Belgian artist Yves Bash


Belgian trashy-electro-pop artist Yves Bash has been on my hit list for years. In the following interview he says that “In music everything is possible”. No stranger to large crowds, festivals and global events, he wishes to play at The Republic of Kazantip this year, and will continue working hard in the studio for some more monumental new tracks. He follows his own very unique style, to the bitter end.

It is with great respect in music, that I present, Yves Bash to BnB readers.

What inspires you about music?

I’ve always loved music since my younger age. I was influenced by electro body music, new wave, punk and rock. What I like about music is the melody and energy, and a very important thing for me it’s voices. But I think I’m inspired every-day by everything around me.

How would you describe your sound?

It’s always difficult to describe because I play a lot of things, but I will say electro-trashy-house

What is the strangest crowd you have ever seen while performing?

It was in Russia some years ago, it was my first time there, and I had a feeling of freshness when I played (certainly with the vodka LOL) . I experienced the feeling of having an audience with another listening ability, like some virgin ears. Epic.

The most favourite festival that you’ve either been to / or played at? Are you thinking of going to legendary Republic of Kazantip?

I have to say that if was the Dissonant festival in Belgium I really liked the atmosphere. It’s funny that you talk to me about Kazantip, because I would like to go as everyone great has played there. But perhaps my music is a little too hard. Anyway, I say it’s funny because this year I will certainly go to the Ukraine and to visit Kazantip. And you never ever know, maybe I’ll play there!

What are you looking forward to in this year?

I would certainly like to do more production work. And without a doubt, come play in South Africa 😉

(Andrea: YAY!!)

What track changed your life musically growing up, that when you listened to the music of that band or that song, your life has never been the same?

All of the music from Depeche Mode. It is thanks to them that I began to love electronic music. The first track that really made me vibrate, has to be Kevin Saunderson – Rock to the Beat

Would you recommend a career in music for anyone?

When I started in the industry a few years ago yes, but honestly right now it is hard to reach a top level. You need to believe and work hard, because there are a lot of more DJs and producers than before.  It’s with democratization since many years ago, towards the production and the arrival of digital where everyone becomes a “pseudo” DJ. But I believe that technology kills the true definition of the word DJ. But this is the inevitable evolution in the industry. I will say that first of all, an artist must do everything with pleasure in mind. And, if it works well and it is good, then this may be the way to a real profession. But first of all, it’s all about the fun!

What advice would you give a rock artist, wanting to change his style into a more electro and dance direction?

I think it’s necessary to keep it basic musically, and not try to copy but bring in some new things.

In music everything is possible.

TIP: I highly recommend getting hooked up to his monthly mixes from soundcloud, such as the following latest ones:




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TIM STARK – Stark Profiles PR

People making it in the music industry: Tim Stark


We all dream of working in the music industry, and South African Editor Andrea Steyn of caught up with Tim Stark of Stark Profiles PR, U.K.



Bnb: It’s great to meet someone as successful as you, that is ‘making it’ in the music scene. So here we go with a few questions about it all:

Can you describe the company that you are currently with? What does the company do, and what do you do there? (I noticed you are one of the big shots). Is it by any chance your own company?

TS: I own and manage StarkProfilesPR. We’re a boutique public relations agency, servicing trance DJ/producers and dabbling from time to time in a wee bit of house!

BnB: Where are you based in the globe?

TS: We’re based in Oxford in the UK. It’s equidistant between London and the UK’s second city, Birmingham. So geographically (for the UK at least) we’re happy!

BnB: It would be great to find out how you ended up in this position right now. How long have you worked towards this goal?

TS: In terms of how I ended up in it, well publicity and public relations is a curious beast. It’s not a job anyone ever really walks into on day one in the music biz. Regardless of the industry, it’s something you have to have had lots of peripheral/build-up experience to tackle. It’s a ‘school-of-life’ thing. I started in dance music behind the counter of a record store in ’94, got into DJing, moved to work as the sales manager for a London-based record distributor (Amato, RIP). Whilst there I started co-producing in the studio with some incredibly talented guys I met and launched the ATCR record label. Around the same time I started writing/reviewing trance for DJ Mag and went on to open a mail-order record store. As a publicist you need a good all-round insight into how the industry system works and that only comes from having experienced it. I always say, the only job that requires more all-round experience than a PR agent, is an artist manager! That is seriously the most previous-experience-mandatory job there is.

BnB: Would you say your success is based on luck, or sheer hard work?

TS: Everyone catches a lucky break sometimes. I’ve had a couple. My most memorable one was when someone overheard a phone call on the way into London early one morning in 1997. I won’t bore you with all the details, but after that everything changed. I believe the harder you work, the more involved you are, the more you get yourself out there, then the more lucky moments you’re likely to have. Strangely, in this instance, luck actually becomes something of a numbers game!

BnB: Did you ever imagine that you would be where you are today? Do you have any thoughts on us plebs wanting to get into a similar line of work? We are often told to rather study a business degree, or do accounting (or like me being pushed into doing a science degree by my parents). It’s often true that you study one thing, and end up working another thing.

TS: Hey, I’ve done plenty of plebby jobs! Hasn’t everyone?! In short though, no, I probably didn’t think I’d get where I am today. Does anyone?!! When I first had my head turned by dance music, the industry was a club. The fabled Balearic Mafia. The people who were in that club were (quite rightly) the people who created the scene. If you wanted in you had to have something serious to contribute to it. Quite tough for someone who didn’t know one end of a keyboard (or a Technics 1210) from the other! My parents never pushed me in any direction, almost to a fault in fact. It did mean that when ‘the door’ opened a crack I was unencumbered and more than in a position to throw myself into it.

BnB: So, what kind of opportunities exist in the music industry? Is it really a solid life-long career that any person can consider? What specific role do you fulfil in the industry right now?

TS: You often ask yourself if it is a lifelong career. I believe it is. The music industry is ALWAYS changing though and it is about adapting to those changes. That’s one of the things I love about it. You’re always being kept on your toes. My role is pretty simple on paper. Whatever one of my 24/7 clients do, I take it to all outlets of the media and try to develops as much exposure as possible out of it. These days, in terms of new opportunities, well two words: ‘social’ and ‘media’!

BnB: Now, I noticed that your company has such an All Star Cast of the most happening performers that the dance music scene has to offer. Gosh, I would love to know how this all happened and how long it took to get there.

TS: In 2005 an artist and mate I’d been working for 5 years or so was advised by his DJ agent that he needed a publicist. I’d been in the record label game for 6 years, had some itchy feat, also had some journo experience. So when it was offered, I took the job. It’s built from there really and, as a move, it is truly the one I’m happiest with in my career.

BnB: Are there any special achievements you have achieved that you would like to share?

TS: In the summer of 1993 I wrote a stupendously badly punctuated letter to DJ Mag asking if I could scribe for them. Rather unsurprisingly, I didn’t receive an immediate answer. It is probably my bit of dance music wish-fulfilment that 8 years later they took me on as their trance reviewer. I do still have concerns (read: re-occurring nightmares!) that they have the original letter on file somewhere though! I’ve got James Horrocks to thank for the job. James, wherever you are, thanks amigo!

BnB: What is your hit prediction for the winter season (which is summer here in the northern hemisphere)?

TS: Ooof, tough! Well I did hear a track from the forthcoming Markus Schulz album last Saturday night, which should have come pre-stamped with the words ‘game changer’. I’ve not been able to stop listening to it since. In the genre the trance-dub-step bubble seems to be growing. I thought I was going to hate that, and find it really contrived, but it’s actually growing some pretty decent music.

BnB: What is your most desired event that you would like to attend in the next year (ok, and of course, we will exclude the holiday to South Africa I am bringing you to).

BnB: Haha! We’ll that’d be Transmission in Prague. I’ve been the last 2 years running and the atmosphere and production is incredible. Since Trance Energy was put up (prematurely!) on bricks, it hass kind of taken its place as the foremost independent event in the scene.

BnB: What song or band changed your entire life that once you heard the music of that band or that song, your life was never the same?

TS: Soooooo boring an answer, but it is always, only and forever will be the same. ‘Unfinished Sympathy’. I’m seriously getting goose bumps writing the words. How mad is that?

BnB: Thank you so much for sharing the love.

TS: thanks to you guys. Good exercise for me this 😉




Stark Profiles PR

00 44 (0) 77 33 11 88 41
PO Box 272 | Headington | Oxford | OX38FJ
27 Terrett Avenue | Oxford | OX38FE

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Once in a decade, a new artist will create shockwaves and create a new language in music. Proudly Italian trio Esperanza release their self titled album on Gomma on the 5th December 2011. Esperanza consists of members Carlo Dall’Amico (also known as producer Cécile), bass player Matteo (from the discoband called Disco Drive) and Sergio (Indie-pop producer who has toured with the band Hot Gossip). They have united forces for the first time on this monumental musical production. They describe their music as having the ability to enable people to ‘interact deeply socially without the need to talk’. All three guys play different instruments and have been playing and producing music for years.

Esperanza are a combination of huge musical talent, fantasy, knowledge of musical history and great technical ability on this unique self titled debut album. Think Dussledorf electronics, mid 90’s Detroit techno, or even the distinct sound that the music of Air on ‘Virgin suicides’ we’ve never forgotten. The album entitled Esperanza has psychedelic vibes and is something left from the middle. The ‘Dead Can Dance’ type euphoric atmosphere continues in haunts of some of the tracks that should be played loud and live, and hopefully soon. Supported by artists like Laurent Garnier, Luke Solomon and James Holden, the album holds an intense presence.

  1. Where do you call home?

Home is where your grandma is.

  1. What do you call yourself professionally?

Student / Musician / Producer

  1. So how would you describe your sound

It’s world music

  1. What has been a big influence to drive you into the studio to do producing?

It’s all natural and it started so long ago and progressively stepped up that we couldn’t point out what drove us there in the first place.

  1. From what age can you say electronic music touched you?

18 / 23 / 32 (and he’s only 30!)

  1. In your life, everyone has a life defining band or song, that after listening to that track/band, your life is never the same, describe.

Daft Punk / Arthur Russell / Massimo Ranieri

  1. What’s playing in your car right now, or what do you listen to on a Sunday at home?

Last thing that came out the living room speakers yesterday night: Voodoo by D’Angelo. Recently we’ve been listening a lot to Rhythm & Sound and Laraaji.

  1. Your DJ career certainly took off rapidly can you remember your first performance? Have you been back there since?

We actually don’t have a DJ career together, Esperanza is a new project. Each of us have come from other projects which are different from each another.

  1. You have released this amazing new album, that’s immense talent. How on earth do you put an album together? How long does the whole production take?

Dai… dici a tutte così! Lenghty, a struggle to synthesize what was born as even lengthier jams between friends who shared a same vision

  1. What is unique about the productions, and your favourite track?

The overproduction is unique to the album. All our tracks have their own story, both concept-wise as on the making-of side. But it’s like your babies, you just can’t love one more. Sure the kid who gives us the most satisfaction as parents (good grades in school, no troublemaking, and nonetheless great midfielder in the local team) is Aliante Giallo.

  1. What label are you with? Can you describe them, and your unique relationship?

Our label is Gomma. Our relationship is definitely unique. We tend to be very picky about stuff, but at the same time we’re always late for deadlines. And then Mathias just writes a mail in pseudo-italian and we can’t help but think we love those guys.

  1. Family support?

Our album is on heavy rotation in our respective parents’ cars. But you know:

Ogni scarrafone è bell’ a mamm’ soja

  1. What does music do for the crowds that you have personally seen?

Lets them deeply interact socially without the need to talk. It creates a comfort zone, definitely some magic going on.

  1. What is a good opening track or closing track for a live performance? These always stick in my mind.

We only did live performances so far, and we have only one album worth of material, so currently we start our sets with the album intro (which is a sort statement) and end with the first single Jaipur for the final rush.

Thank-you for sharing!

Recommended: ‘Jaipur’ which is the second track release from the album it is deep, dark and driving.

Esperanza track listing

  1. Wasting our Time
  2. Sirena
  3. Aliante Giallo
  4. Hanamachi
  5. Fiore
  6. Jaipur
  7. Whale
  8. Ink
  9. Harp

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Figu Ds: From Chile to Italy Linking Continents with Music

Hands up if you think that the country Chile burned a mark on the map of progressive music. From the country are artists like Luciano and Villalobos that have created an entire genre and taken it to the rest of the world. The euphoric label Cadenza is a success story we’ve all heard of. We know that sometimes there is more to music than what hits the ears. I caught up with DJ Figu Ds (Figu Ferrufino) who is proudly Chilean, living in Italy and the brains and front man behind the exceptional Entertainment United Network.

Figu Ds is currently a DJ/producer workaholic idealist following his dreams. Since 2001 playing festivals and clubs all over South America, travelling to many countries (Chile, Bolivia, Argentina, Brazil) he has seen the true underground culture from the forefathers Luciano/ Villalobos/Hernan Cattaneo, who back in the day used to be residents in their cities. He decided that the next logical step was to produce music, and also started the Entertainment United Network foundation wanting to change some paradigms and give people a way to really express what they want

Figu Ds has taken the time to try and get the true sound of Latin America, by taking a piece of each country visited and using “their own folk music and basically going deep into the traditional sounds and instruments”. The talented man reflects this in his work by combining it with using urban trends in the genres techno, minimal and tech house. His unique sound is a personally escorted tour around Latin America. He says that “The value of my roots and the reflection of that on Who or What I Am, is what I want express to the people and to the world through my music. I constantly try to show what I believe in”.

He is currently working on a documentary project ‘We Are Sudamerican Beat’ which will show the world how the movement in Chile started, picking the main actors of this currently global effect on labels like Cadenza and shows like the “Vagabundos” that these days are the most popular shows at all the major festivals. “Watching all this is stimulating, especially watching the friends and artists that I used to see when I was younger, it triggers this desire to build something different to all that we have seen so far: where labels, promoters and artists can really be in touch with people and make them the ones in charge to choose their favourites”.

He believes that music is a common language no matter which country, religion you come from, you will always enjoy music. From one country to another we can see a strong difference which makes each unique, and as a matter a fact he says that he really loves listening to this difference and integrating these sounds together. Right now there is a new revolution of creativity from the young emerging talents, with all the technological advances and the strong influence of this information era. Figu Ds believes that it’s easy to get inspired to create and reflect our selves. “The technology is there so it is all up to you to create and make something that remains in time and hearths. I’m always implementing new stuff in my DJ or Live sets trying to release all my emotions including what I am on each presentation”.

Figu Ds feels that the industry has many flaws, for example websites like DJ Mag or Beatport, that according to him have been corrupted by the traditional methods of the industry. Just go to and take a look on the top downloads and you will see the same label with more than four tracks there. According to him they are basically being impartial and not even the greatest anthems of the music world reach those ranks (The Beatles, the Doors, etc). “Either the websites are been corrupted by the labels, or the labels are buying their own music in order to be always on the top.”

“Let the people be the instruments to choose and support their favourite artist and give the promoters and event organizers a way to get in touch with the wave of new artists. Enough of all the same names and their ridiculous fees. When people hit fame they forget that the important thing is the people, the fans who will always follow them. We are here for us and they are the cause of it all, so we are here for each other at the end.”

Figu Ds is the brains and front man behind Entertainment United Network. The foundation has evolved with the hope to change traditional paradigms and also give people a way to really express what they want. “I decided that things should be different!” Currently at the start up of the organisation, it has taken a long time to find the right people to invite to be part of this EUN project, but now we are slowly moving it up a notch and currently have around 30 volunteers from Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Indonesia and EEUU. It has taken a year to organise and define the objectives, mission, technology etc that will support the projects.

Linking continents and cultures in a peaceful way, the EUN Project is an organisation that proposes a feasible plan of action for social change within the entertainment world. One that works towards an innovative and sustainable way to work between all the expressions of art involved within entertainment. It outlines an alternative way to strive towards the classic methodologies of doing business, and find a way to express the artistic side. The foundations mission is to be different and creative, using an open and auto sustainable network solution.

There are two layers, firstly relating to the actual business side of the entertainment industry and the talent. The second is creating a community of the talented people (in photography, graphic design, writing, video and documentaries etc.) who want to promote their work. EUN will support important causes and people trying to reach their dreams that are often hard as an individual.

Figu Ds has a busy schedule “I think this year will be a constant rush for me. I’m currently focused on producing music and releasing these sounds to the people, so I’m really excited about that. I’m working in many projects involving music, events and even films and documentaries so you can expect a lot of stuff coming.  I would like to see that people enjoy this constant hard work and I’m very curious about how it will be received.”

Living in northern Italy in Trieste on the border of Austria, Slovenia and Croatia, Figu Ds surely knows the world he should know a thing or two about the best music scene. “Brazil and their people will be at the top of my list. The energy and vitality of the people from there can’t be compared with any other place I’ve been so far. Certainly I am always looking for my next big experience which I think will be at kaZantip Festival, let’s hope it all goes well!”

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Described as ‘Forward Thinking House Music’ by Francesco Pico, he releases his third album on the 5th of December 2011 called ‘Absolutely Flabbergasted’ on Manual Music. The label from Paul Hazendonk has literally shaken the world, and this album is no exception. In the following interview we got the low down on what it means to be a naturally talented producer. Proudly Dutch, the release is Francesco Pico’s third full-length album, following 2007’s Imagining Sounds (Extrema Music) and 2009’s Imagining Sounds 2 (Outside The Box Music). Absolutely Flabbergasted takes Pico into previously unexplored territory, and it feels as though he has broadened his list of musical influences considerably.

BnB loves original music and an artist that goes beyond boundaries with his unique style. The album will be available on all other online music retailers from December 5th. You can buy the album physically on and the Manual MusicFacebook page.

What makes you stand out from the usual Dutch Melting Pot of Talent? Your sound is very unique and true to your own style, which is the first thing I noticed about your album.
I don’t know, it’s just that I do what I do. I never “try” to make a certain style. I just sit down in my studio and start to play. Well, what is important to me is that music is more than just one song. I’ve always been fascinated by the longer pieces of music and albums that have a true narrative. Narration is the only thing that’s in my mind before I start; I know the direction and what kind of feelings I want the listener to experience. The rest happens while working.

Can you describe one moment in your music career, where you knew things would never be the same?
I think when I started to create Imagining Sounds 1, in 2007. For me it was the moment I chose to do what I really want. In the years before my environment and my uncertainty let me jump through different styles and this sometimes forced me to do things that weren’t really me. At Imagining Sounds 1, I let go of it and just let my feelings flow. After this my career really took off and ever since I have the chance to work for my favourite labels and I’m noticed and played by the DJ’s I listen myself. I never gave up this feeling and always do what I feel no matter what the world thinks about it.

How would you describe your sound, in your own words?
Forward Thinking House Music all night long with no boundaries as long as it’s made out of passion, and not taken too seriously… I don’t like think in a box as I really like different grooves and think that a night in the club needs more diverse styles to make it interesting. That’s exactly what I try to do in my work, I combine styles, tracks and inspiration from all sounds, maybe that’s my sound.

What is your favourite moment during the new album?
Hard to say, I think I like the finish part most, but it’s a whole piece and every part has his own share to make it complete.

Where do you call home, and work from?
My iPhone….? Just kidding. I live in Vlaardingen. a town near The Hague and Rotterdam and I’m happy to have my studio at home.

Is there any artist that you like to collaborate with, or do you prefer working on your own?
I’m really a pain in the ass if it comes to collaborate because I always think I know best and what’s in my head must come out. But there are many artists I would like to work with, at this point I would say an artist like Maria Mena would be awesome, or maybe some other interesting and challenging project with artists not from the house scene.

Who has shaped your music style, if anybody?
It all started with Boney M when I was 3 years old, I was really fascinated by the intro track of the “Flight night to Venus” album with the rhythms and synths. Through Queen I had a period of Rock in my young ages and after that I started to listen more and more to artists like Mike Oldfield, Camel, Alan Parsons, Eloy and Pink Floyd.

I discovered House Music in 1990. In my hometown The Hague I started to go out more and DJ Remy was the first one that got me on the dance floor; his loops and sets were really intelligent and I think he gave me some basic Taste for what House Music means for me. Later I started to listen to Sasha and the early GU series and at this moment Hernan Cattaneo is always on my iPod. I think my style is shaped by all these experiences and artists. Even when I work on Dance music I still sometimes notice the flow of, for instance, Camel or Oldfield. And my colleagues like Eelke Kleijn, Roell Sapphire and others I worked with also have an influence on my style, we influence each other….

Tell us a bit more about Manual Music?
Great Dutch Label! Run by good friend and great artist Paul Hazendonk. Paul and I know each other for many years already, I used to buy my records at the famous Basic Beat in Rotterdam where he worked and we started some projects back then. At this moment Manual is grown to a steady label and I’m proud to be one of the artists. I think the label and I share the same musical philosophy; quality music with no boundaries but don’t take it to serious J

Finally – when are you coming to South Africa?
Well that’s a good question, I’m really focussing on my studio career right now, but you never know!

Francesco Pico’s Absolutely Flabbergasted is out December 5th on Manual Music.

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Interview with Ferry Corsten for

Ferry Corsten

Full on Ferry

So thrilled to see the release of the new compilation “Full On Ferry: Ibiza”, yet another release this year! So I had the pleasure of a few questions with the ferryman

  1. You have a very exciting new residency at the new club Sankeys. How did your first night go down?          It was a fun opening night. I had Michael Woods and Aly & Fila playing back to back with me in the main room.  We are already a couple of night underway, we had Sander van Doorn and Marco V also dropping by.
  2. Ibiza is surely pumping at the moment, how do you balance your time between the Balaeric Islands and your other gigs?                 We have rented a nice villa at the island. Last week I played there 3 nights and between Ibiza I fly  to a lot of other countries since it tends to be festival season. There are also a lot of clubs that are open only during the summer. Last week in between Ibiza I travelled to Romania and to Germany for Nature One
  3. What is your favourite secret beach location on the island?  Not many people know the vast amount of stunning beach locations and gorgeous scenery to explore in Ibiza. Salinas is the best beach if you’d ask me.
  4. How did the idea of the CD compilation culminate, and how long has the project taken to actualise?              We did it in a month. A lot of the artist that play at Full On Ferry are also on the CD.
  5. If you could name one favourite place that you’ve played at, which country/city would that be? Sometimes these can be the smallest events in the most interesting places.          Too many to mention…of the top of my head unique places are Argentina and Japan. Clubbers there are different from the world. It’s an experience to play there! Loads of fun!
  6. We have great festivals in the world these days such as Mysteryland (which I’ve been to three years in a row). Do you think that Holland has made its mark in the history of the greatest festivals of all time?            We have great festival that have been around for a long time. Festivals like Dance Valley, Mysteryland and Sensation. Sensation is a worldwide concept that travels the globe.
  7. I like to call it The Dutch Melting Pot of Talent. What do you feel contributes to the success of so many successful electronic music Dutch artists? What has been your motivation to get to where you are today?             I was just a freak for music. I always tried to make new music whenever I had the time. Then I produced “Out Of The Blue” under my System F alias and suddenly the train started running and never stopped.
  8. Surely going home to take part in Queens Day or even Sinterclaus day is special. How often do you find yourself sleeping in your own bed? What is your schedule like?               In the weekends I almost never sleep in my own bed. I am touring 90% of the weekends. I’m probably travelling and playing about 30% during the week. When I am at home, I am usually home on a Monday till Thursday. Not this summer due to my Full On Ferry Ibiza residency which is on Tuesdays. So busy time now.
  9. Can you think of one track/band/artist that changed your life growing up, that when you heard that track or album, your life has never been the same again (mine is ‘Little Fluffy Clouds’ from The Orb)                 Vangelis.
  10. If you go to a friends house-party as a guest, do you normally take some backup music just in-case they need help?             No actually I don’t. I am just Ferry and not DJ Ferry Corsten when I am a at friend’s house party.
  11. What’s playing in your car right now, or what music do you listen to on a Sunday for example?                   Right now I am in the middle of producing my new artist album. So all tracks or demo’s I make, I listen to in my car. On a Sunday I am usually flying back from a gig
  12. What do your family say about your music? Like what does your mom or dad say about you?

They like what I do and they have always been very supportive luckily. Sometimes my mom and dad come and see me when I am playing in the Netherlands. I think they are proud of what I have achieved throughout the years.

  1. If you had to mention one moment in your musical career, that really made your heart shiver, what comes to mind?              Maybe it was the first time I heard that “Out Of The Blue” was played by the big names in the game those days. It really was my breakthrough.

Thanks for taking the time to share with

And thank you for the interview


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Markus Schulz the magician thoughts on how to open your mind

Markus Schulz presents Dakota: Thoughts Become Things II

At the release of his second album this month “Markus Schultz presents Dakota: Thoughts Become Things II” take a peek behind the mind of the magician. Markus Schultz says that

“Music has the power to put us in a spiritual state/frame of mind. That’s one of the ways you open up your brain to new ideas and thinking, which in terms shapes the person you are”



Herewith an in-depth interview behind the smoke and mirrors:

You have mentioned before that in your early days you could hear drum

and bass producers, techno producers, and many others from the studio

you worked in, and subsequently your music today displays influences

from a myriad of musical backgrounds. How important is genre-blending

to you when finding your distinctive sound?

Markus: Oh, it’s essential. Approaching music that way was the foundation and making of dance music and what’s seen it endure for the all time it has.

Who were some of your earliest musical influences back in those early days?

Markus: well it’s and eclectic bunch. Let’s say these are both influences and inspirations, as there’s a subtle (but important) difference between the two. So Larry Levan would be one. He was essentially ‘the bridge’ between the very final days of disco and the dawn of house. Late 60s/early 70s rock outfits too like Manfred Mann and Pink Floyd; they were the people who really got me into music in the first instance. Also Aphrodite, the DnB producer, who I shared studio space with too, he really influenced my bass-lines.

Your label Coldharbour Recordings derives from the street

name of your studio in Brixton back in your earlier years. We hear

this was a time in your life when you felt you had to take a step back

from the scene to really find out who you were as an artist, and hence the

Coldharbour sound was born in the hours spent in Coldharbour Lane.

During that introspective period in your life, what did you discover

about yourself and how did you define your role in the music industry?

Markus: it was more introspective in relation to the music as opposed to myself, I think, though the two are naturally joined in some manner. What I learned, I guess, was that without doing something markedly different from what everyone else was doing would mean that you only were ever going to get so far in the scene. There’s going to be a ceiling to what you can achieve. So I looked to find a different sound. What that tends to mean is that you’re going to spend some time out in the cold, which people adjust and (hopefully) begin to accept the path you’re going down. In 2009 I did a similar thing with Dakota and really looked to shake things up again.

We all have our ups and downs in our careers. What has given you the

inspiration to persist through the darker times over the years?

Markus: I guess I’m quite lucky in as much as there’s now been too much in the way of darker times in my career. I guess around the start of the millennium, when I was trying to find the sound that was right and then hoping both the understanding and market would be there for it perhaps? But I think in all honesty I was just having such a good time making it, I didn’t think too much about that!

Coldharbour Recordings today is known for promoting upcoming, young

and dynamic producers. What processes do you go through to find these

undiscovered gems?

Markus: demoes all the way! At lot of it comes in from my team. They’ll flag something up as hot, I’ll jump on it and if I’m hearing it too (which more often than not is the case) I’m signing it!

What are your top 5 qualities you look for when signing new talent to


Markus: Originality, creativity, production polish and motivation.  A reasonable understanding of how the industry works is always good too!

With that in mind, who are some upcoming names we should have on our

radars this year?

Markus: from my stable, I’d say Aerofoil, Skytech, Klauss Goulart, Saint X, Rex Mundi and others. Outside of that I’m a big fan of what Sunnery James and Ryan Marciano are doing in the studio together at the moment.

With so many producers out there hoping to break into the scene,

what is your greatest tip to stand out above the rest?

Markus: easy! It’s the one I’ve always gone by. Make the music you want to make and the music that you think is good. Follow that and if you’ve got the talent to match, it’ll happen!


Can you tell us about your pre-gig ritual? Do you approach large

festival performances differently to club shows?

Coffee! It’s my only major ritual/vice and it’s a serious one!

In terms of approaching those two types differently, no. The only type that I’ll look at in another manner is if I’m playing a much longer set or an all-nighter (which I love to do!).

One of the most outstanding features about your live performances is

your set progression and set development. Is this something you

consciously consider while playing and if so, how do you go about

ensuring you achieve such progression in your performances?

Markus: I mix harmonically/in-key, which essentially means that the music is doing some of ‘the driving’ when it comes to setting the overall mood/feel/energy level of a set section. It also means that your actual track-to-track mixes are that much more seamlessly, while also allowing you to cross over between established EDM sub-genre borders that much smoother. It’s basically the holy grail of mixing techniques; back when I started it took a lot of time to master!

What are the qualities that make a DJ performance outstanding in your eyes?

Markus: music selection, mixing, and crowd interaction are all important. Ultimately though it’s an equation: venue capacity multiplied by feet on the floor multiplied by smiles on faces. The higher the count, the more outstanding the performance!!

Some DJs say that the role of at DJ should be 100% entertainment,

others claim that education plays a very significant role. Where do

you personally sit in the debate; do you feel a DJ should concentrate

purely on delivering a set packed with tracks the audience know and

love or do you feel education should be a priority?

Markus: Edutainment! Cross between the two. You’ve got to please the diehards who know a track as soon as you’ve ID’d it in a set or on the radio for the first time. You’ve also got to entertain the more casual event goer, who is going to want to hear a ‘friendly’ or known track throughout the night.

With the technological evolution in mind, do you see the age

of hardware-based productions behind us?

Markus: people were forecasting that as far back as 2005. It’s not happened yet, but that’s not to say it won’t. As things stand at the moment though, to me a track isn’t a track until it’s been put up on a satisfying large desk!

With so many tracks, compilations, artist albums and countless track

reconstructions, do you ever suffer from writer’s block or creative

blockages and if so, how do you get your creative juices flowing


Markus: it might surprise people to hear me say ‘no’ to that question. It’s never happened to a degree that lasted longer than say a couple of hours (I know people who’ve suffered from it for weeks and months). The secret is to have an outlet (like Dakota) and constantly be listening to other music, old and new.


Your latest album is the follow-up release to “Thoughts Become Things”

under your Dakota alias. Can you tell us a little bit about how this

moniker compares to releases under “Markus Schulz” and is there one

outfit you enjoy producing under more than the other?

Markus: The three unwritten rules of Dakota. There are (next to) no vocals on the tracks and the tempo range is tighter – running between 126 – 132bpms and they explore tech/house/progressive and occasionally electro-ish paths as well as trance. Dakota allows me to explore the club side of my mind (as opposed to the more radio-orientated side). In terms or preferring one or the other, no, but let’s say that a change is just as good as a rest!

What progression and changes can you identify between  “Thoughts

Become Things II” in 2011 and “Thoughts Become Things” in 2009?

Markus: Stylistically the album picks right up where the first one left off. The first three tracks could be the last ‘missing’ ones from the first album. It is a sequel in everything including name, and one I’m very happy with.

We notice a lot of the track titles on the album make references to

places you have visited in your tours; from Cape Town to Brazil and

beyond. What aspects of touring do you draw your inspiration from?

Markus: predominantly the inspiration comes from the club and the people. That’s what I see most of. However when you name a track – as I have on this album – after a place it’s usually because I’ve had an incredible time there, both in an out of the club!

Your new track Sleepwalkers features a childhood hero of yours, Mele

Mel. Can you see rap making a stronger presence in trance and techno

productions into the future the way its done through electro recently?

Markus: very hard to determine, but ultimately that wasn’t what the collaboration with Mel and Scorpio was about. I’m not trying to open up a new front here. It was about a guy getting to make a track with two people who he worshiped when he was a kid!

What is your favourite track on your new album and why this is such a

standout in your eyes?

Markus: I kind of shy from the ‘favourite’ thing. In the respect of the album I think it’s down to the people to tell me what their thoughts are there. I don’t want to accidentally prejudice anyone! From here on in, now the wrappers are off the music, I’ll use one set of tracks from the album to rock one kind of crowd and a different set to rock another. So it would be kind of hard to have a favourite; heh, I love ‘em all, that’s why they’re on there!


In today’s highly competitive music industry, there is a growing

belief that musical talent alone is no longer enough. Do you feel

aspects such as effective marketing and branding play a significant

role in today’s international electronic music scene or ultimately,

should your music should do the talking?

Markus: musical talent will take you some of / a lot of the way. But every single person in the music scene started as a one-person operation. No one comes along and says ‘I think you might have musical talent, I’m gonna put a team behind you’ the first day you start making tracks. You have to go a good deal of the initial establishing distance yourself, relying on your own instincts for guidance. The industry has changed out of hand in the last 6 years. No one music producer, not even the brightest, smartest or most savvy could expect to have grasped everything that happened as it happened. So you need to have that team around you that will be able to successfully take to market the music you produce. Otherwise it’s in danger of under-reaching.

You are extremely involved and connected to your fans; from your

online forum, to ongoing blogs, twitter and Facebook pages. What have

you found to be the most effective way to connect with fans around the


Markus: Facebook, Facebook, Facebook! I love Twitter to death. It’s so personal! But in the land of social media, F.B. is king!

A major theme running through your music is spirituality; from the

Title “Thoughts Become Things” to discussing in the past the

significance of the book “The Secret” in your life. What role do you

attribute to the power of the mind in achieving your goals?

Markus: let me put it this way and quite succinctly. If you don’t at least think it could happen, aint a damn chance it will! Positive thinking puts you on the playing field!

What connection do you personally draw between spirituality and the

power of music, and how is your music a reflection of this relationship?

Markus: Music has the power to put us in a spiritual state/frame of mind. That’s one of the ways you open up your brain to new ideas and thinking, which in terms shapes the person you are…  If that answers your question!

In your new DVD documentary documenting your “Do You Dream” tour, you

mention finding out that your father was himself a DJ in his early

years, despite not reuniting with each other until only recently. With

that in mind, do you feel musical talent and musical inspiration is a

product of nature or nurture, and what role do you sense destiny


Markus: I don’t want to sit on the fence with this one, but I sense I might seem like I’m about to! Nature is the predominant factor. If it wasn’t the expression ‘musical family’ wouldn’t exist! No one gets seriously into making music unless they absolutely love it and has an affinity for it. That said I’ve met plenty of people who are they only musician from there tribe and it doesn’t seem to have hurt their careers in the slightest!

Finally, what is the biggest lesson you have learnt since breaking

into the international scene that you wish you had known at the start

of your musical journey?

Markus: It WILL all come out all right, just so long as you apply yourself hard enough!

Interviewed by: Dani Dakova Dae

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