Despite a stressful year by all accounts, Martin Garrix found a way to share new music, launch innovative projects, and identify ingenious ways to connect with his fans. Ahead of his ballyhooed performance at the first-ever Tomorrowland New Year's Eve celebration, the chart-topping producer chatted with EDM.com to recap his year and offer fans a preview of what to expect next.

Amid a dire and uncertain climate, the dance music superstar seemingly never lost his unrelenting creative stride. He released music at a steady pace under several unique alias, as Martin Garrix, GRX, and his Ytram moniker. Starting new aliases relieves the pressure of conforming to expectations, allowing his creativity to flow freely, Garrix told EDM.com. "Producing music as an alias gives me creative freedom to release music without restrictions," he said of his Ytram project. "I love to push myself creatively and not worry about boundaries whenever I’m making music."

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The volume of music has been particularly impressive at a time when many artists are feeling unmotivated and, understandably, uninspired due to the distress of the entertainment industry at large. Garrix used the time away from a hectic tour schedule to regroup, reflect, and come back stronger. "I think due to that free time I’ve been super creative and made some of the craziest music ever," he said. "I’ve been able to spend so much time in the studio and I can’t wait to share everything I’ve been working on."

One such project is the impending return of his AREA21 alias—a joint effort with Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter and producer Maejor—which we last heard from in 2019. Though AREA21 has released only a handful of singles to date, Garrix has said the duo is planning on releasing a full album in 2021. However, he is keeping any further details close to chest for now. "I wish I could tell you more, but it will be absolutely crazy!" he exulted. "It’s coming soon!"

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Known for connecting with his fans across a variety of mediums from touring to vlogging, Garrix was ready to pivot quickly as in-person festivals transitioned to livestreamed events. The producer owned the moment by streaming from his rooftop in Amsterdam and even on a boat cruising through Dutch waters as thousands watched from home. Though he sees it as a valuable alternative in these trying times, Garrix doesn't envision streams replacing in-person events in the long-run.

"I think it’s a great opportunity at the moment for artists and events to still connect with their fans and audience and hopefully bring people entertainment and happiness in these weird times," Garrix said of livestreaming. "However, I do have to say that I miss touring so much and I can’t wait to get back on stage and do shows. Livestreams unfortunately can’t replace that feeling of actually being at a show and feeling everyone’s energy."

Garrix is closing out the year with a particularly extravagant livestreamed set on Tomorrowland's digital Tree of Melodia stage for the famed festival brand's forthcoming New Year's Eve event. He says that his set is "packed with IDs" and that most of them are from his STMPD RCRDS banner, likely to give fans a glimpse of what's next to come from the generational talent. 

FOLLOW MARTIN GARRIX:

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Twitter: twitter.com/martingarrix
Instagram: instagram.com/martingarrix
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