Markus Schulz presents Dakota - The Nine Skies
“Not so straightforward, is it?” remarks Markus. Both generally and rhetorically, he’s passing comment on life. However, in the closing weeks of 2017 & opening months of 2018, he could as easily be talking about the ‘how’, ‘what’ & ‘why?’ of Dakota’s stage show and its December-released 18-track LP companion, The Nine Skies.
Dakota has had its spiritual side from the off. The first and second ‘Thoughts Become Things’ albums were the pathfinders for this new, and possibly most definitive of Dakota projects. These releases were measures deployed to see if electronic music’s citizenry were receptive to something deeper and more involved.
In respect of ‘The Nine Skies’, Markus’ own awakening started predominantly through books. “I started reading, he says, like a lot!” “At home, in hotel lobbies, on flights, in the studio. I’ve always had a lingering interest in spirituality and the desire to make some sense of life. It’s something I share with people that are close to me. We like to chat about the nature of things like dharma, prajna, true-self – all that stuff. It is how - over time - the ‘Skies’ came into being.
Markus has always seen Dakota not as an alias but as a persona - an identity even. “Sometimes I’m wearing Dakota’s head; other times it’s Markus Schulz’s, he says. Through that division, I’ve found the artistic space to make darker, moodier, deeper music. More exploratory and experimental gear… if that’s where my current state of mind is taking me.
Atypically, the entire The Nine Skies project - concept, show, album, et al, was wrapped and complete before but a word of it was breathed. “This, expands Markus, gave me an opportunity I’d not had before. It gave me a chance to shake up my usual release pattern. So in keeping with the progressive spirit of The Nine Skies/steps, rather than coming with dozens of shows and an album’s worth of new material frontend, I brought it one stage and single at a time. I felt it would give the audiences more time to digest and absorb what is undeniably a broader concept”.
Markus considers that if there’s one thing enlightenment does take, it’s time. ”Rarely, if ever, in life does something happen overnight”, he says. The release of the album’s first four singles was designed to reflect one of the possible journey arcs from darkness to enlightenment. That started with early-in-the-album track, ‘Mota Mota’ and ended with its penultimate one, ‘Spirit of the Warrior’. “It arches from one of the most ominous darkly-minded, night-black numbers I’ve written to possibly Dakota’s most uplifting, emancipating moment ever”, says Markus.
The Nine Skies tracklist:
More info on Markus Schulz, Dakota and ‘The Nine Skies’ available, via the online resources below: