Martin Garrix On “In The Name Of Love” & His Debut LP: Interview
Martin Garrix struck gold with 2013 club monster “Animals.” The ferocious electro-house anthem topped the charts around the globe and peaked at number 21 on the Billboard Hot 100 — an almost unprecedented feat for an instrumental. Instead of fishing for another crossover pop hit, the 20-year-old decided to focus on crafting tunes for the festival circuit. However, it was only a matter of time before the Dutchman experimented with a more commercial sound and he finds himself with another worldwide smash courtesy of Bebe Rexha-voiced banger “In The Name Of Love.”
I recently caught up with the DJ and asked him how the hit collaboration, which has already racked up a whopping 295 Million streams on Spotify, came together. Martin explained the song’s evolution and revealed that he recently recorded the follow-up. Both tracks will appear on the hitmaker’s much-anticipated debut LP (due early next year). The dance heavyweight revealed that he wants it to be a cohesive body of work and feature songs with a strong emotional pull. Find out more about his plans for 2017 in our Q&A below.
There was quite a gap between “Animals” and “In The Name Of Love.” Why so long between radio singles?
For me, I want to make music that I feel myself. “Animals” was a song that worked at pop radio but I made it without the intention of sending it to radio. I made it to play in my sets and at the festivals and at the clubs. Then suddenly radio starting playing it. In the last couple of years I’ve basically continued making club songs. Because that song went to radio, my festivals and club shows have gotten bigger and bigger. I didn’t feel any pressure and I still don’t feel any pressure.
I wanted to try something new in the studio, experiment with new sounds. I also started my own label recently, which I’m also going to use to try out new things, different sounding stuff. “In the Name of Love” was basically an experiment and it was one of those songs where my team was like, “Yo, we can also push this one to radio.” I’m super happy it’s blowing up, but for me the reason why I wasn’t on radio that much the last two years was because I continued with doing what people know me for, the club Garrix sound.
How did the collaboration come together?
We had a rough demo, with a demo singer on it. [My manager] and I met Bebe in January and she played some unreleased music and I remember leaving that meeting thinking, “Oh my god, her voice is so, so sick.” We had this rough idea for “In the Name of Love” and then we were brainstorming. Who should feature on it? We reached out to Bebe and she loved the song and then did her thing with it. She changed up some stuff and then sent me the vocal parts. I went back in my studio and nerded out, freaked out.
After a little of sending back and forth with Bebe and with my team, there was a version which was as good as done. Then we were like, “Okay, let’s do one more studio session together with Bebe to go over the entire song.” That’s what we did and now we finally have… that’s the version you know right now. It’s been fun. We’ve been experimenting with new sounds, different BPMs, because a lot of people only know my songs on 128 BPM and suddenly it’s 134 now. It turned out so good. I’m about to finish a follow-up this week, which I’m really excited about.
Can you talk about the follow-up?
We can’t give away the name or anything, but we can talk about it. It feels like a follow-up. I’ve been in the studio so much. We have so many different options that we are considering. We had an A&R meeting with my label and I have seven new songs as potential follow-ups. Then it ended up being a complete new idea which is going to be the one. It feels like a follow-up because it gives me the same euphoric feeling, but this one has even deeper lyrics and it’s got more emotion, which I really think is important in a song.
Does it have a featured vocalist on it that people would know?
No. Not yet.
Does it have crossover pop potential?
I don’t want to say that it sounds like “In the Name of Love,” but it’s definitely not like my club songs. After “In the Name of Love” I released seven songs in seven days. Those are the more clubby. Now it’s time for something more pop.
The Seven EP was very cool. Will you continue to release harder club music for your core fans?
Yeah, because my core fans love the Garrix sound, the house sound, the uplifting festival stuff. I will never stop making that stuff as well. That’s the stuff which goes the craziest during my shows and my sets. I feel like I want to balance it out. Right now it’s going great. I’m very happy with how things are going.
How is your debut album coming together?
I think we want to do two or three more singles before we actually have a platform to release the album from. I can release an album right now if I wanted to because I have more than enough songs. If we’re doing this, I want to do it right and I want to feel a hundred percent confident that every song tells a story and is powerful. There are a lot of producers that release albums, especially DJs that I felt like… if they only put a little bit more time and effort on the album, it would’ve done so much better. I don’t want to have an album like that.
Sometimes they feel like mixtapes or playlists.
Exactly! That’s what I don’t want to have. I want it to be a story. For me right now, that’s what we’ve been doing the last couple years. We’ve been focusing on the singles and “In the Name of Love” is also a single which is going great right now. I have a really good feeling about this follow-up and the follow-up after that, and then I think maybe around Coachella we could think about putting it together. But there’s no deadline… it’s a creative process.
Will songs like “Lions in the Wild” and “Now That I’ve Found You” make the album?
No, those songs are already out there. I think if we do the album, of course the singles will be on there. “In The Name Of Love” and the follow-up. Yeah, there’s so much exciting stuff coming up music-wise and show-wise. We’ve got some crazy collaborations in the works.
Who are you working with?
That’s the thing, I’ve been in the studio with so many people but I don’t know what is going to get released. I was in the studio with Ed Sheeran two years ago and the song still hasn’t been released. I don’t want to set any hopes but I’m going on tour with Justin Bieber next year. In an ideal world we would do a song together. Right now, all I know is the follow-up and the song we’re going to do after that. Afterwards, it’s a blank canvas.
Calvin Harris said he’s only releasing singles from now. Would you consider adopting that model?
That could work. That’s the model that a lot of people recommend doing. I don’t know, for me… I really want to do an album because I’ve never done one. I’ve only been doing singles. With the amount of music that I have ready, it would not make sense to only do singles because you can do maybe four or five singles a year, max. Four a year is a lot. I make four songs a month.
Are you still producing songs for other people?
Yeah. I make a lot of demos. When I go in the studio, I make whatever I feel like making. Some stuff will be able to fit with Martin Garrix. Some stuff won’t, so then we’re start pitching those songs to other artists. We’re about to sign a few of them. I did “Waiting For Love” with Avicii last year.
What’s going to be the next big dance trend?
I feel like everything is getting so close to urban, but then more produced in an electronic way.
Yeah, -ish. I love the stuff myself, but if you look at the charts right now so much of it is electronically produced or you can hear the electronic influences in there. Look at The Chainsmokers, they’ve been crushing it this year in the pop charts. For me, what I think is happening with electronic music, and what I’m going to do with my label, is focus on good songs. There’s a lot of songs out there by other DJs that don’t have any emotion.
It doesn’t trigger anything in me. It’s almost like a formula that you know works live. That’s the thing that I can’t wait for dance music to get rid of and get back to more emotional stuff. What is going to happen next? That’s the exciting part to me, because it’s a whole new chapter about to start.
Which producers should we keep an eye on?
See Me Counting Stacks, that’s CMC$. We are going to release a new single of his from my label. He’s such a talented producer. It’s fun because I actually went to school with him. I went to the Hermon Brood Academie, a school for producers. Definitely him. I love Justin Mylo. He goes with me on tour all the time. Who else is sick? Loopers. It’s a dutch guy. Not radio-friendly at all.
His sound is very aggressive. Radio will never play it, but in every set I do I play one or two Loopers songs because it’s so fresh. There’s electronic music and there’s Loopers. It’s electronic music, but it’s crazy. I’ll play you some after the interview. Also production-wise. It blows my mind. I’m like, “How on earth can they make something sound like that?”