Behind The Beat: Markus Schulz

We caught up with legendary producer and DJ Markus Schulz at Electric Zoo in New York City. He had a lot to say about his epic 12-hour sets, his production process and yes, even a new album!

OTB: The trance fans are here in a big way today and they are very excited for your set. All day all I have heard is where is Markus? Electric Zoo…how do you feel about this festival, do you like this festival?

Markus Schulz: I do, I do. You know, I took a break for a little bit from it only because there’s so many great festivals happening. But this is one of the ones, I mean I remember playing it, the first edition and I just remember how proud I was to see the east coast. New York City was growing.

Because you know on the west coast, the west coast was popping! You know what I mean? And Electric Zoo came along and all of the sudden the east coast kind of just stepped up and that’s what I am the most proud about.

I live in Miami and I’m proud of Ultra, but at the same time I’m an East Coast guy. When I moved to the USA, I went to school in Boston, so I’m an east coast guy and just to see this happening here on the east coast I was super proud about it.

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OTB: It’s been an awesome day of trance so far. The fans are all so happy you are here. Part of the reason I wanted to come today was because you were on the lineup.

Schulz: Oh wow!

OTB: One of the things that myself and a lot friends admire you for is your body of work, Coldharbour, really everything you do. Can you talk a little bit about your production process?

Schulz: For me, it’s different each time because I put my heart and soul into it. Sometimes I start off with a melody, a melody idea sometimes.

I’m working on my new album right now. I’ll be honest with you, with this new album I took a completely different angle. I’ve been having these studio sessions in LA where I bring in a guitar player and we’ll come up with some chords on the piano and then he’ll play them back on the guitar and then we record it in the computer.

We’ll track it with just a metronome and the guitar, and then we’ll write the story around that. Then we take that and develop it into a proper song.

And when I’m working on a track, an instrumental track like “Avalon” or “Remember This” or something like that, I’ll start with the melody first and then build out from there. It really is different each time.

Markus Schulz – Avalon (Los Angeles)

OTB: And I heard you just played a really epic set in LA?

Schulz: Yeah, that was so much fun. You know what, I need to have sets like that at least once every couple of months for my soul. There’s something I was thinking about…when are you are you the most happy? I had the question before in an interview. When are you the happiest? And I was trying to think about it afterwards and I was thinking am I happy laying on the beach? OK, it’s nice. Are you happy doing this or that?

This is his happy face.

You know, when I’m the most happy is when I’m walking from the club back to the hotel after an epic night like that. Or waking up the next morning after a night like that. There’s just something about it. You have this feeling of contentment, you know? And it’s just so amazing. There’s so much love between what we do, and the crowd, the fans and even the people that are running the clubs. The security, the bartenders, you just feel it. They all come up to you afterwards and they are just like, “Wow, I got off of work three hours ago and I’m still here.”

OTB: Those sets mean a lot to people.

Schulz: And you know what? It means a lot to me that it means a lot to people. I do it because I love it and I just feel like there’s something different when I do the 12-hour sets.

Obviously, these one hour, hour and half sets at festivals are great, and it’s a showcase of who I am as an artist, kind of like a snapshot. That being said, there’s nothing like celebrating for 12 hours with 2,000 – 3,000 of your best friends.

OTB: I sadly have not been to one of your 12-hour sets. It’s a thing that I need to go to.

Schulz: For sure, it’s something special.

OTB: I wish you were playing 12 hours at Pacha tonight. What gets you through it? Is it the adrenaline, is it the fans, the crowd? What gets you through a full 12 hours of that?

Schulz: All of it. It starts with the art. The doors open and it’s like you are looking at this clean canvas with nothing on it. And you’re just going to paint something beautiful from that. It all starts off like an artistic trip with just some inspiration that comes from inside.

OTB: I know we are running out of time here because you have to get to your set. Last question…favorite food?

Schulz: I’m not a foodie or anything. So, sushi. It’s like art.

For those who were at Electric Zoo this year his set at the Riverside Stage was something special. Take a listen below.

Markus Schulz Electric Zoo 2015

Keep tabs on Markus Schulz on his SoundCloud, as well as everything coming out on ColdHarbour Recordings.

Shendy Hershfield

Shendy Hershfield

Senior Editor - East Coast
Shendy Hershfield
- 3 hours ago
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