Markus Schulz Talks New Album ‘We Are The Light’ – Exclusive Interview at ADE
We can’t believe Amsterdam Dance Event is over! With more than 400,000 attendees, the 23rd edition of ADE was a total success. EDMTunes had the chance to meet with legendary trance DJ Markus Schulz right before his Open to Close Set at Melkweg. In an exclusive interview, he talked about his new album, upcoming projects, and more.
Good to see you Markus! Your album We Are The Light has just been released. How was it for you to come back to your characteristic uplifting trance, leaving your alter ego Dakota aside for the moment?
Well, actually they both come from the same source of inspiration. When I did the Dakota project, it was a response for everything that was going on in the world. Two years ago, when I kind of started We Are The Light as well, the Orlando shootings, the Vegas shootings, all these things going on in the world, they really affected me very deeply. I can’t even express enough how deeply that affected me, especially because I started my career deejaying at gay clubs, you know! At that time it was the only place you could go and play forward-thinking music, so that really hit me to the core.
The Dakota project was more introverted, is what I am thinking about and who I am, it’s me trying to make sense of everything. But the Markus Schulz’s albums are me writing about us as a community, and with We Are The Light Album is like me rebelling against everything that’s going on and saying ‘enough is enough’. And when I look out at the audiences at a festival, I’m up on stage and I see flags from all over the world, and I see everybody in unity together, the good vibes! We are the light that the world should look at right now, because to see that unity is inspiring, so that’s the whole idea of We Are The Light, it’s like: ‘Let’s not look towards politicians and other people for helping us, we need to be the helping light that the world needs right now’. So like I said, both albums ironically come from the same source – the darkness of what’s going on -, but two very separate and opposite reactions. I’m trying to be inspiring.
One of the tracks from WATL is called 51º11’17″N 10º3’10″E [We Haven’t Lost Our Way]. We know these coordinates mean something very special for you. Could you tell us what they are and what are you looking to convey with this song?
Yeah! The coordinates are to Eschwege in Germany, that’s where I was born. And the message of the song is that over all these years, I haven’t forgotten where I’m from, it’s not just the dedication to the city where I was born, but also a dedication to all the people that I’ve known along the way. I have friends who were there for me. I have one friend who was there for me the first night I’ve ever deejayed, he was there and I’m still friends with him, I still message him every now and then: ‘Hey! This is happening, that’s happening’. You know, they’re doing other things in life, he’s working for Homeland Security in the United States, not doing music at all. Well, he’s got a little DJ set up in his bedroom but that’s what he’s doing. I haven’t forgotten those people, I haven’t lost my way. I still keep in contact and hold dear to me the people that were there when I started, where I come from, that’s kind of the message in that song.
Tonight, you are playing for 6 hours non-stop! Have you prepared any surprises for your fans at ADE?
Well, actually tonight it’s going to be harder because I just did a 10-hour set at Stereo in Montreal, so it’s like I’ve got to figure out what I’m not going to play, more than what I’m going to play! I played from 2 a.m. until noontime just last week in Montreal and it was incredible, so my confidence is really high now! As far as this set, I think it’s going to be amazing because there’s some amazing music, obviously there will be a part of the night where it will be an ode to the We Are The Light album, it will be progressively built to We Are The Light, and then, down the rabbit hole and it will get weird and twisted! So it should be a lot of fun!
Great! We’ll make sure we’ll be there tonight. Are you also attending any other events at ADE just to go and not play?
It’s getting increasingly difficult because all the events are super packed and everything; but for sure I love going out and seeing other DJs, it’s just a matter of having the time. These 4 days, because I’ve been here since Monday, it goes really fast. Most of the events and DJs we try to go see them early in the evening, because I like to discover new talents. A lot of the guys that are having parties, I see them all year long, at all the festivals and everything. But when you see young guys that you’ve heard of playing at an evening party somewhere it’s much easier to go and try and see what they’re all about.
Can you share with us any new collaborations you have coming down the pipeline? What can we look forward to from you this year?
Well, me and Ferry (Corsten) have been talking about doing something again, and we tried to get together for his Unity project but we just haven’t been able to in 2018 to lock down some studio time, but ironically since I finished the album I feel more inspired, it’s almost like there was a weight off of my shoulders, so now, for sure Ferry and I, we played last night together and we were like ‘For sure, we’ve got to do something!’ Even Blackhole was asking me about remixing a legendary artist, and I said: ‘There’s this one song that me and Ferry both love, we should maybe do a remix of it together’; so 100%, me and Ferry are going to do some more stuff next year. If it’s not at the end of this year, definitely at the beginning of next year. And we’re good friends, it’s very easy.
You’ve been active in the industry for almost 30 years. That’s a long way! Do you feel that you have enough time for yourself or sometimes you wish you had a more ‘normal’ life?
You know, my father was a musician, that’s why I was very young when I started in music, very, very young. And when you know what your purpose in life is, when you know this is your purpose in life, it makes it easy, you know! I wake up every morning excited, there’s no better job than to be in the music industry! Every morning, you wake up and you’re just like: ‘-What are we doing today? –Oh, today we are doing interviews, today I have a show, today I’m traveling to the other side of the world!’ Every morning, when I wake up, it’s exciting!
We have one last question for you, and this is a very important one: What’s your favorite ice cream flavor?
Chocolate chip cookie dough!