"… that person had nothing to do with that song. All they’re doing is basically taking the credit for it"

When MartyParty started making music, it was because he had an ample amount of free time between bouts of surfing and enjoying the quiet solace of Costa Rica after pulling out of the corporate noose. The fondness of creating the hyped up, computer-bred atmosphere led to the creation of PANTyRAiD — a duo consisting of himself and The Glitch Mob’s Ooah.

Now — from his current home of Miami — he continues on in his hopeful legacy of changing the face of electronic music’s stigma. He says he hopes to be part of altering the vernacular, where not everyone gets to consider themselves producers, or engineers, or whatever other titles are being tossed at basement composers or button pushers.

He swings through Boulder’s Fox Theatre this Thursday, Apr 23, bringing his unique artistry of not-just-button-mashing skills. Before he does, The Rooster spoke with him beforehand in length about the industry and if he has any tips to get our cooking game on lock (he loves to cook).


Who: MartyParty (of PANTyRAiD) w/ Hyperion
When: Thursday, Apr 23, 2015 // Doors: 8:30pm
Where: Fox Theatre – Boulder, CO
Info: $16 adv, $18 dos + $2 for under 21. // Ages 15+

We’re told you’re a whiz with the computer, how did that all start?

I’m like the stereotypical computer nerd. When I was younger in South Africa … my father joined a software firm back in the ‘80s, when the mainframes were punch cards. He was into them when they first started. I was a kid when he got into that, I grew up the son of a computer guy. My first computer was an Atari with the tape deck and I went through the Commodore 64 playing games … and then to coding … I just knew I wanted to do computer science at a young age.

So how did music come into the equation then?

In my final years of computer science I was recruited by (what’s now called) Oracle in Silicon Valley. That’s how I got to the state back in ’94. I decided I wanted to change my career; it wasn’t technical enough. I was just wasting time hiring and firing people, so I sold my stock and moved to Costa Rica for two years and screwed around. One of my friends introduced me to Ableton and in the evenings after surfing I would start banging away with it and realized I was pretty good at making music. The rest is history.

Computer sciences and making music on computers seem to be fairly similar …

I always tell people the discipline is identical. The fundamentals of software of what you learn in the first year of computer science remain the same for electronic music production and engineering. Discipline, inspiration, testing, experimentation, package design, file management — all the skills are the same. The only difference is at the end of a massive project you push play and it’s music instead of push play and it’s an application. I’m a perfect example of somebody that translated corporate computing skills to artistic computing skills. I gotta say, it’s identical.

What about the industries, are they the same?

There’s a whole lot of things going on in our industry — and I had a Twitter argument with the whole world about it the other night … well not an argument but a discussion. There’s a word called ‘DJ’ and then there’s a word called ‘producer’ — they’re used to describe so many different skill sets right now, which don’t map to what people are really doing. I remember the same thing in software: I was in the same position in software. We designed several positions … architect, senior engineer, junior engineer, tester, senior architect … for the same reason. The music industry needs to get to the same place. I do composition, writing composition, production, executive production, engineering, mixing, mastering and performing. I’m not a hater of DJs, they just need to be described correctly so that the fans understand what they’re seeing.

In your eyes how is the landscape laid out now and how can we change it?

I want to see the person who made the song that I’m hearing. I don’t care what they look like or what they do. If it’s a good song I want to hear them play it. That’s important to me. Now today, it seems like it’s not important to people. Because they’ll go to a big DJ concert and they don’t even care that person had nothing to do with that song. All they’re doing is basically taking the credit for it. There were like, heaps of engineers who spent weeks building that song. And those people never get the credit.

People need to know the separation between the executive production and production. Executive production are people that have no technical skills, (and) production, right now, typically means people that have engineering skills, and they’re not considered engineers, and that is I think a problem. These home producers that are making tracks are computer programmers and they’re not getting credit for that. The minute they step on stage they’re seen as not technical. And so, I’m a big believer in the revenge of the nerds, this is a time where we step up and make the technical skill set part of the draw.

What’s the difference then between the DJ and an artist?

We’re not just artists that play one instrument, we’re artists that play every instrument. We can make sounds from scratch and mix them perfectly with composition and arrangement to create feelings and emotion. Nobody’s ever been able to do that expect for Mozart. Mozart didn’t play every instrument. He knew in his mind which frequencies he wanted and literally would write compositions in his head. We’re very similar to that, except luckily enough we have the computer to actually create the orchestra behind the symphony. These are the kinds of things I want the kids to grow up learning now, that there are people like this. It’s they’re generation and they should embrace them. And move away from just the DJ thing. ‘DJ’ is a joke.

Do you bring the artistry to your live show?

I’ve always done a very unique live performance. I use Ableton and I have four tracks, I mix four tracks, and it’s always my own music … and I use sound effects and acapelas — you know how it is. Nobody really sees that and nobody really cares. That’s the kind of thing that needs to start to come forward. What are people doing? I’d like to see articles about people’s live configurations, and have more interest in that. It’s actually gone backwards. DJs now just use these CDJs with thumb drives and just play one song to another without even mixing. It’s gone backwards. Not only is it about mixing, mixing is a part of performance, but it’s about: You made the songs from scratch that you’re playing. Which is infinitely more complex and skillful, and the fans and audience should know that, appreciate that, and be coming to the shows because of that. And I think my fans are. MartyParty fans know that.

Cooking w/ MartyParty

Be resourceful.
“Make it taste good with what you have. It’s like with music. Do whatever you have to do to make it sound good. Same discipline. It’s mixing. It’s an art.”

Be experimental
“My cooking skills are very experimentational, just like my music. I don’t use recipes — and I try and be as healthy as possible, so I use the best ingredients. I try and be different every time. Sometimes things work and sometimes things work horribly.”

Be your own
"You gotta learn from your mistakes. It’s all about not being interested in what you’re supposed to be doing. (It’s) just like music, man. My music and my cooking are one voice. If you like MartyParty you’ll like my food. It comes at you strong and hard or it comes at you supple and sexy. [laughs] It can come at you any way, it’s never gonna be bland, or boring.