Interview With Markus Schulz Re: New Year’s Eve @ Avalon Nightclub in Los Angeles

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Markus Schulz is a Miami-based electronic dance music DJ and producer and three-time “America’s Best DJ” winner (source: DJ Times magazine). His aliases include Dakota, and he has recently released “Prestwick,” in collaboration with Los Angeles’ BT (real name: Brian Transeau). The as-yet-untitled new studio album by Markus Schulz is due out in time for summer 2023. This year marks Markus Schulz’s ninth year playing an “open-to-close” show at Avalon Hollywood. L.A. Weekly caught-up with the Coldharbour Recordings label chief and spoke with the celebrated, world-renowned DJ/producer about his imminent New Year’s Eve show.

LA Weekly: As 2022 draws to a close, our city is replete with New Year’s Eve events, as is the case with every large city in America. Tell us about your event and what makes it special?

Markus Schulz: I’m an electronic dance music (EDM) DJ and producer with a more than decade-long legacy of drawing music-fans out to my live shows. I do this year-‘round, not just on this one night of the year. As for New Year’s Eve, this will be the ninth year in-a-row that I’m playing what I call my “open-to-close” events at the legendary Avalon Hollywood, near the intersection of Hollywood and Vine in Los Angeles.

LA Weekly: What do you mean by the term, “open-to-close”?

Markus Schulz: In terms of live DJ performances, it’s essentially when I’m the artist performing the opening DJ set, peak-hour DJ set, and an “after-hours” DJ set, from the time the venue’s doors open straight through until curfew. I usually play until well past the following morning. It’s a blast!

LA Weekly: From years past, we know that more than a few celebrities show-up at your Avalon Hollywood New Year’s Eve shows. How would you describe the audience and the atmosphere of this particular show?

Markus Schulz: We sell-out the venue each year, and like I said, this is the ninth year in-a-row I’m playing Avalon Hollywood for New Year’s. The event has a proven track record and everyone has an amazing time. People from L.A. are really awesome and enthusiastic about having a good time, especially so on December 31st! The venue itself has a world-class, award-winning sound system, as well as top-notch lighting and visuals. A key factor in attracting globally recognized talent to your venue is having a state-of-the-art lighting and soundsystem that will allow the artist to showcase his or her talents the best.

LA Weekly: Can you talk a bit about your relationship with this city? Not only from playing your New Year’s Eve shows here for going on a decade, but the importance of this city to you overall.

Markus Schulz: L.A. has always been crucial and significant in my career. I’m based in Miami now, but in the early days when I was just starting-out as a DJ and my professional reputation started expanding outside of Miami, L.A. was one of the cities that gave me some early bookings. To be honest, it felt a little daunting to be playing in this city, at that time, because I mean, it’s Los Angeles! The entertainment capital of America. But over time, L.A. really embraced me and my sound. The dance music and especially trance music scene was very supportive of me and I felt like those people were very musically savvy. They welcomed me like a part of their family. Being able to succeed in L.A. made me feel more confident and it showed me that, if I was connecting with people in L.A., I’d be able to succeed in other international cities. Playing here is not something I take for granted.

LA Weekly: Avalon Hollywood has a storied reputation as being one of the leading nightclub and entertainment venues in the world. You yourself have earned the title of “America’s Best DJ” an impressive three times, as voted on by music fans from around the U.S. and world. How do you prepare for your open-to-close sets?

Markus Schulz: It’s an immense amount of preparation from a music programming standpoint, not just weeks, but months before New Year’s Eve actually arrives. I’m basically preparing for this show the entire year leading up to the date. It’s not just mentally preparing and devising how I’ll want the night to go, but it’s also a lot of physical preparation beforehand. The shows themselves are always a give-and-take with the audience and I’m constantly scanning the faces and body language of the people on the dancefloor, and it’s never a totally pre-programmed set. I do have the special tracks and songs I want to play during key moments of the night, but there’s also a degree of spontaneity I have to allow in my sets based on how the crowd reacts. Since I’m not taking even a one-minute break during my open-to-close shows, health is paramount to my performance. I have a rigorous gym and workout routine that I adhere to year-‘round so that I can maintain prime cardiovascular strength and stamina.

LA Weekly: You don’t even take a single bathroom break in 10, 11 hours?

Markus Schulz: Nope. For my Avalon New Year’s Eve shows, I typically plan on playing for 12 continuous hours without a break. I have to be mindful of avoiding dehydration. Probably the most important factor, in terms of health, is to avoid consuming any alcohol whatsoever during the show. Also, if I feel I need a quick energy boost, I pack some fruits and nuts in my bag. But I never stop playing and I never stop moving.

LA Weekly: Sounds like a wild, fun ride, your New Year’s Eve show! Can you leave us with something to think about before the show date arrives momentarily?

Markus Schulz: Avalon Hollywood has a special place in my heart and it feels a bit like coming home. I proposed to my wife Adina there at the 2017-2018 show and it felt incredible to have everyone there joined in the moment with us. I’ve been working on my new studio album (for release this coming summer 2023), so I’m excited to be dropping a few never-before-heard songs from the album. This is really a beautiful moment in time with so many positive things happening. I’m totally ready to say “hello!” to 2023 with everyone. See you at Avalon!

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