Artist Spotlight – Markus Schulz
America’s no. 1 DJ was no other than world-renowned, unicorn slayer himself, Markus Schulz
Being on the top is never easy, and Markus has been able to manage the mainstream market while keeping his roots with his Rabbit Hole shows to remind even the hardest trance elitist, there is no one like Markus in the scene. With his marathon sets going for 10 plus hours, a jammed pack touring schedule, constant new releases, running his label, agency, and every other project he has going on, Markus continues to open new doors while developing up-and-coming artists and staying true to fans.
His longevity is not by accident and as long as he continues to push the envelope, stay innovative, and maintain the passion for love and music, Markus will continue success and lead the Schulz Army for many years to come.
Thank you Markus for sitting with me today. First of all your new single ‘Symphony of Stars’ with Christina Novelli is now out and it is stunning. How did this project with Christina come about? Any new albums in the works?
Well with Christina, I was actually working on my ‘We Are the Light’ album and we had reached out to Christina and said, “You know, we’ve been talking about doing something together for quite some time. So, you know, let’s put our heads together” and actually there were two songs that we were kind of like going back and forth. But this one I mean as soon as soon as the chords and the guitar and all that came together, we knew this was something special. So, you know, I’m very happy.
You know, like I said when you’ve known somebody and played their music for so long and then you get to work with them, it’s really rewarding. I love to discover new talent, but at the same time working with somebody like Christina who’s very well-established, was with a lot of fun as well.
Do you still get those butterfly feelings?
Yeah! I mean, it’s like every song that I work on, I feel like this is the best thing I’ve ever done. And if you don’t have that feeling with every single song then, I don’t know, you should just like stop what you’re doing and start on something new; because every project you do should feel like this is the best thing I’ve ever done.
Miami Music Week is just around the corner and being this is in your backyard, what do you look forward to each year?
Sleeping in my own bed, but I say that in a lot of interviews but it is true. Miami is an amazing city to host friends and colleagues from all over the world that come in and I think that’s what I look forward to. Not just the clubbing and everything but taking them out, going for coffee, then going here, going to a restaurant, whatever! Just hosting a lot of my friends, colleagues, other artists for the whole week in Miami.
And how does Miami Music Week differ from other music conferences, like ADE for example?
ADE is very intense business meetings and stuff like that when we go there were jumping from meeting to meeting. Miami is a very much more of a social atmosphere and not only that you have to come, you combine that with the fact that it’s Spring Break and everybody comes down. So it’s kind of like, you do put on these huge shows at the same time your socializing with people.
ADE is amazing, but it’s like hard-core business meetings. That’s because, the other thing you got to remember, October you’re planning the next year. So you’re having all these meetings in October at ADE to plan the next year. Where in March, you know, everybody’s kind of already got the groove of the New Year and your kind of gearing up for the Summer awesome.
Speaking of ADE 2018, you and Ferry did a surprise B2B. Is this a sign that New World Punx might be getting back together? If so, what can fans expect, if not, why?
Well, we’ve talked about it. And the thing is, musically we’re kind of on different trajectories. And we don’t want to do the same thing. We both want to do New World Punx, but we want to do something cool and innovative and different and we haven’t quite zoned in on exactly what it is that we want to do. But as soon as we do, we’re definitely going to focus on that.
That being said, we are planning on working on a track together. We tried to get it done at the end of last year, but I think it’ll happen this year, but it won’t be like official New World Punx. When we do New World Punx, we want to make a whole show out of it. This is just going to be one track that we’re going to work on here pretty soon. And then of course, I mean Ferry and I are going to do something in the Summer anyways, a few shows, some back-to-backs.
But as for a New World Punx project, we’re planning right now and it will be something special. A show of concept ‘n sound and we’re trying to figure out what that is. And when we do then we’ll do it.
You were named America’s #1 DJ in 2018, congratulations on a well-deserved award and recognition. How does it feel to receive that kind of recognition? How do you manage to continue to stay true to yourself while still being current for the market?
Well, I’ve been around long enough to know that the calendar flips and that 2018 award seems old. So, you gotta get right back at it. There’s not much time to gloat. But that being said, for me I’m just grateful for the fans because without them, you can’t be voted number 1, you can’t have a number one song on the radio. If you don’t have fans that come out to see you, support you, then it’s kind of what are you doing? You know, so to be doing this for so long and having fans supporting me and coming to all the shows and you know dressed in a T-shirt with the flags all that stuff, to me, that’s the most important thing and that’s the most rewarding thing for me actually.
Coldharbour Recordings is quickly approaching its 15th anniversary. You have expanded Coldharbour Recordings with Coldharbour Recordings Black, any plans for further expansion of the label? As you reach this milestone, what is your vision for the Label?
Well Coldharbour Black, it kind of represents the Rabbit Hole, you know, when I do my open-to-close sets at 3 o’clock, 4 o’clock in the morning, it gets weird and twisted. But we never really represented that with the label and I wanted to. Especially because techno right now is interesting. There’s some really interesting things going on. You’ve got techno, which is very raw over here, but you’ve got this melodic techno where when you speed it up sounds very much like trance and if you called it trance they freak out but trust me, it sounds like trance to me. And that part I absolutely love and that’s the stuff that I play in my Rabbit Hole. So what I’m really looking to do with Coldharbour Black is to not be afraid to say yeah, this is trance but at the same time, you know, this stuff has an obvious techno Rabbit Hole to it.
You have cultivated some amazing young talent. What is your vetting process for bringing on potential artists to Coldharbour and Schulz Music Group?
I look for guys who are willing to roll up their sleeves and work, you have to have a lot of drive and there’s some artists that you know, they make one song a year and that’s cool. But it’s hard to build an artist that way, we need guys who are like, hey, let’s try different things because to be innovative you have to try different things. And trying different things is trial and error, it’s hit or miss, so I need guys to be patient.
Different things and be passionate and that’s what I look for and in artist. We have a great stable of artists that are very driven and they’re always in the studio working, we’re always trying ideas and writing notes back and forth. Hey, what if you did this what if you did that. Sometimes it works sometimes it doesn’t, but the idea is that with the patience nobody gets frustrated. Everybody’s like, okay, yeah, let’s try something because to be innovative, you have to not just follow a formula.
So Your Coldharbour nights have been a success. What are your goals with these nights? Are you looking to expand to new markets with them?
Yeah, so we’ve learned that some markets it’s better to just hold off on and make those people from those markets come to see them in bigger markets where we can put on the right show where we can have it represented properly. Like here in Los Angeles is one of those cities where we have people flying in from all over the world.
When we do the Coldharbor nights and if for me, it just feels like a lot of these DJs if you say go and play a club, they’re very good, but they’re not able to draw the people and even so with a Coldharbour night. It’s an opportunity to bring these DJs that people know the names, they’re very good, and give them a platform to play for a bigger audience. So it’s kind of like a win-win. It’s great for the artist because they get to play for a bigger audience and it’s also great for us because you know, we get to brand this night and be in a city when I’m somewhere else.
I can be in Asia or South America or wherever and you know here we’ve got a Coldharbour night going and it is our music being played in two places at.
Finally, if you could only live by one motto what would it be?
I think live every day with passion. That’s it. I mean when you lose the passion then it’s hard to get up in the morning. So never lose the passion, never lose the passion for life, never lose the passion for friends, for love, never lose the passion for music.