Markus Schulz was undoubtedly the headliner of the Groove Cruise Los Angeles 2013. We don’t mean headliner in the sense that he was the marquee DJ playing the equivalent of the main stage on the Groove Cruise’s first night at sea. He was also more than secret guest star of the Sunday pool party set. Markus was the headliner in the sense that there was simply not a bigger presence aboard the Carnival Inspiration that weekend than the man who was crown the inaugural “America’s Best DJ”. There was always a rumor amongst the crowd about where Markus might play next on the ship (he played a total of two sets during the weekend). There was a special fan meet and greet and photo shoot for an hour on Saturday with Markus- demonstrating once again that Markus is truly an artist who gets it when it comes to fan interaction. Even though there was a private artists and staff only dining room, Markus decided to take all of his meals on the main decks inviting fans to come by for a quick chat or high-five. So it comes as no surprise that Markus put on the single best set on the Groove Cruise, and it comes as no surprise that he was having a “fantastic” time during the whole experience. We sat down with Markus in between his fan meet and greet and Saturday night’s festivities to talk about his experience on the Groove Cruise, his new compilation album Buenos Aires ’13, and of course what his favorite type of fish to eat is.
Editors Note: This interview occurred on Saturday night, after his Friday headlining spot and before his secret pool party set on Sunday.
Rabbits Black: You headlined the Paris Theater and the first night of the Groove Cruise LA 2013. How was the experience?
Markus Schulz: It was fantastic! It was my first time doing the Groove Cruise; I know we’ve been trying to connect for a while. I’m having a great time, as a matter of fact, I’m having such a good time that I’m staying for the rest of the cruise.
Rabbits Black: That’s a good sign then!
Markus Schulz: Rather than going off and doing some other stuff I’m just going to hang out. And it’s great because I’m really meeting a lot of people. A lot of the fans- I’m having breakfast with them, dinner with them, hanging out by the pool with them. So, I get to meet a lot of people that I’ve seen out in the crowd. I get to hear their stories and everything. And we get to exchange stories about gigs. So, I’m having a really good time.
Rabbits Black: It sounds like you are getting the full experience. Have you ever played a cruise ship before?
Markus Schulz: Actually I’ve done a Monday Bar Cruise which goes from Stockholm to Helsinki in Europe, I’ve done that many, many times. But the only difference is that’s in the middle of winter and everything is inside and its real “ravey.” But this is pool parties and then the beach parties, this is a really wonderful experience.
Rabbits Black: Your new mix compilation Buenos Aires ’13 is coming out, I’m sure you’ve been getting a lot of questions about that. You have a lot of familiar names on the record- Rex Mundi, KhoMha, Grube & Hovsepian. Tell us about some of the new comers on the album that maybe we haven’t heard of before.
Markus Schulz: There’s a lot of really good new guys out there, and I don’t want to leave out any artist because all the artists have contributed wonderful tracks to it so I’m just going to say all of them. And the cool thing is is I work with all of these artists to kind of craft a journey. You know, it’s almost like a co-collaboration with them, so every single artist I’m really, really happy that were able to get on there. Like you mentioned- the Rexs, the KhoMhas, Mr. Pit, you know Nifra, M.I.K.E. Push he’s back- he’s on fire, we just brought him into the Coldharbour Family. So, I’m really happy with everybody.
Rabbits Black: Good to hear. So I think there’s a track, “Remember This,” which is going to pay a little preview maybe to Scream Two.
Markus Schulz: Absolutely, “Remember This” is a track that I made for the Scream 2 album and I’ve been playing it in my sets. And everybody’s just been going wild ever it since I opened up EDC Las Vegas with that track; everybody’s been saying ‘what is this track?’ So I didn’t want to hold it back until next year for the Scream 2 album so I made and include it in the Buenos Aires ’13 compilation.
Rabbits Black: Great! And then did we hear anything last night in your set?
Markus Schulz: Oh yeah! I’m almost done with Scream 2 and I road tested a few tracks last night- to be honest some of them I gotta go back and tweak a few things. You know I never used to, I used to think once somebody puts it up on YouTube that’s it. But I’m at the point now where I’m like, you know what, I’m just gonna road test these tracks and if I feel that something needs to be changed, I’m going to go back and change it. And if there’s an older version on YouTube that somebody put a video up when I played it then so be it.
So, last night I road tested a few more tracks, I gotta go back and tweak a few things so I’m actually anxious to get back into the studio next week.
Rabbits Black: Good, good to hear. And yeah I mean road testing and playing it live is a totally different experience then hearing it ripped and even on the albums, so it’s good to hear that some of those made the live set last night. Which was really, it was almost like a Dakota set in some ways. It was a good moody set, really for this space I thought it worked out really well.
Markus Schulz: Yeah, at first it was like the Groove Cruise and all the different DJ’s that are out there playing, they’re just playing the typical festival style music. And then for a minute there I was kind of unsure, like oh wow is this crowd going to be up for what I want to play. But then when I got here and I looked at all the faces in the crowd I was like these are my peeps right here! So I opened up with “Remember This” and then from there it was zig-zagging through all the different sounds and all the different flavors of sounds.
Rabbits Black: Fantastic, it was a great set; it really filled this room up.
Markus Schulz: Yeah, they were going until six o’clock in the morning, everybody was just having a great time…
Rabbits Black: You could have definitely kept going! I saw during your set you actually looked out to some of the fans and said “Hey you like this mix?”. It’s great, you have that rapport with your fans- even on the Groove Cruise!
Markus Schulz: Yeah you know, I’m very fortunate, I’ve got some great fans who travel. I go to Vegas and play in Vegas; they come out to see me. I go to San Diego, LA, San Francisco, they come from all over to see me. That’s why every time that I do a gig I give it my all- even if there’s fifty people in the crowd, those fifty people are gonna hear the best set of their lives because some of those people in that crowd might have traveled from all over to come hear me- I should give them the best set that I can.
Rabbits Black: I think you do that every single time…
Markus Schulz: Yeah, because I love this music and I’m a fan. And every time I’m behind the deck I’m dancing and having a good time enjoying the music just like everybody else.
Rabbits Black: We’ve done this with you before, a few quick hit questions. Ready for it?
Markus Schulz: OK!
Rabbits Black: We are at sea, so what’s your favorite type of fish to eat?
Markus Schulz: My favorite fish… salmon!
Rabbits Black: One artist on the Groove Cruise who had a great set that you caught.
Markus Schulz: Chris Lake. I actually really enjoyed his set today.
Rabbits Black: Your favorite track on Buenos Aires ’13 that hasn’t been played in a live set yet.
Markus Schulz: My favorite track that you haven’t heard yet- wow! Maybe my collaboration with Rex Mundi, “Towards the Sun”. People don’t know this but that’s actually Rex Mundi’s singing- he sounds great too!
Rabbits Black: Groove Cruise 2014… Coldharbour stage?
Markus Schulz: I don’t know- that would be really cool! I think I need to break everybody in first and then bring in my army!