Matthew Christian (left in the above picture) and Jacob Holzman (the other one) are the two Connecticut-based artists who make up GLD. As a duo, they’ve supported huge artists such as A-Trak and Flosstradamus. Every great team has an origin story though, but we’ll let them tell it themselves.
How’d you guys meet, and why did you start producing music together?
Jake: It was a long time ago. I was in high school, but Mattie, you weren’t anymore, right?
Matt: I was probably out of high school for a year or so and had been touring with a band.
Jake: And I had a recording studio.
Matt: He had a recording studio and was friends with one of my friends that was in my band we were looking to record an EP with.
Jake: We connected because I was also in bands, but I produced weird electronic music on the side. We both had a love for making music on the computer. We would aways share each others’ ideas on other projects.
We actually ended up being in a band together, but then I went away to college and when I came back, that’s when we got back together and started making trap music. It was dope!
Growing up in Connecticut, what was the music scene like? What did you listen to?
Matt: For me, it was more hardcore music, punk music, stuff like that. I was always inspired by all different styles of music, because I grew up on hip hop and R&B. I went to art school, so jazz music was big in my life and we connected on that as well.
Jake: See, I didn’t grow up in Connecticut. I grew up for the most part in California, but I moved all over. I lived in Vermont for a little while too. My mom was a musical person so she would always expose me to jazz and all styles of music. Growing up, we were similar in that.
As far as in Connecticut, we both grew up being influenced by the punk rock scene. I got into hip hop a little bit with DJing as well, but the bigger influence was definitely the rock scene there.
Best experience you’ve had so far since you’ve started making music?
Jake: Probably this past weekend [in Houston], definitely. There’s been some crazy times like in Brooklyn at Mad Decent when Drake showed up. That shit was crazy.
Matt: When A-Trak brought us out to Yale, that was crazy too.
Jake: Oh yeah, that was cool too. On the lawn of Yale. Growing up in Connecticut, too — you know Yale. You always hear about how Yale is such a big deal. One of the big venues is right by it, so you’re always near it, but to actually play on the green turning up with Vince Staples and A-Trak was crazy.
You recently played in Houston. How’d it feel to play in a city for the first time?
Matt: Houston was great. The whole thing was insane.
Jake: I think my favorite part about traveling with music is meeting people in a different place that are so into the same thing you are. People chasing their dreams in the same type of way. People in Houston were exactly that: on their grind, so stoked to meet us and have fun. We partied pretty hard.
As a growing artist, who are your inspirations you look up to? How has it influenced your sound?
Matt: I think we pull inspiration from wherever, whoever we can. There’s a lot of different artists besides EDM DJs or producers that also inspire us. I’d say Flosstradamus is definitely a huge inspiration to us.
Jake: Yeah, especially after meeting them and working with them for so long. You just see what someone’s work ethic is and what makes them successful, and that inspired us a lot.
Me being a drummer, and growing up a drummer, I have different drummers that inspire and influence me. Dave Weckl is a huge one. You’ll hear certain drum fills in our music that if I wasn’t into Dave Weckl’s drumming, you wouldn’t hear. We draw inspirations from little things like that too. As far as acts we take inspiration from, I’d say MGK is someone we take a lot of influence from.
Matt: This band Stick to Your Guns too. If you see some of our videos, you’ll see a diamond logo on my back, which is their patch. I’ve always been drawn to them. I try to incorporate their guitar tones into our music often.
Tell us a bit about your debut EP on Fool’s Gold and your favorite track on there.
Jake: So two years ago A-Trak hit us up in our emails. It was a crazy big deal. He asked us to do an EP. We had already wanted to do an EP, so we had five tracks ready to go. We sent them through. They thought they were cool.
Then while we were perfecting those tracks, we started a remix for them, ‘taking shots,’ which is when we brought out the guitars for the first time and tried the rock thing, which we’ve always wanted to do. It worked out so well they said, “Let’s do an EP of this.” So we scrapped the whole thing. We worked on the tracks for a long time, and it feels so good to finally release it.
Matt: My favorite track is probably “riotz_.”
Jake: I think I’m there too.
Matt: We really let our creativity take over on that song. We recorded our own vocals, wrote the lyrics; it brought us back to when we used to compose music in bands together.
Jake: Ideally, what we want to do, is bring back having a message to our music. There’s vocals in electronic music that are pop or turn-up vocals. Rock music always had the ability to have vocals that go against the system or speak with meaning. Rap does that too. Electronic doesn’t do that as much, so with that song we try to do that. I think we got our message across.
So what’s the story with your track names? What’s with the underscore?
Jake: That’s so random. We wanted it to look cool. The name of our first song was literally just “Butts.” There’s so many songs about butts. Honestly, it was kind of making fun of all the songs about butts. So we did it with a z, and the underscores looked cool.
That was the era of Uzi, who is obviously still killing it, but that was when Uzi first came out with trap shit, and branding had different fonts. Everyone had a name without a vowel, or with a ‘v’ instead of an ‘a’. So the underscore was our ‘v’, I guess.
Matt: We were just trying to do something different.
Burger or hot dog?
Pizza or pasta?
Steak or chicken?
Jake: We always try to have aloe water. If it isn’t provided, we buy a bunch and bring it with us. I don’t know if that’s a ritual though.
Matt: We always talked about doing one, but we never actually did it. Wasn’t it take a shot of tequila and do like 20 pushups or something?
Jake: We should start doing that.
Jake: Eat. We always eat. Before there’s stuff to do, like sound checks and what not, but after the set, it’s always sit down and eat some grub. We’ve been at Webster Hall and the pizza guy isn’t there, so after our set we go find food and bring the pizza back to the venue. We gotta eat afterwards.
What’s the next move for GLD in 2017?
Jake: Aside from shows and starting to travel and releasing new music… We really want to turn GLD into a live performance. I’m a drummer, Matt’s a guitarist. People like the Chainsmokers or Linkin Park go into influencers again because they could hybridize genres. That’s the next big move. To do a live act.
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