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Talking Trance

Globetrotting DJ Markus Schulz talks about what makes him tick

Deepti Unni Jul 25, 2009
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Markus Schulz often can’t remember what country he’s in currently but that, he’ll tell you, is just one of the many side-effects of popularity. The German-born trance music DJ who made it to number 8 on the DJ Mag Top 100 DJ list for 2008 played 194 shows last year (that’s one show every other day) ”“ a resounding testament to his popularity. When he’s not travelling Schulz is busy with his Global DJ Broadcast radio show that gives new and upcoming DJs a chance to get themselves heard. Schulz made a quick stopover in Mumbai in May where ROLLING STONE caught up with him to find out exactly what it is that keeps him going on and on.

How did this India trip happen?

My management and Submerge have been trying to get me out here for a while and we were booked for December last year, but then the attacks happened, so the tour was cancelled. We were very happy and lucky that we were able to reschedule so quickly because for the most part I’m already completely booked for 2009 and we’re already starting bookings for 2010, so that fact that in such a short time we were able to do a makeup tour through India, even though it was only two gigs, was really cool.

No place else in the world is like this, you know and for the fans to be so passionate and for people to travel from all over the country to come to the event was just incredible.

What do you think are the hotspots for trance right now?

I think Eastern and Central Europe are always amazing, all the way up from Poland down to the Czech Republic, those places are incredible and South America is really really getting incredible as far as trance. I mean electronic music there ”“ house music and Goa (psytrance) ”“ they’re very big down there but as far as our kind of trance, it’s really growing down there as well. And of course in the US, the fans are really passionate and really knowledgeable and all the major cities, NY, Chicago, San Francisco, Miami”¦ incredible fans.

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What direction do you think trance is going in right now?

I think it’s just reinventing itself. And I’d say every 10 years trance does this. It goes overproduced and then it just kinda stops and then all of a sudden starts off very minimal again. In Germany, or in Europe you see how it’s happened. Trance really got overblown and then all the minimal stuff and minimal trance started coming out of like Berlin and stuff and now it’s building again and if you listen to a lot of stuff those guys are doing, it’s trance, just in a different form.

You’re credited with bring the European sound to the US with your Global DJ Broadcasts and music. Tell me something about that.

House music started in the United States, but when it comes to trance music there just hasn’t been any guys who have been really been able to nail it until maybe the last five years. One or two here and there like BT or Gabriel and Dresden but those are very very rare and if you think about how many people produce trance music in the entire world and how many of them are in the United States, it’s so small. One of the things that’s been really cool is that the radio show’s been so strong and powerful that there’s more and more up-and-coming producers that are inspired by it and making that kind of music in the United States. The thing is, I never really decided, ”˜Ok, I’m going to target the US,’ or anything like that. I’ve always been a citizen of the world ­”“ I was born in Germany, I’ve always travelled ”“ so for me it wasn’t ”˜Oh I’m going to take European music and bring it to the United States’ it was more like ”˜this is who I am. I like music from all over the place and I have a different perception of what trance music is or should be.

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Last year was a great year for you; you had a lot of awards and recognition coming your way. What does the DJ Mag rating really mean to you?

For me as a trance DJ it’s very important. For trance DJs it’s important to be ranked high, for house DJs it’s not very important. I think, because house DJs get booked based on”¦say you’re throwing a party and you’re looking for a certain vibe, you’re looking more vocally uplifting house, you book like David Guetta or Erick Morillo but if you’re looking for something more underground you book like Danny Howells, so you book depending on the vibe, whereas trance, we get booked on our status. The fans are young and passionate and they’re all like that guy is hot right now, so for trance DJ’s it’s very important.

So will we see you at Sunburn this year?

Yes, definitely. This will be my first one so I’m waiting to see what it would be like but just from the energy and the vibe I get from the fans I think that this could be a special festival for the world.

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