When the Coronavirus shut us down, clubs and festivals ceased, and everyone was essentially forced inside with no definitive end in sight, DJ Times wondered: How is our tribe coping? How are DJs getting by? So, we sent out our “Coronavirus Questionnaire” to DJ/producers from all musical genres to find out.
During the crisis, DJ Times will be presenting the questionnaire responses from talented music-makers from all over the world. Here’s our latest Stateside installment: Miami-based trance titan Markus Schulz, the only jock to be voted America’s Best DJ three times.
What’s it like where you are? Adina and I have been self-isolating at home after getting back into Miami a couple of weeks ago, and very much obeying the stay-at-home mantra. We are essentially in lockdown, and the only place I’m leaving the house for is buying essentials at the grocery store.
Have you lost income-producing work? When the pandemic escalated, the first casualty ended up being the entirety of Miami Music Week, which included our Coldharbour Recordings label night, my open-to-close party at Wynwood Factory on the closing night, and the Ultra Music Festival. That same weekend I was also due to play the Beyond Wonderland festival in California. All of the scheduled gigs in April are either postponed or canceled.
What are you doing now that’s ultimately constructive to your music life/career? I’m currently working on two defining projects – my next artist album and my next mix compilation, and they were always going to keep me busy regardless if I was at home or on the road. It is difficult, however, especially with regards to the artist album, in that I much prefer working with fellow artists and singers in person, in the same studio. I think that feeling of being able to feel the emotions of the collaborator in the same room is difficult to replicate.
What’s the most surprising thing you’ve realized during this period of social distancing? That we take so much of life for granted, and particularly those who work in health services. I think this crisis has demonstrated just how amazing, courageous and undervalued these people in our society are. When we come out of this, we have to appreciate everything in life more – whether it’s a gig or simply going out to a restaurant for a meal. I’ve always said this about fan safety and personal responsibility in clubs and festivals, and it applies exactly here, too: The best parts of the gig experience are being able to share those memories with friends and those important to you in the days, weeks and years after. Let’s make sure we make it to the other side to be able to do that.
Are you doing anything online? Yes, in various ways. If you are a DJ, or any sort of entertainer, you have to understand what an unbelievably lucky and privileged position you are in – because your music and your DJ sets can inspire people, help them heal, and provide them with a means of escape from the outside noise. The first thing I did was work on an extended four-hour mix for Global DJ Broadcast, and dedicated it to all of the fans in a “Community in Isolation” theme. Since then, I have been doing several live-video broadcasts of DJ sets from my balcony, across Facebook, Instagram and Twitch. Each quarter of the calendar year, I make a special, themed mix on Global DJ Broadcast to reflect a particular season. For the spring, it is an all-vocal trance mix called In Bloom. And with us in lockdown, having that little bit of emotion and magic is going to be even more important this year. It will be coming on April 9.
Any theme tunes recommended for the moment? If I could name three for the trancefamily:
– Delerium – Silence (Tiesto’s In Search of Sunrise Remix): To reflect the eeriness of looking out and seeing what should be busy and vibrant streets fall silent.
– Markus Schulz feat. Justine Suissa – Perception: This contains the line, “rise up together,” something that is vital for us everywhere in the world, in order to get through this period of uncertainty.
– KayCee – Escape (Dave Neven Remix): Use the power of music and, in my case, the power of trance and its melodies, to help us in finding solace and drowning out the noise when we need it.
Any advice on staying sane & relatively positive through this situation? Well, firstly, play your part in ensuring that you remain healthy and avoid contributing towards the spread. I’m sure almost all of us out there have someone important in their lives who would be classed as elderly – think of them during this time and do your best to help if you can, even if it’s a simple phone call to say hi. For your own wellbeing, keep your mind busy – either by reading, catching up on box sets and movies, and most importantly, catching up with friends and family. We are so lucky now with modern-day technology that video calling has never been easier. Life can be a blur and a heavy grind, so take the chance to find your source of contentment and happiness.
To check out more Life in Lockdown features, click here.
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