It isn’t every day that you have the opportunity to interview your
Coming off the absolute musical high of his Open to Close set in Brooklyn (yes we made it start to finish), I mustered up all of my courage, and he couldn’t have been more gracious. It was an absolute pleasure to follow him from New York to Miami at his Coldharbour Recordings evening where Haliene gave us chills singing Ave’ Maria live, and then witnessing his pure Trance Ultra set at ASOT 2019. He cried, I cried, everyone cried. Get to know Markus as we all know and love him, and prepare to be
Hello, this is Jen from Fresh Music Freaks. I’m sitting here with my
Markus Schulz: Good, I’m glad to be here.
Great. Good! Fans credit you for staying true to your roots. How do you stick to the true Markus sound that you’re known for regardless of genre?
You know, music is part of my soul, so if this music touches me, then I have a connection to it. So it’s just trying to stay true to the music that you have a connection with. You know, I have very eclectic tastes, but all the music, no matter what genre you write, whatever it is that i like, there’s something to it. There’s something that touches my soul. So the big thing is just stay true to your soul and stay true to the music that you really feel good about. And then what happens is you connect with people that also have that same connection to the music. And then you have a real organic connection with the fans. I think that’s the secret to my longevity. I think it’s just having a fan base of people that connect organically to the same stuff that I connect to.
Of course. I mean, you have so many heartwarming tracks and they’re your signature, you know, when you’ve been in the game for a long time. Actually, my favorite EP of yours is the vocal “In Bloom EP” and you’re releasing Volume Two soon. What was going through your mind as you were producing that?
The first one or second one?
The second one that you have coming out.
Well, last year was a different point in my life than this year. This year, it’s been a little melancholy of a year for me, you know in the last few months. So the music I’ve been trying to release represents what I’m going through. So when I look back at my career and the years that have gone by, it’s like I know some of the things that I went through during that time because of the music that I was producing, the music I was spinning, or the music that I was releasing. So right now I think this “In Bloom EP”, what went through my mind was to do something melancholy, but at the same time like a celebration of life. So that’s the direction I took with these. “Ave Maria” is the big thing on this EP that’s very special as well as “The Dreamers”. It’s also a very special track that is on the In Bloom EP this year.
I mean, you have so many heartwarming moments and you share them with your fans. Recently you debuted “Ave Maria” at ASOT Madrid. Our condolences, by the way, for your mother. It’s hard to lose a parent. I was onsite Tuesday when Haliene debuted and performed it.
That was a surprise actually. I didn’t know that she was coming. They brought Haliene and sang it for me live in front of everybody, so it was really special. You know, the song “Ave Maria”, when I was young, I heard the song and thought it was one of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard in my life. And at Amsterdam dance event, Haliene and I were hanging out and were, of course, talking about working together. I don’t know how we got into a conversation about the song “Ave Maria”. Then she said she used to sing it when she was young and it was like, you know what, let’s do this. And you know, we did it, but it was kind of progressing slowly. When my mom went to the hospital, I started working on it more heavily. Unfortunately, my mom passed away and it’s the song that’s going to be forever connected with me and my mother. So it is a very special song because of that.
I completely understand that. I know that you plan to debut it at Ultra for the ASOT day. Are there any other special surprises that you have in store for your fans?
Oh yeah, my whole set is going to be full of fire and surprises.
Y’know, the thing is, I’m working on making my set theatrical, but also a celebration that has moments… moments that we all just kind of feel good about.
Yeah, it’s important to celebrate life, especially when you lose somebody very close to you. With Resistance and giving Techno an entire island at Ultra this year, I know that you’re very excited. You have the whole Miami Music Week planned. Your Coldharbour Black Recordings is having a moment. Can you tell us a little bit more about that?
When I do my open to close sets, I always go down the rabbit hole towards the end of my sets, or early mornings, you know, when the sets run long. But I’ve never represented that part of my set with my label, Coldharbour. So I really thought it was time to represent that part of my sets with Coldharbour Black. We’ve been talking about doing it for years and I think the time was right, especially since I started collaborating with Jam El Mar who lives in Frankfurt. He’s doing techno with fragments of melody and I absolutely love that about him. So I thought the time was right because that’s exactly 100% what my vibe is in the wee hours of the morning.
Yeah. And we’ve done several of your open to close sets. Do you have any plans to do another after dark set anytime soon for us?
Every October we’ll do the after dark.
Wonderful! You’re one of the most highly traveled and booked DJ producers in the world and I wanted to know how you manage your bookings with such passion, giving fans your all ,and avoiding burnout from traveling so much because you’re everywhere!
You know, a long time ago I realized that this was my purpose on Earth. And when you’ve realized your this is your purpose and you dedicate your life to it, then it becomes natural. A lot of people ask me, “How do you do it?” You know, looking from the outside in, it looks pretty crazy, but when you live it every day, I wake up every morning and I’m excited, like, what do we do today!?! I dedicated my life to this at a very early age when I realized that this was my purpose, my destiny.
That’s wonderful! And speaking of giving your all, you are an absolute beast at every open to close that you’ve done. I’ve been to several. What goes through your mind preparing for them mentally and physically because it’s a long time?
Physically, I’m okay. In the days leading up to it I try and get myself more energy, try and conserve my energy, but mentally, I try to put myself into a place where I feel the music. You know what I mean? I’ve done some open and closes where I don’t feel the music, I don’t feel the connection, so I don’t really know where I’m going with my set. Those are usually the shorter open to closes. Five, six hours, I’m not able to like, really get down and dirty, y’know? But other times there’s been five or six hour open to close sets where I’ve right away felt it. So I try and just somehow connect with the music. The earlier that I can connect with the music, the better. Sometimes that’s why I make a track. Every year I make a track called “Doors Open” and basically it’s my first song of the night. It’s usually 15, 20 minutes long because I want to build. You know, I’m big into theater, so it’s has to be theater when the doors open, the vibe has to be just right. The lights have to be just right. The tone of the music has to be just right. Just as people are walking in, I want them to walk into the arena or into the theater, or into the club, I want that image and that vibe right away. So that’s why I make the opener, the “Doors Open” track to get connected with the music right away; right from the beginning.
Well, you’re a pro at connecting with the crowd. I mean, you have the skills to be DJ of the warm-up set, to the middle, to the end, to the after party. It’s really phenomenal! I thank you so much for the opportunity to interview you, Markus.
Oh thank you, thank you.
We just have a final question. Dakota is my favorite alias of yours and obviously, New World Punx are fan favorites. So you just had a surprise performance at ADE with Ferry. Are there any plans to bring back New World Punx or Dakota in 2019 for your fans?
I don’t know about Dakota, but I’ll tell you a little secret. Some of the tracks on Coldharbour Black I’m actually doing…we were throwing up the idea, should I put the Dakota name on it? But I was like, no, because Dakota is something a little more spiritual. So I want to keep it as that. But I’m making Dakota music for Coldharbour Black. So it’s kind of Dakota but without the theatrics. And then as far as Ferry, we’ve been talking for the last couple of years about doing it. We’re trying to figure it out, cause Ferry went left, I went right or vice versa musically. So we’re trying to figure it out. We don’t want to just do New World Punx and he plays this and I play that. We want New World Punks that’s a show. And what is that? What’s the sound of the next New World Punks evolution going to be? That’s what we’re working on right now and trying to figure out. Once we figure it out, I want to put together a whole show. There will still be long back to back sets where we have New World Punx back to back, but the New World Punx has to be a show and that’s what we still have to build.
Absolutely, that’s great. I just have one final question for you. How many Unicorns have you slayed?
Oh my gosh. This week, or… ?
Just this week!
We had a good time in Brooklyn at the open to close. I think there were plenty of Unicorns slayed.
They certainly were. You stole my soul. Thank you so much, Markus. Appreciate the opportunity.