Julio Mejia and Matt Toth make up GTA, the DJ duo best known for its bass-heavy, main-stage-appropriate EDM sets. From their reserved and humble manner, you’d never know the two play raging DJ sets for giant crowds on the regular. The two will bring the party to Light Nightclub on August 1 and 19. Ahead of their dates, they told us about their impending EP, a new remix EP and what gets them into the groove.
Tell me about your new EP coming up in the fall.
Mejia: It’s called Death to Genres 2. The last EP we put out, [Death to Genres], came out a few months ago. That one was more electronic dance music, overall. But [the new EP] is real chill, the kind of stuff that’s accessible to everyone. For the past few months, we’ve been working with a bunch of different songwriters and producers. It’s a whole other vibe from the first one.
What is it that inspires you guys, especially for this EP?
Toth: One of our inspirations has always been Pharrell and N.E.R.D. We’ve been listening to a lot of stuff from the early 2000s. We listen to the radio a lot, and it really inspired us, seeing what works for them and trying to incorporate that into what we’re doing. We’ve also been trying to expand a little on it, and trying to put more vocals into our songs.
With which vocalists are you’re working?
Mejia: We’ve been working mostly with songwriters, and we’ve been working with a girl from the San Fernando Valley, Sam Bruno. The last EP, we had Sam on that one. We’ve also been working with rapper Stoppa. Through them, we’ve been learning how to write more radio-accessible music, but put our touch on it.
Do you rely on the vocalists for the lyrical aspect? Or do you like to do it yourselves?
Mejia: Matt and I are producers, first and foremost.
Toth: We’re terrible at writing.
Was completing this work a major goal of yours?
Toth: A lot of the goals we’ve had in the past, we’ve hit, as far as major festivals and stuff like that. Now we’re trying to put out a body of work, like an EP, that has a lot more thought and work put into it than just music. There are going to be some surprises there.
Can you explain that?
Mejia: We’re trying to come up with a story for the EP. Throughout the entire EP, there’s going to be a story that’s being told. We’re still in the process of writing it, but it’s all going to be in a certain order that tells that story.
You also have a “remix EP” for Death to Genres coming out soon. What does that mean?
Toth: We had a bunch of our friends remix all the songs from our first EP, and we’re looking to put that out in a few weeks. We have people like Crookers, Falcons, Kill the Noise … They all did remixes, and it’s kind of all over the place.
Do you decide who does which remix, or do you leave that up to the record label?
Toth: The label has some suggestions. [But] we ask these guys personally to do it.
So you’ve got the EP thing down; do you ever plan to create a full-length album?
Toth: From the looks of this one, I think it’s getting close to that. This album has 12 tracks, 10 tracks, something like that. We have like 20 songs that are pretty much done. And probably 50 [unfinished] ideas that are still there, so it could definitely be done. We don’t want to overdo it, because we realized that a lot of people do full-length albums and many of the songs end up getting [ignored] and swept under the rug.
How do you get in the zone to make music in the studio?
Toth: We like incense. Nag Champa.
That’s it? You just light incense?
Mejia: We also [play] Mario Kart.