Markus Schulz – The DJ: Through his natural audience interaction, flawless harmonic mixing, intuitive tune selection and now famous open-till-close sets, he has wowed crowds in every major metropolis. Schulz’s DJ career has run largely parallel to that of his productions. In the early noughties, having concentrated on the hinterland between trance & progressive, he began to reach audiences further and further afield. His career received a significant boost when, in 2004, he signed with heavyweight DJ agency, David Lewis Productions (also home to Armin van Buuren). Now a regular fixture at the world’s biggest & most famous clubs, arenas and festivals, he lays down his inimitable trance-progressive vision on a weekly basis. In Europe, he’s smashed Transmission, Nature One, Dance Valley, Electronic Family, Sunrise and Tomorrowland; worked tent-pegs loose at Creamfields; gridlocked Global Gatherings and played open-till-close sets at Space, Miami, Avalon, LA and Amnesia, Ibiza. Stateside the colossal Electric Daisy, Nocturnal, and Ultra Festivals have all felt Schulz pressure and yet further afield still he’s engineered floor uproar across South East Asia and Australia. Schulz has polled 4 consecutive years inside DJ Mag’s world’s top 10, is regularly ranked in the FTB, Trance Addict and Trance Podium charts as trance’s 2nd biggest spinner and won Best American DJ at the 2008 IDMAs.
How It Began: Born in Eschwege, central Germany, Markus emigrated to the United States. Age 13, his dance music awakening came during the grip of the country’s then-nascent breakdance scene. His early production and DJ career roughly tracked that of the second Stateside House explosion and he caught his first production break in 1993 when he remixed Sagat’s ‘Why Is It? (F** Dat)’ for FFrr. Markus’ freshman production release followed in 1994 with the 6-track ‘Plastik Trax EP Vol 1’. Throughout the mid to late Nineties he continued to accrue acclaim with a range of releases on numerous luminary U.S. labels. In 1998 he recorded ‘You Won’t See Me Cry’ for Plastik Records (his first label), which was picked up by the UK’s Eve Records and became his first non-domestic release.
Coldharbour Recordings: Schulz’s sound notably came quickest to the ears of European DJs. Following the formation of the Armada group in 2005, Armin sought Markus out and asked him to start compiling tracks for a new vinyl series. The Coldharbour Sessions EPs launched in 2004 (with the first 3 releases coming out on the already established Electronic Elements label). In succession they resoundingly impacted on dancefloors and within 12 months Coldharbour the label came into existence. Named after Markus’ then-production base in London’s Coldharbour Lane, its output immediately brought a new sound-type to Armada’s repertoire. It also became a lightning rod for a new generation of prog-inclined producers – setting in motion the careers of (amongst others) Santiago Nino, Rex Mundi, Mark Otten & Niklas Harding. With 2005 under the spell of Coldharbour’s more refined, minimal yet still melodic take on the trance sound Markus struck again with the first Coldharbour Sessions mix compilation. Such has been the success of the imprint that in 2007 it was joined by sub-label Coldharbour Red. This, in turn, became the launch pad for the careers of Marcus Schössow, tyDi, Glenn Morrison & Evol Waves and was the point of re-entry for early Schulz side-project, Dakota (see section below). In August 2010 it celebrated it 100th release with Schulz’s cover of Cass & Slide’s ‘Perception’. Seven years after its birth, Coldharbour stands among the top tier of trance & progressive labels. Getting regular props from the press, in 2011 DJ Mag stated that it was: “an imprint in the rudest of good health!” while Mixmag said: “Coldharbour is a label fair brimming with ready-to-break production talent”.