On a mission to connect with his fans in new and exciting ways, Markus Schulz has been on a tear, enthralling them with his 2023 tour, “The Rabbit Hole Circus.”
The last time we caught up with Schulz, he was gearing up for the start of the tour, which takes its name from the iconic DJ and producer’s brand-new album. Spanning 12 tracks, The Rabbit Hole Circus a song-cycle of soaring and cinematic dance music from one of the genre’s persevering pioneers.
Take a listen to the full album, which released on Black Hole Recordings earlier this summer, below.
Since then, the prolific Schulz has been astonishing audiences with the tour’s mystifying production, which flings fans headlong into a fantastical circus where performers, dancers, singers and aerialists perform in harmony. He’s now poised for one of its biggest shows at the famed Avalon Hollywood club, a venue he knows well, to say the least.
It’s been quite the undertaking, Schulz tells us, to coordinate the ambitious concerts and make sure all of their moving parts are flowing in sync. “The Rabbit Hole Circus” has also seen a number of the album’s vocalists perform live at select dates, including Sarah de Warren, whose scintillating work in “Light On” represents one of its surefire highlights.
We reconnected with Schulz to discuss that single as well as the progression of “The Rabbit Hole Circus,” which seems to become more and more immersive as it rolls along. You can purchase tickets here.
EDM.com: Tell us about your new single with Sarah de Warren.
Markus Schulz: My new single with Sarah de Warren is called “Light On.” It was the second track that I did for the new album, The Rabbit Hole Circus, in the sequence of producing the whole album. I think when I finished the track, it really gave me a clear idea of the vibe that I wanted for the new album.
I love Sarah de Warren and was looking for the opportunity to work with her on something, and this song was the perfect mood that I was looking for. We actually shot the music video for this the day before filming the music video [for the first single], “Eternally” [featuring Diandra Faye]. So, the mood that entire week was fantastic.
EDM.com: Can you talk more about the album, The Rabbit Hole Circus and the inspiration for the tour?
Markus Schulz: The new The Rabbit Hole Circus album really was unique compared with all my other albums, as I had the idea of the circus and the rabbit hole in my head as I was producing the album. As I was working on it, the vision of aerialists and dancers and characters, as well as the singers, was at the forefront of a lot of the decisions that I was making in the studio.
I think this is definitely the first installment of “The Rabbit Hole Circus” concept and you will definitely be seeing a lot more because this is really inspiring, to me. I’ve always been into theater, and to bring this full-circle into my productions as well as my DJ sets just feels right to me.
EDM.com: How are your Rabbit Hole Circus shows different from your “open-to-close” DJ shows?
Markus Schulz: Well, I’ve been doing my open-to-close sets since I first started DJing. I started my career as a resident DJ where I’d play from the moment the doors opened until the moment the club closed, so when I do my open-to-close sets, it really is a throwback to my earlier career.
Now, adding “The Rabbit Hole Circus” show into my tours is like having a festival-style show inside of an open-to-close show. There’s so much planning and choreography that goes into working with the singers and the dancers. We plan the shows for months, and the singers and dancers rehearse for months. So it really is a show carefully planned and executed.
EDM.com: Musically as well as technically, what are your biggest challenges playing this show as compared with your other “open-to-close” sets?
Markus Schulz: One of the most challenging aspects is just making sure everybody knows their cues and when they are expected onstage. It’s a little bit more difficult to improvise during the hours that we have the singers and dancers. I still do my traditional doors-open, warm-up set, and then down-the-rabbit-hole afterhours set. What’s in the middle is where the challenging moments are, and that’s where all of the singers and dancers do their thing.
EDM.com: What can fans expect for your “Rabbit Hole Circus” show on August 19th at Avalon Hollywood, in Los Angeles?
Markus Schulz: Avalon Hollywood in Los Angeles has always been at the forefront of my vision when I was producing the album. A lot of the sounds and arrangements were inspired by my shows at Avalon.
To bring “The Rabbit Hole Circus” tour to Avalon, it’s the place that inspired a lot of this and it’s going to be really cool. I think the fans are going to see a very electrifying show and I definitely hope they’ll be mesmerized, not just by the music, but by the singers and dancers, as well.
EDM.com: Do you find that your “Rabbit Hole Circus” tour concept is evolving over time as you move from one city and venue to another? What are some important things you’ve learned in the first shows that you plan to implement in future shows?
Markus Schulz: While we have the outline of what the show contains, every venue is different! All of the setups are different. The stages are different. The DJ setup is different, so we really do have to adapt the show to each venue.
As frustrating as that is, it also makes each show special, because it has its own unique vibe. You could see my [“The Rabbit Hole Circus”] show at E11EVEN Miami where the dancers and aerialists are over you and all around you, and then go see the show at Avalon Hollywood in L.A. where all of the entertainers are onstage in front of you. It’s totally different vibes but equally as mesmerizing.
EDM.com: Where else will “The Rabbit Hole Circus” tour stop—cities, venues and dates—after the Avalon Hollywood show in August?
Markus Schulz: After the show in Los Angeles, we’re sitting down with our partners and really making a plan. Based on what we liked from the first three shows and what we think did not work. Stand by, because there will be lots more “Rabbit Hole Circus” shows in the future, for sure!
Follow Markus Schulz:
The Rabbit Hole Circus Tour: markusschulz.com/news/the-rabbit-hole-circus-live-album-tour