Trance DJ Markus Schulz had an amazing 2012. The year included a number of major album releases; including Markus Schulz presents Dakota "Thoughts Become Things II (The Remixes)" in January, followed by "Scream" in August and lastly his compilation album "World Tour: Best of 2012" in December. On top of that, Schulz received multiple top fan accolades. In addition to a Top 15 slot on the DJ Mag Top 100 DJ list, Schulz was named "America's Best DJ 2012" by DJ Times and Pioneer DJ.
Schulz has been going non-stop since ringing in the New Year with an open-to-close set at Avalon in Los Angeles. I had a chance to catch-up with him on a short break before he heads to Glasgow, Scotland to headline the 18th birthday of Colours at The Arches.
Scott Barretto: Your Global DJ Broadcast is one of my favorite podcasts so I was excited to grab a copy of your new “World Tour – Best of 2012” album. How did you come up with the idea for the album?
Markus Schulz: It was inspired by an urge to create a kind of round-the-world club experience, but packaged in a take-home mix compilation form. World Tour – Best Of 2012 has quite a cool, unusual engine. Every month on my Global DJ Broadcast radio show we do the World Tour night. We take out the recording equipment to a gig, turn the mics up and capture that live spirit of the night. Two hours of peak-time gets broadcast as the World Tour night.
SB: Those are definitely my favorite editions of GDJB.
MS: What we’re doing with this compilation is to take my favorite tracks of the year, recorded all over the world and put them into a continuous mix. So like I say, on one track you’re going to be hearing people losing it in Ibiza, the next Miami crowd flavor, the next Mexico City or wherever. It gives a listening experience unlike any other, and that’s what we’re all about.
SB: That is what you call serious club-hopping.
MS: Club-hopping on a global scale, as I like to say! Nothing is going to equal a live experience, of course. Doesn’t matter what DJ you’re talking about. It’s about finding a way to bridge that gap some, and this is how I went about it.
SB: The second disc on the album is an 80 minute slice of your set at Ruby Skye in San Francisco in October. What goes into preparing your track list for a live set?
MS: Depends how long the set is.
SB: How about one of your open-to-close sets?
MS: If, say, it was an open-till-close set like New Year’s Eve at Avalon in L.A. or Ruby Skye in San Francisco back in October, then the prep is substantial. If you could see the hotel room beforehand it would give you some insight - computers, drives, CDs, USB and handwritten notes everywhere! To get the energy and flow as high up as it’ll go, my sets are mixed harmonically in key. There’s a considerable time premium in that element alone.
SB: What other elements do you consider?
MS: Aside from that, you need to get the tone, structure and general tempo right, allowing for the natural peaks and drops in a DJ set. Then there’s getting the proportional vocal/instrumental balance right… and so it goes on.
SB: You’re pretty expert on these long sets.
MS: As with everything in life, the more you do it, the more experience you get and the finer you can hone it.
SB: Your first track on the second disc is “Doors Open” from Markus Schulz Presents Dakota. Do you have any upcoming tracks or plans for Dakota in 2013?
MS: In terms of the usual flow, it would be a Dakota album year in 2013.
SB: So that’s in the works?
MS: I’m not sure that’s going to happen, though. We’re changing some business up this year. Moving things around, swapping things out, getting new concepts in the mix. But there are always plans in the back of my mind for new Dakota material (as ‘Doors Open’ shows).
SB: You released “Scream” during the summer. How was the album put together?
MS: Pretty smoothly. We were a couple of months over our initial projected release. That was down to the tempo of production increasing substantially in the last six months (nineteen tracks went in the end).
SB: How did it compare to “Do You Dream?”
MS: I think it sits side by side with Do You Dream? - my last one, quite comfortably. There’s no immense stylistic leap between the two. No sudden walls of dubstep, disco, trap or moombahton or anything.
SB: I really enjoyed the mix of vocals and instrumentals
MS: It’s a composite of vocals and instrumentals, set against progressive, trance, house, electro and beatless backdrops. You’ve got everything from big lifty tracks like “Caught” with Adina Butar, moodier ones like “Carry On” with Jaren and “I Like It” with Khaz and some proper deep stuff too. The instrumentals are, to the greater degree, big-room club thumpers like “GO!” and “Triotonic.”
SB: You always include a stop in Dallas on your tours. How do you like your fan base here?
MS: The vibe is always on fire down there. You guys totally know how to let the crazy loose, which only ever makes me want to take things to the next level! I played Lights All Night at the end of 2012.
SB: I caught your show there. Great set.
MS: It was off-the-hook. I was hearing about the queues to get in for days afterwards though!
SB: Where would you rank Dallas in EDM scene in the U.S.?
MS: In terms of the States, certainly – it’s among the top five or six, I’d say. There’s a little ways to go before hitting Miami, L.A. and Vegas levels, but it’ll get there, I think.
For more information on Markus Schulz, visit his official website www.markusschulz.com
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