Martin Garrix continues an incredible run of form in the Top 100 DJs poll, with his No.3 spot marking the seventh year that he’s maintained in the top five — having been top three for the past five years — since first entering the chart in 2013. Following last year’s results, the 24-year-old Dutchman was announced as the official music artist of EURO2020, following in the footsteps of David Guetta, who delivered the official music for EURO2016. In March, in the closing episode of season four of The Martin Garrix Show, Garrix was shown working alongside composer and pianist Giorgio Tuinfort as a symphony recorded the music they wrote together for the tournament. It would, unfortunately, be delayed until June 2021 due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, but it demonstrates the incredible heights the young Dutchman continues to push in his career.
In June, Garrix also revealed his newly refurbished STMPD studio complex. The new facility, which has been under refurbishment for the past three years, has already welcomed the likes of Young Thug, Big Sean, and One Republic. The new complex has a 360-degree approach, with music, film and advertising all catered for across multiple studios, making it what he describes as “the most advanced studio complex in The Netherlands”.
Despite the coronavirus pandemic putting a stopper to live shows across the world, fans have still been able to access some big performances from Garrix, with him playing a set from the rooftop of the A’Dam Tower for the 2020 King’s Day celebrations, and Tomorrowland’s digital festival. “I loved playing the sets even though it was very different without an audience, of course,” he tells DJ Mag. “It at least gave me the feeling of being on stage again. I really miss that.”
Speaking about what he’s been doing during lockdown, Garrix explains that he’s “been making loads and loads of new music”, and it’s clear he’s managed to maintain creativity, with ‘Fire’ featuring Elderbrook, ‘Higher Ground’ and ‘Drown’ all landing this year. “The only upside of this is that I’ve got to spend so much time in the studio,” he tells DJ Mag about the COVID-19 lockdown. “But I do have to say that I miss being able to be together in the studio with artists I collaborate with. For example, ‘Fire’ with Elderbrook was made almost completely via WhatsApp and FaceTime. I absolutely loved working with him and I love the end result, but I wish we could have experienced that magical studio moment together.”
Garrix also says that the break from touring has afforded him some much-needed down-time, including the chance to spend a lot of time windsurfing. “It has helped me to wind down,” he explains. “I’ve had my first actual holiday in years and being on the water helps me to shut off my thoughts and only focus on one thing.”
Looking to the future, Garrix says he has some very exciting projects in the pipeline that he can’t reveal the details of yet, but adds that he feels like he’s been “making some of the best music I’ve ever made the last couple of months. It’s coming your way soon!”
What three things have most helped you through coronavirus lockdown?
“Friends, family and music.”
What lessons should the industry learn from this crisis?
“I think lots of organisations and artists have shown their creativity in the past couple of months, which is amazing. Also for me, I’ve learned that sometimes it’s good to hit the pause button and take some time off.”
What steps need to be taken to address the racism in the dance music scene?
“It’s very important to continue addressing these issues. Keep the conversation going.”
What industry changes are you personally pushing for to make the dance music scene more inclusive?
“I always treat people around me the way I want to be treated myself. With STMPD RCRDS we’re really trying to showcase a diverse array of artists, no matter what genre, background etc. Same goes for the people I work with. However, I do think this is definitely something we need to keep working on and can improve to hopefully lead by example in the future.”
What’s the greatest dance music track of all time?
“There are so many great ones, so that’s very hard, but ‘Levels’ by Avicii is still one of my favourites of all time.”