GTA brought their Goons Take America Tour to San Diego where they rocked the House of Blues on November 27, 2015. With support from Wax Motif and K Camp the whole night was full of dope beats and good times. They also just released Death To Genres Vol. 2, which is available now! Speaking of good times, we were able to sit down with Matt and Julio of GTA (Good Times Ahead) and ask them a few questions before they took the stage. We talked about everything from the DJ duo’s inception to what kind of super powers they’d like to have. Check out the transcribed interview below!
Can you guys talk a little bit how you became GTA?
Matt: Yea so, we first met from Facebook actually. We had a mutual friend, a local DJ friend in Miami that knew both of us, and we were both making music individually and he was just like, “hey this guy (Julio) is making music check him out,” and vice versa. And, then we kind of just started talking on Facebook, met up one day, hung out for a bit and listened to a bunch of music, kind of just bonded through a bunch of music we both had a mutual interest in, and met up the next day and just started making music. It has kind of just been pretty much that since then, you know, grown as friends, and as business partners, as creative minds. It’s been like that ever since and it’s been about 5 or 6 years now.
Even before producing as GTA who were some of your influences, past or present?
Matt: I’d say N.E.R.D, Pharrel, Neptunes, those guys are a huge influences on us, even just for me as well.
Julio: I feel like it’s a little bit everywhere. Not even just that, but growing up we both listened to a lot of different kinds of music. Like, my first album I ever bought was N’Sync Pop, but it’s from anywhere really. We listen to System of a Down, we listen to lots of metal and rock, also rap and pop, and everything. Growing up I feel like it has just accumulated to a point now where it’s hard to say were fans of one thing. We’re just fans of music.
The House of Blues is an awesome venue, pretty small and intimate, but, what would say is the biggest difference between playing a big arena, or even a festival, and a smaller show like this?
Julio: The vibe is definitely different. Most festivals you’ll get a crazy energy rush where you just blast songs super loud. And, in these kinds of venues (House of Blues) I feel like it demonstrates how flexible we are, like the kind of music we play. It can literally vary from anything like old school hip hop to deep house records or even crazy festival stuff. But, I feel like club shows are less expected because they’re very unpredictable. We never know really know what the vibe is going to be it just depends on what kind of crowd it is, and what we see everybody vibe off of.
So you guys do a lot of improv during your sets?
Julio: O yea. More so during club sets than festival sets, but we usually just pretty much improv everything.
Matt: Yea, pretty much every set you’ve heard from us is improv. There are songs that we know work and some songs we know that work well together so sometimes there will be one song followed by the next that works really well for us, but everything else is just whatever happens, happens, kind of thing. There will be times where we get off stage and be like, “what did we just play?” we try to remember because someone asked us on Twitter, “what song did you play after this track?” and it’s just like, “it’s in the past now, it’s gone.”
Is there a certain track you love to drop in your sets that you know the crowd is going to vibe with?
Matt: Prison Riot always works (with Floss and Lil John). We have been watching other people drop it in their sets, and even in our sets, and no matter who plays it everybody just erupts into chaos. It’s pretty nuts.
Julio: Guaranteed mosh pit.
Matt: There should be a warning label on it.
Do you guys have a pre-show ritual you do to amp each other up and get excited for the show?
Matt: Yea, so we usually do a shot of tequila and then 30 push-ups. But, we have actually moved on from tequila more recently. It’s just Jack Daniels now…
Julio: We like gin too.
Listening to your music you can get a different vibe from each song. Can you talk about the creative process you go through when you’re producing? Do you go in with a mindset of “this is the type of track we want to produce,” or do you just go in and vibe with each other?
Julio: I think it’s more so like our DJ sets where we just vibe off each other. Sometimes he’ll (Matt) come up with a whole track, a buildup and a drop, and I’ll be like, “this is what I like about this, etc.,” and then we’ll take certain elements out and put certain elements in, and we’ll just keep doing that until we pretty much have one cohesive thing. I mean, it really varies though too because, honestly, it’s not a formula for us. It’s kind of just whatever we’re feeling that day that’s what works and, you know, probably like 9 times out of 10 we’ll come up with something dope. So we just roll with it. We have a bunch of ideas where it’s like, there not all perfected yet, but it’s an equal amount of ideas and flow from both of us. And, that’s one reason why I love working with Matt. We’re both super open-minded about it and were both willing to try anything. I feel like creating in general, now, is way easier. When you’re on the same wave length with someone you can create a bunch of dope, different, stuff.
Who would you like to collaborate with in the future to produce an EP or track with?
Matt: There’s a bunch of people. We have a bunch of collabs already and in the works with pretty much everyone you could think of. We’ve been working on some stuff with Yellowclaw, more of the Barong family, like Mike Cervello and Cesco. We just put out a new one with Wiwek and we have another one, actually, that still has to be finished with him. There’s just so many people, I think now we are working more with vocalists and song writers to make more vocal tracks, and rappers as well. Like, we have some tracks with Rich the Kid who is on the tour with us, some stuff in the works with K Camp. Just more vocal stuff, you know? Because we can make club beats and bangers all day. We’ve been buckling down more making stuff that you can listen to normally. As far as a dream collab I think we can both say Pharrel. We both look up to him like crazy.
Julio: Skrillex, or Bryson Teller.
How do you go about approaching those types of collaborations?
Matt: We let it kind of happen. Also thinking about it creatively, if you’re trying force something, I think you can easily tell with the outcome whether it was organic or mutual. I feel like it should definitely be like that. Like if you try to force it too much, it won’t happen. So all the collabs and everything we’ve done have been very organic. Everyone wanted to work together and just make dope stuff and be creative. I think that’s the way it works out best.
Do you have a favorite artists or track at the moment?
Matt: I’ve been listening to Vince Staples, Norf Norf. His whole new album is dope. Señorita is dope, we’ve actually been playing it in our sets, at least a part of it. Travis Scott too.
Julio: I’ve been listening to this dude name Keev from Atlanta. He’s been doing some really cool stuff. House-y wise, I like Moxy’s new stuff. They’re this group out of Amsterdam, also in the Barong family. I listen to everything and anything on Soundcloud all day, but those are my two favorite ones right now. I also like old school Kid Cudi and that kind of stuff.
Do you have a favorite memory from this tour, or just any tour?
Matt: For this tour in particular I’d say it’s probably this thing (points to forearm), it’s my first tattoo. Good Times Ahead, that’s what GTA means. In the middle of nowhere in Buffalo, New York, we found this place that just happened to be open pretty late on a Monday or Tuesday night. It was outside of the city in front of a cemetery at night, there were like 10 of us and it was about to close. It was a cool ass memory.
Julio: Probably the same, watching the boy get his first tattoo. It was awesome seeing him get his first tattoo.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time when you’re not busy producing or touring?
Matt: I like video games, and I also doing a lot of nothing. Just sitting on the couch watching Netflix. I feel like a lot of people don’t enjoy nothing enough. I do enjoy hiking as well. Living in LA there’s a ton of hiking, Southern California in general.
Julio: Personally for me I like playing video games as well. But, music is my life. I like just sitting at home listening to and writing music. I also like eating a lot. I had Thanksgiving with my boy Matt.
What kind of video games do you like to play?
Matt: FIFA is always fun. I’ve been playing Rocket League, that games fun. I haven’t bought any new games in the past couple months, but the last one I bought was the Witcher 3. Bioshock, GTA 5. The story of GTA 5 was super dope, but that’s why I haven’t finished yet. We play Mortal Kombat, he (Julio) likes fighting games.
Julio: Gotta get that new Street Fighter.
This is the first time I’ve seen the concave sheet stage set up…
Matt: This is actually the first time we have had our own production. We had a video reel that we put on LED walls if festivals have it already, but this is our actual stage. We built this out with our creative team, all the visuals, everything was thought of by our team.
How heavily involved are you in the live production set?
Julio: Were involved in everything. Pretty much we get updates on everything. They’ll send us ideas, but it starts with “what kind of vibe do you want to go for?” The vibe is really Death to Genres, the main phrase. Anything goes, just whatever fits the vibe. The main thing we’re working on for this tour is trying to have a constant stream of content and visuals going with the music. Because our sets are very everywhere, but we’ve been involved in everything from how it looks and everything like that. We wanted it to be very graffiti-ish/cartoon-y just super ghetto looking kind of. Something you could find downtown somewhere, or on brick walls. We’ve been pretty busy with the music side, but for this tour we actually really worked hard to make sure things looked cool.
Matt: Yea, we saw an opportunity to take it up a notch instead of just DJing. We could have our music playing and then have something unique and original to us that our team put their minds together to make and now we have this thing. Like, I feel like were an actual artist now, there’s more to it. It’s cool, it’s kind of mind-blowing to ourselves that we’ve had this whole tour with this whole thing. And, all that was thought of by our team. The visuals, the animations, everything, the dude that drew all that is right behind the computer right now. He hand drew it with his team, animated it, made it into visuals, mixed it all in the computer, and projected it in front of everyone. It’s crazy, it’s a lot of work and we’re super stoked with our team and everyone who has made it possible.
Where do you see yourselves going, what’s in the works next?
Matt: The thing we’ve been working on now has been the album. We’ve been saying it for a few months now, but we thought we’d be done with it. We’ve taken our time with it making sure it’s all perfect before we put it out. That’s why we’re releasing the EPs and stuff. Still keeping music out there, new music and old music. So really it’s going to be finishing up the album, hopefully to be out mid-next year, but things always change. Our main focus has been that, making more club/festival tracks, also stuff that is not just crazy turn up music.
If you could have one superpower, and why?
Julio and Matt: Teleportation.
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