Pantyraid's Martin Folb on South Africa and Whether Trap Is Dead

Last weekend, MartyParty's fast set rocked the otherwise laid-back Block Festival in downtown Denver, and afterward, Westword got to chat with Martin David Folb, the sole DJ behind MartyParty and one half of the duo known as Pantyraid. MartyParty, which Folb describes as "drum and bass, which has now turned into halftime music," is influenced by U.K. drum-and-bass producers and DJs. We talked about Folb's influences, the future of electronic music, the music and food scenes in Denver, and his South African roots. 

Folb noted the range of sounds within trap music and makes distinctions between "white trap" like Bassnectar and Flosstradamus, hip-hop trap like Waka Flocka Flame and Chief Keef, and U.K. trap. "You don't get it in the States," Folb says about the latter. "There are whole movements of U.K. bass that are completely sick. It's like trap, but it's not hip-hop-based trap." 

Despite Folb's promotion of trap, he insists that for the most part, the genre is "dead. It's recycled; it's all the same vibe." 

In MartyParty, Folb draws from this array of trap styles while distancing himself from mainstream American trap. The resulting sound is a fast, bass-filled mix of breaks.

Folb also notes differences between bass-music audiences in the U.S. and the U.K. "In the U.S., people are more into head nodding, when the UK has this freak-out rave scene," he says. 

The difference in audience feedback is similar to the difference between Martin's two projects, MartyParty and Pantyraid. Both projects feature high-BPM (beats per minute) content, but Pantyraid’s sound is more broken-beat, upbeat music without a long-lasting, consistent melody. MartyParty, on the other hand, draws a lot of influence from the U.K. bass and drum-and-bass scenes, genres that are more popular in Folb's home country of South Africa.

Folb represented for South Africa during his set, wearing a diamond pendant in the shape of the African continent. He told us about his friendship with the popular artists of music group Die Antwoord, saying he knew Ninja “back when he was busking on the street with his acoustic guitar,” and was good friends with Yolandi Visser’s sister while she was in ballet school.

Folb says he believes that South Africa is on the rise in global culture. "Look at Trevor Noah," he says. Folb also describes "kwaito," a new musical movement sweeping South Africa, which he says is "township house music," a kind of deep house music mixed with African languages played in underground clubs and townships like Soweto. Folb then demonstrated dance moves associated with kwaito, hopping from foot to foot as he slapped his legs and shook his head. When asked whether he would return to South Africa, however, Folb was quick to say he had no plans to return, mainly because the flight is too long, and talked about how he has come to consider Miami more his home. 

Folb also expressed fondness for Denver, which was the site of his first show. He recalled an earlier time, before Denver had "like twenty seafood restaurants." He mentioned that he was amazed by how far the city has come in drawing culinary talent. Beyond Denver's burgeoning food scene, Folb sees huge potential for a large music festival here: "There's so much empty land out by the airport," he says. "It's the perfect city to have a massive outdoor festival." 

When asked about upcoming plans, Folb mentions new material that's "very hip-hoppy," as well as a passion project in which he would like to "make music on [his] boat, ambient music under a new name: water music." 

Until then, Denver fans can catch Folb as one half of Pantyraid this Friday night.

Pantyraid — Martin David Folb and Josh Mayer (Ooah from Glitch Mob) — perform at Beta, 1909 Blake Street, on Friday, October 21.