It’s night, again, and Markus Schulz is doing that thing he does. Industrial and strobe-lit, condensation falling from the walls, he’s giving Arizona’s “The Works”… the works. 2000 ravers are caught in the thrall. Things will be getting far hotter before they get any cooler, kids, and on the floor it’ll be your great pleasure to burn.
That was then. This is now… On The Works site today, a parking lot sits. Its legend though lies bedrock-deep. This is where the Markus Schulz you know was born.
A decade or two later and while the audiences have gotten bigger, Markus’ floor code hasn’t shifted an inch. Schulz spends his professional life bringing you the out-on-the-ledge experiences your parents warned you about. An endless sonic voltage, the deliverance of which others either can’t, or simply don’t dare.
Forged in the fires of Arizona’s seminal 90s rave scene, Schulz went state, then with equal speed national and international. From the building blocks of progressive, trance & house, he crafted early anthems like ‘The New World’ and latter-day ones like ‘Destiny’. Caught between have been a half-dozen revered albums (most recently ‘Watch The World’), a convoy of club hits and thousands of transfixing performances, played out before untold millions. He’s helmed the scene-essential Coldharbour label for 11 years, chaired the Global DJ Broadcast radio show for 15 and remixed everyone from Moroder to Madonna.
His floor-bound adventures have met with equal acclaim. Markus has scaled the upper reaches of the world’s DJ rankings and charts; is a two-time winner of DJ Times’ America’s Best DJ crown and has drawn acclaim from every electronic music portal & press outlet on the planet.
Markus Schulz – The DJ: Through his effortless audience affinity, flawless mixing, instinctive tune selection and now famous, stylistically vast open-till-close sets, he has wowed crowds in every major city on Earth. Feeding off the other’s energy, Schulz’s DJ career has been symbiotically linked with his production side. In the early noughties, having focused on the nexus between trance & progressive, he began to reach audiences further and further afield. Now a regular fixture at the world’s biggest & most famous clubs, arenas and festival stages, weekly, he lays down his inimitable musical vision. In Europe, he’s floored audiences at events like Transmission, Electronic Family, Nature One and Dance Valley. He’s creamed Creamfields; gridlocked Global Gatherings and hosted his own stage at Tomorrowland. Stateside, EDC, Ultra, Nocturnal and numerous others have similarly all felt Schulz pressure. His legendary open-till-close sets, at spots like Space, Miami, LA’s Avalon, Stereo, Montreal, Amnesia, Ibiza and his International Residency at Ministry Of Sound have become rites of passage for music lovers around the world.
Having polled 4 consecutive years inside DJ Mag’s world’s top 10, Markus has remained a mainstay in its ranks for over a decade unbroken. He was also an IDMA Best American DJ recipient and is a two-time holder of DJ Times’ America’s Best DJ crown (’12 & ‘14).
How It Began: Born in Eschwege, Germany, in his early teens Markus moved to the US. His dance music dawn came through the country’s then-embryonic breakdance scene. As a teen, he moved to New York and then Boston, before settling in Arizona. There he became a key mover in its underground club, warehouse and radio scene, making his name at seminal club The Works and through The Edge Factor show. His first productions were embraced by Sasha and Digweed, Deep Dish and many of the Global Underground fans.
Coldharbour Recordings: Circa the millennium, his burgeoning success in Europe prompted a move to the UK. Following the formation of the Armada group in 2003, Armin van Buuren sought Markus out and made him the first artist signed to the then new label. The Coldharbour Sessions EPs launched in 2004, with its label namesake born shortly thereafter. Christened after Markus’ then-production base on London’s Coldharbour Lane, its output recognisably brought a new sonic to Armada’s repertoire.
In August 2010, Coldharbour Recs celebrated its 100th release, with Schulz’s cover of the Cass & Slide classic, ‘Perception’. Receiving regular props from the press, DJ Mag stated that Coldharbour was: “an imprint in the rudest of good health” while Mixmag said it was: “fair brimming with ready-to-break production talent”. The label became a lightning rod for several new generations of producer, most recently setting in motion the careers of Arkham Knights, Nifra, Grube & Hovsepian, Fisherman & Hawkins and many more. To further the impact of its talent circle, in 2012 Markus formed the Schulz Music Group (SMG). A formal artist management company, SMG nurtures the most promising from its production contingent. Also key to the label’s infrastructure are its Coldharbour Nights. In tandem with the opening of SMG, they expanded their scope, showcasing the label’s artists with greater regularity - both domestically and abroad. After a decade of frontline label operations, 2016 saw Coldharbour pass its milestone 250th release with the release of Markus’ own ‘Sestertius’ (the Latin term for 'two and one half').
M.S. Productions 2005 – 2009: Over the course of the second half of the Noughties, singles like ‘Never Be The Same Again’ & ‘I Am’ (2007), ‘Perfect’ (2008) & all-out anthems like ‘The New World’ & ‘Do You Dream?’ each played their part in Schulz’s ascension. Markus, now a seasoned production collaborator, first began to explore studio partnerships around this time. In 2005, having just moved to Miami, he famously teamed up with Gabriel & Dresden for ‘Without You Near’, latterly doing the same with Andy Moor on ‘Daydream’ and Airwave on ‘Ballymena’. The impact of these co-productions was catalysed by the release of his studio albums, ‘Without You Near’ (2005) and ‘Progression’ (2007).
M.S. Productions 2010 – 2012 / The ‘Do You Dream?’ album: In 2010, Schulz released the ‘Do You Dream?’ album. “Energetic” & “exhilarating”, was Tilllate Magazine’s verdict, whilst DJ Mag stated: “it’s hard to see why you won’t completely adore this!” The following year saw the album’s remix edition arrive. It included remakes from heavyweights including Ferry Corsten, Cosmic Gate and Super8 & Tab. The remix edition was followed a month later by Schulz’s first DVD release, which documented ‘Do You Dream?’s round-the-world tour.
Markus Schulz – ‘Scream’ and ‘Scream 2’: Released at the end of 2012 and the beginning of 2014, respectively, these two albums brought together a wide range of talent from chart-topping vocalists to Coldharbour songwriters and producers. Each album contains an impressive array of Schulz originals and collaborations, including features with CeCe Penniston, Lady V, Adina Butar, Ana Diaz, Paul Aiden, and a host of other industry-established artists. 2013 saw Markus touring the globe with his new album, reaching some of the largest festivals, parties, and events the world has to offer. ‘Scream 2’ was a continuation of the series’ journey towards club-oriented tracks, with a stronger focus on songs that are as at home on the radio as they are on a festival main stage and instrumentals like the IDMA-nominated ‘Remember This’ and ‘Destino’.
Markus Schulz – Watch The World: on April 29, 2016, Markus released ‘Watch The World’ - his sixth studio album. It included the Beatport #1 hit ‘Destiny’ and (in Markus Schulz Remix form) ‘Facedown’, his boundary-breaking team-up with Romanian quartet Soundland. Both stylistically and artistically, the album proved to be a significant departure for Schulz. With more of a radio edge to its compositions, it for the first time also saw Markus taking a lead role in its song writing process. Highlighting this, the ‘Watch The World’ album was released physically and digitally in both original and acoustic versions. A commercial and critical hit, ‘WTW’ reached the #1 position on iTunes’ international dance chart. The UK’s DJ Mag described it as “ambitious”, “expeditionary”, and “content-wise, for someone from his ‘bloc’, without precedent”. Giving it their Album of the Month accolade, MIXMAG called it “a work of art”. Dancing Astronaut saluted ‘Watch The World’s “meaningful lyrics played out with live instruments”, “that captured his (Markus’) authenticity as an artist”. Hailing its “impressive vocalists”, YourEDM.com summed it up simply as “a monumental release”.
Aliases: Markus has made rare alias use throughout his career, seeing them as only valuable if they represented an outlet for a different sound. Formatively, at the turn of the millennium he released 3 tracks (‘Swirl’, ‘Frozen’ & ‘Lost in Brixton’) under the pseudonym Dakota. 2009 saw Schulz develop Dakota into an album project. The result, ‘Thoughts Become Things’ included threads of techno, house & other sub-genres. The release included fan-favourite singles ‘Sin City’ ‘Chinook’, ‘Johnny the Fox’ & ‘Koolhaus’. Such was its reception that it quickly reaped itself a sequel, 2011’s ‘Thoughts Become Things II’. MIXMAG, in their Album of the Month review, said: “With ‘Thoughts II’, Schulz’s Dakota guise could be about to take centrestage”, while DJ Mag portrayed it as “epic” and containing “lush riffs at a housier tempo”. America’s DJ Times wrote of the album: “every track pushes great sounds and solid club vibes that throw you off your feet!“, whilst Germany’s Raveline suggested that “no DJ should miss out on the techier, darker and more progressive side of the Schulz sound“. It spawned several singles, including ‘Katowice’ ‘Sinners’ and ‘Sleepwalkers’. On stage, the alias exists almost exclusively in Markus’ open-till-close sets. Resting Dakota to focus on other album projects, it made only nominal appearances in 2014 (with ‘CLXXV’ & the 22-minute epic ‘Doors Open’ and through the City Series release, ‘Cathedral [Montreal]’ a year later.
In late 2016, Markus announced that Dakota would be central to his plans for the following year. On the 29th of February, he released a new single, in collaboration with Dutch techno producer Koen Groeneveld. Titled ‘Mota-Mota’, it was the first material to be heard from the new Dakota project, The Nine Skies.
Following a run of spontaneous gig appearances together, under the name New World Punx, Markus & Ferry Corsten formalised a stage & studio partnership in 2013. Deriving their alias’ name from Schulz hit ‘The New World’ and Corsten’s anthem,‘Punk’, they initially promoted their releases & shows solely through anime-style cartoon imagery. They made their official New World Punx debut together at Madison Square Garden on March 30th, premiering their debut single ‘Romper’ during the performance. Further club hits have followed, including ‘Torque’ and ‘Pullover’ in 2014 and ‘Memories’ and ‘Bang’ the following year.
The Global DJ Broadcast show: Now in its fifteenth year of transmission, Schulz’s Global DJ Broadcast show is an emplaced weekly staple of trance & progressive dance fans worldwide. Over that time it has been nominated in the IDMA’s Best Podcast and Best Radio Show categories on multiple occasions. Having begun life on Miami’s Party 93.1 station, GDJB is now broadcast through DI.fm and Sirius/XM satellite, and over 50 other FM stations around the planet.
As unique two hour live-set mixes, the World Tour episodes broadcast at the start of each month, bringing Markus’ in-club exploits direct to music lovers’ desktops. They see him zero in on one specific city and one audience, recording a show, which captures every fader flip and its resultant crowd reaction. The World Tour show concept is designed to take the listener as close to the event as its possible to get without actually being there.
The City Album/Single Series & other compilations: Markus is also behind one of the longest running & most respected album (and latterly singles) series’ in trance history. Providing capsule-like views of his sound, the City series mix-comps became foundation blocks of trance lovers’ collections, with each travelogue edition bringing a new intake in along with it. Starting in 2005 with ‘Miami’, it moved to ‘Ibiza’ in ’06, then ‘Amsterdam’ for its IDMA-nominated ’08 edition and onto ‘Toronto’ in 2009. The following year Mixmag observed that Schulz was “notably ahead of the curve” with his ‘Las Vegas ’10’, which presaged the city’s EDM rise by 12 or more months. In 2011 he zeroed in on dance music’s surge in popularity in Eastern Europe with ‘Prague’11’, before returning to the States for ‘Los Angeles ‘12’. In giving the latter another Album of the Month nod, Mixmag said: “Schulz clearly demonstrates his understanding of the uncompromising sounds that hold sway over LA’s clubs and arenas”.
Following ‘Buenos Aires ‘13’, Markus paused the City projects to focus on his ‘Scream’ album, before returning to it, with even greater emphasis a year later. 2015 saw it morph into a month-to-month audio travel log, with 12 city-highlighting singles throughout. From January’s (per Dancing Astronaut) “goosebump-inducing” ‘Bayfront’, it went on to visit Mumbai with ‘Bombay’, ‘Avalon’ for LA and the “ethereal waveforms” (said The Bangin Beats.com) of San Francisco’s ‘Golden Gate’. More recent releases include the “8.5/10” DJ Mag-scoring “polygraph-level tension” of ‘Cathedral’, ‘Lost In The Box’ and the Beatport #5 charting ‘Gotham Serenade’.
In October of 2015, Markus also mixed a long awaited/much requested edition of Ministry Of Sound’s estimable ‘Trance Nation’ series. The 2-disc release, which contained 15 previously unheard exclusives from Markus and his fellow Coldharbour-ites also featured music from Ferry Corsten, Chicane, Rank 1 & M.I.K.E. Push, Solarstone, Tritonal and others.
Remixes: Markus has had a remix career almost as illustrious as his production one. Over its duration, it’s seen him rework the music of everyone from Madonna to Giorgio Moroder. Throughout the 90s he re-tooled the production works of chart dominators like The Real McCoy & Technotronic and house- masters & divas including Armand van Helden & Liz Torres. Legendary Nineties icons RuPaul, Bette Midler & Sandra Bernhard and fully-fledged A-listers like Madonna (on ‘Love Don’t Live Here Anymore’) have also felt his remix touch. As the millennium arrived he refocused on deeper, more intrinsically electronic dance fare… In 2000 he remixed trance innovator Pablo Gargano’s ‘Absolution’, Renaissance classic ‘The Flying Song’ by PQM and Fatboy Slim’s ‘Sunset (Bird of Prey). Markus has gone on to rewire tracks by Oceanlab, Motorcycle, Dance 2 Trance, Cosmic Gate, Nalin & Kane, Kyau & Albert, John O’Callaghan, & Space Manoeuvres amongst many, many others.
Most recently, in 2015, Schulz realized a lifelong ambition, when he reworked the title track from Giorgio Moroder’s album ‘Déjà Vu’ (featuring Sia on vocals) for the legendary Italian producer.