We talked with Markus Schulz about his new artist album “We Are The Light” and much more! Enjoy reading!
TranceAttack: Hey Markus, great to have you back again for some words with us and with “We Are the Light”, we have a great reason to talk with you. Congrats for your Album release! Tell us please, what can the listener expect? What’s the idea behind the album title?
Markus: Thank you guys, nice to speak with you again.
We Are the Light the seventh artist album under my own name, and all of my musical output in 2018 has lead up to the 16-track long release.
My goal with the album is to share an important message with the fans and community – despite all of the troubles and uncertainty we continually face in the modern day world, we can embrace, respond and be resilient – being the light that people need right now.
It is why when working on the We Are the Light song itself with Nikki Flores, it became obvious quite quickly that We Are the Light needed to be the mantra that represented the full theme and feeling of the album.
Prior to that, the first glimpse of the album actually came back in the spring, with the release of the inaugural all-vocal In Bloom EP, which is based on the Global DJ Broadcast four seasons themed episode of the same name.
Adina and I became a lot closer with Emma Hewitt while on tour this past year. We were chatting and remarked that it was so crazy never to have collaborated on an original before. Emma has such a beautiful soul, and knowing the emotion she would contribute towards the song Safe from Harm; that it would be a grand and fitting prelude to the album.
Also on that In Bloom EP was another vocalist that I’ve admired over the years; someone who I had remixed twice before, but never collaborated with on an original. So I was really happy to get JES on board with Calling for Love.
Through my connections in Los Angeles, New York, London, Amsterdam and Bucharest, I was fortunate to be able to amass an incredible roster of vocalists to feature – some recurring, like Ethan Thompson and Seri; and some new, like Smiley, Christina Novelli and Jared Lee.
TranceAttack: Together with “Watch the World” in 2016 and “The Nine Skies” in 2017 you have released the third great album within three years. How do you manage such an impressive output next to your tour calendar?
Markus: You know, I just feel inspired to express my thoughts and feelings, and the best means in which I can achieve this is through music and creating.
Watch the World was an important step for me, in terms of rekindling that burning passion and fire I had for creative writing as a child and teenager, but when thinking back to the timing of the release, there was a disconnect between the message I was trying to convey; one of a happy outlook, and what was actually going on in the real world, in terms of tragedy and political upheaval.
Rather than be content with touring the Watch the World album, the feeling of despair inside of me, particularly when the Pulse Nightclub shootings in Orlando happened, meant that I had to hibernate into my introverted self for a while, which yielded the return of Dakota with The Nine Skies album.
However, between that period of early 2016 and the beginning of 2018, while more tragedy has occurred, there is resilience from the people. A determination where we can’t turn to people in power to be the light that leads us, we need to be that light ourselves.
The ironic thing now with me is that usually when you complete an album, you are mentally exhausted and want to check out. But finishing We Are the Light inspired me to continue to be creative, and I have made a couple of things for my sets since.
TranceAttack: You worked again with an amazing number of vocalists for your album, but on the collaboration front only together for one track together with Omnia. How did this collab happen?
Markus: My relationship with Omnia goes back almost a decade. We first became in contact when working on the Toronto ’09 compilation, and when reaching out to artists to acquire material for it, he sent me his track “Stick in Monday”. And he was responsible for what has undoubtedly been one of the most popular releases owe have ever had on Coldharbour Recordings, with his track “The Fusion” from a few years ago.
I had actually commissioned him to work on a remix for one of the tracks from the Watch the World album, but he just couldn’t get it quite right. So at that point, we said that we would take the time and effort to collectively do something together.
Seri has been a well-received vocalist throughout the years in my sets, working along with the likes of not only myself, but Nifra as well. With that experience, I knew that her voice would dovetail well with Omnia’s core sound, so my role was adapting my own sound and adding to the layers that both would respectively provide.
“Road Of No Return” has been pretty well received so far.
TranceAttack: Looking back to 2018… Can you give us a little resume of this year?
Markus: Well, it started out in the most spectacular manner possible, with an open to close solo set at Avalon in Los Angeles, and proposed to Adina on stage shortly after midnight.
Musically, the main focus was on the “We Are the Light” album, and the springboard for that was the inaugural “In Bloom EP” in April, to compliment the Global DJ Broadcast themed version.
But during Miami Music Week, I met with Arny from Black Hole to plan the rest of the year, and he dropped the bombshell on me that not only was he thinking of bringing back the In Search of Sunrise compilation series, but he wanted me to be part of it. I consider it an incredible honor and another important layer of the legacy I want to leave in the business.
On the road, we had some great times at the clubs and festivals, particularly with the open to close solo sets, which as you know from speaking to me before, I value them so much.
And just a couple of weeks ago I received the honor of being awarded DJ Times Magazine’s America’s Best DJ, winning it for the third time. It’s incredible to have fans out there who continually show their passion and support towards me. That special connection with the fans is the best reward any DJ could receive.
TranceAttack: Looking to Astrosphere, Gentech, Lost In Noise… one of the biggest trends in 2018 seems to be creation of deejay projects. Something you already “invented” really successful in 2013 with your good friend Ferry and your project “New World Punx”. Are there any ideas about a “comeback”?
Markus: It’s definitely something we want to do, but when it happens, we need to have invested the time in thoroughly preparing something special that will match the anticipation.
One thing to make clear is that we are still incredibly close, and when envisaging New World Punx at the outset, we both agreed that it wouldn’t be at the expense of our own careers.
If you examine what has happened for each of us in the past few years – I’ve had three full albums as you mentioned, in the form of “Watch the World”, “The Nine Skies” and now “We Are the Light”. During that time, Ferry has been concentrating on his Gouryella revival and live show, the Blueprint album, his System F performance that he debuted at Dreamstate, and is also doing some filmscore work, which from what he has sent to me, is absolutely going to blow people’s minds.
So yes, when the time is right, and we can get together in person for an extended period, then it’s something we definitely want to make happen. I miss being on the road with him and being able to share those magical moments with your best friend standing beside you in the DJ booth.
TranceAttack: Next year you will marry your lovely Adina on Ibiza. How are the preparations going? Really nice to see Adina and you travelling the world together. It must be nice to have the most beloved human aside when having such a busy job as you have?
Markus: It’s creeping closer and closer! I think the adrenaline will really begin after New Year’s Eve, because when you move in to the calendar year where it’s going to happen, everything will seem so much closer.
I get asked very often in interviews about the most difficult aspect of the DJ profession, and my answer is the travel involved. Having Adina on the road with me for every step is a huge blessing, because to be honest with you, I don’t particularly enjoy travelling alone. Airports and planes can be a lonely place. Because she’s on the road with me, she’s essentially now my tour manager as well as being a travel companion. And obviously, she’s able to read whether I’m up or down emotionally and mentally.
TranceAttack: Following your social media channels we recognize that you like to go to restaurants. What is your favourite cuisine? Do you have any tips where to get the best food?
Markus: Well you know, I’ve been doing this for so long that there are very few spots in the global map for clubs or festivals that I haven’t visited, so I guess you build up your knowledge of each city the more often you visit. And if you find somewhere you really like, you know it’s somewhere you can rely on to have a meal that you will enjoy.
For example, it’s a bit of a ritual when I go to Los Angeles to always go to a place called Kitchen 24 for breakfast. Or if I’m playing in Chicago, I’ll try to go to the Weiner Circle. During Miami Music Week, there’s a place on South Beach called Mr. Chow’s that I always try to take my friends to when they are in town.
My favorite food would most likely be Mexican, but I’m pretty open minded. The key thing for me is finding foods to stay healthy.
TranceAttack: What are your plans for the next months?
Markus: On the touring front, I’ll be busy between now and the end of the year, with everything building up to another open to close solo set at Avalon in Los Angeles on New Year’s Eve. I’ll take the first weekend of the new year off the road, and then get ready for the annual Miami Groove Cruise, and the week after that will be the first shows of the We Are the Light tour – taking place in Montreal and Toronto. I went to Greece recently to film the video for Symphony of Stars with Christina Novelli, so that will be coming your way soon too.
On the production side, the next step of the We Are the Light process is A&Ring remixes of tracks from the album, and will hopefully have that completed for Miami Music Week in March. Thoughts will then turn to the next all-vocal In Bloom EP, and I have a few instrumentals I’m planning on releasing as well.
For Global DJ Broadcast, the end of the year is approaching and that means working on the next edition of the Four Seasons series – the annual Classics Showcase. I’ve put so much effort into these shows, because I know how much the listeners and trancefamily community values them, particularly because they are mixes which can be cherished for a very long time.
So still plenty to accomplish before this year ends.
TranceAttack: Thank you for the interview and all the best for the future!
Find all details for Markus Schulz – We Are The Light here:
Talking about “We Are The Light” with… Markus Schulz
We talked with Markus Schulz about his new artist album “We Are The Light” and much more! Enjoy reading!