After three decades, Markus Schulz is still pulling rabbits out of his hat.
If his latest endeavor is any indication, the iconic DJ and producer remains as ambitious as ever. Schulz recently announced “The Rabbit Hole Circus,” an eye-popping tour which is said to realize “his creative vision in unparalleled ways.”
“The Rabbit Hole Circus” is an exercise in acrobatics, going far beyond the typical DJ set or electronic music show. According to a press release shared with EDM.com, the tour offers an “immersive, multimedia escape from reality” by virtue of its striking live production, which comprises circus-themed performers, dancers, singers and even aerialists.
These performers will pirouette to the phantasmagoric sounds of Schulz’s music, including songs from his hotly anticipated album of the same name. And the tour’s visuals harmonize with its roots in magical realism, projecting whimsical and kaleidoscopic imagery to align with its madcap circus theme.
Vocalists from Schulz’s The Rabbit Hole Circus album will also perform live at select dates, including HALIENE, Emma Hewitt, Adina Butar and Sarah de Warren, an ensemble of the industry’s most illustrious dance music vocalists. Rising talent Tim Clark will also DJ as support.
“The Rabbit Hole Circus” is gearing up to launch in the U.S. before traveling to some of the world’s most technologically advanced venues, kicking off July 2nd at the sumptuous E11EVEN Miami ultraclub before heading north for a show at Musica NYC on July 29th.
Its ringmaster will then cross the country for a can’t-miss performance at the famed Avalon Hollywood on August 19th. The club’s diehards know Schulz well—he annually rings in the new year by performing an epic, 12-hour DJ set. This marathon ethos will translate over to “The Rabbit Hole Circus” tour, the shows of which are Schulz’s famed “open-to-close” sets with an added circus element during peaktime.
We caught up with Schulz to discuss the concepts and motives behind his ambitious new tour.
EDM.com: It was amazing seeing you a couple months ago at the Electronic Dance Music Awards and catching your DJ set at The Fontainebleau during Miami Music Week. What have you been up to since we last saw you?
Markus Schulz: Yes, time’s flown by since the EDMAs in Miami… since then, I’ve finished my new album. It’s something I’ve been working on for over a year now, and I’ve been busy coordinating “The Rabbit Hole Circus” tour.
EDM.com: How did the concept behind “The Rabbit Hole Circus” come about? Was there an impetus that spurred you to create this concept?
Markus Schulz: “The Rabbit Hole Circus” has been something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time. When I was very young, I was inspired by theater and one of my biggest adult inspirations has always been Cirque du Soleil. I’ve always had a vision of trying to combine my music with a Cirque du Soleil show. “The Rabbit Hole Circus” tour is definitely a step in that direction.
EDM.com: Can you explain, experientially, some key features that make “The Rabbit Hole Circus” special and unique? What sets it apart from other EDM shows of the moment?
Markus Schulz: One of the main things about “The Rabbit Hole Circus” tour that I wanted to showcase was the vibe that I experienced when I was going clubbing as a teenager. There were always these crazy characters in the club. They were always very memorable, and the people were the stars of the show. I loved that vibe of the unexpected. So, along with singers, aerialists and performers, I definitely wanted to incorporate the weird and wonderful characters into the night, as well.
EDM.com: Tell us about The Rabbit Hole Circus, the album.
Markus Schulz: My album, The Rabbit Hole Circus, was made with this tour in mind. It’s inspired by the late-night/early-morning part of my DJ sets, musically. Everything gets weird and wonderful. That’s the time of the night that my fans cherish the most, and I thought I was time to really focus all my attention on creating something special for that time of the night or morning.
EDM.com: Can you take your favorite cut from the album—or an album single—and walk us through the experience from a fan’s perspective when you perform that track out on tour? Will you have live musicians playing the parts? What about featured singers performing the songs live, and so on?
Markus Schulz: I worked with many amazing singers on this album, including HALIENE, Emma Hewitt, Sarah de Warren, Diandra Faye, an opera singer from Miami named Radmila Dolly, and of course, Adina Butar. I even have a collaboration with Pretty Poison, which was very inspiring to me.
All of these performers will come along on select tour stops, along with aerialists and other performers. So, when I play one of my album tracks, the goal is to make the song come to life with these performances. It’s a very exciting time for me, as I feel like my creativity is really being pushed.
EDM.com: From what we’ve heard, it’s almost like you’re hosting your own miniature “festival” revolving around your music (and the artists on your label and album). That’s quite a feat and it sounds exhausting to produce, compared to DJ sets where you can just show up with a USB stick and not worry about a million things that can go wrong. Why push yourself so hard?
Markus Schulz: I guess when it comes to my DJ career, I’ve always focused on certain milestones or chapters in my career. I want to make these chapters memorable and special. This is where I can really challenge my creative mind. Taking something like this on tour as it is, is very exhausting and challenging. It’s also very rewarding. It’ll be something that I’ll remember for the rest of my life when looking back on my career.
EDM.com: What’s next for you after the first few “The Rabbit Hole Circus” dates that have been announced? Where else will the tour go? How long will it last? Got any other big surprises you’d like to share here first?
Markus Schulz: The plan is to keep building this concept for years to come. I really just want to find the best locations at which to do this show and build it to even bigger heights. I’m very excited about the venues we’ve chosen so far in Miami, New York City and Los Angeles. From there, we’ll evaluate what worked the best and build upon that and take it to another group of cities. Stay tuned!