Markus Schulz is about to release Sleepwalkers, the second track from his new Dakota album. Alongside the main instrumental mix, he’s done a vocal version with his longtime heroes, Mele Mel and Scorpio from the hip-hop outfit, The Furious Five. Here, Markus talks about how the collaboration came about and the reaction there’s been to it.
What’s up guys,
Hope this finds you doing well. As I sit here on the airplane looking out of thewindow, I reflect on the reaction created by the new music video for “Sleepwalkers”; featuring Mele Mel and Scorpio. I’ve read all your messages on Facebook and on the message boards, and feel that I need to address your worries and concerns.
First I want to thank everyone for all of the messages of support that I have received. As this project was coming together, I knew that there would be mixed emotions of response, and the trancefamily and tranceaddicts out there certainly did not disappoint.
Anyone who has followed me in detail throughout the years will know that I started off in the music scene as a breakdancer. Along with my crew, I would go to the local roller rinks and teen clubs entering contests and battling. It was a really fun time. I remember hearing songs like “Boogie Down Bronx” by Man Parish, “Planet Rock” by Afrika Bambaataa and the Soulsonic Force – just to name a few. And one of the legendary record labels during that period was Sugar Hill Records. They were the home of one of my heroes Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five.
I remember being at the roller rink and hearing the track “Scorpio” and “White Lines” filter through the speakers. The entire crew would immediately jump up, knock everyone over and race to the center of the floor like maniacs. Some of you veterans may remember a movie that had come out many years before (in 1984) that we used to watch all the time called “Beat Street”. There was a legendary breakdance battle in the movie that took place at The Roxy nightclub in New York City.
On my last Dakota album, I paid tribute to this scene by making a track influenced by the synths from that era, called “Roxy 84”. One of the things I have always wanted to do (other than bust out some vintage B-Boy moves in the middle of my sets) was to re-create that legendary Roxy battle scene in one of my videos. When we started discussing the idea for Sleepwalkers and making some phone calls the wildest thing happened. There was a voice on the other end of the phonethat sounded so familiar telling me that he was a fan of my work and would love to work together. It was none other than one of my childhood heroes – Mele Mel.
Mel did some of the music for Beat Street; so I wanted to get him involved with the video of Sleepwalkers somehow and for him to suggest doing some vocals on top of the original was surreal. I told them him that all I wanted in return was a Sugar Hill T-shirt and a press release sent out to my old high school saying I was an official member of the Furious Five!
But despite all of this going on, I had so many other thoughts running through my mind. I knew that many of you guys would freak out over this. I had the fear that there would be cries of “Markus sold his soul” or “Markus sold out”. I was a bit confused as too if I should do this or not.
In the last blog, you may remember my describing my trip to Yale University for a speaking engagement, I was travelling to Buenos Aires for ASOT 500 that weekend and had some time to kill, so I rented a car and drove from Connecticut to JFK Airport in New York City. My flight was not until late at night, so I drovethrough my old neighborhood when I first moved to the US, and past Yankee Stadium (which believe it or not, I have never seen in person).
While I was walking around Yankee Stadium in the Bronx I stopped in for a drink at The Hard Rock. Still fresh on my mind was the offer from Mel and Scorpio.
I got up to go to the bathroom and along the way, in their “Wall of Fame” looking right at me, who did I see? A framed picture of Mele Mel!
I genuinely believe this was not a coincidence. This was the universe speaking to me. It was right at this moment that I said to myself, this is something I should go through with.
Fast forward to Miami and a few weeks later, here I am with Mel and Scorpio in the studio. I was transformed back to this young kid in his Adidas jumpsuit with the shell toe sneakers and the fat shoelaces. The Sugar Hill legends where in the studio with me and we were having a blast. Suddenly I could not believe it, but one of the members of the Sugar Hill Gang “Big Bad Hank” walks in as well! Are you kidding me??
Of course I kept my cool, but on the inside, I felt the desperate urge to bust out a windmill in the middle of the studio. I was completely starstruck workingwith them.
On the Tuesday night, we had the opportunity to film the music video for Sleepwalkers at another venue that is paramount to the story of what brought me to where I am today – Club Space in Miami. I wanted to get the fans involved so we sent out invitations for extras, and the response was enormous. It was really funny because when we went to Space that night I was thinking to myself, when they see me walking in with Mel and Scorp people are going to be like WTF?? It was such an amazing vibe.
And I got to achieve one of my dreams – recreating the Beat Street battle scenefrom the Roxy at Space with Mel and Scorpio, with the fans playing their part in the video. How awesome is that?
Anyways, I hope you guys got a little insight into how this project came about. Thanks for taking the time to read guys, Should you take anything from this entry today; I want it to be the following:
I hope everyone at some point gets to experience something as cool as working with someone you idolized as a kid. Maybe some day many, many (and many more) years from now, when I am one of those “where are they now” artists, someone will dust off my email address and say “Markus was a hero to me growing up; I would love to work with him”.
01.Sleepwalkers (Extended Vocal Mix)
02.Sleepwalkers (Radio Mix)
04.Sinners (Aerofoil Remix)
05.Sinners (KhoMha Remix)