With only three months until The Groove Cruise sets sail to the Bahamas from Miami, we're sure to provide you with continuous updates on the event, interviews with The Groove Cruise lineup artists and even live coverage from the high seas once the cruise ship sets sail (January 28th - February 1st, 2015). "The World's Largest Floating Dance Music Festival" is also known as The Groove Cruise. Since first setting sail in 2004, over 15,000 lives have been changed by the 72 hour non-stop dance music party that sets sail annually from both Los Angeles and Miami. With over 3,000 electronic dance music lovers aboard, over 40 performing artists, nine signature themed parties, a private island and a massive cruise ship - what's not to look forward to? The Groove Cruise Miami is the perfect winter getaway for those looking to escape the harsh & cold weather, a weekend vacation for a group of friends or a time to celebrate a special occasion, like birthdays, anniversaries and even honeymoons!

To kick off our three-month guide to The Groove Cruise, we're bringing you an exclusive interview from an ultimate king of trance music, an internationally known DJ and producer, a legend in the electronic music industry, "America's Best DJ" and one of the first announced performers for The Groove Cruise's lineup. His name is Markus Schulz, and if you are fan of electronic music, you are sure to be familiar with his extremely talented work. Schulz released his Scream 2 album this past spring, which he followed up with his Scream 2 Bus Tour across the States, performing live shows in cities ranging from the West to East coasts, all before jumping right into summer festival season.

We had the opportunity to catch up with Markus Schulz before a legendary three-hour set at Liquid in Cleveland and discussed his recent award for America's Best DJ, upcoming winter plans and more!

EPIC PRODUCTIONS: Thanks for taking the time to talk again, interviews with you always run so smoothly, always look forward to them. So a big congrats on winning America's Best DJ by DJ Times! How was the after-party?

I took a quick stop in LA before the event, we were in the studio doing a bunch of work. I hung out there with my crew and then headed to Las Vegas. I know that a lot of the Schulz Army was waiting to attend that party, which I was most looking forward to. Anytime the Schulz Army circles a date and shows up in full force, I know it's always a crazy party to look forward to.

EPIC PRODUCTIONS: Last time we talked, you told me that you and Ferry Corsten were taking a break (from New World Punx, a collaborative project between the two) and doing your own thing for the summer. Looks like in the coming weeks you guys are doing a lot of touring together. Do you have anything new in store?

Definitely! We just released a new track called "Torque". It's been a monster in all of our sets. We spent a lot of time in the studio doing all kinds of mashups, bootleg remixes and stuff for our sets too. We are ramping up to some big shows. It's kind of nice how everything goes - we do some shows together, then drift off to do our own thing. We always gather tons of new ideas, making a lot of our sets exciting. It keeps things fresh and interesting.

EPIC PRODUCTIONS: Spill about Amsterdam Dance Event!

ADE is always really cool. I've got my crew, Ferry's got his crew, it's always just one of those crazy parties where we get all of our crews together. We did a New World Punx set, our own sets - it's really fun to bring everyone together. We have a totally third different crew that works on New World Punx stuff together, CHAOS!

EPIC PRODUCTIONS: You're one of the busiest guys in the business. Even when you're on a break and taking time for yourself, are you still working?

Oh, for sure! I just flew over from LA this evening and the whole flight I was working on something. As soon as I landed, I knew I had a couple hours to chill, maybe take a nap, but just couldn't! I jumped up and started messing around until I realized I actually had to get moving and make it to this show.

EPIC PRODUCTIONS: Do you still have another decade in you for producing more music that we LOVE?!

Oh yeah! This is my life.

EPIC PRODUCTIONS: That's what we like to hear. So now, The Groove Cruise. Ferry Corsten and yourself were the first announced artists on the lineup. We're heading there with our friends for their honeymoon, and it's totally on their bucket list to play blackjack with you while at sea. Can we make that happen?

That won't be too difficult, but let me tell you, I'm not that good at playing. Last time I was in a tournement, I was out in the first round. But if I'm lucky, maybe I'll last a few more rounds this time.

EPIC PRODUCTIONS: So many people that I have interviewed in the past few years of my career mention you as one of their biggest musical influences. Who do you consider your musical influences?

Wow, that's amazing to hear. But for me, when I was growing up, I used to hear stories all the time about Larry Levan. I wasn't old enough to go see him in the clubs or perform live, but I would hear stories and make these images of what I heard from these stories. What it must be like to hear him play since people would always tell me what it was like. I think the image that I had of Larry Levan in my head is what inspired me. Levan was very inspirational to a lot of people, him and Frankie Knuckles who just passed away. They started off together at The Paradise Garage, it was just one of those places where I never went, but just continuously heard stories about and that still to this day is inspirational.

EPIC PRODUCTIONS: Through your entire career, what has been the most memorable place to perform?

I played some really beautiful places like along the Dead Sea in Jordan. Then there are fantastic and crazy places, Prague. Even smaller, underground clubs like Stereo in Montreal. All kinds of places, for different reasons they are favorites and continuously memorable for me.

EPIC PRODUCTIONS: Anything else you would like to add?

I don't do this for awards and stuff. I would like to give this award to my fans. Because of word-of-mouth, the music keeps spreading. I am so incredibly grateful for my fans, I couldn't thank you enough. Also, it should be on people's bucket list to hit up ADE at some point - so add that for sure. And I'll see you at The Groove Cruise!

Tickets for The Groove Cruise are still available and make the perfect holiday gift for an electronic music lover in your life. Book your cabin HERE, and stay tuned as we prepare to bring you the latest news and updates from The Groove Cruise and announced artists.

THE GROOVE CRUISE: Website | Facebook | Twitter MARKUS SCHULZ: Website | Facebook | Twitter | SoundCloud

AUTHOR CREDIT: AMANDA COWAN PHOTO CREDIT: SCOTT WALKER PHOTOGRAPHY

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