When DJmag catches up with Markus Schulz, he's trying to take stock of the events of the past 12 months. "I know that it sounds like a cliché and I'm sure that everyone says this, but 2009 was incredibly busy," he says in a drawl that seems to hang in the ether somewhere between Miami and Berlin. While many of his peers make this claim, Schulz has the gigs and air miles to back it up, with four to five gigs a week during the peak summer season and now, with the winter upon us, a piddling two to three gigs. Or, to put it another way, in 2008 Schulz played 194 gigs, a number that his 2009 schedule is sure to exceed. There are three factors that have propelled Markus into the top flight. The first is his belief that he is at the centre of a sea change in trance music. "Musically, there are a lot of changes going on and I have a clear vision for the next millennium about how trance will sound," he explains. "Everything feels new at the moment, trance is reinventing itself; this is not your big brother's trance, this has a real attitude. The big snare rolls and super saw bass have been replaced by techno riffs, the kicks are no longer so overblown, it really has a weirder, more techy sound, but it still has an uplifting trance feeling." Markus claims that the new sound is "drawing the old school back in. A lot of people are attracted to what's happening now and it reminds them why they loved trance in the first place". The other driver in the trance renaissance, as Markus sees it, is the newfound passion and excitement about trance in newer territories like Colombia and Argentina, as well as its stranglehold in Eastern Europe and "from Greece right down to the Middle East". "It's the new blood in the scene, it's going through a reinvention. Sure, the top three have done a great job, but now it's time for new names," Markus says, sounding more and more like a trance evangelist. "In the media, you used to get the sense that trance was dead. You'd almost feel this uncomfortable silence when it was mentioned. But now, any interview I do, there is a genuine sense of excitement about the music again." Coupled with a musical regeneration is Schulz's ability to harness the internet to promote himself. His GlobalDJBroadcast site transmits recordings of his sets from clubs all over the world and Markus also uses the audience, which he casually mentions usually "runs into the millions for some shows" to promote new music he believes in. While the broadcasts could be seen as supplanting commercial mix CDs, Markus still releases in this format, but with his own spin. "When I do mixes, I make them more like an album - I help to produce the tracks or I give the producers I chose direction about the sound. Mix CDs have a future, but it needs to be managed carefully and DJs need to be more hands on: the days of mixing a bunch of tracks downloaded from Beatport and releasing it are long gone," he believes. The final factor in Schulz's meteoric rise is his determination and work rate. In 2009, he released a number of remixes, including Dance 2 Trance's classic 'Power of American Native' and he also resurrected his Dakota guise to concentrate on underground clubby tracks. While this yielded an album that received "a phenomenal response", he is now working on an album under his own name. "Then there were tours of South America, Asia and Australia and that brings us back to the WMC and it's almost summer again," he says matter of factly. Does this constant touring not exert a huge mental and physical strain? "Sure, the hardest thing is touring, but once I get into the club the adrenalin kicks in. It does get crazy in the summertime, so I do some physical training beforehand. But I really feel that this is what I was put on this earth to do, so there's no thoughts about turning back now."