With two successful artist albums and multiple remix credits accumulated in the past few years, Markus Schulz could have been forgiven to take a leave of absence from production work in 2009. Whilst the original plan to craft the third artist album for completion in 2010 still remains, Schulz’s creative tendencies burst into life at the tail end of last year, following his most intense annual tour schedule to date.
Markus’ vision was clear – to work on material not necessarily to be consumed via home listening, but on tracks specifically for the clubs. No collaborations, no vocalists, the goal was to assemble an array of tunes at his disposal that would cater for many tastes across the house, progressive, trance and tech genres.
“Working on an artist album is quite a long experience, because there is so much more that goes in to songwriting and collaborating with singers”, says Markus. “I have been really inspired in the studio, so I wanted to concentrate on clubby tracks that would fit certain points of my DJ sets.”
During his sabbatical to London at the turn of the millennium, Markus conceived an alter ego for his productions – a darker, deeper and more moody side of him which laid the foundation for the now hallmarked Coldharbour sound.
His productions under the moniker featured on compilations from Bedrock and Global Underground, and during his much acclaimed appearance on BBC Radio 1’s Essential Mix last December, eagle-eyed followers were immediately drawn to two tracks in particular that featured on the set playlist. The artist in question was Markus himself – presented under the name “Dakota”.
In March of this year, Markus released the 4th chapter in his city compilation series, “Toronto ‘09”. And once again, the name Dakota registered itself on two further productions. Speculation was rife that an artist album under the moniker was in the works, and it proved to be speculation with substance, as Markus had been continually developing his new ideas throughout the winter period.
The cumulative title of the project is “Thoughts Become Things” – a title inspired from Australian author Rhonda Byrne’s award-winning book “The Secret”. The key feeling within the album is inspiration – each track with its own background story, chronicling inner feelings from his youth to the present day.
Take “Roxy 84” for example, a track inspired from Markus’ trips to the Bronx as an early teenager, where he became encapsulated by the city’s breakdance movement. It was these experiences which allowed him to cut his teeth in the world of DJing, and realising that this was his destined career path. “Koolhaus”, which featured on the Toronto ’09 compilation, is dedicated to the special events area located inside the Guvernment complex in the same city, a venue he holds dear to his heart after playing there on several occasions.
“This book as been an inspirational guide to me over the past couple of years,” says Markus. “The main mantra throughout the book is that thoughts become things. It really is a fascinating self-motivation piece that I read all the time. I had a lot of ideas and thoughts after my gigs, while on an airplane and even while I was performing on stage. When I took the ideas into the studio they really came to life and turned into the things that they now are.”
These ideas have captivated fellow DJs and audiences around the globe so far, with tracks such as “Chinook” and “Johnny the Fox” on heavy rotation for several months, and dancefloor destroyer “Sin City” featuring prominently on the Global DJ Broadcast World Tour series. Veteran followers of the Dakota name will be familiar with the track “Swirl”, with an updated version featuring on the album, 10 years after the original, under the name “Re-Swirl”.
It is proof that the mantra holds true in the everyday movements of Markus Schulz, and his thoughts most certainly have been put into motion, with the result that 2009 may very well be remembered, as the year of Dakota.
02. Johnny the Fox
03. Sin City
04. The Doorway
06. Steel Libido
08. Roxy 84
10. Mr. Cappuccino
Thoughts Become Things will be available from Armada Music, on CD and through all digital download portals from Monday June 29th. However, fans eager to catch a sneak peek at what the album has in store can tune in to the Global DJ Broadcast on Thursday June 11th, as Markus presents a special preview of his Dakota story.