Exclusive: GTA On Ultra 2018, 'Death To Genres,' & 3 Night Stand U.S. Tour
Regular attendees of the three-day event since 2008, the pair of Miami natives-turned L.A. transplants are now marking their fourth career appearance at the festival as performers – this year taking the 9 p.m. Sunday night set at the Ultra Worldwide stage to kick out jams to a raging crowd numbering well into the tens of thousands.
It might sound like a high-pressure situation, but by now this is old hat for the globetrotting duo, who can already count touring with Rihanna, collaborations with Diplo and Martin Solveig, marquee remixes by Skrillex, and countless domestic and international festival appearances among their career merit badges.
Sitting with us backstage at Ultra just before their set, it's easy to see that the experience has paid off. Their calm, easy-going demeanor belies the explosive energy and bombast they are about to dish out on the Worldwide stage as they rip through their trademark genre-defying stable of party tracks. In the brief time the boys had before they needed to begin their pre-show prep, they were able to share with us some insight into the surprising depth of their musical palettes, the intriguing concept behind their current U.S. 3 Night Stand tour, and a bit about what it's like coming home for their fourth Ultra Music Festival victory lap.
So we know that you're from Miami. How does it feel to have everyone descend on your hometown for these festivities?
Toth: Being from Miami, we have our parents here. They get to come and check us out and see us play big shows, which they barely ever get to do. We have so many fans, and people that we grew up with from here, that are going to be in the crowd. They come every year just to support and to have a great time at Ultra.
Mejia: It's also really cool being able to see all of our producer friends from Twitter and online. Just getting to put a face to a name and being able to connect, with everyone being in town.
Nothing like your hometown, right?
Mejia: For sure. 3-0-5 'til I die! (laughs)
What makes Ultra different that other festivals for you guys?
Toth: Well, I first got into electronic music by coming here. 2008 was my first one, and I just fell in love with the music and the crowd, and just everything about [the festival]. We'd pretty much come every year until we started touring, and then we got to play here. So now I get to be like, "hey, I used to be down there with you guys!"
Mejia: I actually used to work here [at Ultra]. My cousin got me the job – shout out to Chris! That was when I first got into electronic music. And obviously being in Miami and having all your friends and family around, you can't compare that to anything else. That's why Ultra is so special for us.
That makes sense – it's very full-circle for you guys. So after years of buzz and attention from major artists, what finally led you to release your first full-length album (Good Times Ahead) in 2016?
Toth: It was a personal goal of ours, to put together this big body of work and have it all be cohesive. We're usually very all over the place – doing lots of different things with different kinds of sounds,.so it was kind of a challenge for us to make something that works together and is one big project.
Mejia: The overall experience, like he said, was a bit challenging at first. Our whole thing has always been "death to genres," which is our way of saying: we love all kinds of music, we love listening to, making and playing all kinds of music. The challenge was making an album that sounds like everything – and all one thing – at once.
Let's talk a little bit about the collaboration you recently did – "Talkin' Bout," with Dyro.
Toth: We've been fans of his for a while; you know, playing out his music, and he plays our stuff. So he just hit us up [on Twitter], like "Hey, I'd really love to work on a song with you guys." We met up in L.A. and hung out in the studio and pretty much made the whole song in that one day. So many of our connections have been through social media – I mean, [Julio and I] even met through Facebook.
Mejia: It's so crazy to see how easy it is to make a connection with somebody across the world. I mean, [Dyro] is from Holland. It's so crazy.
Is there anything else that you're working on right now that you're excited about, that you can share?
Toth: We just put out an EP on Mad Decent – Death To Genres (Vol. 3). There's four tracks on there [featuring collaborations with Anna Lunoe, Dillon Francis, FIDLAR, Big Mack, and more]. We are also in the middle of our 3 Night Stand tour. We're doing five different cities, and are in each city for three nights, three shows in a row. Each night is based around a different genre, themed to a color.
Toth: The first night is house and techno, that's all purple-color themed. The second is moombahton and Latin music – big-room club kind of stuff – that's the yellow night. Then we have rap, trap and bass on the third night, which is all red themed. It's really cool, because we get to really go into each genre. Usually we're mixing it all together in one hour, or like an hour and a half, but now we get to dedicate each night to a specific sound and really show people all the stuff that we love. We have the last shows in L.A. next week at the Echoplex, come check us out!
Mejia: Yeah! Echo Park, stand up!
Single-night and three-day passes to the final shows of GTA's 3 Night Stand Tour at the Echoplex in L.A. on March 30 – April 1 are still available. Show dates and further details about their other upcoming festival appearance this summer can be found on their official website.