and basically we said we’re going to do something together. So that was the beginning of PANTyRAiD.
Are you still making new music as PANTyRAiD?
Yeah, we just put out an album last year. We’ve been putting out albums every year.
You’ve said you’re not interested in emulating anything that’s been done before. Where do you get your inspiration?
When I got into electronic music, I wanted to do something different and I didn’t want to copy anybody else. I’m always after something fresh. My inspiration just comes from my years of listening to music. It starts with anything: ability, beats, samples, sounds—inspiration can come from anywhere.
What can fans expect on your upcoming full-length album, Synthetic?
I wrote some tunes at the beginning of the year for this tour and I’m playing some of them on this tour. I’m making some tracks in the car and playing them as well. At the end of the tour, I’ll go through all the songs that I thought sounded right and were successful for the crowd and put them out. The genre is big hip-hop, like hip-hop with synthetic beats.
What do you like most about touring with Joker?
Liam is just a total clown. It’s just a big laugh the whole time. We have so much fun and we get along really well. We go Go Kart racing in every city. We love the herb and we like to drink. We just fool around and play silly sounds. Sound checks are always fun and everything is just a big laugh. He’s a really easy going guy.
What are your goals for the Purple Tour?
I’m more than halfway through the tour. I’ve been going for three weeks so it’s no longer expectations. I’m in it. The tour has been amazing and crowds have been great. Weekend shows have been sold out or close to sold out. Weekday shows have been really surprising, definitely more crowds than my last tour. Joker has been phenomenal and back-to-back opening and closing alternations have been good.
The weather has been a little bad. We had to skip Atlanta because of the tour. The East coast run was bad with the weather. but now that we’re West, it’s been sunnier and much better.
MartyParty and Joker perform March 7 at 1015 Folsom. More info.