Markus Schulz has, without a doubt, a great ear for finding new talent in the trance music scene, and he hit a jackpot with Grube & Hovsepian.
Grube & Hovsepian, known as Tim Grube and Mike Hovsepian, have been integral to the music machine that is the Coldharbour Recordings label. Originally founded by Schulz 11 years ago, the label has cultivated the deeper and more progressive sounds under the trance music umbrella, the kind that appeals to large and small rooms alike. For Coldharbour, having a great roster of hard working producers is important, but creating a community around a specific sound is vital in making a mark on the industry.
The duo is devoted to the high-energy, melodic, and progressive strains of trance. Their journey began in 2007 when they connected through the Trance Addict community. Given their similarities to Markus, in both sound and production, the duo fit into the label perfectly. "I was in contact with Markus Schulz and we were talking back and forth. Tim submitted a track to Markus to play on his radio show. At the time, we were both just learning and getting into production. When I heard the track, I liked it so much I remixed it myself," says Grube. "Since we were both on the Trance Addict forum, I reached out to him. I had a track under the name Tek-Ne called "Tourine" so we worked together on a remix of that. Eventually we both moved to Miami where we were working on music at the Coldharbour studio and the rest is history."
Like many, Grube & Hovsepian spent their humble beginnings as local DJs opening for superstars such as ATB, The Thrillseekers, and Wippenberg at respected city hotspots; Mike at Circus, in LA and Tim at Fur, in DC. In 2012, after dreaming of organizing Coldharbour label nights, the duo made it a reality. Their WMC showcase at Dream nightclub in Miami was the inaugural Coldharbour Night, or the "beta test" as Mike likes to call it.
"It's funny because it's usually a hip-hop club, but during WMC it turns into a trance, EDM, techno, and progressive house destination. It was nice to see a hip-hop club turn into an underground club for a night," says Hovsepian. "The event was a big success and Markus even played a surprise set. WMC is special for us because all our hardcore fans come out and it's hard to recreate that vibe anywhere else."
Eventually, the showcase became too demanding for Dream nightclub alone, so the label night set its eyes on a larger venue to fit more clubgoers. And there is no better place to make a statement in dance music than at Club Space in downtown Miami.
Grube & Hovsepian, despite not being the heads of Coldharbour Recordings, are still in many ways the backbone of what's holding the label and Schulz Music Group together.
Though their workload is heavy, the duo say they're always up for the tasks at hand. "It all comes down from the top with Markus' work ethic," says Grube. "You've probably heard this a hundred times, but he is one of the hardest working artists in the scene. So for everyone involved, they have to embrace that German work ethic that comes with working for Coldharbour."
"There is this quote," adds Hovsepian, "'if you find what you love to do, you'll never work a day in your life.' Although it's a stupid quote, it's true! When you wake up in the morning it doesn't feel like you're going to work."
The Coldharbour studio, located in Miami, has changed over the years in order to fit the busy schedule of artists. The club has become the hub of the Coldharbour roster. In addition to three studio rooms that are used for mixing, mastering, and recording there is also a kitchen, a bathroom, a lounge area, and overnight accommodation. "I mean, it's not home, but you could sleep there overnight. We have beds set up in there so when we have artists visiting, they can stay there while working on tracks," explains Hovsepian.
Mr. Pit, a fellow Coldharbour member, has been working with the crew and their studios extensively throughout the past few months. "It's great because he's coming from Romania so he doesn't need to book a hotel or anything," says Grube. The benefit to having a large community-oriented studio space is that artists can be there for every step of the creative process. Hovsepian says he loves having other artists around so they can chime in with their input during the production process.
Coldharbour's success is deeply embedded in the Canadian market, namely Toronto and Montreal. "When we come to Toronto and Montreal we don't view people as our fans but rather as our friends because we keep in contact with a lot of people from there," says Hovsepian happily.
On Canada Day weekend, June 27 and 28, Coldharbour Recordings hosted their own stage at Escapade Music Festival in Ottawa, Ontario. This was the first time the label's showcase took place in a festival environment. "We really enjoyed playing there. I mean, it's not the main stage, but we got a whole tent to ourselves," says Grube. "The Coldharbour family likes intimate settings so I really liked that about Escapade. There are definitely more Coldharbour stages to come."
Currently the duo is rebooting their all-time classic "City of Angels" with a rework by an emerging Coldharbour talent named Purple Stories. For those headed to Amsterdam in October for the Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE), Coldharbour Recordings will joining forces with Perfecto Fluoro for a massive night of trance at Panama. The night will feature the principal artists from each label, so to give fans a taste of the many flavours of trance.
For more info on the Coldharbour Recordings and Perfecto Fluoro night at ADE, check out the official ADE page.