The Electronic Dance Music duo know how to make a good date last.
There's a moment on every first date where the momentum shifts. Awkward either pulls up a chair and tucks a napkin in its collar, or is magically dispelled by good conversation and a well-timed cocktail. That hinge, where things bend one way or the other, that's the place PANTyRAiD waits for. Having asked all the right (or at least interesting) questions, laughed just long enough, but not too long, and kept their elbows off the table, their charm is hard to resist. Dessert is on its way by the time they drop the beat.
“It's more of a journey than a showcase,” says Josh Mayer, a New Orleanian and half of the DJ duo that makes up PANTyRAiD. “We're building up, getting to know the people and the vibe of the venue,” he describes, about their live show, “and then people are in to it and they're getting it and everything starts to pulse and move. The sexiness comes out, people are more comfortable. The magic over time starts to take over. It's a whole emotional thing for us.” Mayer and fellow electronic music producer, Marty Folb, spontaneously compose their two-hour sets through laptops, sound cards, controllers, and a mixing board, constantly adding and subtracting from each others independent tracks. The result is a synthesized musical conversation between two “electronic nerds,” as Folb admitted; a live sonic chemistry intended to seduce the crowd. To dance. This Saturday, that crowd is Tipitina's.
No strangers to the electronic music world, Mayer being a member of Glitch Mob and Folb having been a producer for over a decade, the pair met in Los Angeles and have since crisscrossed the country to record in each others studios and collaborate on stage. With lots of other projects going and the mobility of modern technology, they can be choosy about how often they play out, and thus sustain the individualized attention they pay to each crowd and each set.
They're both passionate about what should distinguish a PANTyRAiD show. “It's not about that whole hands in the air, idolizing (the DJ) thing,” says Folb. “It's more about getting everybody in the room, no matter if there's 500 or 10,000, dancing together, looking around, feeling the energy,” he says. “There's moments when the music is really soft and sexy; pretty, gentle moments,” says Mayer, about how the set evolves. “And then heavy, aggressive, gnarly moments. Because we like so many things, we want to flex that boundary where you can play anything,” he says, “as long as you're passionate about the music.”
By keeping things intuitive, the set takes on a life of its own, a narrative arc that is unique to that particular dance party. And to PANTyRAiD. They've struggled against being genre-fied, to protect the latitude they want with electronic styles, and the ability to be curious in the moment, and with music. “People always want to call music something other than music,” Mayer says. “To us the closest thing that we felt like the genre creators of the world did a good job on was EDM. Electronic Dance Music. That's literally what it is,” he says, “You want your music to make people dance.”
Here's that moment in the date when they tell you they're not into playing games. This straightforward, charmingly transparent motive is what eventually achieves the surrender to their music. One playful, melodious pet at a time they earn the kind of trust we give to a really good storyteller - a desire to be taken on the ride, a realization that escape can be sweet, and simple. “They forget the real reason we all go out,” says Folb, referring to the hardline fans who will only listen to one expression of electronic music (dubstep, trap style, etc). “Why do people buy tickets? Because they want to let go and forget about their lives for awhile. The last thing I want to do is have a whole political debate, or question is this where I belong?” he says, about being on the dance floor. “Come, and know that for two hours you're going to completely let go,” he promises, “and hear all kinds of music, things you've never heard before, not just the same tracks everyone else is playing. You'll do a dance you've never done before.”
A listen to their recently released second album, Pillow Talk, illustrates these possibilities. Their music slips and slides around, evading the grasp of any genre descriptor. But not in a sleazy way. In a well-seasoned way, laced with some dubstep here, peppered by the 808 there, tenderized with a little hard style. Unfolding and showing its tastes and inspirations off, while cohesively becoming something all its own. “It's going to evolve and tell a story,” Folb says, when asked about the narrative nature of their music. “There's an introduction, a bow, a moment of relief, a sexy intensity. Often our best tracks are at the end, like when you eat a plate of food. You save the best bites for last.”