First of all I take my hat off to you for coming here and replying to our criticism. That really shows character and makes you stand out among your colleagues, who comfortably hide behind their hired Facebook marketing employees. At least you have the balls to interact. Much much appreciated.
Nevertheless I am saddened deeply by your replies.
First off I'm actually insulted by you categorizing us as "forum people". Yes people who actually still visit forums and take the time to write stuff there and read others comments are small in numbers nowadays compared to the lazy masses on the social media who only consume pre-fabricated marking bla and add zero themselves except maybe “MaRkUsSsS wHeN aRe YoU cOmmmInG 2 mY cOuNtYYYY???!!!!” below every post. And we “forum people” probably are not the current 15 year olds either. Heck 99% of those don't even know what a forum is. But that doesn't excuse the current industry trend to put us away as an insignificant bunch of frustrated old people who complain about everything that is different from 2004 and doesn't resemble what they used to love in the past. What we are are people who have loved you music all our lives and are probably the last ones standing of those who made it possible for you to become a DJ and a producer. We were the ones buying your first albums, singles and compilations when you were still small potatoes. We were the ones screaming our heads off at your gigs. We were the ones who fell in love with your music and your sets when you were still making them from them heart, from what you truly believe in, from who you really are. Uninfluenced by popularity poll ratings, drugged up managers and promoters or sales figures.
What you are now saying basically is that you have to compromise yourself under the commercial pressure of the pop dance explosion. That you now produce new “radio friendly” vocal tracks to please the networks, that you adjust your GDJB programming to avoid being kicked of the air and that you compromise your live sets because money hungry promoters bow to the pressure of crowds that only consist of 15 year old nitwits who get bored if they don’t get their fabricated built in SHM style pitch bend climax every 3 minutes. And that is a big big shame.
Why? Let me tell you man. You cannot stay on top of the food chain forever. Noone can. Yes you can prolongue your career by compromising into every new trend and the next, the way guys like Tiesto and Armin are doing, but like them you will become a total caricature of yourself. Because what you have to do to stay up there goes more and more against everything you really are inside. And even if you keep on compromising, at some point people WILL spit you out because you are like us. Too old. Not cool anymore. You will end up the Rubens Barichello of dance music and get dumped in a back alley through the backdoor without so much as an appreciative farewell party.
Obviously you are not the first to come to this point in your career. How do you think people like Sasha or Nick Warren or John Digweed felt at the end of the 90’s acid rush in the UK? When all of a sudden new guys like Ferry Corsten and Paul van Dyk stormed the scene with their new and more energetic interpretation of trance music? It’s the exact same thing. But what they did is keep their dignity. They accepted that a new thing had arrived and that the new thing was more popular with the crowds. But they NEVER COMPROMISED. They kept on doing music the way their hearts told them to do music. For the people who appreciate that style. Maybe less in numbers from there on, but loyal as a dog. Because they are connected through the same musical values.
And guess what? All of them are still around, touring the globe and playing in clubs to crowds adoring them for what they do. Without any compromise. They don’t give a flying fuck if radio stations wanna play their radio shows or not. They don’t need to release radio tracks with cheap nameless singers who can’t sing fuck live (you should go and see an Armin Only show if you have a chance, it’s hilarious). They don’t have to star in cheezy videos for those tracks. They don’t have to do gigs for hostile crowds holding up phones all night long and giving you the finger for not giving them instant climax tracks or childish heart signs every 10 seconds. They don’t care. Because they are completely independent and they do what they love. And the people who come to see them and buy their new stuff love it from A to Z. And they always have. That Markus, is where real gratification lies. Not in trying to be the hero of the 15 year olds. They will spit you out the moment the new fad comes on stage and forget you ever existed.
Unfortunately your career seems to have been taken over completely by power and fame hungry managers and promoters who are only interested in being the biggest and making the most money. Who force release schedules upon you. Who force you to make radio friendly vocal crap. Tracks that you should be ashamed off. Who force you to adjust your radio show format. Who force you to headline festivals. And force you to play this constantly further derailing aggressive shit music that every producer and his dog is now making and has diverted so far off from your own original Markus Schulz sound.
You know what? Fuck them. You don’t need that shit. Do you really feel a need to compete or even compare yourself with Dash Berlin? The Milli Vanilli of trance? A completely fake act fabricated by Armada marketing and a bunch of studio engineers? Come on man, you are so much better than that. You are one of the few remaining originals. One of the few who actually knows how to DJ, how to produce a track with a unique and distinctive sound and how to compile a legendary compilation.
Remember that DJ gigs and festivals are not what will eventually be your musical legacy. They are here for a second and are gone the next. Vaporized into total silence. Witnessed by what on a global scale is only a handful of people. What really forms your musical legacy are your own productions and your compilations. And to some lesser extent your radio sets too. Those are heard time and again by a thousand fold of people compared to the numbers at your gigs. And locked into eternity in peoples homes, cars and mobile players.
Compromise those and you compromise the essence of yourself as an artist. If you don’t untie yourself from this commercial madness you will eventually end up in the trash bin with all the other pop stars.
First off, thanks to Markus for taking the time to come and address a small group of passionate fans. Not every artist would do that. Regardless of where you come down on the issue, you have to appreciate that simple fact.
If you take a step outside of the narrow world of EDM, then you'll realize that the phenomenon you're witnessing is much bigger than dance music. The fate of EDM is the fate of all things that start small/underground and become large/popular. It happened to punk, it happened to grunge, it happened to rap, it happened to snowboarding/skateboarding, and a million other things throughout history new and old. As things attract more attention, they change. New artists enter the fold, and they bring along their own ideas that are incorporated into the existing environment; older members of the scene are influenced by the new ideas, and vice versa.
For you, as a fan, there are upsides and there are downsides. The upside is that with EDM everywhere, you get to see your favorite artist play live more frequently. As far as the US goes, there's a major EDM festival almost every few months. That doesn't take into account the rash of new clubs and events that are popping up in all of the local scenes. No longer do you have to wait for the once a year festival, nor do you have to travel halfway around the world to a Spanish island to hear a nice live set. You might complain that the average festival set isn't really your thing, and I'd agree. An hour of pure high tempo hits is not really the musical journey that I'm looking for at a live set. BUT, for every festival, there's a lot more 6-9 hour gigs at places like Avalon, Pacha, and Space. The potential downside is that your thing, whether it's music, art, or whatever, changes. Maybe you like some of the changes, and maybe you hate some of the changes. But there will be change.
You can criticize the artists for changing, but don't forget that their/our passion is also their JOB. Never forget that. Perhaps you think that art is too pure to be commercialized, and that the art is all that matters. I'm sure you can find some cave dwelling ascetics that agree with you, but who the fuck wants to live in a cave? All the greatest artists throughout history have had patrons. Da Vinci, Michelangelo, etc. If your job is art, then you need to make things that your customers/patrons will purchase. If you don't, take to the hills, forage for berries, and live in the cave. I totally respect those that make that choice, but I like my espresso maker.
As a fan, you have choices. You can pine for the days of old, complain about the current state of affairs, hope that everyone will see the light and return like the prodigal son, and listen to your old records. You could also enjoy the upsides of the change, and hopefully still find enough of what you always loved to keep you happy. Every once in a while you can hang out with your other elite true fans and mock the excesses and silliness of some of the new trends. Nobody would hold this against you, and I can imagine DJs themselves have a bit of fun doing this. You can also crawl into a hole of despair and anger, and use whatever opportunities you have to lash out at the bastards that ruined your thing; you can despise your former heroes for changing, all the while hanging on to that little sliver of hope that one day they'll see the error of their ways; glhf.
As far as Markus is concerned, he seems to be striking a pretty fair balance. No, I don't like all the tracks on the new album, but there are also some pretty good tunes. Also, it's not a Dakota album, don't forget that. Also, before you continue criticizing, try checking out a live show @ the Avalon or Space. I think it's hard to criticize Markus after you walk out of an 8 (or even 10!!) hour musical journey. No other DJ that I see regularly comes close to fucking with Markus' live shows. He shuts down Pacha every time; the club owner is up there on the stage asking him to kill it and he's still playing songs with the lights on. The Avalon sets are just legendary; if you haven't been you need to go. I've seen him at Space the last 2 years during UMF, and every time was at least an 8 hour journey of beauty. As long as those nights keep happening, I could care less about the cheesy vocal track here and there.
There's nothing to add after Ericc's post. He expressed everything i would like to say. I hope Markus will reply to this one.
Markus, I think it is great that you still maintain this same level of interaction with your fans as you did 5 or 10 years ago regardless of international stature . This is the reason why I go to all of your UK gigs and have followed you and your career as an artist and DJ, regardless of musical direction for a long time.
I think your insight into the industry is interesting, makes a lot of sense and definitely explains your thinking behind the album. With regards to the actual album, I knew it was going to be what you said it is, an album aimed at a broad range of people, it's clear if you compare this album to 'Progression'. Albums like Progression and Above & Beyond's Tri-State from around that time were listening experiences, the tracks were masterfully mixed, the album flowed. It's obvious that this album is not a listening experience in that sense, and that is something I have taken into account before judging this album.
There are tracks on the album that I like, some that I don't like and some that I absolutely love.
'Nothing Without Me' is amazing and I need to hear you play this at the Warehouse Project in Manchester in October, it will make my night. 'Tempted' is equally huge and 'Carry On' is massive. The none vocal tracks Triotonic, Digital Madness, Loops & Tings, Soul Seeking, Finish Line, Go!, Karbon, Push The Button, all big tracks that I will definitely be playing in my sets and radio show. Add the Intro, Caught and a couple of others and thats more than half the album.
Let's have it right, most artist albums these days are rubbish. PVD, Ferry, Above & Beyond, Armin artist albums? Rubbish. Generally from an artist album you expect to like 2 maybe 3 songs maximum no matter who made it. There's no way I would play 12 or 13 songs off one of those guys artist albums in my sets or radio show. No chance. That says alot about Markus and this album. Yes he's produced some cheese, so what? Theres more than 20 tracks on the album. The cheese is not aimed at me so I don't care about those tracks. Every album has bad tracks in somebodies opinion. The tracks that are aimed at me, I love.
Let's look at it this way, there's more tracks on this album that I like than I liked on Do You Dream? and Progression and I absolutely loved those albums.
Artist albums do not fully represent the sound of the DJ who produced it. It's a dirty industry. I judge Markus on his live sets, his record label, his radio show and his mix compilations like I would any DJ. His live sets never ever disappoint, his record label has been churning out hit after hit since it begun, his radio show is as consistent as anybodies, always packed with new music from producers I've never even heard of and his city compilations are masterful. Who gives a shit about an artist album? And if an artist album is actually important to anybody, listen to his Dakota albums which are unreal.
The only time I would get worried that Markus was going downhill is when his sets become 25 Markus tracks in a row with no structure and basic mixing. Fortunately there is nobody better in the industry at set building and supporting music other than his own than Markus, so everybody needs to chill out.
^. it was excellent to read, and I fully agree with him.
Originally Posted by Kabra
WOW!! Thank you so much, Markus, for taking the time to come and address your most critical fans right here on the forums instead of a tiny snippet in some blog or interview like most others would do. My respect for you grows more and more every time you do something like this! The fact that you go on to explain many things that we may not understand because of the business end of the scene makes things all the better.
However, Ericc B has really summarized a lot of my feelings about your sound lately. (Really looking forward to a response to him!) It's kind of like that "Gain the whole world, but lose your soul" thing. I think Ericc makes a really good point when he brings up the fact that albums, compilations, etc. will remain here many years after you have left the spotlight and dancefloor, but more importantly, please do not fall into this "haters gonna hate" mindset like I've seen some other fans posting here --- this is NOT true for people here on the forum. I'm probably far less critical than they can be, but I know for a fact that they are NOT haters (although there probably are a few who just can't think beyond "THIS ISNT OLDSCHOOL CLHR SOUND WTF!!!" in the same way that some people cling to 140bpm and say anything but 140 isn't Trance). They are very passionate fans who have been here for you longer than most people and they were there for you when no one really knew who you were while also continuing to buy your music in a world of piracy and file sharing and see as many of your live shows as possible. They've been fans of yours since the beginning and your sound has completely changed since then, so it's probably worrysome at times.
While I may have only become a fan around 2007/2008 and rarely post here, I have gone back and listened to a lot of your older work over the years (still do!) and I can totally see where they are coming from. These fans are good people who have nothing but respect for you (perhaps their tone could be a little more respectful at times, though...I will say that much! :x) But when they say you have lost your magic, in many ways, I can see where they are coming from and on some level I do agree. The Markus Schulz sound that was heard in your remixes of Ladyblue, Talk Like A Stranger, Tranquility, or tracks like Clear Blue, I Am, Red Eye to Miami, Let It Go, etc. feels like it is kinda long gone now. "Return to Coldharbour" has been replaced by "Big Room Reconstruction" and while I admittedly love the vast majority of these big room reconstructions, I am anxiously awaiting some kind of return to coldharbour some day.
Now, I haven't listened to the full Scream album yet (I've been saving it for the drive up to NYC to see you tonight at Best Buy Theater) so I am not going to talk about it or judge it, but I would be lying if I said I'm not nervous about this album being very commercialized. (And yes, I know that there is a big distinct difference between a Markus Schulz album and a Dakota album.) However, your explanation does help ease a bit of that and provide more understanding and I thank you so much for that, and time will be the ultimate test as some tracks may have grown on me (like Rex Mundi's Shocking Blue from LA12). And from your DJing, as Sheedy mentioned, I think you make it very clear to us that you still put a lot of effort into finding those deep gems from otherwise unknown producers for GDJB and you take us on a long journey with your extended solo sets. (Thanks again for playing Clear Blue at Pacha in February, btw! It was a magical moment...Clear Blue was the track that got me into your sound in the first place!) and there isn't a person here who has stopped going to your shows or listened to GDJB all together.
Regardless of Scream, you are still my favorite DJ by far and again the fact that you continually make an effort to come and face your most harsh critics makes me respect you all the more. Simply put, NO ONE else does that. NO ONE explains their actions or their situation to their fans. They just go with it and leave old fans baffled, confused, and angry, while the newer fans circle the wagons and blindly defend their new hero yet can't name 3 or more tracks they have done. I just pray that you won't ever get like that and ignore us and/or hold things against us. I'd say the primary reason for the outrage is simply ignorance and lack of understanding, which makes it all the more and important as well as appreciated that you do take the time to respond, and respond HONESTLY.
Thank you for not turning your back on us. (And for keeping the forums open!!) See you tonight!
It's something amazing Markus that you are with us :) We are with you and you know it :) Unfortunately people loving Trouse/Electro tracks and they think that Progressive Trance is boring. Of course, I'm not a fan of this album, but I found some BIG tracks as expected from you like Finish Line and especially Triotonic :) Thanks again that you are with us :) Cheers and keep doing what you do :)
...reading this thread has me saying "wow" over and over. i won't comment on the album until i get through the whole thing, but i will comment on people's reactions. constructive criticism is one thing, but for the life of me i don't get the negative backlash like markus personally hurt someone. if you don't like the album then you don't like it, everyone is entitled to an opinion and every artist, brand, whatever is entitled to map our their career as they see fit. personally i'm so tired of people acting as if they are personally offended by someone remixing a mainstream track or someone doing a collaboration with a mainstream artist. if it you don't like it then don't listen and if you have to express your unhappiness try to do it in a way that isn't so totally negative. i'll be the first to admit i'm not as excited for the dance scene as a whole like i was 10, 5 or even 3 years ago but you have to grow with the times and appreciate each piece of music for what it is. hopefully i enjoy markus' latest album, but even if i don't i'll still support him because i like what coldharbour does as a label.
Make the music that is deep inside u. Dont make music just to get gigs and get noticed or to appear on MTV. Nobody will respect ur work as they know why it was made. Some music breathes a breath of life from the producer. These works are masterpieces. U have made a lot of them Markus. Keep up the amazing soulful work u can make and drop the get me noticed stuff. Its not doing u any good. As u developed a massive following who respected ur work so much they will not respect a massive change just for that reason. Ur better than this Markus. The past few year ive followed ur sound since the day u supported deep chemistry and ive watched the scene change so much. I chased it last year and Rejection made me notice what REAL music is.
Keep it real mate. U Know The Score. Afterall uve been around the block as they say.
First of all I must say that Ericc B and Sivro sums up my feelings perfectly.
I respect people who have the courage to be honest with those they love or admire. I think Markus deserve our honesty. Criticism is necessary and useful. Nowadays if you don't like something your considered a hater. I think that sycophantic, uncritical, ass-kissing fans ('fams') are the worst. Most people tell you only what they think you want to hear... so I hope that you (Markus) appreciate our honesty.
I don't want to pretend that i like your new styl as much as the old. Pitch bend...that is the trend I hope goes out of trance soon!
I can't say that I like all the tracks from SCREAM. Love Rain Down - typical SHM/Avicii sound. Scream - terrible. Universe is Mine - her voice irritates me, Push the Button not my thing but that's just my opinion. There are tracks on the album that I already like ;) Nothing Without Me - I loved this from the very first moment I heard it. I am glad you discovered Ana. 'Silence to the call' ohhhh Wellenrausch (Markus - one of the sexiest male voices I've ever heard ). Soul Seeking (a little bit oldschool.), Loops and Tings, Digital Madness. This is going to be an Album you have to heard a few times to grow on you.
Its not my favorite album but you are still my favorite Dj, GDJB is till my fav radioshow, CLHR is still my fav label. I will always support Coldharbour heroes like Basil, Tucandeo, Rex, Wellenrausch coz they are keeping the real coldharbour sound alive !
btw You once said (chatroom) " Let's just say the current sound of what people think is trance, is not what I got into this scene for. It is not what I signed up for...I am angry at the trance scene right now so I have to make some tracks that express what I am feeling "