Back in June 2010, one the world’s most celebrated DJ/producers asked EDM addicts everywhere the album-question, ‘Do You Dream?’ Fan praise, cross-genre DJ support and dance press acclaim greeted one chart-scaling, master-blasting single after another. From that album’s day of release though, Markus Schulz had already begun imagining and conceiving the sound designs that would make up his next long-playing excursion. Now – comprising a 19-track packed collection of ear catching, floor quenching, super-seismic audio – that ‘Dream’ is about to turn into a ‘Scream’! Dan Prince gets another exclusive superstar interview with one of our superstar producers…
Hello Markus, before we go any further – what’s with the new eye injury?
“Hey Dan. You’ve seen my injury then, not too good huh? I got stung by something down in Mexico at the weekend but it’s clearing up okay now.”
Where in the world are you right now?
“I’m in the States at the moment, usually I spend the summer around Berlin but I’ve got a block booking for some Northern American dates so here I am.”
It’s been an astounding Summer for you, a brand new album ‘Scream’ – the album features a superb vocal cast that take care of both the dancefloor tunes and daytime radio bound numbers. What are the tracks that stand out for you now it is all done and dusted?
“Every track is a baby of mine to be honest Dan. I have worked on all of the tracks painstakingly and I have special feelings for every song. What I get most pleasure from is combining the discovery of new artists who I know are going to work so well.”
So who stood out?
“Where do I start? Jaren on ‘Carry On’ gave the record its soul searching feel, Sarah Howells ripped it up on ‘Tempted’, New York home girl Seri got it just right on ‘Love Rain Down’, my new discovery Adina Butar has seen dancefloors go crazy on ‘Caught’…all of them fantastic. I get so many cool vibes when I discover new singers, Adina has been fantastic to work with, the song is blowing up everywhere.”
It must be quite a relief to see all your hard work turn into fruition when the tracks you have been working so hard on go proper off in front of you on the dancefloor…?
“It is. I am always thinking of what the reaction each track is going to get during those long, late hours in the studio. Also, looking at particular moments in tracks when I know the crowd are going to go crazy. It’s fair to say that the name of the album ‘Scream’ is the album’s mission statement, that reaction from people is just what I want to hear. And that’s when you know all of those late hours putting everything into place has been worth it.”
It must have been have satisfying getting the big dancefloor tracks roadtested out in clubland?
“If I can’t play my tracks live then what’s the point? I have soundchecked them all at full club volume and stood there and seen the reaction which has been fantastic.”
The album is without doubt your most vocal orientated album yet, have you missed working with lyrics and vocals?
“If you study the album you will see it is a great balance. With the singer-song writing talent I’ve collaborated with, I feel it’s my most accomplished. It was really difficult to narrow it down to the final selection though, we had some huge fights in the office about what to leave out, all sorts of things got thrown across the room at each other! But now with the digital age there are no limits on what you can release, so we went with a lot of big edits and are happy with the end result.”
So tell us about Ibiza, a residency at the world’s biggest club is no mean feat to pack out, which is just what you are doing…”
“It has been amazing. This has been my third venue in three years so there were some obvious nerves, but I am so proud at how it has gone. I just felt that this year the concept was going to intrigue a lot of people, especially the music industry. We are putting on one of the biggest pure trance events in the world, every week at the biggest club in the world and we couldn’t be happier.”
‘Loops & Tings’ smashed the Buzz chart up and had me waiting and wanting a copy for a long time, you have any other classic covers coming up with Ferry Corsten or yourself?
“We are working on some new stuff right now which we’ll be playing in our back to back sets. We have such a great time when we DJ together, a two hour set can somehow develop into a seven or eight hour set quite easily. Our record library goes so far back that it’s not uncommon for us to be DJing and maybe pull a record out unexpectedly…and then look at each other and say, shit, we should remix this!! But I can’t reveal what the next tune could be!”
Yes you can. What was it?
“Ha ha. Okay well we were playing Speedy J ‘Pull Over’ and we came up with a new riff but we’re not sure where we can take the track, let’s just say it’s sitting on the shelf right now.”
Let’s talk about your own label Coldharbour, named after one of Brixton most famous lanes. Did you hang out there much when you lived in London?
“Definitely, I used to live there around 2000 to 2002 and used to go down to The Dogstar a lot, there were a lot of artists who had studios down there too. I’d go in and see people and get a feel for the vibe, they were happy times on the whole but I do remember after 9/11 it was pretty tense down there. I’m glad Brixton is going through a renaissance period now though, there are some great clubs kicking off there again.”
After a big summer of global festivals already under your belt and Creamfields and SW4 coming up this weekend, do you enjoy the massive crowds to play to or are you more at home in a cosy club environment?
“I love both to be honest. And what’s funny is that I get excited about playing certain tracks in both areas and can’t wait to play them at the other end of the scale. So I may experiment in front of 50,000 people with a tune, see the reaction and can’t wait to see the reaction in a small club with a low ceiling dripping with sweat. And vice versa!”
What have been some of the big festivals of your summer…
“Well I have to say that Nature One this year was the best gig I have ever done. Ever! Electric Daisy Carnival was fantastic although it did have it’s problems. There was the issue of the awful weather which meant my stage was closed down early but was still great. And on a smaller scale, the Summer Sound Festival in Helsinki was superb, I was so impressed with their passion. It just goes to show how much trance is on such a resurgence.”
You live in Miami, is there any sign of the EDM bubble bursting over in the States or is it just getting bigger and bigger? A certain Hollywood radio presenter recently claimed that he wondered whether EDM would go the same way Disco went in the 70s, when Americans have enough of something they usually throw it away like a piece of trash…
“You know Dan, it’s interesting trying to figure out this brand new generation in America sometimes. I was walking down the street in America a few days ago doing some shopping and this car pulled up alongside me with four kids inside. There was a Calvin Harris track blaring out on the stereo and everyone in the car were going mad dancing about. It was crazy. You have to remember that this is the generation whose parents went through school listening to Hip Hop and now there children are all listing to dance music. Our parents danced to Rock & Roll and their parents had to listen to just the radio. As I said, it’s interesting times here in the States.”
01: Our Moment
02: Loops And Tings
03: Nothing Without Me
04: Love Rain Down
05: Carry On
06: Deep In The Night
09: Soul Seeking
10: Sing Me Back To Life
11: Don’t Leave Before The Sunrise
12: Until Its Gone
13: Universe Is Mine
16: I Like It
17: Digital Madness
19: Finish Line