February 17, 2006

Matt Darey Interviews Markus Schulz

Matt Darey: What was your first big break into the music scene?

Markus Schulz: My first big break came when I got a job with a syndicated radio show in the US called "Hot Mix". It was there that I learned programming and got my first experience remixing. The show was on 127 stations in the US so I had to learn to please as many people as I could with one show, I had to think not only of listeners in major markets such as New York and LA but also about the listeners in cities such as Houston, Des Moines and Tulsa and what they want to hear. It was a really great experience and an opportunity to learn a lot about radio and the music industry.

Matt Darey: How much does being with a label like Armada help your career as a producer?

Markus Schulz: I think being with such a well-respected company as Armada give a lot of credibility to a label. I think Coldharbour Recordings got more attention right away based on the affiliation with Armada. It is really difficult to start up a label, get manufacturing and distribution and get your stuff out to the stores, but when you have a well-established name behind you it gets attention. I think this way, the person going into the record shop to pick a new single or mix cd will gravitate toward what they are somewhat familiar with or have seen reviews of and it helps not only me but the other artists on Coldharbour as well. I am able to really take the time to develop the other artists as well as work on my own tracks. It gives me the ability to be as creative as possible and I know Armada is handling everything once I deliver the tracks to them.

Matt Darey: How did you hook up with Armin and the rest of the Armada team?

Markus Schulz: When I first moved to Miami I was hired as the resident for a new club called Maze. They were planning the opening and asked me whom I though would be a good dj to book to play alongside. I immediately recommended Armin. We both knew each other for various events and our productions and I knew he hadn't played in Miami up to that point. After the Maze gig, Armin was booked at another Miami club called Opium Garden and I was also booked for that gig. It was at that point that I began working with David Lewis and Armada.

Matt Darey: Your 'Global DJ Broadcast' radio show was labelled 'the most important outlet for the global music scene on American radio'. How much influence did you have over the American dance music lover?

Markus Schulz: I'm not sure about influence, but I do try to expose the American market to as much new music as I possibly can. I really want them to get exposed to what is going on in the rest of the world. Dance music is such a huge part of the culture in Europe, Australia, Asia and the rest of the world. It is really growing in the US and I want to contribute as much as possible to that growth.

Matt Darey: You've admitted to having become more 'primetime' on Digitally Imported. Not quite so much fun?

Markus Schulz: It's great. It really makes me work. It is very hard to please everyone and I give it my best shot each week. At times I've really been surprised, shows that I thought were spectacular just didn't go over as well as I had planned and some sets that I wasn't as happy with the listeners were crazy about. I try to get in on the chats and see their reactions as much as possible. The feedback really helps. When you're in a club or at an event the response is immediate but not quite the same on the radio or internet. You have to go out and find the reaction and learn what worked for the show and what didn't and adapt from there.

Matt Darey: Is it a lonely old life jet setting round the globe and only seeing clubs and hotel rooms?

Markus Schulz: There are a lot of times I'd love to have my family with me but it just isn't possible. But the people that are in my life understand that I have to go and it is what I do. Besides, most hotels have internet access and as long as I can email and IM then the lonely nights aren't so bad.

Matt Darey: Do you think trance is dividing into a progressive sound and a more driving sound or is there still something for everyone?

Markus Schulz: I really believe there is still something for everyone. So many new producers are coming around with fantastic tracks and they are really going with what they feel is good as opposed to making tracks for a specific dj to play. I think with the greater number of producers out there covering all genres of trance that this music can only grow and evolve and reach all trance fans rather that moving everyone like cattle toward one style. Look at the festivals all over the world. There isn't just one tent with one or two djs playing the same tracks over and over, there are 7, 8, 10 different arenas with major names to the local guys and every one plays something a bit different and it is all spectacular.

Matt Darey: Is there a reason why you don't play more often in the UK?

Markus Schulz: I'd love to play more often in the UK. After living in Brixton for two years it is a lot like going home when I get the chance to play there. I really miss London and look forward to the next time I can go back to the UK.

Matt Darey: Coldharbour Sessions 2004 has been described as both 'dark and uplifting', does that describe your DJing style?

Markus Schulz: Yes I definitely think so. I'm a bit moody myself and I think that comes across in the cds I have put out. I like to make cds you can listen to and really feel emotionally. I want you to have an experience rather just listen and think "Wow that was a nice collection of tracks." I want the listener to put on their headphones and feel the music.

Matt Darey: So Coldharbour is named after the street in Brixton. What was your Impression of Brixton?

Markus Schulz: I loved Brixton. It was so alive there. The cafes, the corner butcher and fish market. Everyone was out and about all the time. It had a great vibe. I got such a huge creative influence from it. It wasn't all neat and tidy all the time and I loved that. It had a heartbeat that I was able to really get into. The learning process I went through when I was there was really difficult, but I was able to take that experience and turn it into something I am really very proud of.

Matt Darey: You do a yearly bedroom DJ contest. What advice would you give to entrants?

Markus Schulz: Do what you feel. I don't want to get sets in tat are just copies of what I do. I want to hear what the djs that enter play and how they mix and how they program. I want to find the best of the best and expose them to the rest of the world. My best advice is just to be themselves, express who they really are through the music.

Matt Darey: What does 2006 and beyond hold for Markus Schulz?

Markus Schulz: Right now I'm working on an EP. After that I want to work on another mix cd and a new artist album. I have so many new ideas. Then I hope to get out of the studio and travel more, play in places I haven't been yet. Meet new people. I'm going to Australia for the Two Tribes tour next month and I couldn't be more excited. What I am doing is such a dream for me. I hope I never wake up.