Markus Schulz has taken a markedly more aggressive turn in recent months, as evidenced by his new Prague & Dakota releases. Markus spoke with LT3 about his decision to play harder tracks, the drum’n’bass origins of Coldharbour, & his respect for forward-thinking DJs.
Markus Schulz - Digital Madness (Original Mix) [Coldharbour]
LessThan3: A lot of fans are really impressed with your new dark, techy sound that made its debut on Prague ‘11. Would you like to elaborate on the change?
Markus: One of the things I planned going into 2011 was a conscious effort to get back to the clubs. I wanted to do a lot more club gigs to reinvent the sound. Prague ’11 was the first one to really start leaning in that direction, and all summer I’ve been fine-tuning my sets. I think this new style is a lot more aggressive; I got tired of the two-minute-long breakdowns. All year I was looking to push for more tension and momentum in my sets, and I’m really glad that it’s caught on.
LessThan3: The “unicorn slayer” nickname has really taken off! Tell us about it.
Markus: It all started when a fan tweeted that I was playing “unicorn-slaying trance;” I re-tweeted it and it just caught fire! I’m humbled by the unicorn slaying movement that is in full effect now.
LessThan3: Your second Dakota album is one of our favorite albums of the year. How did the Dakota alterego emerge?
Markus: I’d be playing at clubs like Space in Miami, Space in Ibiza, and even the Avalon in Hollywood and during my sets I would get inspired with fresh ideas for tracks and where a track should go. I get this really good feeling when I’m in control of where I want to take a track and my sets.
LessThan3: Is it true that back in the day you were a breakdancer?
Markus: That’s actually how I started. Back in the day I was in this breakdance crew and we decided to throw a couple parties. On the night of the gig my friends chickened out on taking turns DJing because there was a big response and a lot of people showed up. I said I’ll start it up no worries, and it felt so natural when I got behind the decks. I felt like this was what I was supposed to be doing and I ended up DJing the entire party. From there I went to the clubs. I started in top 40 clubs and I got burnt out on that so I started DJing in the gay clubs. Back then the gay clubs were the only place you could play really different and cool music that was more electronic. After that I moved into the rave scene, and here we are now!
LessThan3: Speaking of new sounds, dubstep has really grown a lot in the past couple years. Even some trance DJs are incorporating the sound into what some are calling trancestep. What are your thoughts on the style?
I do like dubstep. I was also a really big drum’n’bass fan back in the day; one of my favorite producers was Aphrodite. That’s sort of how the Coldharbour
sound got started–it was inspired the Aphrodite basslines. Dubstep is the biggest new movement that we’ve had since drum’n’bass came along. Personally I like tracks that are warmer. There are a few tracks that I’ve played that have sort of a dubsteppy breakdown. Dubstep purists would not agree. I’m by no means saying that I play dubstep in any of my sets, but I respect dubstep DJs. I always applaud any style of music that introduces creative, new things, no matter whether it’s dubstep or it’s coming from the rock side; I just love forward-thinking music and new ideas.