Markus Schulz Interview

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SoundReflect Interview
Markus Schulz on his label Coldharbour, his ‘Global DJ’ Radio Show and his musical achievement

Markus Schulz

SoundReflect: Your new compilation ‘Global DJ Broadcast – Best of 2009’ has just been released. It refers to your weekly radio show. How and when do you prepare for the show and what do you focus on compared to your club gigs?
Markus Schulz: We do the World Tour date as the first show of every month, which features a two hour continuous mix from a new club or event. In 2009 we did some really special World Tour broadcasts which, I think, lock in the intrinsic individual sounds of clubbing from many corners of the world – places like Medellin in Columbia, St Petersburg in Russia and Amnesia in Ibiza.The ‘Global DJ Broadcast World Tour – Best of 2009’ is really a compilation of all the tracks that noticeably rocked the hardest throughout the course of that point-to-point DJ journey. In terms of preparation, well its not so different from any other gig really – they all involve the filtering of all the tracks I’m sent over the course of a month down to the music that I want to showcase to clubbers. The key to its success is picking gigs that are really going to convey a different clubbing experience to those people who tune in for the show.

SoundReflect: In 1999 your alter ego Dakota appeared for the first time. Then it was quiet around the project for a couple of years. Why did you decide to revive Dakota in 2009 with several digital releases on Coldharbour and a new album?
Markus Schulz: Well it was more than a couple of years actually, closer to eight in fact. ‘Lost in Brixton’, the last Dakota track (prior to the album) was in 2001.
Year on year since then ‘Lost’ and the other two singles have developed a cult following of sorts. You get asked more questions about them, you hear them being resurrected in club sets with greater frequency – after a while you end up linking these incidents together and it gets the brain working on possibilities for the future.
After a number of years every artist relishes the chance to do something different musically, combining sounds from different styles into something new. So it was all these factors that came together to resurrect the Dakota name and bring about a full album.

SoundReflect: How does the project Dakota differ from the music you release as Markus Schulz? Do you have a different feeling inside when you are in the studio to produce Dakota music and when you produce a new Markus Schulz track?
Markus Schulz: Most certainly. Dakota tracks open up sounds from electronic music sub-genres other than trance; styles like deep house, techno, progressive and even a little electro. When I started on this project, I just wanted to make some darker tunes for my DJ sets last summer. As the production progressed, I realized that this was much deeper than my usual material and I did not want the fans to get confused and think I was changing my style. So I decided that putting this out under the old Dakota name I used in the early millennium was a better idea.

Coldharbour

SoundReflect: In 2005 you founded your own label, Coldharbour Recordings. With which philosophy do you run it? How do you choose the tracks that will be released on Coldharbour?
Markus Schulz: I think there’s more of an ‘aim to the mission’ as opposed to a philosophy as such. If that is the case then it would be to put out a specific style, sound and quality of music that best encapsulates what I’m about.
Aside from the reference to my time in studios in London’s Coldharbour Lane, I’ve always felt that, in essence, Coldharbour was an evocative label name for the tracks that we release.
We don’t do what I would consider to be full-blown Trance. More tracks with less obvious riffs, away from the mainstream – ones that have sounds and FX with more nuance & depth. If you look at the artists that started out recording for the label – people like Marcus Schossow, Santiago Nino, Probspot, tyDi & Niklas Harding etc – I think they themselves encapsulate it well too. Producers who are able to explore left and right of the Trance mainstream.

SoundReflect: You have been working with the label Armada for many years. What do you appreciate about this cooperation?
Markus Schulz: Certainly in trance, but quite possibly in electronic dance music too, Armada are the greatest force out there. When you run record labels it’s always natural to want your music to be heard as wider audience as possible. Armada do this through many channels and this is what we have come to love about working with them.

SoundReflect: The genre Trance has been pronounced dead several times. It has always come back and right now it’s hotter than ever. How would you explain that this kind of music is going through so many ups and downs?
Markus Schulz: You could answer that question as simply as to say: music is cyclic. In regards to trance though, I think that would be too straightforward an answer. As a genre it has always innovated ahead of the EDM curve. It has gone through numerous sub-genre impulses which have reenergized it – the majority of which are still with us and still popular (tech, minimal, deep and euphoric for example).
Trance does end up taking a lot of hits from the press because (if you look at it numerically) it is the most popular of the electronic dance’s genres. Anything that is seen to be going overground is naturally going to take some knocks by those that see themselves as cool. Trance, by and large, is also very easy to listen to (although paradoxically one of the more complex to produce!). So the new generations of fans absorb it as much in as out of the clubs – this continually breathes new life into it.

SoundReflect: What are you up to in the next months?
Markus Schulz: It is neither a blessing or a curse. It is the natural progression of technology. Fighting it is futile and a waste of resources so I spend my time figuring out a the best ways to work with it instead.

SoundReflect: You have lived in Berlin for some time. What do you like about the city and what don’t you like about it?
Markus Schulz: I lived there for only 3 months last summer so it would be very hard for me to be a great judge of the overall city. I quite liked the trip and the travel for me as a DJ was so much easier. The arts and culture there are really great and the people are very nice. I did find the city a little bit more lazy feeling than I expected which was actually quite a nice surprise because we always hear that the Germans are so punctual and regimented. To the contrary, I found everyone to be super cool, laid back, and very open minded. Even so, I could never stand the winter if I stayed there. Also, while I was gone I missed San Francisco very much. I think SF is a much better place for me than Berlin. I mean, California vs. the upper right hand corner of northern Europe… Is there even a comparison to be made from the months of October to April?

SoundReflect: What are you up to in the next months?
Markus Schulz: A fair amount! I’ve got some really exciting Global DJ Broadcast World Tour dates coming up in Jan & Feb including the massive Together As One in Los Angeles on New Year’s Eve. It’s the first time I’ve been back there since 2005 and they always put on a colossal event – very much looking forward to that.
I’m also launching the Global DJ Broadcast Podcast in January. That’s something that’s been on my mind to do for a long time now. It’s taken quite some time to find the right legal route to do it but we’ve managed to lock that down.
In addition to the weekly radio show I’m looking forward to giving my fans a monthly download that they can take away from their desktops and listen to whilst they’re out and about.
February will see the release of the next Markus Schulz city compilation album. We’ve already been to Toronto, Amsterdam and Miami for them and the 2010 one will focus on Las Vegas. That’s a city that I’ve had an increasingly strong connection with over the last few years and I’m going to be doing a lot more there over the course of the new year.

www.markusschulz.com

(Interview conducted by Digital EGO Media for SoundReflect and Housefloor Webmag, January 2010)

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One Response to “Markus Schulz Interview”


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