“Very Wild”: Markus Schulz On Why His 2023 Open-to-Close NYE Set Might Be the Best Yet

Markus Schulz‘s signature open-to-close sets are a New Year’s Eve staple year in and year out. But fans ringing in 2024 with the trance icon may very well be in for his best yet.

2023 saw Schulz release a huge album and take it on an ambitious tour, “The Rabbit Hole Circus.” Inspired by the vibrant and madcap aesthetics associated with magical realism, the tour’s striking production flung fans headlong into his creative universe all around the world.

So to say Schulz has momentum going into New Year’s Eve would be a gross understatement. As he prepares for another classic marathon DJ set at Avalon Hollywood, we caught up with him to discuss why this particular performance has the feel of a tour de force.

Check out Schulz’s interview with EDM.com below. You can buy tickets to his New Year’s Eve show in Hollywood on December 31st, 2023 here.

Markus Schulz.

Coldharbour Recordings

EDM.com: Your “open-to-close” New Year’s Eve shows at Avalon Hollywood in Los Angeles have become something of an annual rite for progressive and trance music lovers. What’s cooking for this year’s New Year’s Eve show there?

Markus Schulz: This is always a big show for New Year’s Eve, and it’s become a tradition, as I’ve been told. This is my 12th time doing it every year. It’s very special to ring-in the New Year with the people of Los Angeles and the people who fly in from all over the world to partake in my traditional open-to-close set.

EDM.com: For the uninitiated, what are you referring to when you say “open-to-close?”

Markus Schulz: Those are my special sets that usually run between 10 and 12 hours, nonstop. Hence the nickname, open-to-close.

EDM.com: It’s tough to think of any other DJ at your level who plays marathon sets like this. The preparation for such a long set must take up an immense amount of time. Aren’t you exhausted after a while?

Markus Schulz: You know me! The later the night gets—or the earlier in the morning—the weirder things are, and that’s when I thrive the most, musically.

EDM.com: We’ve heard clubbers describing your New Year’s sets as the best in all of Los Angeles. If you lived in LA, you could host your own New Year’s Eve house party, have that wind down and then still go out to Avalon afterwards. It’s raging until what, 8am? Well after the sun comes up, right?

Markus Schulz: You know, I have had so many amazing “Rabbit Hole Circus Tour” sets this year, so this year‘s open-to-close set at Avalon is going to be very wild. All of the tracks and sequences that have been so successful for me throughout the year will surely go over amazingly, and all the new stuff that I’m planning for the night should surprise everybody.

That’s the one thing about doing these open-to-close sets: there are so many hours, days, weeks and months of planning that go into it, as well as tried and tested tracks and sequences that I’ve perfected throughout the year. I am definitely excited for New Year’s Eve!

EDM.com: Shifting gears for a moment, we’ve seen footage from your set headlining Transmission Netherlands. Those were some truly epic visuals and stage production! What was the experience like for you?

Markus Schulz: Transmission is one of my favorite events in the world. It is one stage in a massive arena and the feeling of unity—people are not wandering around going to different stages—so it really makes for a beautiful vibe. This was the first time Transmission was held in a football stadium, and the result was incredible! I’m very excited and honored to be a part of this event year after year, and to see it growing like this is amazing.

EDM.com: Were you happy with the sound quality at Transmission Netherlands?

Markus Schulz: Well, since it was the first time the event was held in a football stadium, this size venue, obviously there are things that will be adjusted for future additions. But I honestly feel that from where I was, the sound was amazing. I’m looking forward to seeing and hearing all the little tweaks for future additions because it’s only going to make the experience better.

EDM.com: You have a new single coming out just after the New Year with HALIENE.

Markus Schulz: Yes, the single with HALIENE’s called, “Death of A Star.” I told her at the beginning of this project that I wanted to do something deeper and more of a “rabbit hole” vibe for this album, and she was all in on it. She loved the idea.

To be honest, this song came out so effortlessly because we had a vision for it, both musically and lyrically, for where it needed to go. I wish all the tracks that I made were this easy. Obviously, there will be some more banging remixes, but the original soul of the song is deeper and darker, for sure.

EDM.com: Can you chat about helming the new “In Search of Sunrise 19” mix compilation out now on Black Hole Recordings?

Markus Schulz: Yes, the new In “Search of Sunrise” compilation was just released and there’s quite a few of my remixes and originals. As I was working on my The Rabbit Hole Circus album, there were several tracks that just didn’t fit what I was trying to do, and I held them back to include them on this compilation. When I was mixing it, I went back into those projects and modified them so that they fit the mood perfectly.

That’s the beautiful thing about this compilation and the way that I approach it: I try to take each track and modify it to fit the mood of the set and where the song sits in the set. I’m very excited every year to do such a legendary mix series and looking forward to next year’s 20th anniversary edition, which I’m already planning some special things for.

EDM.com: With everything that’s happening in the world today, joining with fellow music lovers in a shared, communal experience is more important than ever in uniting us and spreading hope. What motivates and inspires you—as an artist and a performer—so that you have what’s needed to be onstage as the master-of-ceremonies? What keeps you going?

Markus Schulz: I think the thing that I’ve always taken onstage with me during these dark days is that somebody out there needs this experience. It doesn’t matter if it’s 50 people in the audience or 50,000 people. Somebody out there needs this experience and I am going to give them the best time of their lives. I’ve always been the type of artist who wants to give people an escape, and these days, the need is stronger than ever. Going up onstage, I feel a sense of purpose and responsibility.

Follow Markus Schulz:

Web: markusschulz.com
X: x.com/MarkusSchulz
Instagram: instagram.com/markusschulz
Facebook: facebook.com/markusschulz
Spotify: tinyurl.com/46k3zfzv

How Chris Luno Successfully Built a Touring Career From Youtube DJ Mixes [Interview]

Within the span of just a few years, Chris Luno has carved his path from recording a viral YouTube mix series to becoming an international touring sensation.

Having found his calling by attending a rave in Germany, Chris Luno embraced the scene and started solidifying his presence with DJ residencies in the Netherlands. Back in 2019, Chris embarked on a captivating YouTube mix series, with infectious sets in locations that range from awe-inspiring to cozy. This venture, which has now amassed an impressive 50 million collective views, not only showcased his mixing prowess but also catapulted him onto the global stage, earning him a collaboration with deep house mainstays Tube & Berger.

Chris Luno’s latest recorded mix is a 1-hour sonic journey from the Dolomites, a mountain range in northeastern Italy.

Now a full-time touring artist, Chris Luno’s influence extends well beyond his mixes. His productions, championed by industry giants like Diplo, Gorgon City, and Claptone, have garnered over 10 million streams on Spotify, while his diverse discography, found on labels such as Anjunadeep, This Never Happened, and Purified Records, underscores his versatility.

With his latest single, “See You Again,” released via Sekora, Chris weaves emotive vocals into an organic and deep house arrangement. This track is a testament to his signature style, characterized by emotive melodies and soothing production. As Chris Luno continues to ascend, “See You Again” marks another milestone in his journey from YouTube sensation to global dance music force.

Take a listen to “See You Again” below.

EDM.com: Transitioning from the realm of YouTube and the studio to the live energy of touring can be a significant shift. How did you adjust to the demands of touring life?

Chris Luno: Before working on my own project, I already got a taste of how touring as an artist looks like. Right after graduating my studies, I interned for German Deep House act Tube & Berger, where one of my roles was to handle their tour management. So already before my touring started, I knew what I was getting myself into.

When the touring got more I decided to only drink water during my shows, which really helps me stay productive. What also helps me to deal with jet lags and tour stress is taking some me-time before the show, doing cold showers, disco naps, morning saunas and also the occasional meditation. Also, if you’re traveling a lot, these hacks might help you too:

– When boarding the plane, wait outside until everyone else enters. This way you might find an empty row of seats where you could nap.
– Sign up for airline memberships and collect miles, it’s free and worth it.
– Bring your own bottle to the plane and get it refilled. It’s more sustainable and you can stay better hydrated than with tiny plastic cups.
– Download music production tutorials and watch them while traveling.
– Bring slippers on tour. This way every hotel room feels more homely.

EDM.com: What have been some of your most memorable moments on the road?

Chris Luno: Playing at the UEFA Champions League final festival in Istanbul was an absolute highlight this year. The experience really felt like a movie and I love how this gig came together: It turned out that there was a talent scout present at a previous performance I had in Istanbul. This scout apparently had a good time and then decided to book me a few weeks later.

EDM.com: At this point in your career, you’ve traveled the world and played at various iconic venues. How does your global exposure influence your current music, and do you draw inspiration from specific cultures or places?

Chris Luno: I love to immerse myself in the places that I’m staying. The longer I stay, the more it affects my creative output.

For example after moving to Berlin a few years ago, I sometimes went out just to listen to what music makes people dance. Just by putting myself into the perspective of a dancer, I’ve learned more about kick drums, basslines and arrangements, than by spending hours on music tutorials. I’ve produced quite a few tracks fueled from those lessons on the dancefloor. My recent release “Sterny” is one of them.

Also, when I spent some time in Bali last year, I got captivated by the traditional instruments that can be heard all over the island. The rhythms that are played, for example on a Gamelan, are really out of this world and don’t follow classic scales and structures. I didn’t use any of the actual sounds in my tracks but still learned a ton about grooves from this peculiar instrument.

EDM.com: Your productions have already received praise from a number of industry heavyweights. Are there any artists on your bucket list for future collaborations?

Chris Luno: Yes, there’s a long list at the back of my mind! I’d immediately jump on a collab with the following, that I’ve spent hours listening to, according to my Spotify Wrapped 2023 report: Marsh, Monkey Safari, Rezident, Stephan Jolk, DJ Koze, Jody Wisternoff, Nils Hoffman, Adam Port and Hot Since 82.

If one of you is reading this… slide in my DMs.

EDM.com: Looking ahead to 2024, what are your plans and aspirations? Any upcoming projects, collaborations, or milestones that you’re excited to share with your fans?

Chris Luno: Looking at next year, I’m looking forward to a nice blend between music writing, gigs and time spent with my wifey, friends and family.

When it comes to touring, I’m going to be in Cape Town, South Africa, early next year. From there, I’ll be playing a large-scale North & South America tour in spring, which is followed by a festival summer in Europe. In Autumn I’d love to be around Asia/Australia.

FOLLOW CHRIS LUNO:

Facebook: facebook.com/ChrisLuno
Instagram: instagram.com/chrisluno
X: x.com/chrisluno
Spotify: spoti.fi/3t36aHl