In an exclusive interview, Martin Garrix spills the beans about his latest collaboration with Bono and The Edge
Martin Garrix may only be 25, but the Dutch DJ and producer has already completed a decade in the music industry. The Netherlands-born musician achieved worldwide fame in 2013 after he released the track Animals which was followed by hits such as Turn Up The Speakers, Helicopters, and Gold Skies. In his career, he not only produced dance anthems but also collaborated with the best artistes from the R&B and pop industries.
However, recently he made headlines as Sony Music Netherlands released the official UEFA EURO 2020 song, We Are The People. It features Garrix with rock icons and U2 legends — Bono and The Edge. It was released shortly before the commencement of the ongoing tournament and the song is a pulsating number, summing up the sheer exhilaration fans might feel during the championships as they cheer for their favourite teams. Martin’s collaboration with U2 was kept under wraps for more than one year. And when the song came out, fans were thrilled to see their favourite DJ with the Irish rock legends. It was indeed rather unique to see the coming together of traditional rock music and progressive electronic beats.
A surreal experience
Martin vividly recalls the first time he received a call from the tournament’s management about the song. He exclaims that the making of the song was a splendid experience. It was a coming together of three musicians who have legions of fans worldwide, across different generations from different genres of music. “I still remember the day I got a call from UEFA. My first response, when they reached out to me to do the music for the tournament, was disbelief. And when things were confirmed and started to materialise, it went from disbelief to nervousness. As I felt a wave of different emotions, what I also felt was excitement. I was extremely grateful that they put their trust in me. It was surreal,” Martin reveals.
The song was released close on the heels of Martin’s 25th birthday, but in a span of a decade, he has had remarkable success. We Are The People is a glowing addition to his discography but before his current collaboration, the DJ also had his presence in several genres of music partnering with Usher, Dua Lipa, and Khalid among others. The music festivals in which he performs gets sold out in no time. Some of the festivals he has performed at include Tomorrowland in 2018, Amsterdam Dance Event in 2019, Main Square Festival, and India's very own Sunburn Goa in 2019. He also garners billions of views on his Youtube channel and has a strong social media presence with nearly 16 million followers on Instagram. With his pulsating pop and rock edm tracks, Martin has made an entire generation of millennials dance to his tunes. His rise in the edm industry is nothing short of meteoric and he is one of the youngest dJs to break into the top 5. Apart from creating music, Martin also owns a record label and has been the world’s #1 DJ for three consecutive years.
In the studio with U2
Coming back to the song, it captures the feeling of euphoria which matches the vibe of the EURO 2020. We were curious to know the story behind how the song took shape. “I had the song’s demo and it sounded similar to the edge and Bono's work. The guitar tunings especially brought a familiarity to me. And then we were talking about who would be incredible to have as part of the song. Let me be honest here, I didn’t even think for one second that bono and the edge would agree to this. The idea felt impossible. But, the team persuaded me and told me that if i don’t ask, I will always have no answer. Reluctantly, I ended up sending the demo over and a few hours later, I was on the phone with Bono talking about the song. He sang the melody lines and I had to mute myself on the call just to scream in excitement and then unmute and play it cool. It was just crazy because the last thing that I expected was for him to be so openminded and cool. He was, from day one, excited and super-involved,” he reveals.
The MTV Europe Music Awards winner also shares that he flew down to record Bono’s part. He calls the whole experience wholesome and adds, “To be in the studio next to Bono was exhilarating, his voice is truly iconic. I had goosebumps during the entire session. And after the first take, I thought it was perfect and we should wrap up. but the man loves singing so much that he gave us other takes as options. And speaking of The Edge, I remember when I was stuck with the main section of the track, which happens to be the melodious part, he came in and helped with the hook. Everybody associated contributed to making the final product what it is today. What an exciting experience this has been!”
All for football
The UEFA EURO is perhaps the biggest sports event being held post-lockdown. It kickstarted on June 11 and football lovers have been ecstatic because all the venues have been given clearance to host fans. To make it even bigger, the tournament is being held in 11 host cities across the continent for the first time in the championship’s history. UEFA’s marketing director, Guy Laurent epstein, who believes that football and music bring people together also says that the song is an anthem of freedom. We asked Martin how he would describe the theme of his song and he elaborates, “We took a lot of inspiration from how football made us feel and how it unites and brings groups of individuals together. On the track, we tried hard to capture that feeling of excitement and happiness. The best thing about this song is that we wrote it before COVid-19 happened. But, I feel like right now, or at least I hope, it will resonate with everyone even more because in general, the world needs something hopeful, and uplifting especially after a year we had.``
The musician also tells us that he is quite fond of the game, “I have always loved the euro Games and other world cups because sports often gets everyone in the family under the same roof. I love that vibe — coming together,” he reveals adding, “And I do love to play football with my friends frequently. As for the UEFA EURO, I am rooting for the Netherlands of course.”
Martin on his inspirations
“There are so many artistes and musicians that inspire me. There are genres of music that I haven’t tapped in yet and cannot wait to explore. But if I have to pick, I would love to collaborate with Shawn Mendes.”
Martin’s message for his fan clubs in India
“I absolutely love the country and I love you guys. I cannot wait to come back and party with you all once it’s safe.”
In the pipeline
While martin has been prepping and creating the song for this tournament, he tells us that he was also simultaneously working on his dream project. With We The People already receiving millions of views, Martin tells us that he feels a deep sense of joy and shares a sneak peek at what’s in store for him. “I have been working on something super exciting, for five years now with my dear friend, Maejor, an American songwriter and singer. He also produced music for video games including NBA 2K and FIFA. The project has an interesting premise and is about two aliens that crash on Planet Earth. we have an amazing animation team behind us who help us to animate the journey of the aliens. The concept is based on how mankind would look at humans if they weren’t human. And, the music is different from my regular tunes. I play the guitar and also sing background vocals. Maejor is rapping, singing, and playing drums,” the singer elaborates about his upcoming project.
At the end of the interview, he says that it has been over a year since he got up on the stage, played at any festival, or had crowds of thousands groove to his music. But, he also mentions how grateful he is for the time he got during the lockdown. “Also, this year I had so much time for myself because there was no touring, so besides a lot of new music, we’ve also been working on a full album with AREA21. This pandemic has given me a chance to spend maximum time in my studio and allowed me to create and explore new things,” signs off Martin.
We Are The People is streaming on all online platforms.