Markus has music in his genes. Since his initial love affair with all sounds electronic in the early eighties, he has conquered DJing and the live performance, but it is the production realm of dance music in which he has made his most significant contributions. Born in Frankfurt and raised in the city’s suburbs, Markus learned several musical instruments from his grandfather, a conductor. Though he was proficient in piano, guitar, bass, drums and other percussions, the accordion was his main interest. As a teenager in the eighties, he was exposed to nightclubs, dancing and the instrument of the era – the keyboard.
In 1982, Markus left the accordion behind to pursue more alternative sounds. One year later, joined by two like-minded friends, he launched his first live project, Whetzon Churchill. Frankfurt embraced their industrial/electronic body music (EBM) and the group performed regularly in and around the city for several years. In 1987, Whetzon Churchill became the first live act to play a small venue called No Name, home of the weekly Techno Club, one of the city’s most legendary nights. This was also the year in which his first tracks were released and a time when Markus was gaining experience behind the decks. “I DJed back in the days of 1986 and 1987,” he says. “After a while, I realized that (with DJing) I could only play music which was already complete. I wanted to produce music that didn’t exist; new sounds, which nobody had heard before.”
In Markus’ words, “The producer delivers the sound for the DJ and the DJ brings the sound to the people.” As a producer, his style is built on the foundation of his sensory environment, including his surroundings, emotions and even the weather. Combined with the musical influences of his predecessors, ranging from Kraftwerk to Bob Marley, George Clinton to Afrika Bambaataa and Stevie Wonder to Prince, Markus builds his sound on the plethora of favorable things in life. Straddling the boundaries of quirky house and minimal techno, he is able to consistently create something different from the mainstream musical flood while producing records that DJs enjoy and utilize. Sitting back from the abrupt lights and tumultuousness of the inner club, he is comfortable knowing that from the background he plays a major role in the global dance scene.
A visionary in the most honest sense of the word, Markus has spent many years leading a kind of double life. Along with his sonic ventures, he is also an optometrist, currently owning two shops in Frankfurt. He continues to focus on both his business and his exploration of art, music and other creative outlets.
In 1992, Thomas Franzmann (a.k.a. Zip) joined one of Markus’ first production outfits, Bigod 20 (which also included Front 242 vocalist Jean-Luc De Meyer), a relationship that would become one of his most resourceful and symbiotic. Soon after, Los Angeles’ Sire/Reprise released their album Steelworks, from which tracks and video clips were used in the films Cape Fear and Sliver. In 1994, Markus released his second album with Zip, Supercute, also on Sire. In the mid-nineties, along with graphic artist Chris Rehberger, the trio founded the audio/visual project, Pile, an experiment in melding music, graphic design, philosophy, film and architecture. In 1997, they released the album Modern on Sony/Epic and two years later, the group toured through Europe as part of the futuristic art exhibition, Lab 0.1 for Daimler Chrysler. Later that year, Markus and Zip launched their own imprint, Perlon. “We have always wanted to keep Perlon as a family label,” says Markus. So almost all the artists (for example Ricardo Villalobos, Baby Ford, Sammy Dee etc.) are friends. In 1999, the SuPERLONgevity compilation was released; it featured “Bushes,” a track that has since garnered chart-topping remixes from the likes of Derrick Carter and Fatboy Slim.
Markus also contributes to countless other projects, including Florida with Thomas Brinkmann, Darren with Chris Rehberger, Pico Rocco with Max Loderbauer from Sun Electric and Morane with composer and acoustic musician Theo Krieger. From 1998 through 2000, Markus hosted the Peak Club on Sundays in Frankfurt. Initially a meeting of similar musical minds attracting many DJs who passed through the city, the event eventually became one of the most eclectic spots in Germany.
In June 2000, Markus released Back, his first solo album on Perlon. In the summer of 2001, he opened his second optical store MNO (MarkusNikolaiOptic), launched his own Design/Framecompany MNE (MarkusNikolaiEyewear). 2005 Markus and Theo Krieger newly founded the label “More down than out” to release their own music. Markus, Theo Krieger and Annika Mueller de Vries also started the band “Morane”. In May 2005 the 12” “Morane – Electric Pilot Girl” was realeased. In june 2005 the album “Everyone is like you” was released.
At the moment Markus is working on new Projects with Zip, Chris Rehberger, Theo Krieger and Stephanie D. Chico.
Finally a new Album and new Songs of Pile are scheduled for next year – 2016. He continues to travel the globe diffusing his unique sound within all walks of life. Through touring his live performance, he is able to “present his own definition of house music.”
Carly Miller/Markus Nikolai
1987 BIGOD 20 – body to body/energize
1987 P.L.U.U.T.O. – isn’t it crazy?
Body & Energize 12″/MCD TDI/ZYX Records 1988
America 12″/MCD TDI/ZYX Records 1988
Acid To Body 12″/CDS TDI/ZYX Records 1988
1988 NOSTROMO DEPT. – evolution
1989 NOSTROMO DEPT. – evolution remixes
1989 UMO DETIC – fahrenheit
The Bog (Limited Promo) 12″ LTD. Zoth Ommog Records 1990
The Bog (Promo) 12″ Zoth Ommog Records 1990
The Bog 12″/CDS Zoth Ommog Records 1990
The Bog 12″/MCD Sire/Reprise Records 1990
Carpe Diem 12″/MCD Sire/Reprise Records 1991
Steelworks! LP/CD Zoth Ommog Records 1992
Steelworks! LP/CD Sire/Warner Bros. Records 1992
On The Run 12″/CDS Zoth Ommog Records 1992
On The Run 12″/MCD Sire/Warner Bros. Records 1992
On The Run (Promo) CDS Sire/Warner Bros. Records 1992
It’s Up To You CDS Zoth Ommog/Semaphore 1993
Like A Prayer CDS Zoth Ommog/Semaphore 1993
Supercute (Promo) CD Zoth Ommog Records 1994
Supercute CD Zoth Ommog/Sire Records 1994
One MCD Zoth Ommog Records 1994
One MCD Sire Records 1994
Body Rapture Vol. 1 LP/CD Zoth Ommog Records 1988
New Beat Edit 1 LP/CD New Beat/ZYX Records 1988
Welcome To the Technodrome LP/CD TDI/ZYX/Galaxis Records 1989
The Next British Invasion CD Sire/Warner Bros. Records 1990
Follow Our Trax Vol. 5 CD Sire/Warner Bros. Records 1990
The Sassy / Sire Sampler CS Sire/Warner Bros. Records 1990
Follow Our Trax Vol. 6 CD Sire/Warner Bros. Records 1991
Just Say Anything CD Sire/Warner Bros. Records 1991
Technopolis 2 LP/CD New Zone / Zoth Ommog 1991
KROQ & Sire Sampler CS Sire Records 1992
Tekkno Roots CDx2 TDI/ZYX Records 1992
Technopolis 4 LP/CD New Zone Records 1993
Sire’s Lucky 13 for ’93 CD Sire/Warner Bros. Records 1993
Dion Fortune Sampler Vol. 2 CD Dion Fortune Records 1993
“Sliver” Motion Picture Soundtrack CD Bigod 20–Wild at heart Virgin Records 1993
Zoth In Your Mind CD Zoth Ommog Records 1993
Home Hypnosis Kit CD Sire/Warner Bros. Records 1994
A Matter of Taste CDx2 Intercord Popkomm Records 1994
Chaos Compilation CD COP International Records 1994
Just Say Roe CD Sire/Warner Bros. Records 1994
The Colours of Zoth Ommog CD Zoth Ommog Records 1994
Scanning Volume 2 CD SPV Records 1994
Digital Space Between CD Hard/Cleopatra Records 1994
Tekkno Tekkno CDx3 TDI/ZYX Records 1994
Erotika CD SPV Records 1994
The Best of EBM & Electro Vol. 1 CD Zoth Ommog Records 1995
Moonraker Vol. 2 CDx2 Sub Terranean Records 1995
Welcome to The Techno-Club CDx4 ZYX Records 1995
Best of Zoth Ommog Vol. 1 CD Zoth Ommog Records 1995
Demolition Zoth CD Zoth Ommog/Cleopatra 1996
14 Years of Electronic Challenge CD COP International Records 1997
Totentanz Vol. 2 CDx2 Zoth Ommog / Cleopatra 1997
A Tribute To… CD Zoth Ommog Records 1997
EBM Club Classics CD Synthetic Symphony Records 1998
Complete Totentanz CDx4 Zoth Ommog / Cleopatra 1999
Dance Mix Halloween Edition CD Ultimate 80’s Collection 199?
Virgin Voices CD Cleopatra Records 199?
World Of Synthi-Pop CD ZYX/Galaxis Records 199?
Electrocity Level X CD BMG Records Germany 199?
Trophy Bong Megamixes : Boing01 CD Depeche Mode Fanclub 199?
New Beat Edit 2 LP/CD New Beat/ZYX Records 199?
World Of Techno CD (Unknown Record Label) 199?
Undercover Vol. 1 CD (Unknown Record Label) 199?
The Best of German Techno CD (Unknown Record Label) 199?
CryoSonic 9 CD (Unknown Record Label) 199?
1996 LORAINE COMFORT – hot (12 “) – Climax Records
1996 PILE – modern (double cd) SONY
PERL01 / Markus Nikolai / rood /12″ / 8.97
PERL03 / Hombre Ojo / manejando un caritto rapidito por santiaguito /12″ / 3.98
PERL05 / Markus Nikolai / shake! / 12ì / 5.98
PERL09 / Pile / perlipop / 12″ / 3.99
PERL10 / V.A. / superlongevity /M.Nikolai – bushes / Hombre Ojo – La Musica / 2×12″ / 4.99
PERL12 / Markus Nikolai / passion / bushes rmxs12ì / 6.99
PERL18 / Markus Nikolai / back / 2×12″ / 5.00
PERL18cd / Markus Nikolai / back / cd / 5.00
PERL23 / V.A. / superlongevity 2 / M.Nikolai – Chitchat on sunsetcliff / 2×12î / 6.01
PERL23cd / V.A. / superlongevity / M.Nikolai – Chitchat on sunsetcliff / 2xcd / 8.01
PERL34 / MORANE / THE TRICK / 12i / 7/03
PERL36 / VA / Superlongevity 3 / Markus Nikolai + Nina – Mr.Big Star / 3x 12″ / 10/03
PERL36 / VA / Superlongevity 3 / Markus Nikolai + Nina – Mr.Big Star / CD / 10/03
PERL56 / VA / Superlongevity 4 / Markus Nikolai – Wheelsucker / 4x 12” / 05/06
PERL56 / VA / Superlongevity 4 / Markus Nikolai – Wheelsucker / CD / 05/06
PERL77 / Markus Nikolai feat.Clair Dietrich / Kiss your mind /12″ / 12/09
MORANE – Electric Pilotgirl / 12” / Moredownthanout 2005
MORANE – Everyone is like you / CD Album / Moredownthanout 2005
…..and many releases on compilations all over the world, i can’t tell anymore………