It was an unusual warm afternoon in Amsterdam, the Netherlands when we met Markus. It has become some sort of tradition to interview him during the Amsterdam Dance Event (last year we had a very productive chat, as well), so we were really looking forward to seeing him. Not to mention that with his new album “We are the Light” on the market, we had plenty to talk about.
The hotel lobby (the same as the year before) was pretty crowded with journalists, so we waited for our turn while drinking some coffee. Amazing coffee because … Amsterdam 😉
Markus was as joyful as ever, the type of effervescent artist that you must keep up to, as he is very energetic and passionate especially when sharing stories about his work. Well, the ADE vibe as the fact that his “Open to Close” show from Melkweg Theater was sold out for the 3rd consecutive year, might have added something to his state of mind too.
Radio DEEA: “We are the Light” album is out and you made no secret from the fact that the inspiration came from a very dark place. How did you manage to transform it into something positive?
Markus Schulz: “I just became very tired of it. Like all of us, I guess. At one point didn’t you just watch the news and said ”Enough! STOP!”? There was anger inside of me, because we can’t just keep looking up to politicians, or other people to make things right. We need to be that inspiration.”
“When you are at festivals, it’s such an intense vibe, with flags from all over the world. Take UNTOLD Festival, for example. There are people from all over the world coming to Romania. We need to be that inspiration for the world. That’s how “We are the Light” came to life. It was like “enough is enough” kind of moment for me.”
Radio DEEA: You have so many collabs on your album and some with Romanian artists. What made you choose them? For example Smiley’s music genre is defo not electronic music.
Markus Schulz: “With Smiley it’s funny, because each time I come to work here (AN Romania) I find myself needing a studio, so this is how I ended up at HaHaHa Studios. We clicked instantly.”
“This Spring we (AN Adina Butar) were in L.A. and wrote “The Dreamers” and I said to Adina “Who would be good to sing this?” and she said “Call me crazy, but I think that Smiley, would be amazing!” So we presented it to him and he said “I haven’t heard a song that made me feel like this in such a long time! Let’s do it!”
“From the very first note I knew that we have something very special, because he has such an amazing talent and sometimes you don’t realise someone’s talent until you take him out of his comfort zone. The world is going to see a different Smiley.”
“Alina Eremia was another great story, as we know her from a long time. She did a collab with one of our artists, Novaspace and she came to Miami with her boyfriend to film the video and we clicked. I did a remix for her and we said that when the time is right, we should do something together.”
“When I was doing the album, I thought of her and said that I need something really special to go with her voice, so I contacted RazNitzan and asked for his help to write a trance song. Then, we recorded it one afternoon in Bucharest and that was that.”
Radio DEEA: A little bird told us that you did the writing on the album. Is this the first time?
Markus Schulz: “No, no, I did it also on “Watch the world”. I like to collaborate with artists and song writers because it’s really special when you hear your words coming out of the speakers.
“For example there is a line on “We are the Light” – the song, that’s very special – “What if we pray to Earth and not religion?” and it’s basically saying that we need to take care of each other and I’m not necessarily talking about the Earth in a green way because that’s obvious, but we need to take care of each other. It’s a message that I strongly believe in, something that I wanted to convey and when you hear it come out of the speakers it’s just amazing. It’s another level of pride.”
Radio DEEA: There’s a very special song on your album called 51°11’17?N 10°3’10?E [We Haven’t Lost Our Way]. The title contains the coordinates of your home town …
Markus Schulz: “… yeah, it’s Eschwege!!! And it’s not just my tribute to where I come from, but also to all the people that I met along the way, that I haven’t forgotten. It’s a really beautiful song and it gives me goosebumps that I name it after my home town. It’s very special. I still have family there.”
Radio DEEA: Is there a particular reason for choosing this title? Maybe you wanted the fans to work a bit harder and search for the coordinates? Because I know we did it 🙂
Markus Schulz: ” [he laughs] It just came to me one night. The working title is “We haven’t lost our way” and I was … “What does this mean”? I was lying in bed and thought of a deeper way of saying those words – and it just came to me.
Radio DEEA: Is there a certain way that you put together your album? A certain way of listening to the tracks?
Markus Schulz: “I would like to say yes, but it’s not the case. The entire album has a common theme, but the tracks are arranged after spending many nights with my headphones and just listening to the flow. The whole flow of the album is just how I thought they needed to go together.”
Radio DEEA: Moving away a bit from the album. A few months ago, actually during the UNTOLD festival, we talked with Ferry Corsten about his Unity project and he said that you two have in plan to release a track together, as part of the album. What’s the status on that?
Markus Schulz: “We’ve come up with some ideas, but we haven’t been able to do it. It’s been a very busy period of time for both of us. But it will happen. There might be some New World Punx stuff too, but I can’t promise you when. We both want to do this, but we’ve just been really busy.”