April 24, 2009

Markus Schulz Blog - April 24th 2009

* Written on Thursday April 23rd 2009 *

Hey everyone,

Good morning to you all from a brief stay here at home in Miami. I'm not writing the blog on a plane this week, but I will be on one again shortly as I take off for a gig tonight in Atlanta. This week has flown by, so let's turn the clock back 7 days where I last signed off to you guys on the way to Dubai.

Thursday April 16th - Dubai

A hectic week could not have began in a more beautiful or breathtaking city. Dubai is home to the only 7-star hotel in the world, and some really beautiful beaches and scenery. The gig was outdoors at a club called "The Lodge", which was incredible because of the mild temperature and clear Middle Eastern night sky. It all just added to the vibe even more.

Sometimes you worry when you have a gig on a Thursday night, because in a lot of places it isn't a traditional clubbing night or a weekend. But in Dubai, it was a big night out and it went really well. The trance audience out there is continually developing and I look forward to the opportunity to play there again soon. The VIP section of the club was behind the DJ booth and let me tell you, it got crazy pretty fast. There was madness on the floor in front of me and madness behind me. I love clubs like that.

Once I was done, we were in search of some food. We wound up with McDonalds take out and headed to an afterparty. I have not eaten Chicken McNuggets in almost 10 years, I am very cautious of what I eat, but let me tell you as hungry as I was those Nuggets tasted like fine dining. The afterparty took me to a brand new apartment complex where I was told there were only a handful of tenants who had moved in to date; therefore we pretty much had the entire building to ourselves. I wound up on top of the building where they had a swimming pool, Sauna and Jacuzzi overlooking the entire city of Dubai. It was incredible.

I couldn't let loose too much though, because of the sheer importance of Friday, and also a long plane journey from Dubai to Birmingham. A State Of Trance 400 day had arrived, and I had to play my part in contributing towards the celebration.

Friday April 17th - Birmingham

Slept the entire 7 hour flight from Dubai to Birmingham so after getting checked in to the hotel, I immediately got to work on preparing my set. It was a difficult challenge for a number of reasons. First, I only had one hour to play with, which isn't ideal for how I like to build my set from darker and deeper roots. Second, not only was I thinking about the people in attendance at Air, I was also thinking that there would be millions around the world listening live - an extra pressure in itself. And third, it's A State Of Trance 400 - a real marquee moment to debut some of the hidden gems that were in my CD case for the past month or so, but tracks that I had not really tested out in a live environment before.

I got picked up from my hotel at 1:30am to get to Air in plenty of time to do a few press things and mingle. The place was packed, and Armin was performing really well with some bangers. You could tell just by watching how much this milestone he had achieved meant to him personally. At 3am, it was time to embrace Armin as he finished up, and for me to take over.

The first big moment was the remix of Cosmic Gate's track, "Sign of the Times". The preceding days in the studio were geared towards getting the remix polished for that very moment. When the trademark bassline which I kept from the original kicked in after the break, everyone recognised what it was and went crazy.

If you managed to tune in for the set, you also would have heard a new remix of "Nothing at All" by Beat Service. I have loved the track "Nectar" for months and months now, and when I was brainstorming ideas for who would be ideal to take their trademark sound and apply it to Nothing at All, it was at the forefront of my mind. We have a couple of more remixes on the way from Agnelli & Nelson and Elevation, and then the package will be good to go in the summer. I'm so excited, because it is going to be one of those important releases when looking back at the history of Coldharbour.

The crescendo of my set probably did not come as a surprise to many. I have been asked questions such as picking my favorite track of all time or if I could pick a track I wish I could have made on many occasions in interviews, and hand on heart, the answer for the past 10 years has always been Cass & Slide - Perception. It was the definitive Coldharbour sound, way ahead of its time. And since we were celebrating 400 episodes of A State Of Trance - 8 years of trance, then the only possible appropriate way I could finish my set would be with Perception. A very, very special moment with the crowd was shared as I played my remix that I worked on just after last summer. I wish I could get Naimee Coleman’s vocals to the track because that would make the remix so much more special, but unfortunately I have yet to have any success in making contact with her or the label.

Once I was done, I welcomed Daniel Kandi on to the decks, and went upstairs to the makeshift radio studio where Armin was hosting the broadcast for the night. We conducted a little interview and talked about the upcoming Dakota album, and of course I gave my congratulations to him on his achievement. It's always so strange when we are trying to do formal interviews with each other, because we are such great friends and have gone on this amazing journey together both personally and professionally.

With a 7am flight out of Birmingham to Wroclaw in Poland, I only had time for a quick shower and to pack up before heading off to the airport even before the sun came up. Arnej, who had played the first 2 days of A State Of Trance 400, was also playing in Poland so he was joining me on the flight. In true Arnej fashion however, he was late coming down to the lobby and we almost left him behind.

Saturday April 18th - Wroclaw

Global DJ Broadcast World Tour recording day had arrived - the 17th such edition. This one however, had been a long time in the making. The Polish fans have been so amazingly supportive to me over the past 5 years. When you look at trance forums in general and the makeup of their members, they are a dominant nation. I wanted to do a World Tour for Poland not only as a thank you for their support in the past; I wanted to show the world how incredible their passion is, particularly when it comes to big arena events.

After the flight we stopped by the venue for a soundcheck and to set up the recording gear for the broadcast. The first thing that I noticed was how high the DJ booth was! Some of you may know this about me already, but I suffer from a fear of heights. There was one gig a few years ago, ironically also in Poland in the city of Poznan, where the stage was so high that I just couldn't do the gig. It was the only gig in my entire career that I was unable to do. Crazy when you think about it, considering how much time I spend on an aeroplane! But it's always something that I have had to live with.

The ironic thing about this story is that Saturday was the first gig in a series of Godskitchen Urban Wave parties using the "Boombox" stage as the theme that I am playing over the coming months, including in Seoul and Moscow. The setup will be the same everywhere, so I am going to have to get used to climbing to these great and not so comfortable heights!

However, knowing how important this night was, especially for the World Tour, I took a Xanax and tried to calm myself, but climbing that stairs to get up on the stage left me petrified. But when I was up there I kept thinking to myself, "Keep it together, once you play your first track, you'll be fine". To be honest with you guys though, I did not start feeling comfortable up there until the last 30 mins of my set.

In the blog and on Global DJ Broadcast last week, I challenged the Wroclaw audience to be the loudest World Tour crowd yet. And boy did they not disappoint. They were absolutely superb from first minute to last. Their national pride took precedence, and they gave a huge reaction when I played tracks by great Polish producers Skytech and Nitrous Oxide. The recording went really, really well I think, so it will be definitely worth tuning into on May 7th when we air it on the show. My set was only 1 hour 30 mins long, and the GDJB show runs for 2 hours, so I just need to decide what I am going to do about the last 30 mins. Probably record an upcoming gig and use that to fill the time. We will see.

Once I was done, I headed back to the hotel for a couple of hours' rest, but it was an early start again on Sunday morning for the final stop of the week in Cyprus.

Sunday April 19th - Nicosia

As you can probably imagine, by the time Sunday came round, I was feeling pretty exhausted. But there is no better way to beat that than have an intimate gig with an incredible vibe, and that's exactly what I got at Club Bling. It only had a capacity of around 1,000 people, but they were hot from the beginning of the night, and not one of them left by the time I was finishing up at 4am.

It was the perfect way to round off a stretch of gigs that were so memorable to me for so many reasons.

Monday was a day off, so I headed to the beach in Larnaca to relax and unwind. I caught up with Josh Gabriel, who was also played in Cyprus on the same night as me but in a different club. It was cool chatting with him again after hanging out with him at Ministry of Sound a couple of months back. On Monday night, the promoters (Deep Impact and Shadow) took me to a Syrian restaurant because I told them I wanted some Hummus. You can't go to the Middle East and not have Hummus! The food was amazing and I texted my friend Sherin from Montreal who is Syrian to ask her how to say "Thank You” in Syrian. The staff of the restaurant was all smiles as we left and I said "Suchran" to them.

From there, we headed to the same club Josh had played the night before to go see James Zabiela, who was also in town. I had a great time hanging out with him and his girlfriend. I'm gonna let you guys in on a little secret though; James' girlfriend admitted to me that she is a huge trance fan, and James gives her a real hard time about it! We had a good laugh about that, as James played his set pulling out gadgets after gadgets like he is so famous for in his sets.

Because my flight to London was at 5am, I left James' gig a little early to go back to the hotel and pack my things away. A long flight from Cyprus to London and just enough time to switch from Terminal 1 to 5 at Heathrow, and then it was the another long fight home to Miami. I slept the entire flight, which is typical for me at the end of a crazy weekend.

Dakota - Chinook

Once again, one of the highlights in all of my gigs this past week has been the reactions to Chinook, the first single to be released from my upcoming Dakota artist album, entitled "Thoughts Become Things". My emails and messages have been dominated this past while with questions about when the track is coming out, because people have heard it in my live sets or on Global DJ Broadcast. And the good news is, it came out on Beatport this week.

Since it was the first track to be released from the album, I decided to have a go at three different versions myself, each with their own distinct style. So hopefully there will be a mix that will cater for everyone's tastes. If you want to check out samples of the track, you can do so at the link below:

Click Here To Purchase

The details of the album will be revealed right here in the blog in a couple of weeks.

Your Questions Wanted

Next week, it will be time for yours truly to answer more of your questions. However, on this occasion, I am going to have a go at answering them on video, and I'll put the responses up on my YouTube page. So if you have anything you would like to ask, regardless if it is do with music or not, or if you would like to comment on anything you have read in the blogs over the past couple of weeks, please leave your messages over at my forum. I'll be collating them at the beginning of next week and I'll get my thoughts together and answer them on my flight to Asia.

This weekend thankfully is not too demanding with regards to travel. Tonight I am playing at Opera in Atlanta, which I'm really looking forward to. I played there in September and had a fantastic time, so hopefully we'll get a great turnout for a Thursday and have some fun. On Saturday, I am in my home state of Florida but north of Miami in Tampa, for a gig at the Hype Park Café. A new venue for me to experience, and I will recap events on both nights for you all next week.

Alright guys, I better start packing for Atlanta and get going. I wish you all a great weekend; and I'll catch up with you all next week as I begin my month-long tour of Asia.


April 17, 2009

Markus Schulz Blog - April 17th 2009

Hey everyone,

Hello to you all once again from the plane. It is an early Thursday morning and I am on my way to Dubai for a gig at The Lodge. A massive weekend awaits all of us, but first, I want to get you all caught up on my Easter weekend in London, Chicago and Montreal.

Friday April 10th - London

I got into London pretty early on Friday morning. After checking in to my hotel, answering a few emails and getting the blog finalised for you guys, I slept the morning and afternoon away, and didn't get up until around 6pm! I went out to try and find something to eat, but because it was Good Friday, most of the shops were closed. As a result, I had to have a guilty Kentucky Fried Chicken as my meal for the day. Once I got fed and watered, I started working on a couple of edits to play at Ministry of Sound later that night.

One of the tracks I worked on was Sander van Dien - Aurora. I love the melody in that tune, so I played around with it a bit so that you could hear the melody throughout the majority of the track, not just in the break. When I am asked in an interview about why people regard my sets and sound as being unique, one of the things that I always stress is that you have to personalise your set in every way possible. I guess a lot of you probably wonder how I typically spend my time in a hotel before getting picked up for a gig - the answer is that I constantly work - tweak a few tracks here and there, plan and program the beginning of my set, and have as many options as possible depending on the energy and mood of the crowd in the club.

I got picked up at around 12:30am to get to Ministry. I was playing a 3 hour set from 1:30-4:30. As I walked into the main room, I could feel a real intense heat coming from the dancefloor and the DJ booth. Gareth Emery was doing a great job with his set, playing some cool groovy tunes such as Smile When You Kill Me, Unprepared and his own track Exposure.

To be honest, I was a little apprehensive about Friday night, because it was a holiday weekend and I was worried that the crowd might have been a little thin as a result. But they were plentiful and really up for it. I started off a little deep with a couple of Dakota tracks and my edit of Aurora. The crowd went crazy though when I played Red, Dressed in White and Biscayne, which in particular has been one of the constant anthems throughout the first year of my residency.

The 3 hours flew by, but I have to admit that when I was done, I felt worn out and very tired. I don't know if it was the heat in the room or the overnight flight that caught up with me, but I was feeling it at the end of the night. The crowd were great though, another chapter of the residency in the books, and one that I was happy with. I welcomed former Gatecrasher resident Matt Hardwick to the decks as I was finishing up, and after hanging out backstage with a few good friends, I went back to my hotel and started working again. There was no point in trying to sleep, because I was getting picked up at 9:15 to get taken to the airport. So I grabbed some breakfast, worked some more, and headed off to the airport for my flight to Chicago.

Saturday April 11th - Chicago

It probably didn't take a genius to work out that I slept for the entire flight from London to Chicago. I got a good rest though and was raring to go for Saturday night at Vision. It's a really amazing club with a unique layout. If you have ever seen pictures of the club, people are lined up on the balcony that runs for the entire perimeter of the dancefloor, so if you are looking up or looking down, you can see people dancing and cheering. It has always been one of my favorite clubs and cities to play.

Having debuted Chinook on Global DJ Broadcast last Thursday, everyone was anticipating hearing it coming in. I waited for just the right time to drop and it and set the room off! I have been playing it in my live sets for about 2 months now, but Saturday night was by far the loudest reaction I heard when playing it. Chinook is going to be the first track released from the Dakota album, with three mixes all done by myself - the original, an Afterhours mix, and an Uplifting mix. I'll let you know the release date of the track as soon as I get confirmation from Armada.

The crowd were absolutely incredible at Vision, they always are. I love how welcoming their support is. I treated Saturday night as a test run to see if we could do a successful World Tour stop for Chicago in the future, and I think that everyone there will be delighted to hear, that they passed the test. It probably won't happen this year, but Vision and Chicago are definitely pencilled in for a future World Tour destination.

Before drifting off to sleep on Saturday night, I was able to reflect on two really strong gigs. But I knew that the main event of the weekend was still to come.

Sunday April 12th - Montreal

The big day had arrived, the 15th edition of Bal en Blanc, and my first. A 15 hour party for a crowd of over 15,000 people. I was excited. Once I got checked in, I got straight to work again. Because I was playing for such a large crowd, I wanted to throw in a couple of slightly older tunes that I knew from previous experience were perfect for stadium sized audiences. One of the tunes I dug up was Dave202 - Generate The Wave. This was a huge tune in my festival sets in summer 2006, and also in my set at Trance Energy 2007 so I thought bringing it back to play at my first BEB would be a massive moment.

I got picked up and taken to the arena and it was already packed. I mingled backstage a bit but my focus was entirely on the 3 hour set that lay ahead. I built the set up slowly, and the crowd became louder and louder as the set went on. I have to tell you guys, standing in that booth seeing a sea of white is one of the most breathtaking sights you will ever see as a DJ. Between that and the visuals, you sometimes have to snap your fingers and remind yourself that you have a job to do and you have to perform!

At the end of the set, it was time to perform the anthem live, with singers and all. I had never done anything like this before, so it was definitely an interesting experience. When I was approached with a view to doing the remix, I immediately fell in love with the riff. I knew that there was a Coldharbour element in there that could be expoited. The theme probably got the biggest cheer of the night. For me, it was also the moment where I felt relief, because my work for the weekend was done.

After my set was over, I split my time in the house room checking out Offer Nissim, and the trance room listening to Jono and Paavo from Above & Beyond. After doing a couple of interviews, the rest of the night was a bit of a blur. I was not able to stay and listen to Armin's set because I had an early flight back to Miami, but I knew that I would be seeing him next week in Birmingham for ASOT 400. I was able to get an hour of rest before heading to the airport and a flight back home for a few short days in Miami.

Back in the Studio and remixing Cosmic Gate

One of my goals for the gigs last weekend was to test out the new remix I mentioned in the blog that week that I had been working on. As you all know, the guys from Cosmic Gate stopped by the house during Winter Music Conference week. I love their Sign of the Times track from their artist album of the same name, so I asked them if I could maybe get the parts from them and have a go at remixing it. I played the remix in all 3 of my sets this past weekend, and it got pretty solid reactions each time. But this week I spent some time in the studio tweaking a few things to get it finalised.

I'm officially going to debut the remix for radio during my set in Birmingham on Friday night, so keep an ear out for it.

A State Of Trance Episode 400

There is another huge weekend in store for yours truly. On Friday, I am back in England again, but on this occasion in Birmingham, to play at Godskitchen for Armin's A State Of Trance episode 400 celebrations. I'm very proud to have been asked again to participate in the live event for the third straight year running. Most of you will already know how far Armin and I go back, not just professionally, but personally too. We have always tried to help each other out at every opportunity - whether it is recommending the tunes that were doing the best business in our live sets or the ones that were getting the best responses on A State Of Trance or Global DJ Broadcast.

We had a lot of fun doing the special shows together back in 2003 and 2004. In November 2003, I flew to Amsterdam and did one of his XXL episodes live in the ID-T studios. Then in October 2004, Armin and I were playing at a Godskitchen event at ICE in Las Vegas. We recorded the entire night and flew back to the Coldharbour studios in Miami, and did a crossover episode, where we co-hosted A State Of Trance and Global DJ Broadcast together in the same week.

Nowadays, we don't get to see each other as often anymore because our respective tour schedules usually take us to opposite sides of the world at the same time, but on Friday night we'll definitely be sharing a champagne toast and talking about these nights in the studios.

Air in Birmingham has some pretty special memories for me too. Back in June 2005, long before the GDJB World Tour concept came around, I recorded a set from there to air on the show the following Thursday. Back in the early years of Global DJ Broadcast, I used to record a lot of my North American sets, but this was the first recording I did overseas - and the first that included live crowd noise. There are a lot of people who I see at my gigs and they mention about how that set in particular was the one that made them a believer in the Coldharbour sound. So I guess you could say that the seeds for the World Tour were sewn within the walls of that club. I haven't been back there for a little while due to my residency commitments with The Gallery at Ministry of Sound, but I'm really looking forward to it.

Global DJ Broadcast: World Tour - Wroclaw

If Friday wasn't big enough already, Saturday is on an equal par in terms of importance. I make my return to Poland this weekend to perform at the Godskitchen event taking place at Centennial Hall in Wroclaw. Over the past couple of years, Poland has almost become the mecca of trance music, with so many fans and more and more big arena events taking place. Since the inception of the World Tour, I always wanted to cover Poland because of how passionate my fanbase is in the country, but the unfortunate thing was that there weren't too many big events that took place in the country's marquee cities. But now, the time is right to make it happen.

So if you are going to Centennial Hall on Saturday night, I challenge you all to make it the loudest World Tour recording yet. You have tough competition already this year from Athens and Melbourne, but I hope that Poland can show the world that despite it being a small country and relatively new in terms of DJs and producers originating from there, that it stands up there as one of the absolute best.

And with that, I must wrap up for this week. Time to get to work on another important weekend, with 4 gigs in 4 days. Dubai, Birmingham, Wroclaw and Nicosia. However, I am staying in Cyprus for an extra day before I go back to Miami, so I think I'll try to make it out to the beach to unwind a bit.

It's a hugely important weekend, but I'm going to make sure I enjoy it as much as possible. I hope you all enjoy yours, and I hope that you can tune in for my set live on A State Of Trance 400 this Friday night, beginning at 10pm EST / 3am UK / 4am CET, and join the guys over at the forums for the live tracklist and discussion.

Take care,

April 10, 2009

Markus Schulz Blog - April 10th 2009

Hey everyone!

Hello to you all from 36,000 feet somewhere between Miami and London. I am writing to you today as I fly across the Atlantic whilst preparing for my residency night at Ministry of Sound, London. I have to apologise to you all for not having the time to post a new blog over the past couple of weeks. As you can imagine, Winter Music Conference week is always so hectic between gigs, meetings and parties, and last week I was on the road pretty early, because I had gigs on Wednesday through Saturday. So, a little XXL sized version for you this week to make amends; and to catch up on everything that has happened over the past three weeks or so, beginning with the Toronto '09 Release Party at The Guvernment.

It's very difficult for me to put into words how important and special this night was. A lot of fans worldwide probably don't understand the unique vibe that Toronto brings. All the clubbers there are like a tightly-knit extended family. Everybody is your best friend, and any time I have played there in the past, they have always welcomed me as one of their own.

I got to The Guvernment a little early to hang out backstage and catch up with some of my peeps. Armin was already going strong at the Koohaus, but we managed a quick champaigne toast before I headed over to the Guvernment main room for my set. I got to bump into Toronto native Arnej, who has two tracks on my Toronto '09 compilation (both of which are massive!) and also Blake Jarrell, my little tour buddy from last summer. We spent a lot of time together on the road, travelling together and playing at the same gigs. He even stayed at my apartment in Berlin for a couple of days in between playing in Glasgow and the beginning of the Ibiza season.

One of the fascinating things about travelling with the likes of Blake is that you literally get to see him develop and grow as a DJ first-hand. He is continually learning and developing his sound, and I hope he keeps working hard to reach his goals, because the potential is definitely there. He has a new album coming out on Armada this week called Concentrate, which is a mixed compilation made up entirely of tracks or remixes done by Blake himself. There are a couple of tunes on the CD which will be familiar to Coldharbour followers, as he has remixed Bittersweet Nightshade, and also the Khaz & Boris M.D. track, Eliana; the original of course featured on the Toronto '09 album.

Another Toronto native and an up and coming DJ I have a lot of time for, Toronto native Glenn Morrison, was warming the crowd up very nicely as I made my way to the booth. The first hour of my set featured quite a few of the Dakota tracks. What a great testing ground to try out some of the tunes in front of a live audience for the first time. For the rest of the set, we took it up a notch and played a few stompers, and many tracks from the Toronto '09 compilation of course. The crowd were, as expected, fantastic. So much fun interacting with everyone. We joined together in the hope of a celebration, and I think we achieved it.

A huge, huge thanks to everyone who made it to the party. I can't wait to get back there to the Toronto audience again. Great people and a city that has a special place in my heart.

After flying back home and taking it easy on the Sunday, I started my WMC preparations on Monday. There are so many memories that come back when thinking about previous conferences. In many ways, the most special one was that seven short years ago, a little show called Global DJ Broadcast was born, originally as a one-off special to cover the activities in Miami that week. The good old days of Party 93.1, where my Sunday nights were spent in their studios mixing live and talking on the microphone while the vinyls were spinning. I will be forever grateful to those days, because thanks to the growth of the internet and online communities, lots of doors opened for me internationally due to the success of the show. It is the reason why I make a point of doing a special WMC edition every year - the signification of how the show started.

Winter Music Conference officially kicked off in Miami on the Tuesday night. I played a gig at a club named Aerobar, along with Glenn Morrison and Noel Sanger. This would turn out to be my highlight of the entire WMC week - very intimate with an incredible vibe, and a lot of producers, DJs, media and scene members scattered around the venue. The bigger parties were to follow at the weekend, but this gig had a special feeling in the air and it was great to see a lot of old friends out enjoying themselves.

One of the cool things about Aerobar is that it is right next door to the where Groovejet used to be. That was where I first heard Danny Tenaglia play. These were special nights that I have so many memories and inspiration from. I hope next year we can do another party at Aerobar to kick things off, because I think that could be something very special. My only concern was the sound system there. It was harsh - not very warm at all. Hopefully they improve the sound over the next year so we don't all blow out our eardrums on the first night of the conference.

After some brief rest on Wednesday morning, I grabbed my CD cases and headed over to South Beach to participate in the Remixer and Producer panel forum at WMC and then to the Raleigh Hotel in South Beach, which is where the annual WMC party is held for Sirius XM Radio. There were a ton of DJs hanging out and enjoying the vibes - such as Lee Burridge, Nic Fanciulli, Todd Terry, hometown hero Oscar G, and Miss Nine. I did a little interview with host Emily Tan, and then began preparing for a 1 hour set.

The atmosphere was nice and relaxed, and I tried to reflect that in how my set sounded. No need to bang it out. Just play some cool groovy tunes to relax on a rooftop. Despite the temptations of an open bar, I had to resist the urge and head over to the Pacha hotel for a quick interview in their suite and then home to spend a late night in the studio, working on the GDJB WMC Special. In hindsight, it was probably a good idea to stay in on Wednesday night, because the rest of the week was complete chaos.

Thursday was my busy day. I got a hotel down in South Beach so I could easily attend all of my events during that day, evening and night without having to drive in rush hour. The day started with another panel appearance, this one about the architecture of a DJ set, which was a lot of fun to do because everyone really had great questions and everyone seemed very interested in the answers the panelists and I were giving. Afterwards some lunch and meetings with the guys from Armada and David Lewis Productions, and to the hotel for a nap and a shower before getting ready to attend the IDMA ceremony that evening. Little did I know that it would be an event I will remember for the rest of my life.

I have to be honest with you guys and say how humbled I was to receive the award for Best American DJ, and I still feel that way two weeks later. I felt very nervous going up to accept the accolade and having to make a speech in front of so many friends, peers and industry members. You could put me in an arena to perform in front of 40,000 people, and I still would have been less nervous than that Thursday night. So once again, I want to sincerely thank you all for the support. To me, winning the award doesn't mean that I'm the best at something or that I'm better than the other people who were nominated. All it does is show me that there are many of you out there who share the same vision of trance that I do, and that is a very special feeling indeed. Like I always say, we are growing and sharing this journey all together.

The night continued into the small hours at Parkwest for another fun gig, and once that was done, I went back to the hotel to pack my things and drive home. I prefer waking up in my own bed every chance I get since I spend so many nights in a hotel as it is.

The focus then shifted to Saturday, and to the Ultra Music Festival. I was faced with quite a difficult task there, because it was only a 1 hour set, and it was at 1 in the afternoon. You have to prepare differently for festival sets, because your set is almost like a shop window advertising what you are about in such a short space of time. In saying that, I had a lot of fun because the crowd got there early and were really eager from the get-go.

We wrapped up the Conference week on Sunday with a little get-together at my house. The guys from Cosmic Gate (Bossi and Claus) came over along with Mike (Elevation) and his girlfriend. We grilled, hung out by the pool, and even managed a little battle of the Germans in a game of fussball!

From Sunday until Tuesday of last week, my time was dedicated to rest and recovery, and going to the gym. I didn't even want to power up the studio, just take a little break and prepare for the gigs that lay ahead. A few minor basketball injuries to report this week - I got an elbow to the side of the head going for the rebound in a pickup game and saw stars most of the day on Monday, and on Tuesday I got a huge bruise on my wrist from when we lowered the basketball hoop in my driveway and decided to have a slam dunk contest.

On Wednesday morning, I got the GDJB World Tour show compiled together and headed off to the airport, to fly to my old home town of so many years, Phoenix. When I landed, I met up with my brother and headed immediately to the US Airways Center to catch the Phoenix Suns hosting the Houston Rockets. We made it there at halftime. It was fun getting to see the battle between Shaq and Yao Ming. Any Suns win always brightens my mood, and they delivered on Wednesday. Unfortunately, they got blown out on Sunday in Dallas and last night officially eliminated from the playoffs. A very disappointing year for my Suns.

After the game I had just enough time to go to the hotel, get cleaned up and head out to Cream Stereo Lounge for the first time. It's a brand new venue that only opened in January, and it is run by my friend Thomas Turner and the Giant guys who take care of me for all of my Southern California club gigs. The gig was so much fun because so many people who used to go to The Works, which is a club I was resident at for 7 years in Arizona, came out. Even some of the bouncers from back in the day came out.

Every time I go back to Arizona, there are always so many nostalgic moments. Last time I played out there, I rented a car and drove to my old house in Chandler. As you guys will have read in the last blog, the Dakota alias is based on the street I used to live on. Just like Miami, it is like a homecoming for me when I play in Arizona, and I really enjoyed playing for so many familiar faces.

Thursday was a trip east to North Carolina and to the Charlotte Forum nightclub. My brother was joining me on this round of trips, so it was great to have someone to hang with during the travel. I played in Charlotte last September and it was really fun, but Thursday night was even better. It was a very intimate experience. The DJ booth was so close to the crowd; everyone could shake your hand and show their cellphone where they had written song requests. Charlotte may not have the international recognition for clubbing worldwide compared to other US cities, but their enthusiasm for the scene always makes it a very welcome visit in my tour schedule. Plus, there is nothing like southern hospitality. Not much I remember about the rest of the night in Charlotte, but I do remember someone inviting me over to their house to cook me some real southern grits. I love grits, but from what I remember, I just went back to my hotel room, raided the minibar and ate all of the dried fruit and nuts.

Sadly, a gig I was due to play on Friday at El Paso in Texas was cancelled just as I was leaving to go to the airport on Wednesday. Unfortunately, due to unfortunate circumstances, the decision was made due to a shooting outside the club a week before. I feel very bad for all the people who were expecting me at the show. A lot of you had been emailing me and messaging me during the week saying how much they were looking forward to the gig. I hate missing out on events, so I hope that the situation does get resolved and the gig can be rescheduled at some point in the future. I know El Paso is going through some rough times with what is going on across the border in Juarez, but I will make every effort to make up the date as soon as everyone thinks it is safe to do so.

Because the gig on Friday was cancelled, we flew to Washington DC a day early. Unfortunately all the flights into DC were fully booked, so we flew into Baltimore and took a 1.5 hour drive to Washington DC in the middle of Friday rush hour traffic. On the long ride in, I was able to listen to President Obama's speech being delivered live from France. I think that we can be all proud of the start he has made to his term. I am not into politics at all, but I, just like millions of other young people, are inspired by Obama. He is a real leader who provides inspiration just through the power of his voice alone. I thought it was really awesome he took time out to pick a bracket for the NCAA Basketball Tournament a few weeks ago - and he predicted the winner!

Since I had friday night off, I took advantage of it. We went out to dinner at a great place in DC called Lima and then out to a club that is run by my good friend Pete Mutso, called Ultra Bar. It was their anniversary party and they had Breakfast playing in the lower level and at the top level they had DJ Kay Jay, who was a Playboy bunny mixing the tunes. Now I am a big fan of Breakfast, his new track "Remember" is amazing, but come on.... I did what most guys would do and went upstairs and listened to the trainwrecks and hip hop booty music of DJ Kay Jay. I did go downstairs and hang with Breakfast for a bit though, but after his set was over it was back upstairs.

I woke up Saturday and we walked around DC checking out the usual tourist stuff. Walked to the White House, then over to the Lincoln Memorial, and then attempted to walk to the Capitol. We got about halfway and decided that enough was enough and went back to the hotel for a nap. I thought it was amazing though to stand at the Lincoln Memorial looking towards the Capitol on the exact spot that Martin Luther King Jr. made his "I Have a Dream" speeches. That for me was the highlight of the afternoon.

A nice long nap and some dinner, and I was ready for the night. I love playing at Glow, and they have moved back to their old location at Fur Nightclub, from Ibiza nightclub that they held their nights at the last 2 times I played for them. Fur reminds me of Space in Miami the way the DJ booth is set up. I like that. The funniest thing is that there is a ledge in the back of the booth, and one time I was jumping around, acting goofy and hit my head on it and had a lump for 2 days. The crowd is really up for a good time at Glow, and they are really loud.

I think it was a great night. I played Dakota style progressive tracks early on and then built it up into some melodic techy tunes. One of the top moments of the night was when I played Rafael Frost - Red, and then Lange's remix of Floating Beyond. The crowd really went for it and it was the tipping point of the night, the moment that the party got crazy. This visit to Glow had me skipping the after parties and going back to the hotel and chill. I usually wind up in some random location in the city, not knowing where I am or how to get back to the hotel when I go there. You may have seen pictures on some of Glow's forums. I was demonstrating my hula-hoop skills with bands of glow sticks last time and did not know there were cameras around.

Sunday I woke up and flew back to Miami, and spent the evening outside by the pool relaxing.

This week, the Coldharbour studios reopened again and I got back to business. I started work on a new remix which I'm really excited about, and all will be revealed very soon. I took some time out on Monday night to watch the NCAA Championship game, but other than that, I have been extensively spending my time in the studio preparing for the next couple of weeks on the road.

I'm really excited about what I have in store this weekend, playing at three of my favorite cities in the entire world. On Friday, we continue the Gallery residency at Ministry of Sound in London, then on Saturday I'm back in Chicago at the awesome Vision. But the main event will be this Sunday, at Bal en Blanc in Montreal.

As you guys will know from the past couple of Global DJ Broadcast shows, I was asked to remix the official theme to Bal en Blanc this year, entitled "Dressed in White". I'm playing a 3 hour set on Sunday, and at the end of it, we are going to perform it live. Everyone knows about how much I rave about the Montreal people and the scene, so playing at my first Bal en Blanc event is going to be very special. I will share my memories with you all next week.

And with that, I think you are all caught up. They are about to serve dinner and then after I have to do this video for Armin's ASOT 400 party and have not had the time to do it, so that is on my list of things to do on this flight. The attendents have been keeping my wine glass full, so the video may be a bit of mess, but I will do my best to keep it together. If you see the video online, of me in an airplane talking about ASOT 400, then now you have a little behind the scenes picture.

3 glasses of wine in high altitude.... Camera, Action, Roll-em! Hope you all have a great weekend!