Markus Schulz Blog - August 17th 2009
Hey everyone! I hope that this finds you all doing well and enjoying your summers.
First of all, I need to begin this blog by offering an apology for not keeping up my promise of delivering a weekly entry recently. Admittedly, a lot of you have been messaging me asking what has happened. From the tail end of the Asian tour, things have been absolutely crazy both in the studio and on the road; there have been so many days where I have continually said to myself that there just aren't enough hours in a day. It is also really important to me to give you guys the most detailed account of my endeavours as possible with each blog, and I didn't want to take that away from you out of writing an entry without putting much thought into it.
But, I am back writing again. All the messages and not wanting to let you down has forced me to put myself into gear. Your persistence has paid off!
For this week's blog I will try to give a summary of what I have been up to over the course of June and July, and will look ahead to what is still to come throughout the summer.
The schedule for a DJ in the summer months is like preparing for a marathon - you spend your time in the winter locked away in the studios, gearing yourself up for the festival season that we are in the middle of right now. There have definitely been some great memories already this summer, so let's share a few of them.
Friday June 12th - The Gallery at Ministry of Sound, London
My week began in Berlin and working on the Dakota Release Special for GDJB. When I was planning this weekend from a few months back, I wanted to travel to London a day early so I could spend a little time going back to my old stomping ground in Brixton. Even though I am playing in the city once every two months thanks to my residency, I never really get the time to concentrate on anything else other than the gig, because I'm usually taking the redeye flight from home the night before. But this trip was a little different.
So on the Thursday evening, after the day's GDJB episode had concluded, I travelled down to Brixton, and more specifically, to Coldharbour Lane.
Man, so many memories flooded my mind as I walked along the road. Honestly, I don't think my life would have paved out the way it did had I not lived there for 2 years. My studio was my home - ate, slept, produced, you name it.
If you ever plan a trip from overseas to come to one of my residency nights at Ministry of Sound, you have to go visit Coldharbour Lane. I keep having one of these recurring dreams about doing a Markus Schulz arena event at the Brixton Academy. There is a pub along Coldharbour Lane that would even be perfect for the pre-party! Maybe someday that dream will come true.
But, coming back to the present, my main duty in London was the closing chapter of my first year as resident with The Gallery. We have had a great partnership so far and I have a strong desire to build the residency to greater heights for next year. My set on the night began at 3:30am and time just flew by. There are two things I can always guarantee when I play at MOS - the crowd will always be hot, and there will always be the good old familiar faces that make the effort to come out and support on these nights. That Friday night was no different.
After saying my goodbyes it was time to get back to the hotel for what felt like a quick nap. Saturday was a huge day - Prague, and a GDJB World Tour Recording.
Saturday June 13th - Pure Prague at SaSaZu, Prague (GDJB World Tour Recording)
I was returning to Prague for the first time since the Transmission event last November, an event that is going to remain with me forever because of The New World alone. One of my regrets of that night was that I didn't record it for the Global DJ Broadcast World Tour, and when I was plotting possible World Tour recording destinations for 2009, Prague was an automatic lock.
After landing, I headed to the SaSaZu venue to set up the microphones. Then it was back to the hotel for a nap, shower, some food, and, as usual, burning some last minute edits of tracks on CD. Prague is one of those cities that excites me; there is a very cool vibe here and every party I have played at has always been amazing. I packed my CDs away along with my laptop to record the events of the evening, and off I went to the venue for a 5 hour set.
The first two hours of the set were what you heard on the July edition of the Global DJ Broadcast World Tour. I started off deep with some of the Dakota material and gradually built up the energy. That is the beauty of an extended set - you have more time to be patient with the crowd and they can dictate what direction you want to take your set with greater effect.
The crowd was absolutely incredible. Definitely without a shadow of a doubt one of the best events I had played all year. After I finished my set I was able to allow myself to unwind and have a few drinks. My ears were ringing but I didn't care. This night was my final gig on what was a total of seven weeks away from the home comforts of Miami.
Back Home to Miami, and a South American Tour
While it was great to get back home to Miami and get to sleep in my own bed, I couldn't enjoy it for very long. A total of two days at home in the studios, continuing the work on some of the material I had started whilst on the road, recording the first GDJB of this year's Ibiza Summer Sessions season, washing all my clothes and packing them away again for a 3-date tour in Brazil and Argentina. Had I been smart though, I would have packed some warm thermals, because nobody told me that South America would be in the middle of their winter season in June!
The South American scene is continually developing at a rapid rate. You may remember that the second edition of the Global DJ Broadcast World Tour in December 2007 was recorded in Buenos Aires. The crowds in both Brazil and Argentina were insane - proper party people who don't stop even when the sun comes up. At Crobar in Buenos Aires, I played until 8am! And rounding off the weekend in Sao Paulo was incredible. I was very lucky to meet so many new and great fans during my trip to both countries. Very passionate and welcoming. And as you will know already, the South American crowd inspired me to make the Lima track on the Dakota album.
I'm going to have to arrange another World Tour recording there very soon. South America needs the chance to be represented again.
Saturday June 27th - Electric Daisy Carnival, Los Angeles
My weekend began taking the trip from Miami to Edmonton - a trip which took much longer than expected because of storms. I had a really fun time playing there, like I always do in Canadian cities. On Saturday, it was time for the Electric Daisy Carnival, a huge rave-type event that Los Angeles is famous for. It was my first opportunity to play at this event, and I was going to make the most of it. The Cosmic Gate guys were playing alongside me on both nights, and it's always fun hanging out with them. The reactions I have been getting in the clubs when I play their remix of Sin City have been monstrous.
Los Angeles raves are famed for the kids coming out and dressing up in every costume you could possibly think of. If you didn't know that there was a rave going on, you would be forgiven for thinking that Halloween had landed in June. For these type of events however, I have to prepare my sets slightly differently. My previous experiences of playing at Monster Massive and Together As One definitely helped me in this regard. The kids just love the DJs to bang it out from the beginning - not how I would typically do it in a club as you know, since I like to start deep and build things to a crescendo.
It turned out to be another wonderful experience on the west coast. Many years ago, I always got so nervous when preparing for gigs out there, because it is a city that is spoiled for selection when it comes to good DJs and good clubs. But I am very grateful to have a really wonderful fanbase there that has supported me from the beginning and helped to build the excitement of my parties. EDC definitely brought a lot of fun moments.
Dakota - Thoughts Become Things
My highlight for June came towards the end of the month, as my Dakota project yielded the first album under the moniker.
As you already know, the title of the album is inspired from Rhonda Byrne's self-motivational book, entitled "The Secret". The mantra of the book is "Thoughts Become Things", and a lot of my experiences on the road and in the clubs, particularly interacting with you guys; has been the basis of the thought process for working on the tracks in the studio.
When I started writing these blogs in October, I could never have imagined sitting here some 9 months later talking about a Dakota album. I thought that 2009 would be the year where I would do a few remixes and then begin working on the next Markus Schulz album for 2010. In early November, I got the call from Radio 1 to do their Essential Mix, which was a great honor for me. I wanted to put in a ton of effort and make it extra special. So the idea was to work on a couple of tracks exclusively to debut in that set.
But once I got into the studio, I had so many ideas running through my head, and I said to myself that it would be a shame to be in such a creative vein to only have two tracks to show for it. So once I got the Essential Mix finished, and in the knowledge that I wanted to have some exclusive tracks for the Toronto '09 compilation, I made the plans to work on a Dakota album, and deliver it to Armada for Winter Music Conference.
I am grateful to all of you for providing me the inspiration to complete a project such as this. You have all played your part - whether it is the people gathering on the forums for Global DJ Broadcast each week or being crazy in the clubs / afterparties. Working on the album was a very gratifying experience for me, and I hope that there are one or two tracks in particular that everyone could identify with.
Tuesday June 30th - Amnesia, Ibiza
Rather than fly home to Miami, I stayed in Los Angeles on Sunday and took the redeye flight that evening to Barcelona. I had that special feeling in my stomach, because my first appearance for the 2009 season in Ibiza was so close.
Early Monday evening and I made the quick hop across from Barcelona to Ibiza. My agenda for the night was very clear. Last year, I was asked to provide a list of ten things that everyone should really experience should they travel to the island. You absolutely cannot leave Ibiza without experiencing a Cocoon night at Amnesia. For many of us, a lot of inspiration can be drawn from the legendary Sven Vath, famed for his slamming techno sets. I got to hang out with Sven in the booth as he was playing and surveyed the atmosphere, whilst thinking ahead to 24 hours later when I would be in control of the decks.
Quite deservedly, Amnesia has earned the reputation for being one of the most outstanding venues worldwide. I feel very proud to be part of what Armada are trying to build there on Tuesday nights. The attendances have increased year on year, and that has made every party more exciting than the last.
Although my dates on the island this year are less frequent, my set times have become much longer. So as I sat in my hotel room on that Tuesday night, preparing to launch Armada's summer season with a 4 hour set, I was really excited to bang it out.
I got to the club to meet a few familiar faces, as well as check out Jerome Isma-Ae's set. He has had an incredible couple of years on the production front. I have a soft spot for his remixes of Perfect, Fortune Cookie, and of course his monster production from earlier this year, Smile When You Kill Me. The club was absolutely electric as I took to the decks, and the crowd really made me feel at home.
Unsurprisingly, the 4 hours flew by, and as the sun came up, my only regret was that the night could have lasted that little bit longer. After some rest and a late checkout, I was on my way to Calgary for a gig via a layover in Madrid, and then the following night in San Antonio. I was tired by the end of the week, but glad to have the opportunity to relax and take in the fireworks at home in Miami for the 4th of July celebrations.
Saturday July 11th - Dance Valley and Global Gathering Kiev
For the second time of the summer, I was down to play at two festivals in two different countries, and both on the same day. On the first weekend of June it was Ireland and Scotland, this time it was the Netherlands and Ukraine.
My day started early, with an afternoon set at the 15th anniversary of the amazing Dance Valley. I was really happy to see the Armada arena so packed early in the day, so I could play as I wished. Once I was done, I signed a few autographs and posed for some pictures, and it was back to the hotel to quickly pack my things and head to the airport for part 2 of the day, in Kiev.
The Global Gathering festivals this year have also taken on the Boombox concept, which I first experienced at the World Tour recording in Wroclaw in April. The production levels and visuals are incredible for these events. As for the fans, they are absolutely crazy! I started off my set with a track from the Austrian duo Barnes & Heatcliff under their Lentos alias, called "Forget About Us". You may have heard it a few times already on GDJB. We have picked it up for release on Coldharbour later this year. They are on fire right now with all their remixes.
For both gigs on the day however, my personal highlight was seeing the reactions to my latest work in the studio, the first release under my own name since The New World.
Markus Schulz - Do You Dream
Following on from completing the Dakota album, which was specifically geared for the clubs, I needed something a little more powerful in my sets with my own signature for the summer festivals. I knew that the 75th release on Coldharbour was fast approaching, and I wanted to stick with tradition and have a Markus Schulz release for CLHR075.
The work on Do You Dream began back in early May, during a couple of days off in Shanghai - just a rough demo to give myself a bit of an idea of how I wanted the track to sound. In between all my gigs in Asia, I spent all my spare moments changing and analysing the track, trying to tweek it and get it right. I started playing out the track on the weekend of MOS in London and SaSaZu in Prague, and of course, you guys heard it on the World Tour recording. However, it was only when I got home and back into the studio that I was able to really polish it off. Like Chinook, I had a lot of ideas about utilising the melody in different environments, so I came up with the idea of doing an uplifting mix, which really brought a lot of power and energy.
Thanks to everyone who has emailed and messaged over the past month regarding the track, since I debuted it on Global DJ Broadcast. Do You Dream was released as part of our annual Coldharbour Day celebrations, along with Sin City, and was rounded off with a day-long radio marathon hosted by our friends at Afterhours FM. I'd like to give a shoutout to all the DJs who participated in the event; and of course to the great Afterhours FM staff for their kindness in accommodating some of the Coldharbour crew for the day.
There is a video of Do You Dream on the way, which I am very excited about. In the next blog, I will go into detail about my day of filming in Amsterdam. Keep an eye out on my YouTube channel for the video appearing next week.
And with that, I must wrap this week's blog up. Thanks for reading guys. I hope that this makes up a little for my inactivity over the past while. Fingers crossed I can get back into the regular routine again. I promise that I will definitely have another extended blog done before the end of the month.
And, if time permits, I'll try to get another edition of the video blog done. Don't forget that if you have any questions that you would like to ask, please post your requests over at the forums.
Hope you all have a great week.