Dutch DJ Martin Garrix has teamed up with U2’s Bono and the Edge to create the anthemic song “We Are the People,” which will be official song of the upcoming UEFA European Football Championship.
“Creating the music for one of the biggest sports events in the world together with Bono and the Edge has been an incredible experience,” Garrix said in a statement. “I’m very proud of what we did together and excited to finally share it with the world!”
Garrix began work on the song three years ago. Early in the process, he noticed the guitar intro had somewhat of a U2 vibe to it. It made him think that bringing actual members of the band into the fold would take the song to a whole new level, but it felt like an impossible dream. “And then my manager was like, ‘Well you can always try to reach out to U2,’” Garrix recently told reporters. “‘If you never reach out you always have a no.’”
Much to his shock, Bono called Garrix the very night to talk it over. “At one point he was singing new melodies,” Garrix said. “And mind you, I think this was six hours after we sent the email to them asking whether they were interested. I remember I had to mute myself on the phone during the conversation just to scream and then unmute and play it cool. It was incredible.”
Things got more incredible once the Edge got involved and the song began growing into a U2-like stadium anthem. Before Garrix knew it, he was flying off to Monaco to record it with them in person. “I had goosebumps in the studio the entire time,” Garrix said, “because it’s Bono standing next to me singing the song.”
All of this took place before the pandemic since the soccer tournament was originally supposed to take place in 2020. That means Garrix has been keeping his collaboration with Bono and the Edge secret for the last two years. Somehow, the public never learned it was happening. “There hasn’t even been any speculation, nothing,” Garrix said. “We’re also not going to do any teasers of the collaboration before, we’re just going to drop the song together out of nowhere.”
“We Are the People” is the closest thing the world has gotten to a new U2 song since the release of their 2017 LP Songs of Experience. But they’ve been quietly working on a follow-up for the past couple of years. “We did some recording last year that got us some really great starting points and complete songs,’” bassist Adam Clayton told Rolling Stone in July 2020. “There’s an album ready to go, we’re just not quite sure when we want to press that button…When I say ready to go, I mean ready to be completed. Let’s put it that way.”