The energy of a GTA show is like no other, and Electric Forest weekend 2 was treated to an amazing set thanks to these guys!
Upon meeting, we traded tequila shots for All Day IPAs (they're a huge fan of Founders now, by the way). Then, we stumbled upon the most perfect little interview sofa, ever and got down to business talking the essentials: music, touring with Rihanna, booty, pets, food, and of course, Electric Forest.
The best part about talking with GTA, the genre-defying electronic duo from Miami, was how real it felt... just like talking to a couple of close homies! Check out the interview below!
Karlie: Can you give me details about how GTA came to be?
Matt: Yeah, so we actually met online, on Facebook.
Julio: On Tinder.
Matt: We had a mutual friend that was a local DJ in Miami and we were both producing music on our own, and he just kind of linked us. We started chatting on Facebook, and met up and jammed out to System of A Down one day, and the next day we started making music together. That's pretty much exactly how it's been since then. It's pretty nuts how it's snowballed into a music career and playing stages that are massive... and doing interviews!
Karlie: What did your individual projects sound like before that?
Matt: Well mine was a bit more like tech house and tribal drums. Julio was doing more hip hop beats. Then, we started getting into more electro and dance music stuff. And, from there we tried everything. And, now we still make everything.
Karlie: I was in the crowd for your first festival performance at Ultra Miami 2015 -- What was that like from your perspective?
Julio: Just, amazing. First of all, it's in our hometown. We're from Miami. So all of our friends being out in the crowd... Even just leading up to that moment, talking to everybody like, "Man, I'm playing at Ultra!" Being up on stage there and seeing all of your fans, your family, and sh*t. We brought our parents to Ultra for the first time this year. Yeah, it's just an amazing feeling.
Karlie: How do you see your original mission statement, "Death to Genres" being played out in the industry?
Julio: I feel like Death to Genres, especially in our mixes kind of creates this vibe you can only get at a GTA show. You can't really expect something specific. It's all based on people dancing and having a good time. And, production-wise, we still do everything -- from pop music to rap to house music. We try everything!
Matt: I feel like it's grown on a lot of other artists, too. Because, we've always been playing all types of music and incorporating that into our mixes and our sets. As the years go by, more DJs have started playing random sh*t. It's been absorbed by the world, kind of, to just play anything. Death to Genres.
Karlie: Your debut Good Times Ahead sounds like our generation... How did you capture that so well?
Julio: It was our first time ever doing an album like that, where it had to be one cohesive project like that. Normally, we'd just release singles here and there. It was a pretty cool experience being able to sit with songwriters and learn different formats of how to arrange songs.
Matt: It kind of just happened. We're very random people, as you can tell by our taste in music. We like to go with the flow in making music of any kind. We didn't even plan for it, it just worked out that way. As a few of the tracks started coming along, we were like, "Oh man, this is a really good vibe!" Then, it kind of helped direct the rest of the album. We had a ton more songs that could have been on it, but it didn't fit what we were going for. Kind of like with everything we do, it just happened organically. We don't think about it too much... We just go.
Karlie: GTA goes hard, but also has a softer side... If you each had to pick a favorite one of your own tracks, what would it be?
Matt: I think mine is "Little Bit of This" with Vince Staples. I think it's a perfect mix of the energy and the weird grittiness, but nothing too intense. It's the perfect balance of that. And, of course Vince just kills it.
Julio: I'm going to say "True Romance" which is the first song on our album. That's the softer side. That's actually the first song we finished that was really "poppy."
Karlie: Speaking of popular music, which pop artists do you think you've connected with the most and would work with again?
Julio: Vince Staples. His beat selection is amazing. He's one of the more open-minded artists... Open to try different sh*t. If you heard his new album, it's very UK garage influenced. He's probably one of the more creative artists we've worked with.
Matt: Probably, definitely, Vince. RKCB, which was on the "Pressure" track. Their sound, even though it's more "poppy" -- they're just so good to work with. They're so creative and so energized by music and different kinds of sounds. We just vibe with them so well. Same with Jarina De Marco. She can do anything.
Karlie: Anyone who you want to work with that you haven't yet?
Matt: That will always be the answer.
Julio. And, Tame Impala.
Karlie: How was it touring with Rihanna, and Calvin Harris / Tiesto?
Matt: The Rihanna tour was probably the most ridiculous thing we've ever done, especially because it was the first tour we'd ever been on. It's been 5 years now. And, we were playing like 1 show every 2 months kinda thing, and then all of the sudden it was like, "Hey, you're going on 65 dates with Rihanna, all around the world!" We were just like, "What?!"
Julio: "We're on a date?!"
Matt: And, yeah. We did 6 months, and it was the most amazing thing we've ever done. It opened our eyes so much to touring, the whole music industry, everything. And, the Calvin and Tiesto thing was just a few dates in the UK, but they're cool as f*ck and we'll always remember that. That's actually where we signed our deal -- there with Calvin and Rita Ora, and we popped bottles. They're amazing people.
Karlie: Those kind of shows, compared to Electric Forest... What was your performance like here?
Julio: It was f*cking awesome. This is our 2nd time doing Electric Forest and I think one thing we love about this is the vibe of the whole festival. We actually took a couple of days off to come hang out, like really get it! It's just cool to see all the fans out here having the best time of their lives. To be able to play... especially dubstep... I love dubstep... I'm playing a lot of dubstep.
Matt: I'm glad you recorded that, so we have that as proof.
Julio: I don't really like dubstep.
Karlie: You don't?!
Julio: No, but we're in the forest though, right?! No. I love dubstep, actually.
Karlie: So you guys are just kicking it! What's the craziest thing you've seen here?!
Julio: Everybody is rocking ass out. I've seen so many butt cheeks it's retarded. Even guy butt cheeks. No, it's cool though. I just think it's a really cool experience to walk around through the forest. We're from Miami, and we live in LA, so...
Matt: We don't have forests.
Karlie: What do you guys do in your spare time?
Matt: I play Overwatch. That's a good game. Rocket League is a really good game. That's pretty much all I do. I have 3 cats. I pet them. Waffle, Pancake and Bug.
Julio: I have two dogs. They're French Bulldogs, Luna and Milo.
*We continued to gush about our fur babies for a minute... Then got back to it!*
Karlie: What's next for GTA?
Matt: We're kinda getting back to the club a bit! I've been told to not say too much... So, GTA is back in the club... Let's just leave it at that. We have returned to the club. We actually never left the club.
Julio: We were in the bathroom for a little bit, but we're back now.
Matt: We made a lot of songs with a lot of friends. Some of those friends are here today. And, we also produced a track for Vince Staples on his album, "Love Can Be." So, check that out!
Trevor (GTA POC) chimes in for the final, most important question: You're on your death bed... What's your last meal?
Julio: Surf 'n' Turf... Lobster and steak!
*Then, we continued to talk about our love for Red Lobster for enough time that it wasn't really an interview anymore and I stopped my recorder.*
Thanks for keeping it real, GTA!