This page: Martin wears a shirt by YEEZY SEASON 3.
“Work twice as hard as anyone else. If you really want this, you have to put everything into it.” -Martin Garrix
Martin Garrix is living proof that a strong worth ethic and a positive attitude will bring you far in life. The music prodigy has done more before he hit twenty than many do in a lifetime. As a world renowned DJ, producer and musician he has traveled around the globe playing sold-out venues and doing residencies at famed nightclubs – and he can’t even drink yet! While constantly being on tour and in the studio might be enough for most, Garrix somehow found the time to start his own label, STMPD RCRDS and he still manages to fit in benefit shows for non-profit organizations, including SOS Children’s Villages, Fuck Cancer and War Child.
The Untitled Magazine paired up with Garrix fresh off of the debut of his latest single, “Scared to Be Lonely,” which also features the amazingly talented, Dua Lipa. We got the story behind the song, the lowdown on his favorite collaborators and the musicians he can’t wait to work with (we’re looking at you, Pharrell). Check out the exclusive interview and photo shoot and catch Martin Garrix on the road now. He currently is currently on a world tour and will be playing Coachella and much, much more.
The Untitled Magazine: How did you get your start in music?
Martin Garrix: I’ve always played music since I was a little kid. My parents are very musical people as well, they think it’s very important to play an instrument, that’s why I started playing guitar and piano. So I guess music has always been a very important part of my life.
UM: Were you always interested in electronic or did you start with live instruments?
MG: I started playing piano and guitar, but liked guitar way more so I focused on that. Even now, I play it a lot when I write my music and sometimes for a live TV performance. When I got a bit older, when I was about eight or night, my mum was watching the opening ceremony of the Olympics and told me, ‘come see this! There’s a Dutch Dj opening the Olympics!’ So I watched his performance and fell in love with electronic music instantly. That’s what I’ve always wanted to produce. I bought a Dj mixer to learn how to mix records and got some free producer software and started messing around with beats.
UM: We read that you were inspired to get into DJing after seeing Tiesto perform. Is that true? Who are some of your other music influences?
MG: Yes that’s true. I get inspired by so many different artists from a lot of different genres. Daft Punk, Twenty One Pilots, Flume or Pharrell for example. He not only inspires me with his music, but also as a person. He’s always so positive, calm and nice. I really respect him and hope one day we can hit the studio together!
UM: Last year you founded your own record label, STMPD RCRDS, can you tell us about your inspiration for the label?
MG: I started STMPD as I felt the need to release more music without any restrictions and have total freedom of what and when I can put out. Besides that I love to find new musical talent and help them where I can, I want STMPD to be a platform for those people.
UM: You’ve worked with so many talented musicians, are there any particular collaborations that have stood out for you?
MG: My collab with Usher [for “Don’t Look Down“] was super special. When we were in the studio together, I was like: “Holy Sh*t! This is Usher I’m sitting next to!!!” I’ve been a fan of his music since I was young, so it felt very unreal to be working with him. He’s such an amazing person and I love his voice. And of course I loved working with both Bebe Rexha for “In The Name Of Love” and Dua Lipa on “Scared To Be Lonely” recently. Both very different voices, but so unique. I love it!
UM: You play the guitar when you perform “In The Name of Love” with Bebe Rexha. How does it feel to play a live instrument as opposed to DJing? Do you prefer one over the other?
MG: It is very different. First, because it’s a TV performance, which is totally the opposite of playing in front of a massive screaming crowd at a festival. So normally when I’m performing on stage as a DJ, I can be quite nervous before I go on. But I can really get into my stage mood and get super pumped and it just feels like one big party when I’m playing and get the response from the fans in the crowd. It’s one of my favorite things in the world actually. Playing guitar is great too, the feeling of making live music on a stage with a band feels magical! But I think I will always prefer DJing.
UM: You have residencies at famous night clubs but in the United States but you can’t legally drink yet! How does it feel to be so young in a scene that often resolves around nightlife? I heard that you often have to wait in a holding room until you go on at some venues because of the legalities.
MG: Yes that’s true! To be honest I never really think about my age. I don’t think it really matters. I just love what I do and don’t think age is important in music. But I have to admit, the first time I played Vegas it was very weird, as I had to wait in my hotel room to get picked up by security and play at the venue downstairs. Normally I would always get in a little earlier, to see the crowd and check out other DJs, but now I had to go in without any warm up. I’m used to it now, I love playing Omnia in Las Vegas as it’s just one of the most beautiful venues, crowd is amazing and the team feels like family as I play there so often.
UM: You are the subject of an upcoming documentary, What We Started, with Carl Cox. Can you tell us about that?
MG: Yes! About three years ago the director of the documentary approached me with the idea, which I loved and we started working from there. They followed me at my Ultra gig in Miami, they came to New York where we sat down and talked about my career and lots of other stuff for a long time and met up at some other moments over two years time. It was a very interesting time as my career was really kicking off by that time. At the same time they followed Carl Cox in his career. The documentary gives an insight of the rise of Electronic Music. Where it started and how big it is now. It’s about the different musical genres, the club scene, the big festivals and so on. I’ve seen the end result already and think it’s really really great and a lot of people will love watching it.
UM: What was your inspiration for your latest release, “Scared to Be Lonely?”
MG: I was working on this song in the studio for some months, I kept changing things, but always had a favorite version. When writing the lyrics, I felt like the song needed a very unique, beautiful strong vocal as it’s a very emotional song. That’s when I thought of Dua Lipa. I love the sound of her voice and I’m so happy with the result. When she recorded the vocals, I was like ‘Yes, now it’s right!’ Everything just fell into place.
UM: You have a jam packed career! How do you balance everything?
MG: When I’m not on stage or in the studio. I love to spend time with my family and childhood friends. They are my everything. I try to get as much energy as possible from the things I do in my life. Positive energy is key!
UM: Any words of wisdom or life mottos?
MG: A lot of young DJ/Producers ask me what they should do to have a career in music and I always tell them they should always try to work twice as hard as anyone else. If you really want this, you have to put everything into it.
MG: Yes, I think it’s important to support good causes. I recently went to South Africa to visit another charity I support – SOS Children’s Villages. The work they do is amazing and I’m so happy I can do things to help them. I’ve grown up in an amazing environment, with amazing loving parent and without them I wouldn’t be where I am now. But worldwide 1 out of 10 children is growing up without the loving care of a parent or is at risk of losing parental care. 220 million children do grow up alone. SOS Children’s Villages gives these children a family, a community and a promise of a brighter future.
UM: Do you have any passion projects or side hobbies other than music?
UM: What’s coming up for you in the next few months we can look out for?
MG: A lot of new Martin Garrix music!
Photography by Indira Cesarine for The Untitled Magazine
Grooming by Isaac @ Wilhelmina