Markus Schulz Talks Stress and Reading A Crowd
Markus Schulz has been making music for quite some time. Born in Germany, the Miami resident has mastered several genres over the years. His radio show is world-renowned and he’s adored by the millions. We caught up with this international superstar at Spring Awakening Music Festival. The conversation was an easy one to carry.
Sensible Reason: Do you ever get stressed about your weekends anymore?
Markus Schulz: Oh yeah.
SR: What stresses you out?
M: Just preparation, making sure that I’m ready. But I find that the most I’m at ease is when I’m unprepared.
M: When I’m totally prepared, that’s when I’m like “gotta do this, gotta do that.” But when you kind of stay within yourself, do what you do best. I’m less stressed that way.
SR: Do you think you overthink it?
M: Oh yes, for sure. It’s the same thing – you know, I love sports, so I’m always making sports analogies – but it’s like a basketball player trying to do too much. When they do too much, that’s when they mess it up.
M: Yeah, do what you do best. Don’t try to do what you don’t do so well.
SR: Do you think you do that with your music at times? Are you rushed or do you overthink it?
M: I do overthink things sometimes, but you usually feel it. When you’re overthinking it when you’re on stage, the nice thing is you can improvise. I can switch it up and go with what I know.
SR: You’re also reading the crowd, though, too, right?
M: Yeah, that’s all part of it. Thing is when you’re trying something new and it’s working, it’s a totally different energy. When you try something new and it’s not hitting quite as hard as I would want it, then you have to go back to what you know.
SR: Wouldn’t it be easier to go back to what you know versus challenging yourself to do something new?
M: Of course! I think that’s where DJing comes in, it’s years of experience. Once you have the crowd in the palm of your hands, the stress totally goes away then. That’s when all the opportunities open up and the potential for a really special set comes into play.
SR: Have you had any recent experiences where you did something new and went back and nothing was working?
M: You know sometimes playing for a more commercial crowd, you play the commercial music and the crowd is flat. So you’re like “Ah, damn it. Screw this, I’m gonna do what I want to do,” and you do it and the crowd goes crazy. I’ve had it happen many times where I’m just going to play what I want to play and not worry about the commercial crowd and it worked out beautifully.
SR: What would your definition of a “commercial crowd” be?
M: Crowds that maybe aren’t up on all the current music.
SR: Top 40 lovers.
M: Yeah, sure. It’s funny, I’ll use Vegas as an example. Playing in Las Vegas you know there’s all these bottle service people and VIPs and you think there’s no way they’re going to understand what I want to do. So, you play more commercial/vocal and the crowd is flat. You go with your stormers and they go crazy. I’ve misjudged them before.
SR: You’re in Miami, correct?
M: Yes, I’ve lived in Miami for over 10 years.
SR: Being from Germany, there’s a huge electronic scene there as well. Why the move to Miami? Was it the music scene that brought you there?
M: At the time when I moved to Miami, I was already in the international spotlight. So, I needed a place on the East coast so it was easy to fly back and forth from Europe. I also needed a place with a good airport. I also need warm weather, so Miami was a natural choice at the time. I also love Miami, I had been there many times over the years before I moved there, I love the city. It wasn’t the scene, this or that, I needed a place that was inspirational for me. When you tour you don’t have that many days at home. So when you come home you want to make it someplace you really love.
SR: A place where you can enjoy the sun and the beach.
M: My social circle in Miami is really fantastic as well.
SR: That’s absolutely necessary. On another note, you have a radio show. It seems like so many trance and techno artists have radio shows over those who play other genres. Why do you think that is?
M: The amount of trance music that is out there every week is huge. I get a hundred new releases every week and they’re really fantastic. It’s a great opportunity to expose the fans and test music. That being said, I’ve been doing a radio show since before it became a thing. Because I’ve always been into radio. Ever since I was a little kid when I moved to the USA I used to listen to the radio all the time. That was my escape, so I want to kind of give back by creating my own radio show. Being able to touch people musically like I was touched when I was growing up. So, I got into radio for a different reason and now it’s a trendy thing to have a radio show. I think there is a lot more to a radio show than just mixing some songs together and putting it online. For me, it’s like a magazine. All things Markus Schulz and Markus Schulz related are in this radio show. Whether it’s my tour gigs or other producers that are doing what my label is doing. All the information you need to know is on my radio show every week.
SR: That’s super cool. With the changes in how music is presented to your fans, from the time of physical magazines to a time when you can release a radio show directly to your fans – do you think journalists have become obsolete?
M: No, because good music journalists report and write with a different point of view. Everyone in my circle has a certain point of view, but it takes people from the outside to write about circles from an outsider’s point of view. Journalists like you are able to present what I’m doing to a different audience. That being said, within my circle we have our own journalists and bloggers but they’re reporting what’s happening in our circle. People outside of the circle, it’s important to report what’s going on.
SR: Shameless plug time. What’s new for Markus Schulz? Tell me about new releases and what’s next.
M: I’m just finishing up a new album that’s going to be released in September, it’s called We Are the Light. I debuted one of the tracks from the album in my EDC set. It’s with Sebu from Capital Cities called “Up On My Shoulders,” it’s going to be on the new album and come out later this summer. So, a busy summer finishing up the album.
Markus Schulz came onto the Trance Arena stage at the festival with a huge smile and the bass blazing. Whether or not the set was what he had originally planned, his fans loved it. One can easily tell his talents run deep. The entire stage area was packed with people looking as happy as they could ever be. His soaring tracks and hitting bass brought tears to people’s eyes. We can’t wait to see what this superstar has for us this fall.