A catch up with Markus Schulz to talk about the changing global Trance Scene
German-born US-based Markus Schulz is often credited with being one of a handful of US DJs that permanently revolutionised the US Trance scene. With a distinct sound that constantly falls between Trance and Prog-House, Markus Schulz’s weekly radio show The Global DJ Broadcast has attracted tens of millions of listeners across the globe, consistently propelling Markus’ own production into top positions in the Beatport and other electronic charts. Ally Byers caught up with him to talk about developments in the global Trance scene.
1) You’ve been in the scene for years- how have you seen trance develop?
I think Trance died in some peoples eyes over the last couple of years but every where I’ve been playing around the world it feels like it has this resurgence right now, and I think we’re back on an upcycle again, there’s been a lot of especially in the last 6 months - of interest in the Trance scene, in the Trance artists and also the stages at these festivals, the Trance stages have been some of the busiest stages out of all of them, I think that its making a huge comeback but to be honest with you its never been, it never really went anywhere its just when you consider the success that Trance had in the past, it was on a little bit of a down cycle but at the same time it never really went anywhere.
2) What do you think is driving this resurgence?
I think first of all the media doesn’t want to talk about the same things all the time, and the trance scene started to get a little bit tired. But some new artists have risen up and some new artists have come up with some new sounds and some new twists, and I think that the media have once again become tired with the mainstream house stuff and started looking for what else is out there they’re realising “Oh my god! The Trance scene is huge, its blowing up and amazing things are happening so I guess that’s kind of been one of the reasons”
3) Its such a ‘big’ sound - perhaps best suited to superclubs, festivals. It’s been said that this makes Trance a difficult genre to break into for new artists as its hard to play it out in the smaller venues and clubs where emerging talent usually starts out -
The stuff I do is a lot more club friendly anyway, the stuff I do at festivals is more stadium-esque but thats not always the case. If Trance is done right it works very well in the club, I think the problem is there was a lot of DJs that rolled out their 90 minute set and didn’t know how to build a set and just kind of banged it end to end and that’s one of the reasons why Trance started faltering in some of the clubs and it was a lack of DJs that knew how to play it in the clubs. Particularly opening sets - when you’re starting a night and you’re opening with tracks at 140 BPM it just doesnt work. I think some people left the Trance scene and at the same time new people came in, and those new people had some growing pains, but now its exciting and people are starting to see a huge resurgence hype-wise.
4) Your well known for your radio shows - do you feel radio can survive? Is it as important?
Radio’s very important. The traditional terrestrial stations has got less and less but that being said, its still the only in many ways and for many people the only viable place you can go to hit the mainstream market. I guess we almost as a producers and enthusiasts have to nurture the online stations, stations like di.fm would not be where they are now if it we didnt all support it and they didnt support the scene. It goes both ways. A radio will support a scene, and in return the scene needs to support radio. For me and my own brand - radio’s really important - I’ve been doing it for 8 or 9 years now and I owe a lot of my success to that.
5) You’ve DJ’ed all over the world. How do you feel the British or European Trance scene compares to the American one?
I think what you’re starting to see in Europe is what happened in the US over the last couple of years, you’re starting to see a kind of youth movement here. The scene was beginning to feel a bit tired and now you’ve got this new, exciting influx of youth in our scene and with it they’re bringing new producers, new ideas and their bringing this new found passion and energy into the scene. I’m definitely seeing and feeling a big youth movement.
6) As an international act do you see the Trance scene, like house music in particular, becoming increasingly global going forward?
Trance when you think of it probably was the first truly international genre, and certainly the resurgence we’re seeing is affecting all areas. The style is different however - this is no longer that infamous “Big Brother Theme” sound. Some purists do scoff at it, but its the new generation’s trance music and they’re bringing their own ideas and own spin to it, making it fresh again internationally, scene-to-scene. Trance in general has been the sound in many ways of the ‘internet generation’ and the sound is everywhere. i do 150-175 gigs a year and I see it first hand from the Middle East to Asia to South America to South Africa, Europe, US, Trance is everywhere and as each new area emerges Trance will be there with it.
7) Production and DJing-wise there’s recently been a lot of genre-crossing between house, bass music. Trance is a pretty distinctive genre though - will this happen to the same extent with Trance DJs?
You’re already beginning to see a lot of Trance DJs playing house and it’s sub-genres into their sets. A lot of stuff under the house category today could be increasingly seen as an offshoot of trance anyway. I think that with modern technology you are able to incorporate different sounds and different styles. Back in the day everything was on vinyl and it was all classified: it was trance or it was house or it was another genre and you couldn’t mix and match it as well because the tracks weren’t produced in the same way - nor was their the technology to create the same mash-ups you can today. Now you’re able to incorporate more sounds not just in your production but you can incorporate different sounds from anything into your live set. With that Trance DJs have already started experimenting with all kinds of different sounds.
8) What are your own plans going forward?
I love what I’m doing and where the music is right now - I just realised my new album ‘Scream’ which still has the Markus Schulz soul to it but at the same time its got a new twist on it as well,. It’s exciting to just evolve as an artist and kinda grow as the scene grows. I look forward to touring and promoting both the album and myself as an ongoing DJ.
9) What advice would you give to aspiring artists?
Find your sound, the sound that really represents you as a person, as an artist, and then work on creating that sound both in your DJ sets and in your productions. YOu reall need to have your own production because they’re your business card as to who you are as a DJ. The easiest way is to find a circle of DJs that you have a good connection with musically and make music for each other, that’s a good way to break through.
Markus Schulz New Album ‘Scream’ will be released August 31. For more info go to http://www.markusschulz.com/
Summer is about to get even more hectic, but Markus Schulz has taken some time out to update his fans with another extensive blog. He discusses recent gigs in New York, Buenos Aires, Santiago and Las Vegas, shares his thoughts on the DJ Mag Top 100 Poll, and gives an update to his upcoming aritst album, Scream.
Whatâ€™s up guys,
Hope this finds you doing well and you are all getting into the summer mood. It has been a little while since I last checked in with you in detail, so Iâ€™ve been writing in short bursts over the past couple of weeks collecting my thoughts on some of the recent experiences on the road.
Thankfully, a bit of focus in Berlin has allowed me to give my scribbles some structure, so Iâ€™ll try to guide you through some of the big gigs (and bizarre moments!) that have taken place this past while. Iâ€™ll also give you an update on how the Scream album is coming along, and share my thoughts on this yearâ€™s DJ Mag Top 100 poll.
New York - Pacha Gigs and Electric Daisy Carnival
For years and years, so many fans would message me and ask â€œhey Markus, how come you donâ€™t play in New York so often?â€
Usually when one year ends and another begins, we set ourselves goals that we hope to achieve. One of mine was to ensure that I had more of a gig presence in the Big Apple. The first stop was at the end of February, squeezed in between the Los Angeles â€™12 release party weekend at Avalon and a GDJB World Tour recording at the Guvernment in Toronto. It was very much a case of continuing the momentum from that whirlwind weekend in the city of angels. And probably no surprise to you reading, or to the New York regulars that an original three hour sent wound up being almost six.
Performing at Pacha in February. Photo courtesy of David Guzman / EDM NYC
One of the things I love about the New York scene so much is that like Los Angeles, it isnâ€™t just about the New York locals. You get fans travelling from Washington DC, Boston, Philadelphia and even as far away as Atlanta and Miami regularly attending these shows. So it feels very community driven. In the days where forums are not as active as they once were, Iâ€™m glad that the local community forums on places like Tranceaddict are still going, and you definitely feel that when you see the same familiar faces coming out to support your shows.
We were coming towards the end of April and there was a rare Friday night gap in my tour schedule. I knew I had Electric Daisy Carnival coming up in the city in the middle of May, but when the opportunity arose that I could play at Pacha again, I jumped at the chance. So with only ten daysâ€™ notice, the gig was secured, and we had a mad dash of promotion on our hands. Two New York gigs in the space of two weeks - letâ€™s do it.
Adina Butar was flying over to the US to record vocals in the studio in Miami, so she decided to stop off in New York and catch the Pacha show. I had actually just cleaned up Caught to be properly played out in the clubs for the first time (I had been playing a bounced version for WMC), so it was a cool moment to have her in the booth and connect with the crowd. I closed the night out again with another extended set, and it just wet the appetite for EDC a couple of weeks later.
Performing at Pacha in May, Adina in the booth with me
What excited me the most about the festival was that it was being held on the grounds of the new Meadowlands (or the MetLife Stadium to give it the official name). It was built a few years ago a stoneâ€™s throw away from the old stadium, which housed the New York Giants and Jets NFL teams for many years, and was home to some of the most legendary music concerts ever seen. So as a music and sports buff, it felt pretty special to be playing on those grounds.
It was 7pm and the sun was beginning to set, and it was time to take over. I couldnâ€™t really see the crowd from the stairs, but when I went up to the stage, I had to take a breath to acknowledge the sheer size. It was a struggle to even make out where the line of people at the back ended!
I started the set with an intro I had made in the studio during the week. I am debating with myself whether or not to use it on the Scream album, maybe you guys could let me know what you think about that. But it sent the tone for the night well, with Loops & Tings and Go! leading into tracks that I was debuting in my liveset for the very first time, like the Beat Service remix of City of Angels.
Caught was the big moment for me, since it was the first festival play, and itâ€™s a relief when you can say to youself that you have a track that works well both in the clubs and outdoors on the biggest stage. The energy continued with the massive It is What it Is by Mr. Pit and the Remember Magnetic North reconstruction, before throwing in a couple of classics for the fans in the form of Perfect and The New World.
The ending may have been a surprise to some. A few weeks prior to the event Khomha sent me a bootleg of the Gotye track Somebody I Used to Know. Now people may say I shouldnâ€™t be playing that track because it sounds commercial and Tiesto remixed it, but to be completely honest with you, I really got sucked in with the power behind those vocals. So I worked with him in tailoring it to fit my set better, to work as a bit of an encore / set finisher. In the version we did, the girl sings first before the main chorus kicks in, and it works so much better live that way. I am amazed at how many requests I have had for it since the EDC set.
After 75 minutes the set was concluded, and my third New York set in the space of three months had come to an end. It feels like we are building a bit of a legacy in the Big Apple now, and itâ€™s pretty cool that we have a Coldharbour Night coming up there at the beginning of August.
All EDC New York photos courtesy of Doug Van Sant
I get asked every week during my Q&A session on Facebook and Twitter for Global DJ Broadcast when I am coming back to New York. I canâ€™t tell you guys exactly yet, but I promise you that I am coming back. The picture will become much clearer for you in a couple of weeks, I an guarantee you that.
But for all the love in 2012 so far, thank you to the people of New York. We are not finished yet.
South American Tour - Argentina and Chile
Every time I see a South American country come up in my tour schedule, it gets me naturally excited, because you are hard pressed to find a more passionate set of fans in any of the worldâ€™s territories. I could write a book about my Buenos Aires experiences alone! From the white-knuckle plane ride where I thought I would never see dry land again, to breakdancing with the go-go dancers at an afterparty.
The trip would also give me the chance to catch up with my buddy Ferry Corsten. Weâ€™ve had a lot of fun playing together on the road this year; all of which has of course been highlighted by our remake of the classic Jens track Loops & Tings. We ran into some issues with the publishing rights to get our version released, but thankfully I just found out on Wednesday that we have the all-clear to put it out. So it will probably come out as a single in around a monthâ€™s time.
We would play two Godskitchen Boombox events together, with us doing our own separate club gigs in between. For the first night, we decided between ourselves that Ferry would go on first for 2 hours, then I would play for 2 hours, then we would go back to back to close the night. Then for Chile, I would go first and Ferry would close. We had a good run at Godskitchenâ€™s home of Birmingham in March, and then at the WMC closing party at Space in Miami.
If you have ever been to the Boombox events before, you will know how stunning a structure it is, especially when they get the visuals going either side of you. Ferry had the place jumping so I knew I had to start off big, and the rising intro mix of Digital Madness and Fortuna did the trick. Winner of the night thought had to be The Dark Knight - such was the response of playing it in my own set that I had to squeeze it in again in the back to back. The Buenos Aires faithful just love their tracks full of energy like that.
And itâ€™s probably the main reason why every single time I play Sinners in the country, they go absolutely bananas for it.
All Boombox Buenos Aires photos courtesy of Rodrigo Alonso
On Friday night I played at the Mandarine club. The gig was only announced on the Tuesday of that week, so I had no idea how it would turn out with such short notice. But itâ€™s funny that gigs like that can turn out to be some of the best you play. I took my recording equipment with me just to see how the set would turn out, and as you probably guessed, I enjoyed it so much that we made it the World Tour episode for June.
It was a little dark and dirty club, so made for a perfect night of starting off deep and building it up throughout the night, and throwing in some dirty techno reconstructions for good measure. I tried to capture the best of the night in the two hours, so you heard the beginning (True Lies) and the end with Caught.
A big thank you for all the kind responses about Caught by the way. I know Iâ€™m not one to riddle my sets with vocals, but itâ€™s kinda nice to have a vocal anthem of my own after a full year of full on instrumentals.
The tour concluded on Saturday with the Boombox in Santiago. I donâ€™t play in Chile as often as I would in Argentina or Brazil, but I can tell with each visit that the scene is growing there. The Godskitchen crew deserve their props for giving the people there a chance to attend a large-scale event like that.
Because the roles were reversed, I was able to start my set a little deeper and build it up for Ferry to bring it home. There were a lot of fans with signs in the crowd asking me to play some of my older tracks, so I actually rounded off my set by dusting off the Uplifting Mix of Do You Dream, which I hadnâ€™t played in a while. It was a nice moment to finish and round off another super weekend in South America.
All Boombox Santiago photos courtesy of James Florio
So a big thanks to all of the Buenos Aires and Santiago faithful for coming out during the three nights. Your passion always remains incredible. I am back in South America in a few weeks, doing a three-day tour of Brazil, stopping off in Curitiba, Recife, and the legendary Green Valley in Camboriu.
Revenge of the Wind - Electric Daisy Carnival, Las Vegas
The gig they will be talking about for years...
After being housed many years in Los Angeles, the main Electric Daisy Carnival event shifted east to Nevada, and to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. I described last yearâ€™s event as a real watershed moment for dance music in the United States - to have 300,000 clubbers descending upon one area to party for three days showed that this boom in the scene was very real.
I had a pretty demanding week leading up to the event. Immediately after playing Coloursfest in Glasgow, I flew to Bucharest in Romania to shoot the music video for Caught. It was a long two days. Wednesday was Poland and an amazing gig for our friends at Planeta FM and their Born to Party event, and after travelling back to Berlin by train, I flew to London and then on to Houston for a gig at Stereo Live on the Friday. So I was feeling the tiredness, but knew I had to prepare something special for a gig as significant as this.
I got up pretty early on Saturday morning in Houston following the gig, and started editing and making reconstructions for the set. I was even getting ready to debut one of the instrumentals from my album, with it being a live broadcast around the world.
A late afternoon flight and I was on my way to Sin City. No time to sleep in the hotel unfortunately, because the traffic on the strip getting out to the speedway was crazily slow. 2 hours to cover 12 miles. I met up with my old friend Sarah Gianetto. We go all the way back to my days living in Phoenix. For the long-time fans and more eagle-eyed, you may notice that her name is familiar, as she wrote the album notes on the inside sleeve of my American DJ Phoenix mix compilation from 2001.
Sarah was covering my EDC experience for Las Vegas weekly, so she travelled along with the Armada and DLP crew to the event. I fell asleep in the back, trying to get a little bit of energy inside me ahead of the performance. When we got there, there was a massage chair in the trailer for all of the David Lewis DJs. I swear, had I sat in that thing buzzing along for more than two minutes, I think I would have easily passed out for the entire night.
After passing through the ASOT trailer and saying hi to Armin and crew, I was on my way to the Circuit Grounds. At that height, you could start to feel the wind picking up, and you could even notice the speakers starting to sway a little bit. I didnâ€™t think much of it, â€œitâ€™s only a bit of windâ€ I said in my head.
Photo courtesy of Sarah Gianetto
The set was going great, and I felt that same magic feeling from EDC Vegas only a year before. The crowd were going crazy to everything, including from a personal pleasing perspective, the new instrumental that I wanted to debut. I was really hitting my stride after Fortuna, and just as I was bringing in Loops & Tings, I got the dreaded shout of â€œMarkus! Quick Markus!â€ from behind me.
At that point, I was told that we had to shut it down, because the winds were picking up dangerous speed and there was so much equipment swinging in the air. So with regret I had to announce to everyone that they needed to head to the grandstand for their safety. I was bummed out, but I knew that the promoters had made the right decision. No matter what, the most important aspect of any party is the safety of the fans, the DJs and the event staff. We all want to be able to wake up the next morning and tell our friends the stories of the night before.
After pulling out my laptop I retreated back to the ASOT trailer, and we were in a dilemma. There were radio stations taking the feed from EDC all around the world, Sirius XM included, and all of the music outside had stopped. Armin wanted me to continue my set on the setup they had in the trailer (where he does his warmup sets before the big events), but I figured that because something so dramatic like this had happened, we needed to make it special and entertain the fans listening. So the best way to do that was to go back to back.
On the decks in the ASOT trailer
There was a screen going with loads of twitter feeds, and you could see how insane it was flying. It gave us both the feeling that we are so blessed to have a dedicated community like you all out there. So we went back to back ourselves for an hour, then Nic and Bossi from Cosmic Gate (who were due to play after Armin on stage) came to the trailer to hang out, resulting in three Germans and a Dutchie for the next hour.
While our set was going on (my second set of the night for those of you keeping score), one of the reps from Insomniac said they were setting up gear in an art car to keep the fans entertained while they were waiting, and asked for a volunteer to DJ. I said I would be up for it, so after playing Caught, I left the guys in the trailer and was whisked through the speedway in a golf cart. What followed was one of the most surreal yet special moments I have experienced.
Talking to the listeners around the world while Armin is on the decks
No fancy gimmicks, no big stage setup, no visuals. Just some CDJs, a mixer and speakers. As for preparing the set, what can you do? The most important thing I had to keep in mind was that all of the fans that were left - they werenâ€™t just trance fans coming to the ASOT stage - there were house fans, dubstep fans, techno fans, and they all just wanted some music to party. So I did my best to keep the vibe alive and hopefully give the fans something memorable to take home.
The amazing thing about it was that it felt like a throwback to the old rave scene. Two years ago when I dedicated my mix compilation to Las Vegas, people wondered why - â€œitâ€™s a commercial city with no historyâ€. The truth is that Las Vegas has had an incredible rave scene since the 90s, and the people who were going to these raves are the same people responsible for running the biggest club nights and pool parties in the city nowadays.
Performing on the Art Car, photo courtesy of Carlo Ruijgers
So in a night where I was expecting to play one set turned into three, but it was one that I will never ever forget. I have to be honest with you guys, some three weeks on, I am still so taken aback by all of your kind messages about my EDC performances. As I said at the beginning of this part of the blog, they will be talking about that night for years to come. So thank you so much to everyone who was a part of it with me.
We left the speedway after 4am, and I tried to get some sleep because I was playing a back to back set with Ferry for four hours at TAO Beach, beginning at 1pm. I checked in with my crew on skype to tell them about the experience of the night before, and then went to have fun at the pool. Of course four hours wasnâ€™t enough, so we ended up playing for over six.
At the end of it all, it was a weekend that I will never, ever forget. You know what they say - only in Sin City!
DJ Mag Top 100 DJs Poll 2012 - It Begins
The madness begins all over again! Vote for me, vote for what I am having for lunch later, vote for what color of underwear I will wear in Ibizaâ€¦ itâ€™s never ending.
Every year when the poll begins, ends and the results come out, pretty much the entire community wants to have their say on the relevance of the poll, and usually there are polarising opinions on the opposite scale. I guess that a lot of you would like to know my thoughts on the poll since I am directly affected.
I have been one of the DJs who have gone on record saying that the poll has been good for the scene, because what it should represent is the opinion of the fans - their voice. The fans pay their money for gigs, some at very large expense especially when flights are involves, so they should always be given a chance to have their say. They are the ones tuning in to your radio shows every week and (hopefully) buying your music. My ethos from day one is that the voice of the fans is one of the most important aspects of a DJâ€™s career.
The flipside to that however is not pretty. For the DJs themselves, it is an unbelievably stressful time of the year, especially because it is coupled in with the busiest stretch of gigs due to Ibiza and the summer festivals. Booking agencies and promoters will continually go back and forth for every major festival or arena event all year long, fighting for which DJ gets to play the main stage, who gets the best timeslots or who gets billed above whom; and they primarily use the results of the DJ Mag poll each year as leverage.
Because of this, unless you are an absolutely legendary name in the industry, a DJâ€™s number of bookings and prestige of events are affected by where they place in the poll, and that ultimately is why you see the circus of promotion happening around the voting period every single year. So whether people are for or against the pollâ€™s merits, it remains so influential and is part of the fabric of our scene.
Come October and when the lay of the land is revealed, my only hopes are that I have worked hard enough all year long to earn the votes that people have given me, and that the results will be done in honesty. There have been stories of cheating going on for years and years, and if you were to take the time to analyse the results from year to year, itâ€™s not impossible to figure out who might be up to something.
Now we are in an era of Facebook voting, and as a result, DJs are buying Facebook fans and accounts to make their fanpages look more popular than they actually should be. The same thing happens in the Beatport charts where they are mass-buying units of their own tracks to ensure that it lands high and leads to more exposure. Will we ever have an honest and clear picture of who the most popular DJs really are?
As Iâ€™ve said, I only hope that you guys out there who do vote for me is because I have given you joy and entertainment in your life that makes you feel I have earned it; whether itâ€™s through my gigs, productions, Global DJ Broadcast and A State of Sundays radio shows or what we release on Coldharbour.
Regardless of whether you vote for me or not, I would encourage you to vote for your favorites, because ultimately you do help them. I am thankful to anyone out there who supports me in any way they can, because every single day when I live this life, I know in my heart that I am nothing without the fans.
You guys are the ones who keep me going when times get tough and help inspire me to strive to be the best at what I do. If I was to retire tomorrow I could say that I have had an amazing life. But I still have a lot to achieve before that day comes. Donâ€™t worry, it wonâ€™t be happening anytime soon.
Itâ€™s getting closer! After around 18 months of very long days and nights in the studio, and any spare time on the road and in hotel rooms, the fourth Markus Schulz artist album is almost complete. We put the cover out as a little teaser on Wednesday night, so thanks for your responses so far. I have to say that I loved the wardrobe for the shoot.
I have less than three weeks to get everything finalised and delivered, so right now Iâ€™m going through all of the tracks with a fine toothcomb and ironing out any kinks. A few of the instrumentals I have been testing in my sets for a while now. I think I saw a YouTube video of one of them played at the Planeta Born to Party event in Poznan at the beginning of June, and there were a couple more from the gigs in Argentina and Chile, and at Ruby Skye in San Francisco.
But the main tests took place last Friday for my seven hour solo set for The Gallery at Ministry of Sound in London. I have to say; damn you guys are good at your ID detective work. A few of the peeps on my forum have been speculating as to whether certain tracks in the videos are by me or on the album, so Iâ€™ll sit back with the popcorn and watch the entertainment for a few weeks yet.
This weekend I am playing two festivals - the TopFest in Piestany, Slovakia and the return of Electronic Family in the Amsterdamse Bos. If you are coming to either, you will be in for a treat, because Iâ€™m going to test a few of the tracks some more, and again at Privilege in Ibiza this Monday. Plenty more details about the album to come over the next few weeks, but hopefully it will be worth the wait.
And with that, itâ€™s time for me to sign off and get focused on another stretch on the road. Thank you so much as always for taking the time to read my thoughts, and again, a huge deal of gratitude goes to each and every one of you for your support throughout the entire year so far.
I know that I still have so many big gigs and cities to cover, so Iâ€™ll try to do that in an upcoming blog for you. I certainly need to recap the epic nights at Stereo in Montreal and at Ministry of Sound in London thatâ€™s for sure - both very special moments for me.
But for now, take care and hope you have a great weekend. Iâ€™ll let you know when the voting begins for my choice of underwear for Ibiza.
You’ve seen the hashtags. You’ve heard the rumours. You’ve felt the buzz.
Now though its time for the first official word…
Get ready to #SCREAM
In June 2010 one of the planet’s most creative electronic music minds unleashed his ‘Do You Dream?’ artist odyssey. Fan applause, DJ support and press acclaim greeted one club master-blaster after another.
From ‘Do You Dream’s day of release though Markus Schulz was already imagining and conceiving the sound designs that would shape his next long-playing excursion.
Now, two years on, he’s ready… Markus’ ‘Dream’ is about to become a ‘Scream’!
Packing a new collection of hypersonic, club-captivating tracks, from across electronic dance music’s wide spectrum, his new studio album is primed and ready to wow & thrill. Featuring some of the finest singer, songwriter and co-production talent in the EDM stratosphere, on August 24th ‘Scream’ drops.
In advance of that there are new singles, ‘Scream’s worldwide tour details, tracklist reveals, audio clip unveils, special competitions and details of how you can be among the very first people on Earth to get a hold of the fourth studio album from Markus Schulz.
So tell your friends…
In between another long night in the studio, Markus checks in with his fans to get them caught up on all his recent happenings through his blog. He reflects on the massive Los Angeles '12 release party weekend at Avalon, the A State Of Trance 550 shows he played, as well as looking forward to next weekend's Electric Daisy Carnival in New York City.
What’s up guys,
Hope you are doing well. Bet you thought you were never going to see one of these again!
I know; I’ve been bad. It’s been a more than just a little while since I’ve found myself with some time to check in with you and give a detailed account of what I’ve been up to (and even now with album production in full swing, I don’t in truth), so hopefully this is something you’ve been waiting for.
So what I’ll try to do is recap some of the memorable moments on the road this year so far (and seeing the might of Fabio Lanzoni’s hair in person), give a bit of an album update and some thoughts on a couple of notable events that have taken place.
With today being the release of some of the LA ’12 tracks in full (Bolandish included), I guess I just feel compelled to cast my mind back to a certain weekend in February.
The Los Angeles ’12 Release Party Weekend - February 18th-19th
The first few months of this year were all pointing to Hollywood Boulevard. That San Andreas Soundlab guy might have been onto something.
I have to admit, when we announced the two release parties, I was pretty nervous. It’s a big undertaking to do two back-to-back nights. It was also looking like it would be my longest ever solo set, but going into the night itself, I still didn’t exactly know how long. I figured I’d do eight tops.
One of the things I have to do first is thank all of you who has supported the compilation and given some very kind words. It was probably the first occasion in the city series that every single track on the compilation was unreleased by the time it came out, and as always, I’m so grateful to the amazing roster we have on Coldharbour for coming up with the goods. Like the compilations before, there will be tracks on there which will resonate with fans for years to come.
The week leading up to the events was tough going. I was editing practically everything in sight. Going to bed late and getting up early and heading straight to the studio. After a gig in Orlando on Thursday night, the Coldharbour office crew in Miami were all on their way to the city of angels.
Avalon Night 1 - The Open to Close Solo Set
On Saturday I was still preparing, writing out tracks on separate sheets to figure out what would fit the vibe of each hour of the set as the night progressed. Some media interviews in the afternoon were carried out. Only light meals were allowed; anything heavy and I probably wouldn’t have lasted too long at Avalon. With a little nap I was ready, but boy was I nervous. Showtime at 9:30pm.
Like any solo outing, my mindset is to split the night into three parts - where I’m acting the role of warmup DJ, headline DJ and then afterhours DJ. I started off the set with an untitled production I made earlier that week - nothing too special, just something to get people settled as they’re coming into the club and getting their drinks, with other elements joining the beats gradually.
I have a lot of fun in those building hours, because it gives me the chance to play tracks I love to a live audience that I don’t normally get the chance to in a short yet. The first couple of hours the mood stayed low, but when the club was packed, it was time to hit the lights and go into full swing.
The weekend was all about celebrating the compilation, so it was great to see the crowd reacting well to the LA ’12 tracks in particular - the likes of City of Angels, Mind Gamer, Dark Harbour and Fortuna going over huge. There was a moment in the middle of my set where I had to take a breath and ask myself if this was all really happening. You could just feel this special vibe emanating from the dancefloor that you wish you could bottle for life.
With the peak-hour section done it was time to move into the rabbit hole and classics section, or as some may call it, the survival of the fittest. I’ll be honest with you guys, I still had no idea at 4am how long I was going to go, but as long as there were plenty of people there still partying it up, then I would try my best to make the night more memorable. Quite a few tracks were being played for the very first time, like the Blue Monday reconstruction you heard in the World Tour from San Francisco recently.
Before I knew it, the clock was almost saying 8am. Ten and a half hours!!! I wrapped up the night with one of my favorite tracks, the Super8 & Tab remix of Paul van Dyk’s Nothing But You. That track always reminds me of playing the Together As One New Year’s Eve shows in LA, so it was appropriate to play it towards the end.
Hollywood Boulevard faded into silence and I was done. I don’t know how I did it, but some 137 tracks after 9:30pm that Saturday night, I did it. It felt like I’d just run a marathon, but on the inside I felt like I’d accomplished something really memorable. So much so that when I got back to the hotel and instead of going straight to bed, I emailed one of my crew overseas who had wished me luck a couple of hours before I headed to Avalon that I played for 10 and a half hours! But yeah, after that, I did go to sleep, but not without a big smile.
Avalon Night 2 - Markus and Friends
Could we do the magic again? Night 2 was upon us, and with our friends at Sirius XM in town, we had a live broadcast around the world to plan for.
This night took a lot of preparation too, as I was working with all the DJs in the days leading up to this night on how we needed to program and build the vibe properly. We unfortunately lost Khomha thanks to visa issues, but Arnej was ready to step in, despite having to fly from Poland that morning. It was a big night too for Grube & Hovsepian, adapting to the important role of getting the crowd warmed up; and one which they performed very well.
Jochen Miller was playing in Las Vegas that weekend so we invited him along to be part of the action, and he brought a big dose of energy that got the younger crowd jumping. I was doing a bit of radio work with Austin Kramer on Electric Area, so I could assess how the night was going from up high, before heading down to the booth to begin my long night at 12:30.
The noise that greeted Hollywood Boulevard was absolutely deafening! With Jochen having raised the energy, I just had to keep the momentum going with my set. Just the pure big time stompers. A different vibe compared to the Saturday night, but was probably to be expected with the younger audience in attendance. I was conscience about not wearing the crowd out too much, because if you do that then the night ends early.
3am and it was time for my first back to back of the night with Arnej. We fed off each other pretty well, with things getting a bit twisted. It wasn’t easy being with him in the booth itself due to him being so tall though! We did some back to back and then I let him take the stage solo for a bit so I could catch a breather. Mr. Pit came on board at 4am and I think made a really good impression on everyone. Very smooth transitions and read the crowd really well. One of my biggest memories of the whole weekend was being in the booth with him for Sky Traffic; still one of my favorite tracks to pull out of the bag and play.
Just one hour to go and time to get dark again. That’s when the Afterhours Mix of Without You Near got pulled out, along with the Nothing at All mashup along with For an Angel. And like Saturday night, Hollywood Boulevard appropriately wrapped things up. Sunday night done, weekend done, a massive accomplishment achieved.
With Love to the City of Angels
I remember posting on Facebook and tweeting as we were flying home a few hours after Avalon closed that it had been one of the most inspirational weekends in my life. And sitting here a few months later and I still feel the same way about it.
The big thanks must go to everyone at Giant and Liquified who promoted the weekend, Austin and his great crew at Sirius XM who were so kind to fly out and broadcast the Sunday night live for us, all of the DJs who shared the stage with me on the Sunday night, and most of all, to each and every one of you who attended both nights and shared some special memories with me.
All LA '12 party photos courtesy of Michael Melwani
I have to give a shoutout especially to the guys and girls on the Tranceaddict boards who supported me that weekend. The people on there were among the first to really embrace who I was musically and did so much to help build my career many years ago. I never thought I’d be hosting a full weekend in your city and selling out two nights in a row, and I know that there’s no chance I’d ever have made it to where I am without your support. So a sincere thanks to everyone who keeps on believing in me all year round there.
The hard part now for me is going to be - how the hell do I top this weekend the next time I play in Los Angeles?! I’ll have to try somehow.
The Passing of Slacker
This year so far has unfortunately brought us some sad moments in the industry - two in particular stand out for me. We weren’t even out of January when news surfaced regarding the tragic passing of Shem McCauley, better known in the electronic circles as Slacker.
When I lived in London, I used to hang out with him in the clubs. We would bump into each other often when I went vinyl shopping at Plastic Fantastic and when I’d occasionally stop by the Hooj Choons offices. His productions and remixes were long-time staples on my Edge Factor radio show back in the day and my livesets.
His track “Psychout” was on my Shikodachi compilation in the late 90s. And tracks like “Scared” and “Your Face” are still regarded today as some of the most influential produced in the history of our scene.
He passed away in Bangkok. I found out about the news thanks to a tweet by Nick Warren, "Very, very sad to hear that Shem aka Slacker passed away. He was a lovely guy and it is a lesson to all of us to stay in touch and look after your friends".
I think there’s a message in there for all of us to absorb and follow. Rest in peace buddy, you will be forever missed.
The ASOT 550 Parties in Kiev and Den Bosch
With the dust settling on LA, and another massive weekend that followed in New York and Toronto (I promise to cover these in the next blog), the focus shifted to the annual A State of Trance live extravaganzas. The preparations had not started well, with news of the unfortunate cancellation in Belgrade that I was due to play. I feel sorry for the people there, and hopefully some day further down the line, I’ll get to make it up to you with a gig of my own.
After an encounter with the Godskitchen Fusion Cube in St. Petersburg for their International Women’s Day party (huge deal in Russia), my focus turned to Kiev - a city that has given me plenty of fond memories over the years. The IEC was host to one of the Global DJ Broadcast World Tour shows in 2010, and this was the setting for my first ASOT 550 offering.
ASOT 550 Kiev - Saturday March 10th
To me, these parties are all about breaking new tunes, parading the big current tunes, and celebrating those classics that we’ve all loved. So immediately following my return from Los Angeles, I kinda had the idea about doing an up to date, traditional 4/4 version of the iconic Remember Magnetic North that I could play in my livesets. I love the original to bits, and it’s always great to dig out as an encore, but with it being a breaks track, it’s hard to fit into the middle of my peak hour sets.
What we DJs have to remember about the live events, and live broadcasts in general, is that we are playing for two audiences - the live crowd, and the people supporting and listening at home. I had a feeling that Remember Magnetic North would be one for my forum peeps.
Kiev was also the official unveiling of the collab I did with Dennis Sheperd, Go!
Dennis and I worked on the track during a week in November when I was staying in Berlin (I think from memory it was the week leading up to Transmission in Prague), and we had a lot of fun together. Like many of you, I was so impressed with his work on Fallen Angel last summer, and felt that combining his sound with mine was something that could work well on the dancefloor. It has been floating around in my livesets since Thanksgiving, and the YouTube videos started appearing towards the runup to the LA weekend, but I’m pleased with how it’s done so far.
ASOT 550 Kiev photos courtesy of topdj.ua
The Coldharbour remix of Breathing got a huge reaction at the end, although I had a feeling it might after all the requests the Kiev fans had messaged me on Facebook in the week leading up to the gig. Looking back, this gig felt like another important moment for me in 2012 so far. A lot of the fans I spoke to after were actually thanking me for my set “making them dance”. Big appreciation to the Kiev faithful as always.
ASOT 550 Den Bosch - Saturday March 31st
After Winter Music Conference week (which will be covered in another blog, sorry again!), the grand finale of 550 was approaching in Den Bosch. After my first residency appearance for The Gallery at Ministry of Sound in London, it was time to reunite with the great Dutch fans once again. Another live broadcast, which meant that I needed some new tricks up my sleeve.
During that week, I asked Khomha if he could make me an intro version of his recently revealed track “Days Gone Bye”. Much like U R the year before, I wanted something that would start my set off in a big way. He’s on fire at the moment (again), not just with Days Gone Bye, but Artemis too. There’s also another track in my sets right now that is just out of this world; one of the most outrageously addictive basslines I’ve heard in years.
There was quite a spooky situation during that set, because Ferry Corsten was playing at the same time on the Blue Stage. You guys will know that I’ve been spending quite a bit of time with Ferry over the past few months, including the night we took over Godskitchen in Birmingham all night long and went back to back. We’ve also had some jamming sessions in the studio, and that of course has yielded our tribute to the old Jens classic Loops & Tings. So it was pretty cool to have Loops & Tings going in the two rooms in such a short space of time.
One of the big moments in Den Bosch for me was Mr. Pit’s incredible remix of Susana’s track Home. I loved the original back in the day, and she’s done such an outstanding job with her version. I admire her so much as a performer and as a person, and I really hope she does well with her new album Brave coming out in a couple of weeks. I’ve been supporting her tracks Down to Nothing and All Time Low a lot on Global DJ Broadcast, so make sure you take some time to check it out on iTunes. Big props must go to Mr. Pit for his efforts too, because the remix is going over so well in all my sets now.
As always, the Dutch fans are so welcoming and treat me like one of their own, and that’s why it’s always a pleasure to perform for them and try to raise the bar every time. So a big thanks to all of you who came out and supported me among all the star cast performing in Den Bosch that night. And of course a big thanks to Armin and all at ALDA who gave me the privilege of performing at these big live events.
It looks like the momentum will continue well into the summer on Monday nights at Privilege. More details on that to come very soon.
The Resignation of Danny Tenaglia
Anyone who has read a plethora of interviews I’ve done over the years will know that I’ve cited the legendary Danny Tenaglia as one of my DJing inspirations. The news he is taking an indefinite break from the scene hit home with me quite personally.
Danny is to many “the DJs DJ”. The perfect example I always give to explain this is when I was attending Space in Miami as a clubber during Winter Music Conference 2001. I had Carl Cox standing to the left of me, and John Digweed to the right, both legends in our scene in their own right, and here they were totally rocking out to Danny’s set.
Much like my early DJing career, Danny is primarily known as a house guy, but with the amazing ability to mix things up so unexpectedly that it does wonders to the vibe of a room. During that WMC 2001 set, out of nowhere he drops PPK’s Resurrection, and the place absolutely exploded. It was moments like that which have inspiried me and help me appreciate the art of DJing, something I’ve very consciously tried to perfect in my own DJ sets.
Danny at Bal en Blanc 2012. Photo courtesy of David Giral.
So the news that he’s taking a leave of absence from DJing is a sad one. Retirement has been mentioned, and I sincerely hope it isn’t true. I was fortunate to play at Bal en Blanc this year again and when my set was done, I went to the house room and partied with the fans to Danny’s set. And just like Resurrection at Space, out of nowhere he plays Daft Punk’s Alive. It was a magical feeling.
I hope that apart from his few remaining outstanding commitments, we haven’t seen the last of Danny Tenaglia the DJ. None of us who are in the scene for the right reasons want to ever retire. I don’t even want to contemplate the day it might even come close to hovering over my head.
But for now, Danny, I thank you for everything you have done for me. As the track says - be yourself, and no one else.
The Upcoming Artist Album
Days, nights, long weekends - once a famous phrase from Kindergarten Cop, but it’s now my mantra in the studio. My fourth artist album, entitled Scream, is well into development.
You may have noticed me being a bit quieter on Facebook and Twitter on occasions in between the gigs, and the reason for that has been to concentrate fully on the album or working on the radio shows. With artist albums in particular it takes much longer to complete individual tracks, because you have to perfect your music bed to accommodate the vocal of a singer. Things are going well so far, but still a lot of work to be done before the final product.
There might be a little lady from Romania who has popped up in the news recently, and with good reason! The beautiful Adina Butar is on board for this album, and many of you who have been to the live shows over the past six weeks or so have been treated to test runs of my new track with her, called Caught. I’m still tweaking it as things stand, but I’ll probably be ready to drop it live during one of the big festival broadcasts that are on the horizon very soon.
But in truth, it has been a lot of hard work so far getting the album progressing. I had a couple of weeks off the road in April and to be honest, I don’t know what I would have done without them. I was able to have a clear head without jetlag, get up early, work in the studio during the day and do any office stuff that needed to be done, then after dinner I’d go back to the studio and be in the building alone to absorb the tracks and fix anything that wasn’t right.
With Adina in the studio
As the summer comes I’ll start filtering in the tracks into my livesets, so hopefully there will be some cool exclusive moments for everyone to enjoy. I have to say that there are some amazing vocals on this album so far, some incredible male ones in particular which might surprise a lot of you too. I’ll give you a tease - one of them I’ve worked with before.
Right now the album is tentatively pencilled in for release at the end of August, so I’ve got a few weeks left to get everything ready. Keep wishing me luck guys.
Electric Daisy Carnival is Calling Me
It’s another weekend in the studio for me here in Miami to work on Scream, but next weekend is another massive one on the road. First up is a trip to Atlanta for another Opera appearance, always a lot of fun, but Saturday is a biggie.
Playing at Pacha in NYC in February. Photo courtesy of David Guzman.
One of my goals in 2012 was to show the people of New York some more love than usual. With two extended sets at Pacha in the books, it’s time to deliver something mega at the New Meadowlands next Saturday night for the first ever New York edition of the Electric Daisy Carnival. If the production levels are as good as they were in Las Vegas last year, this will be one for the books. It’s going to be a live broadcast on Sirius XM and on the A State of Trance website, so keep an eye out during the week for details on my set time and how to tune in.
The week after I’m back in South America, doing some more touring with Ferry for Godskitchen. We’re doing Boombox shows in Buenos Aires and Santiago, with a gig for me in Cordoba in between, and I’m really looking forward to all of them. The South American fans are so passionate, and it’s been so long since I was last there, so definitely something to look forward to.
And with that, it’s time to wrap things up for a bit again. Thank you guys for your patience and allowing me to check in with you after so long. It has been a very demanding year so far, but hopefully it will all be worth it. I can’t guarantee anything but I’ll do my best to check in with another blog soon, because there’s still so much to recap and discuss with you.
Until then, take care and thank you again for your support and keeping me going. I’m off to attempt to make my hair look and smell as beautiful as Fabio.
Using 27 fresh-from-the-studio tracks, one of the world’s biggest DJs has musically decoded his club capital for 2012. From across the electronic dance spectrum comes thermic audio from the likes of KhoMha, Mr. Pit, Basil O’Glue, Rex Mundi, Elevation vs. Grube & Hovsepian and many others.
It also features, exclusively, ‘Bolandish’- Markus’ incredible new track.
"Schulz clearly demonstrates his native understanding of the floor-attacking, uncompromising trance that holds sway over LA’s clubs and arenas - Album of the Month" - Mixmag
During the last weeks of 2011, via a dedicated video-cast, Markus Schulz revealed that the setting for his 2012 City compilation would be the sprawling electronic dancetropolis of Los Angeles.
On making the announcement, Markus said: “electronic dance music has blown up huge in the United States this past 12 months. One of the main reasons driving that is the scene in Los Angeles, where a new generation of clubbers are uniting with long-term fans and creating one of the most passionate scenes anywhere on the globe. I’ve played there many times in my career, at the Monster Massive festivals, the Electric Daisy Carnivals and 3 years New Years Eves at Together As One, and they’ve all been so memorable in their own way!”
Following the broadcast Markus began his musical mission to embody the dance-heart of one of the biggest cities on the planet and build a mix testament to it.
As is now the City series’ custom path, LA ’12 discs are opened by Markus himself, who infuses each mix with an atmospherically charged overture. Under his San Andreas Soundlab alias, ‘Hollywood Boulevard’ teleports the listener straight down into the early evening thrive of the iconic Tinsel-town sidewalk. As the sun starts to set, the rush of the passing traffic melts into long expectant synth sweeps, which, beat-free, beautifully capture the palpable anticipatory buzz of a long LA night ahead.
Danilo Ercole and Wellenrausch soundtrack this day-to-night transformation with their newest studio wares, ‘A Man With Two Names’ and ‘Million Miles to Run’. Pushing LA ’12 further down this potent, progressive freeway, the swirling strains of Nifra's ‘Dark Harbour’ and the epically spacious ‘Hyperfocus’ from Mark Otten intoxicate the mix and ratchet its tension. As the tougher sounds begin to filter their way in with ever-greater frequency, so the clubbers pulse quickens. The auditory punch of Beat Service’s ‘Fortuna’ produces a knockout moment, as does the unrestricted uprush of Styller’s striking ‘Quantum Mechanics’. Pushing Mix #1’s mercury conclusively through the roof is the rolling thunder of ‘Bolandish’ - Markus’ latest atom-splitter.
For just a moment disc 2 drops the drums out with the evocative, echoic 911 wail of ‘Avalon’. Markus’ tribute to the famed Hollywood club, the track plants you right outside its front door. One final glance back up at Capitol Records, etched against LA’s night-black cityscape, and the whooping rush of Arnej’s ‘We Unite’ sucks you into Avalon. From there LA ’12 wholeheartedly and vociferously seizes control of your arms and feet. Through the concussive beats, shock-waving synths and digital discordance of tracks like, Elevation vs. Grube & Hovsepian ‘City of Angels’, KhoMha’s ‘Artemis’, Aaron Camz ‘Aqwa’ and Mr Pit’s purpose built outro mix of ‘River of Hearts’, it delivers LA’s pitch-perfect audio expo.
If you’ve not clubbed the city before, this compilation will all-but secure the credentials for you. Capturing the pumped fission and pure passion that put Angelenos’ feet on the floor all-year-round, it makes a compelling a case for the city’s accession to nu electronic dance capital.
Markus Schulz - Los Angeles ’12 is out on Friday February 17th 2012.
01. San Andreas Soundlab - Hollywood Boulevard
02. Danilo Ercole - A Man with Two Names
03. Wellenrausch - Million Miles to Run
04. Klauss Goulart - Sweet Little Pepper
05. Rebels Without a Cause & York - Red Violin
06. Basil O'Glue - Doublespeak Effects
07. Nifra - Dark Harbour
08. Erick Strong vs. Dart Rayne - Shamballa
09. Mark Otten - Hyperfocus
10. Danilo Ercole - Quasar
11. Beat Service - Fortuna
12. Styller - Quantum Mechanics
13. Markus Schulz - Bolandish
01. San Andreas Soundlab - Avalon
02. Arnej - We Unite
03. KhoMha - Mind Gamer
04. Rex Mundi - Shocking Blue
05. Styller - All That Remains (Basil O'Glue Remix)
06. DNS Project - Recapture
07. Mr. Pit - Pole Position
08. Aaron Camz - Aqwa
09. Omnia & Ira - The Fusion
10. KhoMha - Artemis
11. Rex Mundi - Opaque
12. Elevation vs. Grube & Hovsepian - City of Angels
13. Ercola featuring Annie - Follow Me (Rex Mundi Remix)
14. Mr. Pit - River of Hearts (Outro Mix)
Ahead of a busy Thanksgiving weekend, Markus Schuzl returns with a brand new blog. He gets caught up on his latest album work, as well as a memorable weekend at Transmission: Digital Madness.
What’s up guys, Happy Thanksgiving and hope this finds you all doing well.
It has been quite a while since I’ve had the opportunity to sit down in the one spot and gather my thoughts for a blog, so a massive apology for that. When the summer started picking up my free time has almost been entirely dedicated to the radio shows and gigs, compiling tracks for the 2012 compilation, as well as beginning to get into the teeth of producing my next Markus Schulz artist album.
I know that I have a huge amount of gig recaps and catching up to do; and I hope to come back to those in future blogs. But the main reason I’ve pushed myself to do one for you guys today is to talk about my latest Transmission experience - memorable not just for professional reasons, but for personal ones too.
So in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I’m going to try to convey my thoughts on how thankful I am for the weekend just past. So grab a drink and some pumpkin pie.
The Buildup to Transmission: Berlin and Sofia
It had already been a busy week in Berlin on the production front. Since my last appearance at Avalon in Los Angeles back in August until now, one of the key components of my livesets has been this year’s Transmission event theme - Digital Madness. Since it was becoming familiar for everyone to hear, I wanted to add a little something extra that would surprise the audience the O2 Arena on the night, and also conscious that the set was going out live around the world too.
So on Monday I sat down and started thinking about what to add, and went through my folder of liveset intros from down the years. When I was making coffee I had the Sin City intro playing in the background (the one you would have heard at the beginning of Las Vegas ’10 Disc 2), so I thought to myself, if I can transfer the lead of Digital Madness into that haunting orchestral type of vibe then it might work. The set preparations were underway.
Tuesday and Thursday of that week I spent working with Berlin native Dennis Sheperd. He’s had a great year on the production front, particularly with his massive Fallen Angel that I’ve supported lots of times on Global DJ Broadcast and in my livesets since July.
I’ve gotten to know Dennis better since the summer and was open to the idea of spending some time in the studio with him with the hope that the results might yield something for the next Markus Schulz album. Without giving too much away for now, I’m very satisfied with what we’ve accomplished. Might be a little while before you hear it, but I think it’s something hopefully you guys will enjoy.
Sandwiched in between was GDJB recording day on Wednesday and more preparation ahead of the Transmission set. I spent some time browsing my own forums and Tranceaddict to find the tracklists of my last few Transmission appearances, and there was one thing that stood out to me - the Coldharbour remix of Breathing had never been played there before. So that was something I wanted to factor into the equation too.
Whilst Transmission was obviously heavily in my thoughts all week long, Friday also presented an important gig for me - my first visit to Sofia in Bulgaria for almost two years. I was going to treat this gig as my dress rehearsal for Transmission the night after. I wasn’t leaving until early evening, so I slept right through from Thursday night until the sun went down on Friday in Berlin, because I knew I wasn’t going to get too much for the next couple of days.
Yalta is a beautiful intimate club that has always made me feel very welcome over the last five years or so. My itinerary said that I was only due to play two hours but the crowd demanded more so I gave them three. I must give a mention to Danny from Tucandeo who came to the gig for support along with his girlfriend, nice seeing them.
Overall the night went really well. It was the perfect way to get me fully focused on what needed to be accomplished in Prague the next night. Great people and great vibe. I know I said to some of the guys on Facebook about possibly making Sofia a World Tour destination - to be completely honest, had that gig not fallen the day before Transmission, and Transmission going out live, I definitely would have done it. So maybe the next time they bring me back, if the timing is right, then we showcase Sofia to the world. Many thanks again to everyone who came out.
Transmission: Digital Madness, Prague - Saturday November 19th
The big day had arrived; without doubt one of the biggest and most important gigs of a trance DJ’s schedule throughout the year. After a layover in Vienna, I touched down in Prague early in the evening.
My connection and affection to the city of Prague is obvious to those who have followed my career over the years, and this affection went into hyperfocus mode earlier in the year due to me dedicating the 2011 chapter of my city series compilation to the Czech capital. The backbone of this affection has been the Transmission extravaganzas. I’m very proud to be an unofficial resident of the event, having played there every year for the last six and having done three event themes in the last four years - The New World, Future Cities and this year’s attempt Digital Madness.
I have to take you back to last year’s event where I was very fortunate to have my father and two brothers in attendance. Earlier that summer we had received the news that my dad was fighting cancer and the outlook wasn’t good, and with me only having discovered and connected with him a couple of years previously, it has left me with so many ponderous moments, such as why is he possibly going to have to leave my life so soon only after coming into my life.
Going into the event last year, we all thought that it would be his first and last Transmission. But all year long he’s vowed to fight and be strong for us in the hope that he would get to experience one more.
Not only that, after my brother Holger’s accident which left him in a coma back in May, my life felt like it had turned upside down. That was one of the toughest weeks I’ve ever had to encounter, and I’ve never been so appreciative of my fans as I was that week, particularly those who came to see me when I was touring India. It’s funny; I said to one of the girls who regularly supports me and GDJB on Twitter that I feel a debt of gratitude towards them for almost carrying me through that week, and hopefully I can repay them when I visit the Sunburn Festival in Goa after Christmas.
Thankfully however, the family were there this year supporting me again, and I knew that I had to make every effort to perform to my best, as well as making it a night to remember for the fans.
After meeting the family and my press agent Tim Stark we gathered for dinner and headed to the O2 Arena in Prague. You could feel a buzz in the air all night long. Gareth Emery was on the decks as I got into the arena, and unsurprisingly could hear Zombie Nation blasting through the speakers.
At 11pm it was showtime. Deep breaths and time to deliver. My short edit of a Digital Madness intro into Mr. Pit’s remix of Katowice kicked us off, and my first sense of relief was hearing the crowd embrace the event theme. As you guys know, one of my favorite tracks from this year is Khomha’s remix of Max Freegrant’s track “Olya” - I’ve gone on record as describing it as the track where we can only be friends if you like it too! I still had the acappella of Sarah McLachlan on Delerium’s Silence from when I made the mashup with Lift Off, so had an idea to place it over the top of Olya as a nice surprise. Thankfully it went down well too.
I hadn’t planned on playing either Surreal or the Beat Service remix of Saints, but I changed my mind after the reactions they had gotten at Yalta the night before. So you guys in Sofia definitely had an influence on the big dance in Prague. And of course no set of mine would be complete without a few pesky IDs in there, although they’ve been going over huge in all my livesets over the past month. Right now I’m debating on whether or not to use them in the city compilation, so just want to keep the identity of the tracks under wraps for now.
The staples of Opera of Northern Ocean, Rotunda and Outsider were all requested by the fans throughout the week on Facebook and Twitter so they got big reactions when played, and it’s always a seminal moment when The New World gets played in Prague in any format due to the connection with Transmission. The debut of the Coldharbour remix of Breathing at the event followed, and it was definitely a very special moment for me looking out at the sea of hands from the booth. You would be hard pressed to find timeless classics better than that. Then to wrap things up was my new version of Digital Madness, which rounded things off in great fashion.
After 1 hour and 40 minutes (it only felt like 5 minutes if I’m honest) I was done, and my contribution on stage to Transmission was over for another year. I went down to meet some fans and take pictures, then went out to the lobby to do some press and poster signings for even more fans. Paavo and Tony from Above & Beyond had taken over and by the time I got finished and back up into the skybox where my family was, they had around 20 minutes left. But nothing could have prepared me for their ending.
Over the past year A&B’s drive has been all about their Group Therapy artist album. Included in the album are some beautiful atmospheric tracks that they’ve used as their intros and outros to every set they’ve played this year. As expected, they ended their Transmission set with “Sun in Your Eyes”. Along with everyone else in the arena, I watched the screen and the messages they were typing up to interact with the fans - all of meaning and value to many; “life is made of small moments like these”. Then they put up this:
Now I’m not exactly the poster child for showing my emotions physically, but it was unbelievably difficult to keep them in check when they put up the message about my dad. It was a moment of sheer class and appreciation I will never forget, and I will be forever thankful to them for going out of their way in doing it. We don’t know the future, and we don’t know if this past week was my dad’s final ever Transmission experience. But if it was, it was a beautiful moment that everyone will always remember.
So my heartfelt thanks go to the boys - to Jono, Tony and particularly Paavo who was manning the messages on his laptop. It’s a huge weekend for them coming up as they reach the milestone of 400 episodes of Trance Around the World, so as well as thanking them for Transmission, I’d like to take this opportunity to congratulate them for their achievement and wish them luck for their live event in Lebanon this Saturday.
My Transmission thanks also spread to Ferry Corsten (great company as always), John O’Callaghan and Gareth Emery, and a sincere thanks to each and every one of you who supported me during my performance on the night. This was Transmission: Digital Madness, and it’s one I’ll be reflecting on for a very long time indeed.
I said my goodbyes to the family and headed back home to Miami via London Heathrow. Hope to see you again soon Prague.
2012 City Compilation Announcement - This Monday
My week on the road started early with a trip to Denver for Trancegiving Eve, and then flew back to Miami to spend my first Thanksgiving at home with family for the first time in years. Later today I’m packing up for a weekend in Texas, starting at Rich’s in Houston tonight and then the GDJB World Tour recording at the Lizard Lounge in Dallas on Saturday. Should be fun seeing everyone.
Then Monday is a big day, where the location of the 2012 city series compilation will be revealed. The amount of messages and people asking me about it over the past few months has been crazy. At times I’ve felt like I’m going to be announcing the next city hosting the Olympics or the World Cup! But all will be revealed with a video broadcast this Monday, starting at Noon Pacific | 3pm Eastern | 8pm UK | 9pm Central Europe on http://www.markusschulz.tv.
To be honest, it hasn’t been an easy decision, because there are so many cities worthy of contention. I’ve tried to base my decision not only on the impact I have felt by the city in the last 12 months, but also over the past number of years. I’m delighted to say that as well as announcing the city, we’ll also be able to reveal to you the special release party and plans around the compilation. So make sure you free up your Monday to find out the next instalment of my city series project.
After that I’m saying goodbye to home and spending another stretch of weeks on the road; first going to Asia to Singapore and China, and then playing Creamfields in Abu Dhabi before a couple of weekends in Europe. I’ll be gathering even more tracks for the compilation and starting to put the pieces together in the coming weeks, as well as doing some more production work for the artist album.
And with that, it’s time to wrap things up and pack for another weekend. Many thanks for taking the time to read guys and thanks for your patience in waiting for the next blog to appear over the past few months. I’ll try my best to go back to the summer and get caught up over the next while. Please leave me your thoughts and comments and I’ll have a read when I’m on the road, they always keep me going.
Until then, take care and enjoy the rest of your Thanksgiving weekend.
Find the details of where and when you can find out the city chosen to be the spotlight of Markus Schulz's 2012 edition of his compialtion series.
On Monday November 28th, as part of a special live video broadcast, one of the busiest international DJs, Markus Schulz will reveal the metropolis that’s been chosen to host his 2012 city compilation. Ahead of the curve at each turn, the series has long stood at the forefront of metropolis encapsulating mix-comps. Having previously pointed the spotlight at EDM epicentres including the never-been-hotter Amsterdam and his home city of Miami, latterly the series has gone on to centre-stage the newfound club-credentials of Vegas and thriving European dance-hub Prague.
In the run up to every year’s announcement, trance fans take to forums and social media platforms to speculate as to which city Schulz will pick (regularly lobbying for theirs to be chosen!). With Markus having spun in over 90 different municipalities in the last 12 months alone the field for 2012’s could hardly be more open!
There can however only be one! And in a twist, for the first time this year, Markus himself will be making the announcement via a live video broadcast! Transmitted via http://www.markusschulz.tv, it will allow you to be among the first to find out where the series lands in 2012. In addition to the grand unveiling, he’ll also be talking in depth about next year’s pick, recalling his past experiences in the city and how he perceives its club future. Further he’ll be giving fans the inside track on how its essence will be captured in the music AND give you the first details and dates for the 2012 city compilation’s can’t-miss block-rocking launch parties!
So get your desktop reminders set and prepare to tune in! The announcement broadcast is now less than 7 days away! It will go out on Monday November 28th thru http://www.markusschulz.tv at Noon Pacific | 3pm Eastern | 8pm UK | 9pm Central Europe
“The epitome of tech-trance heavy industry” - Mixmag Magazine, August 2011
He continues to pack the biggest nightclubs whilst receiving rave reviews in response. His Thoughts Become Things II album has been critically acclaimed as another bold step for the trance genre. And with his annual Coldharbour Day celebrations approaching, it is apt that Markus Schulz brings his Dakota alter-ego to the fore for this special occasion - by dedicating it to a nation which has supported him immensely throughout his journey of being regarded amongst the industry’s elite.
His affiliation to the people of Poland and the city of Katowice goes back many years; with its Planeta FM affiliate being the first in the country to transmit and support his Global DJ Broadcast radio show on a weekly basis. But it was a visit to Katowice on a November night for Poland’s Mayday celebrations which projected this connection to the next level.
Inspired by the underground techno vibe emanating from the outdoor ambiance of the event, Markus harnessed his experience into a new track in his hotel room only hours after being on stage. Given unidentified roadtests through the Global DJ Broadcast World Tour events at Green Valley in Brazil, Vision in Chicago and Zouk in Singapore, speculation mounted whether this tech-trance filled grinder could be one of the Thoughts Become Things II offerings.
The answer was yes, and on the day the album details were revealed and the track in question was dedicated to one of Markus’ most rabid nation of followings, the Polish fans and the people of Katowice in particular knew that a strong bond had been formed, and the world was watching.
Fast forward to July and Markus’ first Global Gathering festival appearance of the summer in Gdansk, Katowice was on the tip of everyone’s lips. In front of over 15,000 fans, they got their wish by hearing the original live on the night, but they would also be the recipients of a world premiered alternative slant on the track - in the form of on-fire Romanian Mr. Pit. Played to audiences on both Global DJ Broadcast and A State of Trance in the same week, his remix gives Katowice extra room to blossom both in the clubs and on the grandest outdoor settings.
Katowice is aptly described in August 2011’s edition of UK magazine Mixmag - “All in all this is darkly minded, challenging and satisfying trance music”.
This is Markus Schulz’s tribute to the people of Poland, and Katowice will be the epicentre of many huge dancefloor moments across Europe and beyond.