There are so many things you look for in a club to tell if it will be a fun night. Comfortable seats, affordable drinks, exciting vibe, and perhaps most important of all, good music. That is where the DJ comes in, bringing out his laptop or controller, and playing through the night.
Seeing the crowd getting into the music is the best thing about being a DJ, says renowned artist Markus Schulz.
Dubbed the “unicorn slayer of trance” because of his heart-stopping tunes, DJ Markus Schulz was invited to perform at Cove Manila to kick off a renowned line-up of international DJs. Markus sat down with a few members of the press to share the life he has above the crowd, and the moments preparing for it.
“When I’m making music, the most important thing for me is to invoke some kind of emotion out of the people,” says Markus. He gives an example of when he saw people at the Tommorowland music festival waving their flags, hands in the air, and sitting on each others’ shoulders, hence inspiring him to produce his single “Upon My Shoulders.” “It’s trying to capture a moment, turning it into a soundtrack,” he adds.
One of the key factors of being a DJ, tells Markus, is to be flexible. As he is in control of the music, he is able to read the crowd and adapt to that atmosphere.
“I have my toolbox of remixes and my own productions, and I just go into venues and feel the vibe… for the most part, having an eclectic toolbox is the important thing,” he says.
Sets can differ when performing in a festival or in a nightclub that’s why it’s important for a DJ to be prepared. “When you’re doing a festival in front of 50,000 people, you can’t improvise — you have to have your set ready, you can’t experiment,” shares Markus. Instead, he does the experimenting while in intimate clubs, as he puts it, “I can really experiment and perfect what I’m gonna do in front of 50,000 people”. And the cycle continues, from getting ideas from festivals to testing them out in clubs.
Markus also gave his thoughts about EDM (electronic dance music) as an umbrella term and a genre in itself. “I think people in the scene know what it is they like, but the media, press, and people not in the scene will need something to call it, and EDM is the umbrella term that fits it perfectly — electronic dance music,” said the DJ. He mentions artists like Avicii and Diplo who helped introduce the genre to people, thus inviting them to dig into other layers of EDM, “It’s such a beautiful genre, I don’t think anyone can get bored.”
He also offered some advice for budding DJs and artists trying to make a name for themselves, “Stick to your heart. If you want a long career, you have to do what it is you love. Stay with it, work hard, make a difference.” He cites artists who only stayed in the business three to four years because they never enjoyed what they did.
As a final message, Markus shares the one thing he tells people when they ask him what’s next after being in the business for more than 20 years. “What’s next for me is legacy. Leaving a legacy for the younger people, leave a legacy the moment you enter the industry.”