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Markus Schulz Welcomes Music Week to His Hometown [Interview]

Caroline O'Keefe

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What another wild and memorable Miami Music Week this year. 2018 brought even more energy, good vibes, and astonishing new music to the Sunshine State. After a remarkably adrenalizing weekend at Ultra’s 20th Anniversary, where did we end the party? With none other than Markus Schulz at one of his classic Open to Close performances.

 

 

Hosted at Heart Nightclub, the all-nighter took place in the Main Room upstairs. The DJ booth, comfortably nestled beneath leafy green vines, holds a very outdoor/garden-like feel. Just beyond the booth you’ve got strobing lasers and blaring red overhead lighting that sets the tone for a very sexy evening of drinking and dancing. Probably the most fun in the crowd came from the persistent gusts of smoke from each side of the booth. Just when you’ve started to forget about it, BAM, there it comes again and completely wipes out any line of sight, entirely filling up the club in a hazy, strobing smoke.

 

One of the best parts of seeing Markus play is to see the look of sheer enjoyment he holds throughout. You can see the excitement build in his face as he nods and throws love out to the crowd. It is truly apparent how much he loves and appreciates his fans, and makes for a night that is all the more special. More special than the set itself, because really, we are still amazed at his success with these Open to Close performances he holds so near and dear.

 

Rolling out the vibes until the wee hours of the morning, Markus brought another extra memorable closing party to celebrate the week. The annual marathon is a triumphant send-off for everyone in Miami before they return to their lives. Heart was notably filled with close friends and family, but also with partiers strolling in and not wanting the Ultra/ MMW festivities to come to a close. The last show before returning to reality – and Markus nailed it out of the water as we knew he would. A seasoned veteran in the game, he scored huge that night and has carried us through the post-week blues.

 

Read our exclusive interview with Markus Schulz below, where we discuss Heart, other plans for the week, latest music, Coldharbour, and more.

 

 

The Nocturnal Times: We’re back at yet another Miami Music Week. How are you feeling being in your hometown?

Markus Schulz: Oh, I love it because first of all, I get to sleep in my own bed. I spend so much time on the road sleeping in hotels, that when I get to sleep in my own bed it’s always nice. But I’ve got to tell you with all the guest lists and everything it gets to be pretty crazy. During MMW I literally have to shut my phone off sometimes. All the promoters I work with all year in every city, it’s like “Hey I’m in town let’s hook up,” and I’m like oh my gosh!

 

The Nocturnal Times: You kicked everything off last night with Coldharbour Recordings x Black Hole Recordings. How did the night go?

Markus: Coldharbour is my label, and we’ve been doing the Coldharbour night as the opening party for I don’t know how many years now, and it’s always great because we get everybody before they get all mangled up. People are arriving and they go to hotels and get cleaned up. It’s a lot of industry people, a lot of DJs, a lot of artists there, and it’s a great place to kind of just arrive and get situated and hook up with people. It’s like a meeting point to kick everything off and it’s been very successful. We had to move it to a new location this year because it’s just been growing and we’re super happy about it too.

 

The Nocturnal Times: So this all went down at ORA? How was the energy?

Markus: Yeah! Emma Hewitt was performing. We had really good sets from all the DJs, and Emma did a vocal set and it was a great vibe. Like I said there were a lot of industry people. Anybody that’s there and wants to meet people in the industry before the get all hungover, then you definitely have to come to this party because you have no idea who is standing next to you.

 

 

The Nocturnal Times: Talk a little about your show tonight. How’d you pull this together?

Markus: Tonight we’re doing Dakota vs. Purple Haze. Purple Haze is Sander van Doorn’s deeper/darker alias and Dakota is my deeper/darker alias. Denial Events who is also based in Miami had this idea and I was like, “That’s not a bad idea! – I like that” Sander and I have been good friends for many, many years and we’ve played together many, many times at festivals all over the world. After-partied together many times, pre-partied together many times – you name it, and so it was like yeah let’s do this! And it sold out which is really promising and I think it’s going to be an amazing night of music because of the Dakota sound, and I’m a big fan of the Purple Haze sound as well. It’s going to be a lot of fun.

 

The Nocturnal Times: As the founder of Coldharbour what have you seen over the years since you created the label?

Markus: Well, I’ve seen some good things and I’ve seen some bad things. First let’s start off with the bad things, in that music becomes very disposable sometimes. It’s like some songs have a shelf life of maybe one or two weeks and then its tired. So you know I really have been working trying to make music that lasts longer, and that’s the challenge, but you also don’t know. You have a song that you think is like WOW, this is special, and one week later its flushed.

And then you have another song where it’s like you don’t expect it and it becomes a song that stays in your DJ sets for a whole year – one that you have to play every show because it’s so good, so amazing. So that’s the challenge of running a label. I’ve become over the years more involved, (I’ve always been very hands on) but it’s like change this, change that. When they send me the demos I always look at it as a demo and not as a finished product, and I think that many labels take these demos and say okay, and then they release these tracks. To be an artist on Coldharbour you have to be patient because sometimes I’m a pain in the ass. People are like wow this is a pain in the ass but at the end of the day, if we are lucky enough to have a song that lasts a year or two years and becomes a classic, you want to not hear it two years later and go, “Wow this is too loud.” I’m trying to make music and release music on Coldharbour that can withstand the test of time.

 

The Nocturnal Times: You mentioned the fact that sometimes you have a track that comes out and it doesn’t hit like you expected. Can you think of one, whether one of yours or someone else’s on the label where that happened? Or maybe the opposite where you maybe weren’t sure how well it would do and it took off?

Markus: Okay so Fisherman & Hawkins. When they blew up I was like they’re great – this is great stuff, but I never expected to be here two, three, four years later and it’s still like you drop a Fisherman & Hawkins track and it’s like WOW, you know. We have a new artist Arkham Knights, and I LOVE their sound, and I was like this is the next sound right here – this is future trance. It’s like techno infused, and it’s taking a little bit longer but luckily the guys are very patient and they’re building an organic fan following, and it’s really growing big time now. They’re starting to do Dreamstate events, they just did A State of Trance. It’s like you can see how all of the patience, all the hard work, is really starting to bear fruit for them now and I’m really proud of them. The most important thing about them is the fact that they’re patient, and they trusted the process, and they trusted my ears and my vision for them.

 

 

The Nocturnal Times: So how about all of your beloved open to close sets. You’re following last year’s Open to Close at Heart, ending out the entire week.

Markus: It’s funny because I started as a resident DJ, so I would roll into the club at 9 o’clock at night and I would just play until the last person leaves. And then I got popular, famous, and my sets started getting shorter and shorter. Next thing you know I’m doing an hour, hour and a half sets, you know. I started off my career as doing these unofficial open to close sets as a resident DJ, so now it’s kind of like a throwback to how my career started. I program it like three different DJs – an opening set, peak hours set, and then after hours set. That’s what any resident DJ would do, and they’ve gotten to be so big. People fly all over the world to see these. We try to do these open to close sets only in the right locations. Cities that are really good to be able to host this. Also the right culture. I don’t want to end an open to close at 2 o’clock in the morning – that’s when the fun really begins you know! Everything gets a little twisted, a little hazy, people get a little crazy. The crazier the better!

 

The Nocturnal Times: So the one upcoming this weekend will be at Heart – what’s in store?

Markus: Yes that will be the closing party, so again I’ll start at like 9/10 pm and we will just keep going. Everybody will come over as Ultra closes and everything, so you’ll see a lot of DJs there. A lot of the DJs that you’ll see playing at Ultra you’ll see just standing out there on the dancefloor dancing, having drinks. It’s a great closing party – we’ve been doing it every year. So now we’re doing the Coldharbour night opening party, and then we do the closing party, Open to Close, and I think it’s perfect. We welcome everybody to Miami and then we send them home on a good foot.

 

The Nocturnal Times: Before we go, tell us a little about your upcoming music.

Markus: I have a new EP called In Bloom coming out and it’s from my radio show Global DJ Broadcast In Bloom radio show, which is an all vocal trance edition that I do once a year. I did a collaboration with Emma Hewitt, with JES. Andy Moor featuring Adina Butar is on the EP, as well as a vocal track from Anske and Dave Neven, and it’s really beautiful vocal trance. But you know I’ve known Emma for years – I mean we’ve done so many shows together and this is the first time we’ve collaborated, and the new song is called “Safe From Harm.” The video is beautiful, the song is beautiful. Emma is such a beautiful soul, you know. Then we’ve got the one with JES called “Calling For Love,” and that will also be released. I’m very happy with the In Bloom album that’s going to be coming out.

 

Photos By ADINAYEV for Denial Events

 

Caroline is an avid electronic music enthusiast. Born and raised in the Boston area, Caroline relocated to New York and then again to Florida to complete her Bachelors Degree in Social Entrepreneurship & Business. First attending Wagner College in Staten Island, she transferred to Rollins College in Orlando. Her passion for EDM and music festivals has taken her up and down the East coast, and inspired her to pursue her dreams within the industry. Electronic music truly has been a blessing in her life, and landed her on a path she is sure is her life calling.

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