DJ Martin Garrix on Euro 2020 collab with Bono and The Edge: It was inspiring to be in their presence | Inquirer Entertainment

DJ Martin Garrix on Euro 2020 collab with Bono and The Edge: It was inspiring to be in their presence

By: - Reporter
/ 12:02 AM May 24, 2021

Martin Garrix (center) with U2’s Bono (right) and The Edge

When the Union of European Football Associations (Uefa) tapped Martin Garrix three years ago to compose the theme song for the Euro 2020 championships, the Dutch DJ was given a clean slate—it was up to him to capture the euphoria and good vibes the sport elicits from fans.

His initial demo had a guitar intro that evoked the work of U2’s The Edge. So wouldn’t it be incredible, he thought, if he could have the iconic rock band on board? But the idea seemed far-fetched; he wasn’t seriously planning to pursue it. The Uefa staff saw it differently: “If you don’t ask, the answer is always no,” he was told.


The demo was sent to U2. And before he knew it, Martin was on the phone with no less than the band’s lead vocalist, Bono, to discuss the collaborative process and plans for the song, whose title has been recently unveiled as “We Are the People.”


“It was amazing to work with Bono and Edge. They were very inspiring because they’re legends and because they have so much knowledge and wisdom,” the dance-electronic music hitmaker said in a recent online Q&A with the international press.

Bono not only lent his voice to the song, but also wrote lyrics and melody lines. The Edge also joined to provide the guitar riffs. Martin described the two as geniuses, who pushed him to give his best as a producer.

Diving into the song

“Everyone works differently in the studio. Everyone has a different way of creating a song. So it was truly inspiring to be in their presence and see them do their own thing. And what was cooler was that they let me do my own, too,” Martin said, adding that Bono was also generous enough to do multiple vocal takes to choose from.

“We had a lot of time to dive into the song; we spent a lot of time together… I loved hearing them talk, seeing their approach to music,” added Martin, who produced numerous international bangers, including “Animals,” “In the Name of Love” with Bebe Rexha and “Scared to Be Lonely” with Dua Lipa.

“We Are the People,” which is now available for download and streaming on various online digital platforms, will be played live in the Euro 2020’s opening ceremony in Rome, Italy, in June. (The tournament was postponed for a year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.)

From left: Bono, Garrix and The Edge

“For me, what was really important was how the song makes you feel. I tried to capture the emotions we have when we watch a game or when your favorite player scores a goal… The moment … of happiness, excitement and euphoria,” he said.


Music is universal

Asked by the Inquirer what he thought were the ties that bind music and sports together, the 25-year-old record producer said: “They’re universal, they’re languages everyone understands. It’s not that complicated to look at them and feel something. They bring people together. I get to travel around the world also because of music so I think that’s a powerful thing.”

While the song was commissioned and crafted before the pandemic, its message aptly fits the situation the world is in right now.

According to a statement from Sony Music, “We Are the People” echoes “positivity, hope and determination”; an anthem that reminds us that the world can still have a “unified response” amid the challenges we face. What has kept him going in the past year or so? “Family and friends. Also looking at the world and seeing some nice things, like more people caring for one another,” he said, adding that the absence of touring and concerts allowed him to focus on creating new music.


Meanwhile, it was also while working on “We Are the People” that he realized just how intertwined music and sports have been in his career. Before he sold millions of records and became one of the highest-earning DJs in the world, Martin saw the renowned DJ and countryman Tiësto perform at the 2004 Summer Olympics.

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That was one of the moments that inspired him to create music. “That triggered something in me, seeing Tiësto there at a stadium, where people from all over the world are dancing. And it’s one guy doing that. It’s crazy. I loved the music, how it made me feel, the adrenaline it gave me,” he recalled. “And then I downloaded some software so I can make my own music.” INQ

TAGS: The Edge, U2

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