DJ Of The Week: Markus Schulz

DJ Of The Week: Markus Schulz
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Electric Daisy Carnival New York hosted some of the biggest names in EDM, and we were lucky enough to sit down Saturday evening with one of the best acts from the A State Of Trance movement, Markus Schulz. In our exclusive interview with the world renowned DJ we discuss New York nightlife, the state of the EDM scene, and get an insider peek into the life of a superstar DJ.

Currently sitting at #9 on DJ Magazine’s Top 100 DJ ranking, Markus Schulz is undeniably one of the best and most recognizable acts in the scene. Markus primarily produces and DJs within the Trance genre, traveling with the A State Of Trance movement alongside other notable icons like Armin van Buuren and Ferry Corsten. Although Trance attracts a particular set of fans—whom Markus Schulz refers to as picky, though highly dedicated—Markus’ DJing finesse and sonic understanding can convert even those most highly opposed to the genre.

How was your experience at EDC so far?

Amazing. You know, this is the first year here [in New York]. I’ve played at EDC on the west coast over the years and have seen it grow year after year. To see this as the beginning, I’m really excited about the future because it is just going to grow from here. Amazing time.

So what did you find better, EDC New York or EDC Vegas?

Well, of course the EDC in Vegas, which is the main one, has been growing over the years. It’s a totally different vibe. This, though, was really cool. I mean, this was the first one, and what I really like about this is, since I play Pacha a lot, I recognized all these familiar faces in the front row. So even though it was brand new, I had a great experience because I recognized all these familiar faces.

Speaking of the fact that you play at Pacha, what is your favorite New York City venue?

I think it’s the perfect venue for me. It’s underground enough, but it’s also commercial enough where we can do nice productions and get a good turnout. And the crowd is amazing; they’re bouncing from wall to wall and everyone’s going crazy. Plus, I’m a clubber at heart; I’m a big Danny Tenaglia fan. So to play in the same DJ booth that he plays in, it’s an honor.

Speaking of mainstream culture, what do you think of the new momentum EDM has been picking up?

Well, there are a lot of people who have been working very hard to make this happen over years. So it’s really cool to a see a lot of this hard work paying off. But I think the important thing is to make sure that people remember the hard work that went into this. This scene was built on soul and hard work. But it’s very good to see this new generation embracing EDM. It’s almost like the same feeling I got in Europe in 1999, when dance music exploded in Europe in 1999.

So speaking of that, I interviewed Robbie Rivera down in Miami and he was telling me that he had a unique experience because he experienced two waves of EDM rising: back in the 90s and today. So do you think EDM is going to be here to stay in America?

To be honest with you, it never left! The mainstream portals like MTV and mainstream radio embracing it, that’s just another level. But let’s be honest, what’s happening right now is just repackaged top 40 dance music from back in the day, when there were all these mainstream club remixes of Madonna and Whitney Houston. The new stuff that everyone is claiming is house music and underground sounds much like the old school Junior Vasquez. It seems like it’s come full circle again. But this time it’s the artists in the spotlight, the DJs that are the rockstars. Before, the DJs were just in the studios putting in the work while mainstream artists and labels were whoring us out, so to speak.

So what’s your opinion on New York nightlife?

The scene in New York City is legendary, but it has also evolved. There’s a totally different scene here now. Before there were a bunch of little dive bars and seedy places where a lot of big DJs were cutting their chops. You hear about these producers that were playing at these dive bars but they were developing their own sound, their own style. Nowadays it’s very “glam” and I know it’s very difficult for aspiring DJs to find their way because it’s difficult for them to find a place to play. But that being said, the clubs are beautiful. You know, you can be proud to play in these venues. You can be proud to bring your friends to these clubs.

What’s your favorite city to play in?

To be honest with you, when I’m on stage and looking out and everyone’s going off, I don’t know where I’m at. I don’t think about whether I’m in New York, or Los Angeles, or Amsterdam or London. It’s global now. And that’s something of note. The club kids in the United States need to understand that this is not just a US scene. This is a worldwide scene, and this same explosion is happening all around the globe. I think that’s what makes this scene special.

Give me some insight on the worldwide lifestyle that accompanies the A State Of Trance movement and your experiences thus far.

[The A State Of Trance movement] travels all over the world and see some amazing cities. And like I said, you feel the same energy whether you’re in NY, or London, or anywhere. But one thing I do have to say… the trance fans are very picky, but they’re also very loyal. And for that we’ve always appreciated them. If you’re one of their favorite DJs, you will be forever. But they’re a tough group to please.

I’m a bit new to EDM, and I hadn’t heard one of your sets before. I thought it was frankly amazing, and the best set that I’ve heard tonight thus far. So I’m wondering how much dedication and time does it take to make such a high caliber set? Because you do your transitions so well and you seem to have a really good ear for sound.

I dedicate my life to this and I’ve been [involved in music] since I was a kid. Studying sound, improving my own sound. It’s evolved over time, and I think if you dedicate yourself to it, study it, be a student of the art of DJing, that will get you to that level of professionalism.

Today, there are two types of DJs. There are the guys that have produced a hit record and then now have to learn how to DJ in order to go on tour, and then there are the guys who grew up as a DJ and then started producing. I grew up as the latter. I’ve been a DJ my whole life. I think it comes down to the art of DJing and there’s something very special when you are listening to somebody throw down an amazing set that understand the art of DJing. It’s important that the next generation of people coming into the scene understand the art of DJing.

Do you have a favorite DJ to collaborate with?

Well, I’m kind of a loner. But I have done collaborations with Ferry Corsten. We’re both kind of in the same boat, where we’ve both been doing this for quite a while. We want to get back to just having fun again. We just went in the studio and didn’t think about anything but having fun and we made a great production. And we’ve been playing gigs together and don’t think of anything but having fun. It rubs off on the crowd as well when they see two artists with genuine love for the music.

Who among the next generation of DJs do you find the most inspiring? Not just in terms of production but in terms of skill.

There’s a DJ I discovered out of Columbia named Khomha. I think he’s going to be a star. Absolutely one of the best new DJs I’ve heard, and his production is amazing. He makes some of the biggest stoppers that you’ll hear. Lots of big buildups, aggressive basslines.

What are your plans for the summer?

For the summer, I’m going over to Ibiza and doing a residency at Privilege this year. And of course it’s festival season. In the summertime we play all of the summer festivals all over the world.

Speaking of festivals, how is Tomorrowland?

It’s amazing, the production is really cool. The thing about the European crowd is they’ve been doing this for a while so they’re really jaded. So you have to really craft out a nice, intelligent set.

Steve | Elite Daily

Photo Credit: Getty Images

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Serge Efap

Serge Efap, the former fratstar turned self-proclaimed Renaissance Man hails from New York City. Growing up quickly, he learned that if you want something, you have to go get it for yourself. When he's not reminiscing about the glory days, you can find him searching for the next big thing.

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