Markus Schulz presents Elevation – Clear BlueFebruary 5th, 2009
The first release of Armada’s Electronic Elements label, was released at the end of 2003. The label kicked off with a track by young talent Michael Targanski. The original version, then being called ‘Clear Blue Sky’ was picked up by Markus Schulz, who began working on the track with Michael. After only a few weeks, the result was a deep, progressive beauty, following the name of ‘Clear Blue’. Supported by DJ’s like Pete Tong, Armin van Buuren, Sasha, Paul van Dyk, Gabriel & Dresden and numerous other big ones, made the track rise in glory. Aged only 16 at the time of producing, Elevation couldn’t imagine himself a better start of his career as a producer. Besides ‘Clear Blue’, Elevation’s ‘Ocean Rain’ and ‘Blinding Truth’ have helped shaping the Coldharbour Recordings sound: dark, deep and proggy. Time to look back and ahead with Elevation himself.
Armada: ‘Clear Blue’ originally started as ‘Clear Blue Sky’. When Markus picked up the track, did he make major changes, or was it pretty much like the original?
Elevation: ‘The track began with raw inspiration in my very early days of making music, and was literally the first thing I ever produced, without any outside instruction. I taught myself how to make music just by hearing music, and knowing music. I sent the track to Markus on a whim. When Markus heard the track, he asked for the parts, made key changes, and amplified areas that needed to be amplified. Essentially he encompassed the same sound I was going for, but used his own skills as a club DJ to sift out what would work best on the dance floor, and what would really make people feel something-to create that ultimate ‘moment’. Since the key elements of the sound were already there, we discussed my vision and his, and changes were made. The final result was ultimately the coming together of the original and of what Markus was inspired by, which came out as ‘Clear Blue’.’
Armada: How did you come up with the melody? Did it come naturally, or were you inspired by something?
Elevation: ‘Trained classically on the piano and organ, I have been obsessed with melodies for my entire life. With classical music as my stronghold it came natural to create something that I thought would sound beautiful. Coming up with the melody was literally by accident. I was inspired by music in general, classical music and trance in particular. At that time, Trance had a very classical feel to it, and was very melodic. As an early producer I was very inspired by many dj’s and producers, and pulled inspiration from many things. Effortlessly everything came together, and I put down the melodies. It came natural, but it was also intimidating considering it was my first official track to be noticed. ‘
Armada: Any special memories regarding the track?
Elevation: ‘Being such a fan of Armin Van Buuren growing up, it was such an honor to go see Armin at Necto In Ann Arbor, Mi in 2004. Much to my surprise, Armin ended up playing ‘Clear Blue’ that night (on vinyl!). Everything became so real to me at that point. It is such a landmark in time for me when I think about how I felt that night, being 17 years old, to hear my track played live. All of my dreams had come true! Another special memory for me was being featured on Paul Oakenfold’s Creamfield’s mix compilation (later nominated for a Grammy). All in all it was in huge respect that I was being played by the top DJ’s in the world, and being noticed internationally. This was a huge milestone for me as a producer. ‘
Armada: You were only 16 when the track was released. What impact did it have on you, being such a young lad?
Elevation: ‘Used to being the humble not to be noticed music novice (other than playing the organ at my church!), it was quite a shock and unexpected honor to have something picked up at the time. For so long I had admired the likes of Markus Schulz, Armin Van Buuren, Paul Van Dyk, Tiësto, Sasha, etcetera, and it was so amazing to hear my own track being played by dj’s worldwide. The whole experience was a blur to me at the time because I had gone into something expecting nothing, and in the end came out as a hit tune! My memory regarding ‘Clear Blue’ was the official groundbreaking to an exciting end eventful career as a dj, songwriter, producer, and sound engineer. ‘
Armada: What’s it like to work together with Markus? Did you guys really team-up in the studio, or work on the tracks and remixes separately?
Elevation: ‘Markus and I had chemistry instantly. It has always been a pleasure to work together, and a lot of fun. Our synergy has always been dead on with one another. Markus gave me the insight I needed at the time, and the inside track to what people wanted to hear in the clubs, and I came up with melodies based on what feedback he gave to me. The end result was due to us consistently connecting on a musical and personal level. We worked separately on the tracks, but communicated as much as we could via instant messenger, email and telephone. Rarely at that time did we meet in the studio. ‘
Armada: The follow-up ‘Ocean Rain’ was almost as successful. Do you think you’ll ever top the success of these first two?
Elevation: ‘Ocean Rain’ for me to do this day is one of my most favorite productions. I think that it paved the path to success for some of my current productions. I think that topping the success of some of my first tracks will be difficult, but I think that my next release ‘Biscayne’ may compete against my earlier releases. Biscayne is a very emotional and melodic, yet energetic track that has a lot of my original sound contained within. It is kind of a blast from the past, with a twist of the new. ‘
Armada: What’s coming up in the near future?
Elevation: ‘In the past I have focused on more instrumental tracks, and enjoyed doing so. While still doing melodic and instrumental tracks, I am now broadening my horizons by doing some amazing and memorable vocal originals, and possibly creating an alias, with my original sound and my newfound sound combined. My future goals are based upon my past success and my history with the electronic music industry. I am staying true to my sound, but trying to reinvent and recreate. Look out for something with the Elevation sound, but with a whole new inspiration!’
For more info about Elevation, check www.myspace.com/djevelvation