It's been a big year so far for you with your release of the mixed compilation Amsterdam 08 and being voted 13 in the top 100 world DJs, what's next on the agenda of conquests?
It has been a massive year, you're right, and it's not even half way through! Right now I am finishing up my remix for Sia's Buttons which should be out soon. It's already sounding amazing (if I say so myself) but it needs a couple of tweaks here and there before I unleash it on the dance floor. Also, I am mixing a new CD for Armada at Amnesia which should capture the essence of our night out in Ibiza, as well as putting together a remix album of tracks off Progression. This is one of the most exciting things I've got going on this year.
Progression was a big deal for me and the tracks off the original album were extremely well received by other DJs and clubbers around the world. This time I've got some amazing, but new remixes, plus some new original tracks which should cause your sound systewms to melt down! Keep an eye out for news about it in the next couple of months. Then of course I am gearing up for the summer gigs and festivals! I'll be playing almost all of the 14 weeks of Armada and Contact at Amnesia on Tuesdays, it's an amazing night, last year we broke records for crowd attendance and the atmosphere was electric. This time round we've got the guys from Contact joining us which will add an amazing dimension to the whole event - make sure you're there on the dance floor to join us!
Tell us about the difference in atmosphere when playing in your hometown Miami and Berlin?
Miami is a very see and be seen kind of place. People go out for the vibe more than anything. The music is an added bonus. They really enjoy the music but there is definitely no sweaty dancing, no one was to mess up their Armani suits! In Berlin the atmosphere is more creative. It is a really big artistic community so the people that go out there are really into the music a lot more. It is more a part of their lifestyle. Berlin's clubs are some of the best in the world and its reputation's been growing year on year. If you get the chance to go, take it!
Your yearly compilation mixes all have titles of places that are close to your heart. Miami '05, Ibiza '06, Amsterdam '08, maybe we can hope for an Ireland '09?
You never know! I really enjoy my gigs in Ireland. The people there are hardcore music heads! They want their music and they want it right now. You definitely have to be up for the gig when you play there, they know what they like and when you get it spot on there is no better feeling. Amazing, world class crowds, without a doubt!
May I just comment you on the work you've put in to your record label Coldharbour Recordings. It's had some amazing releases, has the vinyl decline hurt the label hard?
I don't think so. The conduits through which the music is now available has changed. I think in some ways it is more accessible to the general public, people who might not go into vinyl stores to buy a record but who are clubbers and love the music just as much as DJs. Almost everyone now has a computer at home or some kind of mp3 player. It is so easy to log on to iTunes or Beatport and purchase your favorite artist's new music. Tracklists are posted all over the net so if you are in Cairo and your favorite DJ is in Kiev, you can still access the set or a tracklist and know whatis going on. I think it's opened up dance music, particularly single releases, to a much wider audience.
What is your opinion on digital DJing?
DJing has evolved and changed over the years. We'd be nothing without Larry Levan and the Paradise Garage. I think there is a natural evolution from vinyl to CDs to digital DJing. The technology is out there that allows the DJ to be so much more creative with their sets. It ha moved past mixing from track to track and now has become more of a performance art. And you only have to look at products like the Pacemaker that are coming out now. It fits in your pocket, you can take it with you wherever you go, it's the next generation. It's exciting and it's here, let's take advantage of it.
A lot more DJs are trying to get into production nowadays. What can you recommend for beginners?
Don't try to copy what everyone else is doing. Make the music you want to make, not what you think people will hear. I get so many tracks that all sound the same because of lack of creativity. Music should come from the heart, it should be a beat that you can't get out of your head, it should be a melody that goes round and round and you can't get rid of it until you get it down on paper or on computer. It should drive you to push for something new, something different, something that is going to blow people away on the dance floor. You should strive for perfection - sometimes it can drive you mental! But when you get it right, there's no feeling like it.
I'm fortunate to be in a position where I can play new tracks in clubs and see what the reaction's like. But I think that even if you can't do that, as a producer, you know when it's good and you know when it's not. The most important thing though, above all else, is - do not do it for the money. If you do it for the money then you're in it for the wrong reason and you won't get anywhere.
Some of your fellow DJs are going for the all night long shows, Armin ONly, Full On Ferry, can we ever expect a Markus marathon?
I'm trying to move more toward this. It requires so much preparation and I'd have to give up some of what I am doing now to take the time to prepare. You look at the amount of work that goes into Armin Only, Tiesto's events, it takes time to make it right. It is definitely something I will be doing in the future but I will only do it when I have everything 100%.
It's got to be someting that blows your mind, that takes you to another level, that you come away from and you can't even put into words how good it was. That's what I want to do and believe me, when I do it, that's how you'll feel. It'll be worth the wait.
Being a musician and a handsome man you must get a lot of female attention, how do you deal with that?
Really? I hadn't noticed. And I thought those girls chasing me after the gigs were practicisng for a marathon. My wife Heather is the only one for me so female attention is flattering but pretty much pointless, she's absolutely amazing and believe me, is a one off!
What's around the corner for the trance scene?
Trance is always changing. There is always the "next big thing" coming around. For a while it was all about the eighth note driven trance. I will be excited to see what comes next. There are a lot of young new producers around at the moment who are bringing a passion into the scene that I love. There are some big names who are pushing things to another level. Trance is, for me, one of the most beautiful sounds you could ever hear. Whether it's filthy and thumping or beautiful and orchestral, there's a reason why it's one of the biggest genres anywhere in the world. As long as the passion and love for music stays in trance, it will only get bigger and better.
Thanks very much for our time, I believe that one of your favourite tracks of all time is Cass & Slide "Perception" - me too! I hope you bring this track back from the dead!