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Monday 06th, April 2009
Markus Schulz
Markus Schulz 2009 interview
Updated: Thursday 28th, May 2009

: Miami based DJ / producer Markus Schulz is probably best known for his weekly radio show 'Global DJ Broadcast' and of course for productions such as 'The New World', 'Fly To Colours', 'Daydream' (with Andy Moor) and many others. Besides that he remixed tracks for many big names and last but not least, his mix compilations such as Miami, Ibiza, Amsterdam and his most recent one Toronto.

Trance.nu: Hi Markus, how are you doing?
Markus: I am well, I am on the plane right now heading to Washington DC to play at Glow, a really fun club, so I am anticipating a crazy weekend.

Trance.nu: Your new mix compilation Toronto ’09 has just been released. How are the reactions on this one so far?
Markus: The reaction so far has been great. I am getting lots of people telling me how they really understand the flow and progression of the compilation after listening to it numerous times. I anticipated that, because the city series compilations are not your usual "mix all the big hits together" type of compilation. I really spend time trying to make it something special.

Trance.nu: You picked the name Toronto for the CD because of the gigs you did there in the Guvernment. What was your best DJ experience ever there?
Markus: There have been so many. A couple of great moments where playing my 6 hour extended sets there and also closing out the Koolhaus during the "Contact" party a few years ago and not stopping until 9am. The fans there are great, and such a nice family. I am very grateful to be accepted and be part of their scene.

Trance.nu: The official Toronto ’09 release party took place at the Guvernment. How was the party?
Markus: The release party was great! I started off a bit darker and really built it up nicely. The room was rocking the entire time and I played a lot of tracks from the compilation, as well as some new ‘Dakota’ tracks.

Trance.nu: If you have to compare the Toronto compilation with your previous compilations such as Miami, Ibiza and Amsterdam, what would be the big difference with this one then?
Markus: Ibiza had more of a Mediterranean feel mixed in with some nice dark melodies, Amsterdam was a bit more progressive and while Toronto has a more techy vibe that builds into big room melodies. I worked closely with each producer to make sure that all the tracks had the vibe I was looking for. This was a really fun project for that reason. I actually was personally involved with crafting and A&R-ing each track on the compilation. It was very time consuming but the end result was well worth it.

Trance.nu: Was it hard for you to select the tracks for the album?
Markus: Not at all, since I was involved with the creation of most of the tracks I knew where I wanted to place each track in the mix as well as where the track needed to go in order for the next track after to feel right in the mood. Like I said it was very time consuming but well worth it.

Trance.nu: How long does it normally take for you to select all tracks for a compilation like this one?
Markus: I started compiling the tracks for this compilation at the end of the summer. There were some amazing tracks that I was not able to fit into the compilation that I feel bad about, but I will be supporting those tracks in my DJ sets and give them the exposure that they deserve.

Trance.nu: What are your 3 personal favourites on the album and why?
Markus: ‘Dakota - Sin City’, which I had so much fun working on. ‘Rex Mundi – Scorpion’ which is such an amazing melody tucked under a wicked groove. That track makes me feel great every time I play it or hear it. and ‘Rex Mundi feat Susana - Nothing At All’. I think that is going to be a huge track over the summer. Right now we have some big remixes being worked on by Agnelli & Nelson, Beat Service and Elevation. Like I said this track is going to be a big one over the summer!

Trance.nu: There are also some of your own tracks on the album, such as the first track on the compilation, which is your new alias ‘Dino’. What can you tell us about this track / alias? Will there be more tracks under this name?
Markus: ‘Dino’ is just a name I came up with at the very last minute. I am a big NBA Basketball fan and the team from Toronto are the Raptors. Sometimes on ESPN the announcers call them the Dino's just for fun, so since this compilation was dedicated to Toronto I just used that name.

Trance.nu: Furthermore there are also 2 ‘Dakota’ tracks on the compilation; ‘Sin City’ and ‘Koolhaus’, both named as a tribute to the special events area inside The Guvernment complex. It’s been 7 years ago since you released a track under this name. What was the reason that you started using this alias again?
Markus: I have been really inspired into making some more clubby tracks lately but I thought that first, putting out another ‘Markus Schulz’ artist album right now was too soon. I also didn't want people to be disappointed that there were not tracks with Vocals on the album, so I thought it best if I put this out under the old name I used when I did stuff for Bedrock, Yoshitoshi and Global Underground. It was so much fun to make these tracks and I have completed enough for a full ‘Dakota’ album.

Trance.nu: I’ve heard indeed that you are busy with a full ‘Dakota’ album. What can we expect on this album?
Markus: Big clubby tunes that I will be banging all summer in Ibiza. One thing that many trance guys and I have noticed is there is a lack of big progressive tunes that fit in the beginning and in the afterhours of a long set. The progressive house tracks seem to be lack the big euphoric moment and the relentless grooves that work in a big room. I hope that many of these tracks will be able to fill that void.

Trance.nu: When can we expect the release of the ‘Dakota’ album?
Markus: All of the tracks will be released really quickly over the course of the spring and summer.

Trance.nu: In 2005 you released the first Markus Schulz artist album ‘Without You Near’. In 2007, 2 years later, the ‘Progression’ saw its release. Are there any plans for a new Markus Schulz artist album later this year as well?
Markus: Now since I am done with the ‘Dakota’ album, I am going to start work on the next ‘Markus Schulz’ album. It always takes me longer for this artist album because there is so much more that goes in to writing songs and collaborating with singers. I am really inspired right now when working in the studio so I am excited about what this album will bring.

Trance.nu: Your most recent release was ‘The New World’. Are you busy with a follow up for this one already? What can you tell us about this one?
Markus: There is a Giuseppe Ottaviani remix of ‘The New World’ that will be out soon, and as I work on the new artist album. Right now creatively in the studio I am focusing on the new album and release wise we are focused on the ‘Dakota’ album. We have remixes of some of the ‘Dakota’ tracks in progress right now.

Trance.nu: On your previous albums you did some collaborations with people such as Andy Moor, Departure, Airwave and Gabriel & Dresden. Are there new collaborations in the pipeline already by any chance?
Markus: Yes, I have discussed collaborating with other producers as well as some really high profile singers who have contacted me and told me they are fans of my sound and would love to collaborate. That is always such an honor to hear from other people I respect and work with them.

Trance.nu: Are there any people that you would like to collaborate with?
Markus: I have found some amazing producers who make some amazing liquid funk that is just amazing, also been listening to some electronic gothic influenced stuff that is wonderful. I have always listened to all kinds of music and able to draw from it when creating my own sound.

Trance.nu: On the Toronto ’09 compilation there are 2 new remixes you did, one of them is the beautiful remix you did for the new Mike Foyle track ‘Bittersweet Nightshade’. And besides this one, we can find the remix that you did for the ‘Dance 2 Trance’ classic ‘Power Of American Natives’ on the compilation as well. Do you think that it’s difficult to remix a classic like this one?
Markus: My take on remixing a classic is to leave what made the track so special in place and work around that moment. The ‘Dance 2 Trance one is a good example. I slowed the track down a bit and put in some new percussion and a more modern sounding bass line but kept the original soul of the song in place. Remixing a classic is controversial, I am very critical as well when I hear one of my favorite tunes butchered, but if done right it can really be a cool thing.

Trance.nu: Would there be any other classics that you would like to remix or do you prefer to make remixes of new tracks?
Markus: I prefer new tracks, but I have been known to remix classics exclusively for my DJ sets. If you have a connection with a track then remixing it sometimes is cool. I don't really like the idea of someone remixing a classic that has no connection with the original soul of the track.

Trance.nu: In the past you did remixes already for artists and acts such as Madonna, Everything But The Girl, Jewel, Fatboy Slim, Motorcycle, Filterheadz, Oceanlab and many others. What remix are you the most proud of and why?
Markus: That was so long ago, It really was the most frustrating and unrewarding period of my career because many of the A&R executives at the major labels did not know how to communicate what they wanted or where frustrated producers who wanted you to make the track exactly like they wanted to make it. I was lucky to work with some very talented artist and learned a lot during those years, but I did not start having fun until I focused on my own productions.

Trance.nu: Are there any artists that would love to do a remix for?
Markus: Like I said, artist that I have a connection with would be the most rewarding. Artist like Coldplay and Keane would be obvious ones because they write great songs, but I would just as much like to remix some more minimal clubby tunes under my ‘Dakota’ moniker.

Trance.nu: What kind of equipment do you use in your studio?
Markus: I use Logic, Ableton and pro tools and an assortment of old hardware that I have compiled over the years. I have been really interested in vintage keyboards again. They take more work to get to sound right in the mix, but they make a track sound unique.

Trance.nu: Do you work on the road a lot as well, since you’re travelling a lot?
Markus: Yes I have a laptop that I sketch out ideas on when I am on the road. It has become something that I can't do without. I have a little USB keyboard that I use that I can slip into my backpack and take with me as well.

Trance.nu: You entered the top 10 of the DJ Mag Top 100 in 2008 at a number 8 position. How did you react when you found out?
Markus: I did not believe it until I saw it announced at the event. I was told on my way there, but there are so many numbers that I heard over the weeks leading up to the DJ Mag party. I am just so honored that the fans support me the way they do. I remember thinking when they started the top 100 many years ago, that I just wanted to be in the top 100 one day, anywhere...even at #99 just so I could one day tell my family that at one point I was in the top 100. To be in the top 10 is nothing I ever expected and a dream.

Trance.nu: Is the DJ Mag Top 100 important for you? Or don’t you pay too much attention to it?
Markus: For trance DJs it is very important. Maybe if I was a house or minimal DJ it would not be as important, because they play parties on their past reputation. Trance DJs get booked on their status in the world. There are not many successful trance DJs who are not represented in the Top 100.

Trance.nu: You are DJ-ing for a very long time already and during the years you played in lots of famous clubs and at lots of big festivals. Do you have a favourite club, venue or festival that you just love to play at?
Markus: Amnesia, Guvernment, Stereo, Space Miami....I have been lucky to be able to play at some of the most amazing clubs in the world.

Trance.nu: What is the highlight in your DJ career so far?
Markus: Playing at Monster Massive in LA to a crowd of 40,000. Playing to a crowd that size is something you never forget!

Trance.nu: Where can people expect you in the next couple of weeks?
Markus: In Dubai, London, Montreal and then back to Asia.

Trance.nu: What are your goals for the rest of this year?
Markus: To have a successful Ibiza season and for people to enjoy the new ‘Dakota’ album and to work on the next Markus Schulz album

Trance.nu: And any ideas already what can we expect from Markus Schulz after 2009?
Markus: More touring because that seems to be an ongoing thing. I just love what I'm doing and I hope to do more of it. I want to continue evolving.

Trance.nu: Thanks a lot for your time and good luck in the future!
Markus: Thank you too!

Written by:
Twan van Loon

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