Markus Schulz Blog - August 28th
Markus Schulz Blog - August 28th 2009
What's up guys,
Hope that you are all keeping well. Checking in with you with the second extended blog of the month, in an effort to get you all up to speed on my travels and endeavours throughout the summer.
I'm currently in the UK preparing for 3 gigs here this weekend, the highlight being the SouthWestFour festival in London on Saturday, as part of my residency with The Gallery.
But for now, it is time to reflect on my travels over the past month. I will begin this blog with my trip to Amsterdam, not just for a gig, but for a special acting performance featuring yours truly.
Friday July 24th - The Filming of the Do You Dream Video, Amsterdam
I got into Amsterdam on Thursday and had a very early night, because of a very early start on Friday morning. I woke up feeling excited, but nervous at the same time, because it would be the first time I found myself involved in a music video. Markus the actor; doesn't sound too bad!
But it's a lot more difficult than you might think. When I'm doing my real job in the clubs, you don't have to act or be told to smile, because your own emotions feed off the emotions and energy of the audience. So this was a new challenge for me, but one I was looking forward to.
The first duty of the day was ironing and making sure my wardrobe for the shoot was looking good, followed by a session in makeup. The first location was a room designated as my "apartment". The story behind the video is that my muse has vanished. All the pictures of the muse on my wall have been smashed open and removed. So my task is to run around the streets and various locations of Amsterdam, to try to find out where she has disappeared.
I think you were all surprised by the girl who played the role of my muse. She goes by the name of Rubberdoll, and she is a famous fetish model residing in Miami. Just after Winter Music Conference had finished, I spent some time thinking about how I could enhance the Markus Schulz live experience by adding specialist performers. And when I thought about her, she fit the role perfectly.
It's something different - a fetish model performing live at a trance gig. I can't tell you guys how delighted I was when she agreed to take part in the video for Do You Dream. She definitely fits my anti-rainbows and unicorn vibe (not that I dislike rainbows or unicorns).
It was a cold day in Amsterdam, even though it was July and the middle of summer. We spent most of the day outside filming, including the subway, where we got kicked out by security twice. I can't remember the amount of times traffic stopped in the middle of the road to see what we were doing. We decided to take the filming to outside the famous Amsterdam Arena, the stadium where the Ajax soccer team play, and also the traditional home of Sensation White every July. On that Friday, there was the annual pre-season Amsterdam Tournament, so all the Ajax fans were staring at us filming while they were walking past and going into the stadium.
Overall, it was a really fun experience. Tiring, and a lot of time spent standing around in the cold, but definitely worth it. The video has been finalised, and you can see the results here!
If you are in Las Vegas for Labor Day Weekend in September, you will be able to catch Rubberdoll performing with me at the Fabulous Fest, taking place at Rain. Again, something I'm really looking forward to.
Thank you Rubberdoll for being my muse!
Saturday July 25th - Pleasure Island, Amsterdam and Global Gathering UK
After the strenuous activities of Friday, I woke up on Saturday feeling very groggy, and could feel a cold coming on. Not an ideal feeling for pulling double duty once again. The first gig took place at the annual Pleasure Island festival in Spaarnwoude. This festival gathers together the craziest bunch of people you could imagine. Whips, chains, you name it. But they are all together to have a great time. I felt a bit icky when performing, but the wildness of the crowd kept me going.
Once I was done, it was time to get back to the hotel to pack everything away, then head to Rotterdam, where a private plane was waiting for Menno de Jong and I to board to Birmingham. Menno was pulling double duty by playing both gigs also.
The Global Gathering UK festival remains one of my favorites to play. I think I have played there 4 times in the past 5 years. The crowd are always amazing and very supportive. After checking in and some rest, I got my CDs rearranged in my case before heading to the Long Marston Airfield. I got there a little early to check out Armin's set; and to try my best to make sure that any tracks I had planned on playing hadn't already been played by him! Unfortunately that is one of the difficult aspects of festivals, because the lineup is dominated by headline acts, and they always put on their A game and play the best tunes. You can get away with it if you are performing early in the day, but I am always very wary of playing a festival set at 3am and playing a tune that the crowd could have heard 5 or 6 times already.
I had an absolute blast playing there as always. Between Godskitchen and The Gallery at Ministry of Sound nights, the UK fans really show their appreciation and support for me. I'm really looking forward to playing for Godskitchen's birthday at Air in Birmingham at the end of September. I was really tired but Sander van Doorn wanted to keep the party going into the morning!
Thursday July 30th - Rio Summer Festival, Budapest, Hungary
After resting and recovering in Berlin, I spent my Monday working on the 4 hour set for the Coldharbour Day celebrations that aired on Afterhours FM. Tuesday was spent working on music and Wednesday was spent making Global DJ Broadcast, and preparing for my return to Budapest.
The city of Budapest holds some very special memories for me. The last time I was there, it was for the TranceCentralEight celebrations at White Angel, which of course was the night of the Global DJ Broadcast World Tour recording in October. Many of you around the world clearly enjoyed that night, because you voted it as your favorite World Tour broadcast of 2008. However, this Budapest experience would be a little different. Outdoors, a festival, and playing a sunrise set.
The setting was absolutely beautiful. Playing under the stars next to the Danube and waiting for the sunrise. When I played Perception and Nothing at All as the sky started to become brighter and shades of blue began to appear, I had goosebumps. An incredible moment, and another wonderful Budapest experience in the books. I returned home to Berlin for a couple of hours on the Friday, before leaving for St. Petersburg.
Saturday August 1st - Global Gathering, St. Petersburg, Russia
(GDJB World Tour Recording)
World Tour recording day had arrived. I had really wanted to represent Russia on the World Tour series for a long time, but logistically, it never seemed to work out in the past. Let me explain - one of my criteria when selecting which gig to record for the World Tour in a given month is to have as short a gap as possible between the date of the gig itself and the date of the subsequent broadcast. For the past year, any gig I had in Russia was always like a day or two after the World Tour broadcast, which would have meant airing a set on the show that potentially could be over a month old. But because this gig in St. Petersburg fell on the first day of August, it worked out perfectly.
Up until this broadcast, all of the previous World Tour recordings took place in the clubs. It's always so much easier to plan, because in the club I would typically play a 3 hour set for instance, and choose the best 2 hour period to air. But in a festival, your sets are much shorter and more condensed as a result. To be honest though, I thought the timing was right to bring the festival environment into the World Tour concept. I felt honored earlier in the summer to be named as Global Gathering's festival resident, so having a World Tour gig from one of my "festival residences" is something that will be fun for me to look back on in a few years' time.
An early start from Berlin and I was on my way to St. Pete. After getting checked in I went to Tuutari Park, which was over an hour and half away from my hotel. It was too far to do soundcheck, so i had to set up all the equipment just before I was to start. Everyone was cheering and getting excited when they saw me hooking up the recording gear and pointing the mics into the crowd. I knew that the Russians are always up for a party and I was in the mood to give them one.
I played just a shade under two hours, and you heard the set in its entirety on the GDJB World Tour at the beginning of this month. What you guys won't know however is how worried I was during my set, because the CDJs kept vibrating around and almost off the table. The bass was so heavy on stage that everything rattled as a result, and I was dreading that the recording would be ruined by a sudden gap of silence. So I was consciously pressing my hands down on the decks in between mixing and dancing with the crowd. Not an easy task!
One of my highlights was ending the set with Nothing at All, and hearing a crowd singing in unison, with fireworks lighting up the sky in the background. It was an incredible sight, one of my best memories of all summer. Afterwards I hung out with Gareth Emery, Sander Kleinenberg and Mark Eteson, and unwound with a bit of strong Russian vodka. My head didn't thank me too much for it the next morning, but I managed to sleep it off on a very long flight to Hammamet in Tunisia, via Paris.
Tuesday August 4th - Amnesia, Ibiza
After another fun night at the Calypso club, I made the long journey back into Europe to Milan, and after a short wait, a connecting flight to that magical island we call Ibiza.
When I am stuck in the studio on those long winter nights, my mind always drifts towards the memories of playing at Amnesia. The club's place in dance music folklore will be as prominent 20 years from now as it is today. It is very humbling when I drove along and spotted a billboard with an image of me, and the word "Amnesia" below.
Armada nights at Amnesia have proved to be very special for me, particularly when I am playing alongside one of my best friends in Armin. When we play at Amnesia together, both of us arrive at the same time, support each other's set, and stay right until the end.
I was up first on the night, and the 3 hours that I played absolutely flew by. I felt so energetic and didn't want to leave the booth. In between Armin's set, I would go to the front of the booth and encourage the crowd to make even more noise.
As the night was drawing to a close, we did a very rare and special back 2 back session for the last hour. Armin would play 1 song then I would play a song... and we kept switching off for the rest of the night. What fun we had. Like I said, we do not get to play together very often anymore, but Ibiza is a place we both feel at home and feel the freedom and vibe to do these kind of sets. Next year you will have to make plans to come to Ibiza when we play together; because the back 2 back sessions are great fun.
Moments like that make us realise that we are born with dance music in our soul. It wasn't about playing the latest tunes; it was about celebrating the best Ibiza anthems by thrown down some proper classics, and having fun with the person who has shared a truly incredible journey with me over the past decade.
Right there and then, I knew that I had to capture the magic of Amnesia for the GDJB World Tour, so my plan was set to record my next appearance on the island at the end of August, and air it on the Global DJ Broadcast at the beginning of September. If it turns out to be anything like this night, then it will definitely be a set that is not to be missed.
European Travels Continue - Latvia, Greece, Israel and Malta
The next couple of weeks on the road were incredibly hectic. It started with another great party at the Essential Club in Riga. The gig appears in my tour schedule every year and for a country like Latvia which isn't particularly known for their trance parties, they always leave a very positive impression on me.
On Saturday, I made my annual appearance at Cavo Paradiso in Mykonos, one of the islands in Greece. Mykonos is like a mini-version of Ibiza, with all the big DJs passing through there once every summer. What I love about the place is that you are looking out on the beach and you can hear the ocean in the background while you are playing, and as dark turns to light, you can experience some incredible moments in that booth.
At the beginning of the summer I decided to have a go at making a bootleg of a house track that was pretty popular last year by Ian Carey, named Rise. I heard this track being played by every DJ last year and I wish I was able to fit it in my sets. This was going to be specifically for outdoor summer sets. Cavo Paradiso would be the first location to hear it live, so I had to give it the name of Rise (Markus Schulz Sunrise in Mykonos Remix). It has a real feel-good vocal, not typically something I would play, but it's perfect for the summer and outdoors. There were a lot of very surprised faces when they heard it for the first time that night!
I had the benefit of an extra 24 hours in Mykonos, so I took advantage and spent the day on the beach unwinding and listening to some chilled tunes on my iPod. I really need days like this during the summer. It breaks up the usual grind of touring and travelling. I left Mykonos on Monday for a couple of days in Berlin, which I spent working on music, before taking off on Thursday morning for a long day of travelling to Israel.
The middle of August would be highlighted by 3 sold out dates at Haoman17 in Tel Aviv, with an appearance at Creamfields in Malta sandwiched in between. Added to the two dates I played in January, I played at Haoman17 for no less than 5 dates this summer!
I really love the club..Each party had a different vibe. The first night I played a bit more progressive house and finished very melodic. The second night I played all progressive and played plenty of classics, and the final night was the full on Markus Schulz experience with all the big hits. I hope that I can return there next year and do it again. Many fans came out for all 3 nights.
Creamfields in Malta was also so much fun, the Maltese are hardcore. I met a very lovely mother and daughter who danced and jumped around all over the place. Two generations of clubbers.
After the third gig in Tel Aviv, I had an incredibly long day of flying across the Atlantic. Landed in New York first, and after a three hour layover, I was on my way to Miami. I couldn't wait to get home and spend a night in my own bed. There was a famous face on the plane from New York to Miami, legendary NFL player and a performer on last year's Dancing With The Stars, Lawrence Taylor.
So a full day home to try catching up on everything, and work on Global DJ Broadcast.
A Weekend in Canada - Winnipeg, Montreal and Toronto
This will be a weekend I will remember because of the range of emotions involved. I took off from Miami early on Thursday morning to Toronto, in order to catch a connecting flight to Winnipeg. Unfortunately, the weather in Toronto turned sour very quickly, and they pretty much shut the airport down as a result.
Consequently, I was knocked out of my pre-gig routine. Normally, I like to get in early to relax in the hotel, and work in peace and quiet on some edits for the night's gig. But at the airport, you aren't really afforded that luxury. So my day started to feel really long, and there are only so many games you can play on your phone to tide you over until you get bored. Even as everyone was boarding on the plane, they announced that they had no fuel, so we had to wait in our seats while the fuel came and loaded. Frustrating times.
As a result of it taking over 12 hours to get from Miami to Winnipeg, I literally checked into the hotel, grabbed my CD case, and headed straight to the club. Honestly, I had no idea what to expect from this night, because Winnipeg was not a city I passed through very often. And with a name like Whiskey Dix, I had this weird vision that I would be DJing to a sea of cowboy hats. But my fears were soon calmed on arrival, and to be honest, it turned out to be a really fun night! I guess it goes to show that even the most chaotic and unorganised days can turn out to have a fun and entertaining ending.
Friday was my return to Montreal, one of the most inspirational cities I have ever visited. The crowd here really allow you to take risks and for you to guide them on a journey down the rabbit hole. This was my first time back in Montreal since the incredible Bal en Blanc event back in April.
Since Stereo remains out of action, my main port of call in the city has been the Red Lite afterhours club. I just wanted to get there and dive into the action as early as possible. More frustrations however with Air Canada, as ground control wouldn't let us off the plane for almost an hour after landing.
Thankfully though, on this occasion I was able to relax in the hotel and prepare myself right. The Montreal crowd are incredible. They don't care about their bedtime. So you have to cram your set full of energy and excitement. This turned out to be another amazing night. Montreal will probably be the next Canadian city to be represented on the World Tour series. It's very hard for me to put into words the atmosphere of the people and the clubs there, so it might be best to capture it for a worldwide listening audience.
Saturday was Toronto, and the world famous Guvernment nightclub. When I landed, I went to the club for a soundcheck, and took a few minutes out to record the latest edition of my monthly video blog. Thanks again for the questions that you send in, and don't forget that if you have anything you would like to ask, then to please register at the Markus Schulz forums and post your requests there.
You can view this month's edition here
The Toronto tranceaddicts are like one giant family, and they have always made me feel one of their own. I always look out for the Guvernment or Koolhaus appearing in my tour schedule well in advance, especially if it's going to be an extended set like Saturday night was.
When I arrived at the Guvernment and met up with the familiar faces, I received a special gift from one of the tranceaddicts named Ramballo - a custom Toronto Raptors jersey with my name on the back, and the number 09 (representing the Toronto '09 compilation). It is typical of how welcoming the Toronto people are. Seeing the effort they go for some things really made my day! I'll have to have a practice session wearing the jersey when I get some time off. The person who gave me the jersey took a photo of me with one of his friends.
I felt in a real party mood on Saturday, and because I had 6 hours to play with, I thought it would be cool to mix up some of the freshest tunes in my live sets with a couple of classics from recent and distant times. Towards the beginning of my set, I dropped the legendary Insomnia by Faithless, and the reactions of the crowd were outstanding. The night felt like it was the second chapter of the Toronto '09 release party, the first of which took place in March.
To be honest, I could probably write a book on how many fabulous experiences I have had inside that complex and how much the city inspires me. A sincere thank you to everyone who made it out to Guv on Saturday night and made it a night to remember. You guys are among the best in the world, and your support for me is truly humbling and makes me realise how lucky I am to do what I do for a living. My only regret is that I couldn't spend another night there to take in the sights and sounds of the city a bit more.
And on that note, that is where I must leave you all for now. In the next blog, I will pick things up from my second appearance at Amnesia for August, and let you know how the World Tour recording turned out. Don't forget that you will be able to catch the Ibiza edition of the World Tour on the Global DJ Broadcast, airing on Thursday September 3rd.
Thanks guys for reading once again. In between the blogs, you can keep up to date with my latest movements via my Twitter page. I try to update it a couple of times every day and let you know what I am up to.
But until then, take care and I will catch up with you all again real soon.