‘Think differently’ was the slogan for Apple back in the late ’90s, and it seem like Markus Schulz has embraced it as his personal mantra. When we last spoke to the German DJ/Producer, he had just released the incredible ‘Scream’ album. To support the album, he loaded up a bus with Khomha and the M-Machine and toured the US. At his stop in Nashville, I caught up with him and asked him about his new project with Ferry Corsten (New World Punx), the idea behind the Schulz Music Group, and more.
DJ Ron Slomowicz: I eMailed my readers for questions to ask you; and the question which kept coming back was what city in Germany were you born in?
Markus Schulz: I was born in Eschwege, which is a little village by Kassel in between Frankfurt and Gottingen.
RS: The big news since the album release is the New World Punx, why are you and Ferry Corsten joining up like this?
Markus: Well it all started one day at a barbeque in Ibiza, we were just hanging out chatting and vibing and we both thought “god, why haven’t we ever worked together in the studio.” We got in the studio just to have fun and work together and we ended up have such great chemistry, we were dancing around, high-fiving, and it just evolved from there. We started doing back-to-back sets and had such good chemistry that the promoters wanted to book us back-to-back. We decided to come up with a brand name for it so that people understood that New World Punx was different than just Ferry and Markus. Ferry and I are both at a stage in our careers that we just want to have fun right now, we have both done so much and sometimes the politics of the scene can get to you and we just want to have some fun with the project.
RS: Punk is usually young and rebellious, what about your sound is young and rebellious?
Markus: Our goal is really to put sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll back into trance – a little bit of attitude. I love trance and I love the melodic stuff, but at the same time sometimes it can get a little too serious. We just want to have some fun and put some fun back into trance.
RS: So I guess that is the trance 3.0 then.
Markus: Like I said, it’s just to have some fun and not be too serious, it is almost like trance is sacred and holy and it has to have moments of euphoria with hands in the air and everybody worshiping. I just never felt comfortable being on stage and having two minutes of breakdowns and people just standing around. On my radio show there are a lot of moments that have long breakdowns, but at the same time I have always wanted to do something different. I think that is what is nice about the scene – when people do different things. If everybody did the same thing and it sounded the same it would get really tired. As you can see with some of the other genres when they are all playing the same tracks the burn happens really fast. One of the things I liked to do with trance is just be different.
RS: Is this Scream bus tour in preparation of that?
Markus: The bus tour just came on the heels of the album. I have never been to Nashville but I usually just show up at clubs and plug into the club’s DJ booth and go, but the goal for this tour was to bring our own production. This production that we have now was inspired by Privilege in Ibiza, we have the same set up with the LEDs in the back, the front, and also the two columns on the side. It is what we have in Ibiza and I wanted to take that experience on the road to places like Nashville and all the other places that we are going to.
RS: Congratulations on # 1 in the DJ Times poll
Markus: Thank you so much
RS: How important do you think that is?
Markus: For me it is humbling, I am very grateful to the fans. I would be doing this whether I am doing it in my bedroom or somebody’s living room. I love this scene and I do it for the love of the music and the fact that people support me the way that they do is really humbling. It is nice to be applauded, we all want to be told every now and then that we are doing a good job and I am really grateful for the fans.
RS: Speaking about new and different, you found new artists for your Schulz Music Group and I just saw you coaching one of them.
Markus: Yeah I was scolding KhoMha a little bit.
RS: How did you choose them and how are you helping to prepare them?
Markus: First of all SMG is like a family, KhoMha is with me here and with me for the month, I always say that he is like my brother from another mother, and Tim Grube is here and he is my assistant. The idea for Schulz Music Group with the label Coldharbour is you can only do so much to help an artist. There is not a lot of loyalty when it comes to labels and artists just release tracks on this and that label. The idea with SMG was to get some artists that really have the same kind of thought process, goals, and vibe that I do. I want to be able to help them achieve their dreams in ways that you can’t really do with a label. With a label you sign and promote the track and do your best, but as an artist they are free to go to other labels so it is really difficult. With SMG we can release KhoMha tracks on Coldharbour or even other labels if that is what we chose to do, it is just a family atmosphere.
RS: When you do a theme song for an event like say Spiritual Gateway for Transmission, do you approach them differently?
Markus: Absolutely, what I try to do with my anthems is I try and tell the whole story of the event in a five minute clip. The euphoric breakdowns, epic riff, memorable hook that everyone knows, buildup, and release tell the whole story of the event. It is a lot different than the album tracks and the Dakota tracks that I do; I just want to do things differently both with production and DJing and evolve.
RS: What would you like to say to all of your fans out there?
Markus: The fans are fantastic and I am so appreciative of them. 2013 has been so amazing for me, I can’t even describe how everything has gone, from Madison Square Garden to the Winter Music Conference and now The Scream Bus Tour, it’s been an amazing 2013 and we aren’t even halfway through yet. Thank you to the fans because we are all enjoying this journey together.
Interview conducted April 2013 during Scream Tour stop in Nashville, TN. Check out our 2012 Interview with Markus Schulz about his Scream album release here.