Trance Hub

With a few more days to go as India gets ready for Electric Daisy Carnival for the very first time, we here at Trance Hub sit for a short pre-event interview with Markus Schulz.

Electric Daisy Carnival in India will be held at Buddh International Circuit, Noida on November 12th and 13th. It is brought to you by Budweiser India. Buy your tickets here – 

1) You have been visiting India for quite some time now, how do you think the scene in India has evolved in all these years?

For me, India is one of the fastest growing scenes anywhere in the world, and I think the fact Insomniac are bring their biggest festival in the shape of EDC to the country reflects that.

It’s an exciting time to be part of the scene in India, and my hope through the attraction of the various festivals in the country, that more and more people will fall in love with our music and therefore demand for regular; perhaps weekly-running nightclubs to facilitate the Indian fans could be sustained.

2) Your latest album “Watch the world” featured acoustic version of 10 tracks, what inspired you to take a step towards the piano & the guitar?

As well as delving into the world of songwriting, I wanted to enhance the level of production with each track, in the hope of yielding extra warmth to the finished product.

Nowadays, because of all the travel involved with touring, you want your production setup to be as simple as possible. Typically, on the road I have a separate laptop with Logic and Ableton on it. Ableton is good for carving out loops and rough ideas, and Logic helps me get creative with the sounds and effects. In fact, nearly all of the tracks on Scream and Scream 2 were produced this way.

However, with the production of Watch the World, I consciously wanted to utilise more organic instruments like guitars. Even if you don’t hear it in the mix, there’s a guitar buried there, or a piano that’s buried in there because it just brings out a frequency that I feel is missing or has been missing in a lot of productions lately. It just warms it up so nice. From a production standpoint, this was the biggest aspect which I have taken appreciation from.

The mantra of working with a guitar when writing the songs is what prompted the acoustic versions, available on the second disc of the album on CD.

3) Will we see something on the Dakota side in the coming future?

Last weekend at Transmission, I let the cat out of the bag that there is indeed a brand new Dakota album coming in 2017.

It’s funny because when one project ends, you just go right back into the studio and start something else. And that’s exactly what happened after completing Watch the World.

I just feel inspired right now. Music has changed again and everything is just so artistic. Musically, it’s an amazing time for more artistic sounds and I just feel really inspired to get back into the studio. I think that the Dakota project is perfect for that, because it has always been deeper and darker.

Dakota will be the biggest focus for me in 2017. It’s a very spiritual concept that I am doing so that’s taking a lot of my time at the moment, a lot of my brain power.

4) How do you mentally prepare for your open to close sets, considering it can be quite a taxing task?

It takes a huge amount of preparations for those shows, but when you complete them, it’s incredibly gratifying.

Dealing with just the mental side, the most important aspect is preparation, and keeping your music as well organised as possible; filling everything by key and BPM. When going through promos for Global DJ Broadcast or diving into Beatport for those hidden gems, I’m consciously thinking about material for solo sets all-year round. So if I find something, I make a copy of it and put it into a designated folder on my hard drive. Putting the hours in on the likes of Beatport is hugely important – you have to go beyond what’s in the top 10 charts and find those gems that nobody else is playing.

For an open to close set – I try to imagine the perfect nightclub lineup as three DJs with three specific roles – the warmup act setting the mood by playing deeper progressive and percussion driven tunes, the headliner playing all the big hands in the air numbers, and then the afterhours DJ gets dark and twisted down the rabbithole with techno sprinkled with classics. So my role for an open to close solo set is essentially play the role of all three guys on the one night.

The main preparation that goes into this is having the best available material for each portion of the night. If you break it down into smaller parts, then it’s not quite as daunting, despite the overall hours of work being enormous!

5) Who according to you is the most promising youngster in the genre of trance?

There is a plethora of huge talent coming through from the Coldharbour Recordings family, so if I could mention a few of them…

The UK brotherly duo Arkham Knights has burst on to the scene in the last 18 months, and they have this unique fusion of trance, techno, I’m not sure if you could even define it as one specific genre – really hard driving basslines and maintaining the Coldharbour soul with the touching melodies.

On the progressive side, I’m very proud of what Solid Stone has achieved this year, with him being responsible for the first full artist album on Coldharbour with Introspection. He’s constantly feeding me with material for the warmup and afterhours portions of my livesets.

And I must mention Nifra, who has made tremendous strides in the past couple of years, and in doing so, is helping change the attitude positively towards female DJs in our scene. She has shown great versatility with various timeslot roles throughout the year, both as a warmup for my Watch the World tour and in the peaktime hours of the Coldharbour Nights

6) Have you seen any bollywood movie, how did you find it?

I’m must admit that I haven’t I’m afraid!

7) Which is your favourite Indian city to play for?

I think overall, it would have to be Mumbai, because of the various experiences over the years. I remember playing there back in 2011, and it was only a few days after my brother was involved in a serious car accident, leaving him in a coma. My mind was in a million places, and I really wasn’t sure if I should have fulfilled that Indian tour, but the fans were so sympathetic and encouraging towards me, that they were the biggest thing to help me get through it. I think it was at Blue Frog in Mumbai where there was a real surge of emotion.

Because of those experiences, I paid tribute to Mumbai with the track Bombay, which was my remake of the classic Trouser Enthusiasts’ track Sweet Release. I genuinely feel a sense of peace when walking the streets in India, almost like I had been there before in a previous life somehow.markus-schulz-edc-india

8) Any Indian monument you always wanted to visit? Why?

Last year, I got to spend a week in India as part of the four-date tour. And I was really determined to visit somewhere I dreamed of since I was young – the Taj Mahal.

The sad part of a DJ life is that it can fall into a routine of airport-hotel-club-hotel-airport and repeat, and you never get the time or the opportunity to take in the sights of a city or country you are visiting. This is something I am trying to do a lot more lately, and having the chance to see the breathtaking beauty of the Taj Mahal in person is something I will always be grateful for.

9) What are your expectations from Dreamstate stage EDC India? What can the fans expect from your set?

I’m very excited, and my hope is that it will be such a success that EDC can become an annual fixture for the Indian fans. There is a real movement and affection from the trance community that is encapsulated by the Dreamstate stage.

As for my set, I had been stockpiling a lot of material from Coldharbour prior to Transmission in Prague last weekend, so I’m ready to unleash them more regularly in my sets now. And slowly there are more and more remixes from the Watch the World album trickling in for me, so I should have plenty of upfront material for the fans at the show. And maybe even a spin of Bombay. 🙂

10) Which is that one Indian dish you have to eat when you land here?

Butter Chicken!! Love it. One of my favorite dishes to eat anywhere in the world.

Curator of Edm4Pune, sports enthusiast assisted by having a taste bud for delicious food. Open to all genres of music yet staying close to his first love, Trance.

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