The world's number one DJ spoke with Marko Kutlesa about the his musical roots, the drawbacks of fame, collaborations and productions.
Date published: 22nd Nov 2017
Still only 21 years of age, Dutch EDM DJ Martin Garrix was voted DJ Mag's number one DJ consecutively in 2016 and 2017. He is the youngest person ever to achieve the public voted accolade.
Inspired to enter dance music by witnessing his compatriot Tiesto, who discovered him, he signed to leading Dutch EDM label Spinnin' Records in 2012 where he released 'Error 404' and 'Animals'. Both 'Animals' and his remix of Sander Van Doorn and Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike's 'Project T' were global hits in 2013 and scored Beatport number one's, making Garrix the youngest artist to ever have achieved such.
This success lead to collaborations with the likes of Afrojack, Hardwell, Usher, Ed Sheeran (as yet unreleased), Tiesto, David Guetta and Avicii. With almost every release since then proving successful, it's no surprise to have seen him quickly become a popular headliner at large scale festivals like Tomorrowland and Ultra Music events worldwide. In 2016 he launched his own STMPD RCRDS label and won Best Electronic Act and Best World Stage Performance awards at the MTV European Music Awards.
Hi Martin! How was your first season at Hi!Ibiza? Will you be returning to the island for another residency in 2018?
Hi! I absolutely loved it! It is such a great club with a good vibe. Of course I'd love to return.
Why do you think the Dutch are so successful in dance music?
Ha! They always say it’s something in the water here. I think we have a big advantage in that the scene's been very big over here for such a long time. And because our country is pretty small you run into each other a lot. It’s a very friendly scene as well which means that everyone is supportive and willing to help each other out.
When you were learning to play guitar, who were your guitar heroes?
It might sound a bit boring, but my dad was actually my first and foremost inspiration to start playing music. I grew up with music all around me because of my family, so that is where my love for music started rather than any particular famous musicians.
What are the drawbacks of achieving a quite intense level of fame? Is it as easy to socialise now and meet all different kinds of new people?
Hmmm, I still meet a lot of great people actually. And I think I have gotten better over time with sensing whether people want to be my friend for other reasons.
You've achieved a lot at a young age. Who keeps you grounded?
I have amazing people around me like my team, my friends and my family who have known me for such a long time now. They aren’t afraid to speak up and make sure that both my feet stay on the ground.
You've collaborated with a lot of people in the past. Some of them are now crazy busy, like you. If busy schedules did not exist, which of your previous collaborators would you choose to go to the studio with tomorrow, to hang out with and make some great ideas and music?
That’s a difficult question because I would love to work with all of them again. Ha! I think it would be interesting to see what would come out of the studio sessions for a second collaboration, which I've not done so many of.
Do you have any ambitions outside of your music production and DJing career?
At the moment music is my one and only focus. So my ambitions career wise are all focused right now on music. But I do also enjoy working with young talent on STMPD RCRDS, that nurturing aspect I also enjoy. Helping them just like others have helped me through my career, I guess.
You headlined Creamfields this year in the UK, how was that?
It was so amazing. Creamfields is huge and it’s always an honour to play there.
And you’ll be making your debut this weekend headlining the Steel Yard on Liverpool Waterfront. Have you seen the structure? Are you excited?
Absolutely. The construction looks crazy. I'm really looking forward to bringing our production there. I think it will look totally amazing. And of course I can’t wait to party with everyone there.
What have you got forthcoming on STMPD RCRDS and what do you have forthcoming from yourself?
We will be releasing so many amazing tracks on STMPD. There will definitely be a lot of varied artists and various genres coming up. I’m really looking forward to that. And I have a lot of Martin Garrix music which I can’t wait to release either!