Martin Garrix: Studio Animal

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Apparently, age is simply just a number for Martin Garrix.

With a U.K. chart-topper and two Beatport No.1’s under his belt before his 18th birthday, the Dutch DJ/producer entered 2014 on the heels of a prolonged hot streak.

After the mega-success of “Animals,” one of 2013’s biggest festival anthems, Garrix managed to make lightning strike twice with a raging follow-up—“Wizard,” his collaboration with fellow Dutchman Jay Hardway.

With that in mind, we caught up with the 17-year-old DJ/artist (aka Martijn Garritsen) during his recent visit to New York City and talked about his huge year, as well as his beginnings and upcoming plans.

DJ Times: What came first for you—DJing or producing?
Martin Garrix: They both came about at the same time. But when I actually played my first show in front of other people, I had already been producing. I got started producing six years ago when I downloaded FL Studio onto my computer and just started messing around.

DJ Times: Do you prefer one over the other?
Martin Garrix: I love them both. I like DJing because I can test out new music and see what works live. I mean, I play a lot of my own productions in my sets when I DJ to see how crowds respond, but I really can’t say that I like one over the other.

DJ Times: “Animals” started as one of the biggest festival tracks of the year before crossing over to the pop realm and charting at No.1 in the U.K. Any inkling that you’d have that kind of success?
Garrix: Not at all. About a year ago, I got signed to Spinnin’ Records and just started putting out multiple tracks, with “Animals” just being one of those releases. I was making tracks for use in my sets at clubs and festivals, and then radio just started picking it up, so it was a big surprise. I set out for it to exclusively be a club track, so I had no idea that it would catch on in the pop world.

DJ Times: Your latest single “Wizard” has made its own impact by being your second Beatport No.1. So you’re not a one-hit wonder…
Garrix: It takes away some pressure, for sure. After “Animals” started going worldwide, I started thinking to myself what I needed to come up with next. Jay Hardway is a really good Dutch producer and also a close buddy of mine, so we just came together to work on a track. The reaction’s been really nice and it was just great being No.1 on Beatport for two weeks.
DJ Times: What about your remix of Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike’s “Project T”? How did that come to be?
Garrix: I really liked the original, and [Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike] really wanted something in the style of “Animals.” The original is really sweet, soft track so I tried to turn it into a club track.

DJ Times: All of your success is coming at such a young age. What’s it like to hear some of the world’s biggest DJs playing your tracks at global festivals?
Garrix: It’s unreal. To me, this all started as just a hobby, and then exploded from there. I created and launched “Animals” from my bedroom with some plug-ins on my computer, and now it’s something that’s getting recognized by huge DJs at festivals that I have yet to play. It was the most-played track at Tomorrowland [in Belgium] last year, which is awesome.

DJ Times: There’s a tight-knit community amongst many Swedish DJs. Is there a similar feeling between Dutch DJs, or is it more of a singular experience?
Garrix: It’s pretty much the same—everybody is helping one another. Everyone also knows each other, so it’s like one big family. I give tracks to Hardwell or Tiësto and they’ll give me feedback or—if they like it—play it live in their sets. It’s really good because we’re not really competing with each other. It’s more like we’re competing together.

DJ Times: What products are you using in the studio currently?
Garrix: Right now, I’m using Lennar Digital’s Sylenth1 virtual analog VSTi synthesizer. I also really like products from iZotope, as well as [u-he’s] ACE system.

DJ Times: Is there a particular producer whose material you’ve been particularly fond of over the past year?
Garrix: Deorro. Definitely Deorro.

DJ Times: What are your plans for 2014?
Garrix: I’m not sure if I’m going to do an album next year or the one after. I want to, and I have some songs ready, but I’m going to go on headline tours in the U.S. and Australia this year. After that, I’m planning on playing at some big festivals I haven’t gotten a chance to play yet. I’ve got six tracks that should be coming out in the next few months, of which a couple are collaborations I’m excited about, including ones with Dillon Francis and Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike. So really, I’m going to spend the year touring a lot and debuting a lot of new material.