AREA21 is the alter ego of Martin Garrix and Maejor, a joint project of two aliens travelers (known as M&M). Their long awaited first album, Greatest Hits Vol 1 was released on 12 November 2021. This time we interviewed Martin Garrix and Maejor, from the background of AREA21 formation, the meaning of the unit name and the reason they choose the concept of aliens. In addition, they also talked a lot about the differences between individual activities and this unit project, and their future plans.
AREA21 WAS BORN NATURALLY WITH FOCUS ON FUN
— Are both of you in Amsterdam?
Maejor: Yes, we’re in the Netherlands. We’re making music and rehearsing for live performance together.
— I heard the story of how the two of you first met (meeting at a party in LA and shortly thereafter encounter each other again on an airplane). But how you came to make music together and form a unit called AREA21? Can you tell me how it happened?
Martin: From my point of view, I think to be able to play completely different music is very exciting. Up until that time, I focused only on electronic music and appearing in big festivals, the so-called EDM, I was thinking only about that kind of music.
However since I started working with the Maejor, I feel like I’ve opened my eyes in many ways. Experimenting with new sounds or play a guitar that you haven’t touched for a long time. The works that we started together was so much fun and it’s still the same. I think that’s the core of this project. To have fun.
Maejor: I totally agree with you. To enjoy the fun. I think that’s the driving force behind this project. We didn’t start by saying, “Let’s do a crazy project with aliens.” It was born naturally from the two of us. I open my heart and pursue the possibilities. After removing the restrictions, trying new ideas, and having fun, I felt like I was here with something really cool and I think “Isn’t this amazing?”.
On 5 July 2021, Martin Garrix appear in an interview with Radio 538. They go back to Martijn’s interview in 2019 about the highlight of his 2019 and Martijn said it was when he was in the studio with an artist. It turns out the artist that Martijn meant was Bono. He said he flew to France in summer 2019 to record the song with Bono and it was so unrealistic. He knows Bono from videos of U2 live from Slane Castle and then to sit and stand next to Bono singing his song in the studio, it makes no sense to him.
Regarding the song, he said he learn so much from Bono and also The Edge. As big rockstars they have experienced everything and had performed in stadiums all around the world several times, but they’re still so hungry and want to learn new things. They are also very open to idea which make their EURO 2020 anthem a very special collaboration for Martijn. It’s also a big learning process to him to see how they approach certain things, how they they work, etc.
Martin Garrix usually involved with the lyrics for his songs, but for We Are The People, Bono rewrote all of his lyrics. His original lyrics was “United we’re indestructible. We don’t rely on a miracle. It’s here and now let it bring us together”, and Bono thought it was a bit too happy. He said they should make lyrics for football tournament and it’s better if the lyrics are deeper.
UEFA entrust Martijn with the music of EURO 2020, including when the players walk into the field and that is the orchestral version of the original song. Martijn reveals that the orchestra and choir for the orchestral version of We Are The People was recorded in Hilversum. It was very special because Martijn took his grandma and parents to the recording day.
The pandemic make Martijn had so much time in the studio which make he had so many unreleased music. Martin Garrix said he has a lot of club/festival songs but he want to save it until his first show to play it there. Martijn also said that in July he will release a new song with a cool American rapper and a female singer. He also busy with AREA21 that will release an album at the end of the year.
Talking about his upcoming shows, Martijn said he want to start his set with a lot of euphoric song and gradually give a lot more energy then close it with something euphoric again. Maybe he will open or close his shows with the remix of We Are The People but he doesn’t know yet.
Who do you think the cool American rapper and female singer that will collaborate with Martin Garrix? Comment below and let me know.
On 28 June 2021, Martin Garrix appear on FERGAL D’ARCY‘s show on Today FM. About his EURO 2020 song, Martin Garrix said that it was an incredible chance and opportunity.
It was crazy. But I’m very happy with how it all turn out. The delivery process was very stressful but it was also a lot of fun. I learn a lot and I’m very happy looking back at what we did.
U2 is one of the biggest rock band, so how did Martin can get them to featured on the song? Martin said Bono and The Edge jump on board after he sent them a rough demo of an idea he wrote that already had melody and some lyrics. Bono changed all of the lyrics and made it into his own and The Edge added his guitar. So it felt like a very organic collaboration. They record the song on June 2019 but since the tournament was delayed for 1 year due to pandemic, Martijn has to kept this a secret for a long time.
Martin Garrix is so excited to comeback doing shows and can’t wait to play his new songs there.
I was I could say everything that’s coming up, but there’s a lot of exciting music and projects coming. I have a year of no show which was crazy. It’s a year where I had more time with family and friends but also to be more in the studio creating, experimenting, trying out new things. I’m very excited for the show to come back so I can tested out new materials live.
Martin also talk about AREA21, his fun and feel good project with American rapper Maejor. It turns out AREA21 name came from the name of his studio in his previous apartment. His studio was located on 21st floor and they call the room AREA21. The idea come 6 years ago when Martin and Maejor were in Amsterdam and they made some songs that they can’t really as Garrix or Maejor. So they decide to release it under AREA21 name and wrote a storyline about 2 aliens crash-landed on planet earth. The album delivery date (from Martijn to the label) is on 31st July and Martijn has finished 9 from 12 songs.
In the show, they also talk about Tiesto and how Martijn felt to be able to learn from his seniors, including Bono and The Edge. You can listen to the full interview here.
On the interview upload by Los40 Colombia on 5 March 2021, Martin Garrix explain about various interesting things. From how he was slightly nervous when releasing Pressure, saving his festival songs for when festivals back again, why he want to work with Tove Lo, to the reason why he played Macarena in one of his set. You can watch the whole interview below!