Feels like yesterday, but it’s been exactly 10 years since Martin Garrix released “Animals.” A track that changed the rules of the EDM genre, just a few years after its emergence as a cultural phenomenon.
Released on June 17, 2013, the song immediately caught the attention of the entire Dance music world, propelling Garrix into the spotlight, not without some controversy within the EDM community. The music scene at the time, driven by the explosion of massive festivals, had been predominantly melodic, with influences from Trance and House, later identified as the new Progressive House. We were clearly in a transition period between the ’90s Dance and the 2000s, where only the early Swedish House Mafia and Laidback Luke managed to stand out from the underground niches. Back then, the EDM community consisted of little more than a handful of die-hard fans, connoisseurs, and ravers who moved from the beaches of Miami to BayFront Park for the first Ultra, or bounced around on the slopes of Boom Hill.
“Animals” immediately climbed to the top spot on the Beatport chart. Its hard, aggressive, “animalistic” sound resonated instantly because unlike progressive house and electro-house (the harder alternative of progressive), it had a straightforward, distorted kick that made us jump, whether we liked it or not. Perhaps that’s what we really needed. It was almost a revolution in the midst of an uncertain time.
“Animals” was the first example of the new genre later called Big Room.
Soon after, the sets of the big DJs began to change. Electro and progressive mixes started to incorporate the straight-forward Big Room kick, giving rise to acts like Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, DVBBS, and Martin Garrix himself, who positioned himself better and better in the new landscape with each new release.
“Animals,” loved and hated, became a turning point. It opened the doors of superstardom for a young Martin Garrix. Soon after, he became a headliner everywhere, started his own label, STMPD RCRDS, launched Dua Lipa, and in just three years, won his first DJ MAG Top 100. He would go on to win three more DJ MAG Top 100 titles, solidifying his status as a Dutch phenomenon. Today, “Animals” has amassed 1.6 billion views on YouTube alone.
This story taught us that we should never judge an artist by appearance and that even a simple kid in front of a computer can make history.
We are delighted to have witnessed the birth, growth, and global stardom of Martin Garrix. Today, ten years later, we listen to and present music every week with the understanding that a song, and an artist, should never be judged by first impressions alone. Let us remember that it’s still art, the most beautiful one. Music.