October 27, 2008
Markus Schulz Progression Progressed Interview
In stores right now, is Markus Schulz’ remix album ‘Progression Progressed’. On this CD, the remixes of the already powerful ‘Progression’ tracks have all received a new approach, done by names like Mat Zo, Nic Chagall, Mark Otten and many other remix masters known to the scene. And even Markus himself managed to create a totally different vibe on his ‘Daydream’ track, now available in his ‘Coldharbour remix’. Next to that, Markus’ new single ‘The New World’ is featured on it. The second CD is the original ‘Progression’ album, to freshen your memory and enjoy the original versions as well. Markus took some time to explain a little something about this hot release!
Armada: What made you decide to release a full album for these remixes?
Markus: “I was really proud of the remix packages we put out for each single released from the album. I am so grateful to the outstanding producers who gave their own interpretation of the originals. So this album looks back over the big remixes of my tracks for the past year, combined with some hidden remix gems of other album tracks.”
Armada: It's been more than a year ago that ‘Progression’ saw its release. How do you look back upon that time?
Markus: “Hectic! I was really proud of how the original ‘Progression’ album turned out. The feedback I got from the fans and the Global DJ Broadcast listeners made me feel that the long nights in the studio were really worth it. Since then the touring has been non-stop, and I have been lucky to experience so many different cities and cultures through that time. The coolest thing is, it doesn't matter where in the world you are, everybody still knows the words to ‘Perfect’ by heart, and they love to sing along!”
Armada: Did you enjoy the ‘Progression’ tour you did? Which night is the most memorable to you?
Markus: “There are so many to mention. The kickoff night at Panama in Amsterdam was really special because I regard Amsterdam as a home. The gigs in China and Argentina were incredible, and those are two countries I want to visit soon. The big cities in North America like Los Angeles, Toronto, New York, Montreal and my home town Miami were all amazing to play. To cap it off at the closing of the legendary Turnmills in London was the perfect crescendo of the tour. I have been fortunate to meet some truly outstanding fans in these places who have supported me so much over the past few years - knowing that they will be there front and centre each time I come into town is a cool feeling.”
Armada: Since the album turned out to be such a big success, did it give you more confidence or energy to produce any follow-ups?
Markus: “Absolutely! For this past summer I focused on two big projects - my new production ‘The New World’, and my remix of Sia's track named ‘Buttons’. The reactions I have been getting to both tracks, particularly in my residencies at Amnesia in Ibiza and at Ministry of Sound in London, have been incredible. When you are in the studio, you think ahead to the moments when you are playing what you are working on to a big room crowd on the best sound systems, therefore it inspires me to get it right and hope that it has the desired effect on the dance floor.”
Armada: The remixes are done by producers like Mat Zo, Mark Otten, Nic Chagall and Monogato. Did they came up with the remixes themselves or did you asked some to do so?
Markus: “Most of the time I ask them to work on certain remixes. The people who listen to Global DJ Broadcast every week are always so responsive, so it is easy to tell which producer is really winning them over at a particular time. Mat Zo is such a talented kid and has an amazing future. Nic Chagall has been one of the outstanding stars of the last two years, between his own work and as Cosmic Gate. Monogato really came to life at the beginning of the year and some of his remixes have become GDJB anthems for years to come. Mark Otten is a production genius, and I have been a fan of his work for years, even going back to when he remixed my track Largo, and when I remixed his track Tranquility. When you are constantly thinking in your head of who in particular can recreate something incredible from your own track, it can be difficult to find that right person. But with the likes of Agnelli & Nelson and Lemon & Einar K, who did outstanding jobs on their remixes for this album, it can make you feel really proud.”
Armada: Any favorite remix among them or do you politically correct ‘like them all'?
Markus: “I think the great thing about each track on the album is that it can fill you with a different emotion. For instance, ‘Perfect’ is a real feel-good track, whereas ‘Cause You Know’ has really deep meaning and can give you that pensive feeling. It also depends on the time of the year and each setting - with the summer you have the opportunity to play at more big arena events and festivals than usual. My big summer anthem this year has been ‘Daydream’; it was the one track everyone wanted from the album immediately. Bringing in Lemon & Einar K to remix the track just turned out to be the perfect moment.”
Armada: You also included a Coldharbour mix of ‘Daydream', did you feel the need to sort of improve yourself, or is it just a matter of creativity and diversity?
Markus: “I feel it is a matter of creativity and diversity. ‘Daydream’ was our most extensive remix package ever released on Coldharbour Recordings, and I think we covered almost all the bases with the diverse selection of producers we chose to remix the track. The Coldharbour Mix was something I really only intended on making as an exclusive for my ‘Amsterdam '08’ compilation. However, when the full package of ‘Daydream’ got released, many people were still longing for the Coldharbour Mix. I am thankful that this album gives the mix a good home.”
Armada: It also includes your new track, ‘The New World’. It sounds different than we're used to, but it still has that Markus sound. What inspired you to make it? And where does the title come from?
Markus: “This November I am playing at my third Transmission event in Prague, Czech Republic. The organizers of the event asked me to compose a special theme for the night. When you play in the big arenas, you need a special type of track in your set to work exclusively for that type of setting. This is why ‘The New World’ is slightly more techy and upfront. I get inspired seeing wave upon wave of people in these arenas, the sheer volume of the crowd can take your breath away sometimes. So you need to make something that really strikes home with everyone in the arena, whether they are right up at the front or back. But I feel that the track still has my trademark groove and melody. The name? I guess you could say that the world is constantly changing, more and more countries and cultures worldwide are embracing progressive and trance. Thanks to the internet, people know all the latest tracks that I play and the response is therefore instantaneous.”
Armada: Is there any chance a new artist album is coming up?
Markus: “I hope that I can start work on my third artist album in the next few months. With this remix album we are saying thank you to all the fantastic remixes over the past year and closing the chapter of ‘Progression’, and then it will be time to move on, challenging myself to produce something even better than before. I love being creative in the studio.”