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Interview

Martin Garrix, the youngest ever Beatport #1 spot-holder, speaks about the journey so far

By Dan Carter
garrix

Holland-based youngblood Martin Garrix has not rested on the laurels of his tender age, though it seldom goes unnoticed. In fact, yesterday he became the youngest producer to ever top the Beatport 100 chart on his own, with his brand-new offering, “Animals.” That record deal with Spinnin and a consistent run of peak-time anthems has sent the 17-year-old producer into overdrive for 2013, and with further new material brewing alongside Dillon Francis and Sidney Samson, there’s no sign of letting up anytime soon. Beatport News sat down with the young Dutch frontrunner to talk breaking out, remixing Christina Aguilera, and making childhood dreams a teenage reality.

It seems fair to say that the momentum since 2012 has been relentless for you. How are you feeling about the journey so far?

Last year was hectic to say the least. I met a lot of new people and found myself ghost-producing for some crazy guys. Along the way I signed with Spinnin Records in the end of June and things just went into overdrive from there. The collaborations with Julian Jordan and Sidney Samson went down incredibly well. By end of 2012, I was asked to do an official remix for Christina Aguilera, which was originally for a small remix EP but it ended up as the only official remix on the album. Then earlier this year I signed to Ace Agency and from there the live element has also exploded. It feels good to be where I am now.

Despite the now global presence you hold over dance music, your ties have very much remained with Dutch strongholds Spinnin Records and Ace Agency. Is your Dutch ancestry something you think has made a considerable difference to your career so far?

Everybody expects a special level from the Dutch guys, so there is a lot of pressure. You can be on holiday in somewhere like Turkey and tell someone you are a DJ, and they would just shrug it off. But when you mention you are from The Netherlands, there is just this unwritten idea that if you survived the competition, you are worth checking out. There are so many DJs from The Netherlands, so naturally that works both for and against you. That being said, when I signed with Spinnin last year, it felt like I had joined the biggest family in European dance music. I like that family element you get with being from this side of the pond, and being with guys like Ace Agency and Spinnin hits that home for me. You can be on the other side of the world and then bump into these guys and feel like you are long-lost friends reunited. To that extent, being Dutch is an absolute blessing.

Talk us through how your sound has developed over the years and how you have found the task of catering to dance music’s vast array of fans.

When I was six, I started playing classical Spanish guitar. Many years down the line I wanted to do something with these melodies in my head, [so I] downloaded FL Studio and started producing hardstyle. Eventually it became a lot housier and I found my place with a sound that was suitable for both records and club crowds. There is always a lot of melody, but at the same time it is fair to say the music has got heavier in places to fit the festival crowds. There is a lot of competition and of course, quality is a big deal. For me it is just about making music that you yourself love to hear. That feels like a good way to be sure what you are putting out is up to the challenge given all the different avenues we see in dance music.

Amid your spree of collaborations, “Torrent” alongside Sidney Samson was a firm indicator of the attention you were getting. How did it feel to unite with such a renowned national peer so early in your career?

Last summer I played three times at Privilege and ended up sharing the bill with Sidney. We met a few times and it turned out we had a lot in common. He told me to send some stuff over because he was curious to hear my studio sound and when he got it, he asked to hang out in the studio to make “Torrent.” To begin with, I was nervous, as he is a huge name, but then you realize he is just a really cool and fun person to work with. The follow-up to “Torrent” came so naturally, it never felt like just hard work. That makes all the difference.

Given your significantly young age, have there been any big milestones of challenging aspects you have been proud to leap over?

Festivals definitely took a bit of getting used to. I was really nervous to play Mysteryland for the first time. It is such a huge deal for house music lovers over here in Holland, and for me, when I got the booking confirmation, I couldn’t believe it. It felt like my days as a background DJ were finally over and it was a real “what the fuck” moment. Remixing Christina was also a huge challenge. The original is everything but house, and at 102 BPM, it was really hard to put it in a housey jacket. I was proud to pull it off that way.


How is the summer ahead looking, and can we expect much more studio work from you over the months to come?

Now that I am with Ace Agency there looks to be a lot more global bookings. Collaboration-wise, I have a track with Dillon Francis enroute, the follow-up to “Torrent” with Sidney, and two new tracks with Julian [Jordan]. I have hooked up with Carnage and of course the new track with TV Noise. We also just premiered “Animals,” which is going to be a huge solo record for me and has already had a lot of cool support. I will also be hitting Ibiza a lot and extending my name with a lot more global tour dates throughout.