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DJ duo GTA on bringing electronic music to Meadows Festival

By Allison DiBarba
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Well, folks, the time has finally come. It’s officially the last weekend of the summer. You could easily spend the next three days moping around thinking about good times past, or you can send off summer in true New York style: with an epic bang. The Meadows Festival returns to NYC this weekend to help you do just that. Featuring a star-studded musical lineup of world-renowned and locally buzzy acts, the three-day affair is perfect for lovers of all genres and styles. And, let’s be real, what’s a music festival without a little EDM?

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Meadows Festival

Lucky for us, Miami-based DJ duo GTA is here to supply just that. With a chart-topping debut album under its belt, GTA returns to NYC this weekend for not one, but two sure-to-be-unforgettable performances. In addition to the set on the Meadows Festival lineup on Sunday afternoon, the guys will be headlining Saturday night’s official after-party at Schimanski in Brooklyn. We caught up with the duo to find out what exactly they have in store for New Yorkers this weekend. 

What role has New York played in your music careers?

New York was one of the first places we performed as a group, maybe four or five years ago. We’ve grown from playing small clubs like Webster Hall and Terminal 5 to huge festivals like Meadows. Webster Hall as a venue was probably the most notable for us, though. One of our first sold-out solo shows was there almost three years ago. It’s such a legendary venue; we’re definitely sad it’s gone. We would go there even when we weren’t performing. It was just a great place to see shows. New York rappers like Jay-Z were also a big inspiration to our music. The whole vibe of the city is really unique.

GTA is one of the few electronic acts on the bill at Meadows Festival. How did you go about preparing for this set? Is it different than how you prepare for a solely electronic music festival like Electric Zoo?

For this kind of set, we would make more edits that are in different genres: a lot more rock and pop edits, as opposed to only electronic. Our strong point is that we really blend all these different types of genres together well, so it’ll definitely be a fun set. We’ll probably play more electronic, Electric Zootype music at the after-party, but it really all depends on the vibes of the crowd. We only have an hour at the festival, so we really have to make sure we get certain songs in there. For a club or after-party, we kind of just wing it, reading the crowd and playing what we want. We got billed to do three hours, so we’re going to get real weird with it. We’ll bring the good times like we always do.

That leads to the next question: Where did the name GTA come from, and what does it mean?

Good Times Ahead! When we first started working together, we weren’t sure what the hell to call ourselves. We thought of going with Grand Theft Auto, but it turned out the video game already had it trademarked. So we just left it at GTA and tried to think of what it could mean. We landed on Good Times Ahead because it encompasses everything we want our music to stand for. There’s so much negative energy out there, and we just want to bring good times. Good Times Ahead, that’s who we are. Sometimes you just need to find yourself, and that’s what we did.

You guys haven’t had any new releases since your debut album Good Times Ahead last October. What’s up with that? Can we expect any new GTA music soon?

Well, we just put out a track on Vince Staples' new album, Big Fish Theory. The track's called "Love Can Be." We’re also working on a bunch of other projects with big-name artists who we can’t disclose yet. We're focusing on different vibes this time around, going back to the club. People can expect a lot of new music at our Meadows set this weekend. We have been purposely keeping quiet about our new music, and we’re taking a different approach than we usually do. If you want to cry tears of joy and sweat and jump and have a lot of fun, then you should definitely be there.

What are your most memorable fan moments? Let’s see if we can get New Yorkers to top them this weekend!

[Laughs.] On Holy Ship, we started doing this event where we host karaoke and go out and sing with fans. We both love System of a Down, so we always sneak it in there and go crazy on the mic. We actually did a karaoke meet and greet with some fans before our performance at Exchange LA in July. Then there was the first time we were in China. We were doing a small tour in some really small towns, not Beijing or major cities like that. We got off the plane and were mobbed at the airport by 30 or so fans. They were holding giant cutouts of our heads and stuff. I didn’t even know we had that many fans out there!

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