Markus Schulz to Wannabe DJs: Work Hard, Don't Just "Turn on the Kryo and Strobe Lights"
"It's all about the art of DJing and showing people what the beauty of this art form is," Markus Schulz tells Crossfade about his mission as an EDM star.
"I hope that it's not lost because music is evolving to a popular commercial standard right now. There has to be a way to be able to highlight and put focus on where it all started."
Perhaps the purest expression of dance music's essence, according to Schulz, is the extended solo set. "I don't really want people facing the DJ booth and just fist-pumping, but to feel more like they're in the party, and I am part of the party," he insists.
"That's what I love about these kinds of sets and this is the point where I like to get to, where it's now about the party and not about the DJ."
We here at Crossfade chatted with Schulz about the tricks for becoming a "marathon DJ," .
You're known as a so-called "marathon DJ." What tips would you give to aspiring jocks who think they're ready to take on this challenge?
It's for sure all about the art of DJing -- the art form. And I would say study, study lots of different DJs. To do these sets, you have to have an eclectic taste in music. You can't just play the same style all night long, because it just doesn't work; you really have to take people on a journey through all kinds of sounds and all kinds of moods. At the same time, it all has to fit who you are as an artist; you really have to study and do a lot of work as far as making the songs fit your set and fit who you are.
I may play a song by Capital Cities or something, but I've remixed it in a way to where it fits my set and to where it fits who I am as an artist. Things like that really make a big difference in separating you from everybody else who just goes on Beatport and downloads the Top 20 and goes to a gig and says, "Alright, turn on the kryo and strobe lights. I'm here to play."
What are some production techniques that you suggest that these artists practice while performing an extended set in order to keep the crowd's attention?
The funny thing is that, in order to keep the crowd's attention, sometimes you have to go in the opposite direction and kind of lose their attention. Let them get lost in the grooves and let them get lost in the sounds for a while, so you can hit them with a moment; it's all about moments when you're playing sets like this. To have one moment after another for eight or ten hours, it gets really fatiguing. So, sometimes, what you have to do is lose people by playing a track that doesn't kind of do much, it just kind of grooves and builds out of that into a moment.
Are you touring with a visual set up on your upcoming Scream 2 Bus Tour?
Yeah, the bus tour is going to be cool. If you're in a place like New York City, Miami, L.A., or any of these big cities, you get to experience some of the best clubs in the world. In some of these smaller markets, many people haven't been able to experience anything like that before. So it's opportunity to bring that kind of quality of production to the smaller markets. In turn, I hope that these people all come out and see me when I'm playing at festivals.
With the visuals, it's an opportunity to express something. I work closely with my visual team to bring another dimension to my show and give people another view into who I am as an artist. It's not going to be images of go-go dancers and girls making out on the screen, the visuals will lend itself to who I am as an artist and I love to be able to express that both visually and with my audio.
See also: WMC and MMW 2014: A 282-Party Guide