It's never too late to reinvent yourself and start over.
In the case of Martin Folb, launching a new career as an electronic music producer meant reassigning his computer programming skills from his professional job to his favorite hobby: a computer program called Ableton Live. He was 34 years old.
Fast forward six years to today, and Folb, known as MartyParty, is considered an innovator in the electronic music scene as the genre relishes in the mainstream spotlight.
But to Folb, his job often means he's still sitting at a desk, tinkering with computers.
"I think what people don't realize about the big-name producers and DJs is, we're nerds," said Folb, whose South African heritage is more prevalent in his accent than his New York City residence. "We spend all day every day in front of a computer with a mouse. It's not like electric guitars and shredding in the garage. It's revenge of the nerds. Electronic music has given us our voice."
No stranger to Colorado, MartyParty has played venues like the 4,500-person Fillmore Auditorium in Denver as half of the production duo PANTyRAID.
This trip, he's taking a different approach with a small-town midweek run that includes a Thursday appearance at Samana Lounge in Vail.
Samana's talent buyer, Ross Cohen, first came across MartyParty five years ago at Burning Man.
"MartyParty's sound is unique and he has the ability to play slow down tempo bass infused music or big stage bangers full of energy," Cohen said.
'People who get it'
There's a reason MartyParty keeps coming back to Colorado. He said that even back in 2007, Denver was known to producers as a hotbed for up-and-coming electronic acts.
"It's always great to go and play with people who get it," he said. "You're not trying to teach them about music that doesn't have an instrument. They know what to expect and how to dance to it."
Folb said that even before he started making music, his ears were attracted to the beats and melodies of instrumental hip-hop. When he started as an electronic producer, the scene was just beginning to pick up as the technology became easier for everyone to get their hands on. All of a sudden, anyone with a laptop could create a beat. But with such a saturation of dubstep, Folb said, the genre reached a critical mass of watered-down beats.
"There was an element of timelessness that disappeared from music for a while," Folb said about that time period. But that's all changing.
More and more, producers at the top of their game are turning toward a more conceptual songwriting approach versus a beat-first focus, he said.
With it is coming a revival of instrumental hip-hop, glitch-hop and a hybrid, crunk-influenced style called trap.
"You're getting an overlay of contemporary music and theory of music over the top of electronic music," he said. "The song has an introduction, tension, a build up, a chorus, a bridge, a chorus ... and some sort of outro that leave you wanting more. I think there's more songwriting going on in electronic music."
He said many DJs entered the world of music production from a musical background - they were guitarists or keyboard players. But Folb said his computer engineering background doesn't mean he reveres composition and musical theory any less.
"I like being on a computer because it has infinite options for sound, not because it makes the loudest noise," he said.