Lumberjacks in Hell label head Marcel Vogel flies into Manchester from Amsterdam on November 24th for Beat Boutique. We caught up with him for a chat.
Date published: 14th Nov 2012
have put on some pretty impressive parties in the past few month down at Soup Kitchen, and November's offering of Marcel Vogel certainly keeps up the momentum .
German born Marcel Vogel lives in Amsterdam, where he takes care of his label Lumberjacks in Hell (which boasts releases by the likes of Rahaan, Traxx and Red Greg) and releases disco-edits under the alias Em Vee. He began DJing in the mid 90’s with Hip Hop and House but inspired through heroes like Theo Parrish, Terrence Parker, Kenny ‘Dope’ Gonzales and DJ Spinna, he developed into an eclectic DJ with a heavy taste for soulful Disco.
So Marcel, you’re playing the Beat Boutique in Manchester this month, are you looking forward to it?
Haha, yes. I've only heard great things about it and I feel honoured to pick up the stick from such legends as Al Kent and John Morales.
What can we expect from your set?
Of course a lot of Disco, but I also like to break things up a bit and go up and down and round and round. I've been collecting all kinds of records for over 15 years now and am equally influenced by a lot of different sources, and I usually enjoy bringing that to the table.
How do you find the crowd in Manchester?
I will tell you that afterwards. It will be my first time in Manchester although I am getting a lot of love from the city and even have some friends in the area. And of course the city of Manchester has produced a lot of beautiful artists, bands and DJs; a rich musical heritage.
When did you first get involved in making music?
I've been dabbling around since I was around ten, twelve. I even had a period where I was writing (German) rhymes and trying to rap. Started DJing at 16, making beats on the MPC when I was around 20. Made my first real edits around five years ago and got seriously into production during the past two years while taking an audio engineering course at SAE. So it's still a process for me that will bear its first fruits in early 2013 with a release on my new label Intimate Friends.
When did you realise you wanted to do this as a full-time career?
I think I always wanted to do either music or be a writer. For me making music is more rewarding, more direct, but I still haven't given up on the other dream. Just postponed.
Who was your biggest influence?
In music? Theo Parrish. I was collecting some Disco already when I first heard him at Robert Johnson's around 10-12 years ago. I didn't realise that you could play Disco and Classics all night long in a club and it works. Before, I just perceived the odd Disco record as my personal highlight of a night. I am usually not that much into the House or Hip Hop or whatever that's getting airplay, so whenever DJs went on adventures and played some old stuff, that was when I got my groove on. Luckily today's situation has changed quite a bit, also because of me living in Amsterdam now. It's quite a bit different over here. You can catch DJs pushing the envelope over here quite regularly. Obviously I am still influenced by the DJ school from Chicago and Detroit, by people putting their soul in it and staying true to what they love. Selling out is so easy.
Originally you started out DJing Hip-Hop and House. What was the reason for the transition in to Soul/Disco – did you find it or did it did you?
Well, that's quite easy. What got me about Hip Hop and House very often were the Disco and Soul samples, so whenever I discovered another original track I was quite blown away and often preferred that over the Hip Hop or House track, or at least appreciated the new context. That's also what I am doing with my edits, I am taking the original song and taking away what bothers me. That way it becomes more a House song but it still remains the original vibe. But you know I am open to everything. Everything that has soul. It just makes me sad, that there is so much crap music and the producers really really bringing it are being ignored. I honestly don't know why the mainstream always listens to the same music while there is so much great stuff that just needs to be played.
How did Lumberjacks in Hell come about?
Well, I've dreamed about releasing stuff all my life. About having my name on a record. Maybe having my own label. And I dabbled in making beats but the edits were the first thing I really felt content about. You know, I'd always rather buy the original unless an edit really added something nice, a new twist. I am inspired by Ugly edits, Truth is Light and stilllove4music, that created something new for the dancefloor. Something unique so to say. So when I when I first made that MISS YOU edit and I got so much love for that and I dare say it, without Soundcloud and the confidence that it gave me, it just might not have happened for me that way. And still it took me another year to muster the courage and fuck what anybody could say and just do it, you know?
But now after more then two years and a couple of releases I am really proud of, I've gained enough experience and confidence to take it to the next level and start another label with more house oriented stuff, original stuff, but the records I am missing in the record store. Stuff that's weird and real and maybe some original disco cuts that we are working on. I feel there is a school of DIY people that have had a similar development as me, that did this and that, Djing, organising parties, fighting hard to have their first couple of releases, and I think that you will see a lot of them busting onto the scene next year, and a lot of them will be able to express the sum of their influences. The Hip Hop and Disco and Soul that is missing right now. I always go to the record store and hope for some records that sound like what I have in my head but it's rare that I find that, so now it's about time to let all that stuff come out.
You're famous for your mix tapes. Do you still get to make as many as you would like?
Hell no! I've been studying Audio Engineering and Business for the past two years and I didn't have time for anything really. Of course I did my stuff but not nearly as intense as I wanted to. So expect much more heat from me in 2013. From every angle. DJ Sets, productions, mix tapes and edits! 2013 is officially the year of music for me.
What has been the proudest moment of your career?
I've been mighty proud to be invited to play at Robert Johnson (Offenbach/Germany) as support for Dam-Funk this year. Felt really good to be asked to play a club that has been so influential on me. I am most happy whenever I am asked to come and play a party where I don't have to please anyone but I can just do my thing. For me it's all about goosebumps because the music is so good and breaking expectations.
You have worked with many artists and talented DJs. Who stands out to you most?
Haha, trick question. They all have their special angle that makes them number one! The most parties I did with Hunee, who I know and love since I was still living in Berlin and that's for a reason. A free spirit with a glowing soul. I am getting the raw energy and DJ school from the Chicago cats; Rahaan, Zernell, Sadar, Jamie and many more. This is also reflected by the releases on Lumberjacks - four out of nine releases are by producers / DJs from Chicago. Apart from that I am learning and impressed by all my guests (Jason Lev, Eddie C....)
Is there any upcoming talent that you would recommend we keep an eye on?
The beautiful Mr Mendel. He is a hardworking pupil of soul and will bust out internationally very soon. We are even talking about having a little business together but you will hear of that or not depending on what's going to happen.
You have played in many countries around the world. Do you have a particular favourite? Is there a gig that stands out most to you?
I have very fond memories of The Shark in Geneva (Switzerland) that was shut down now. That was about a year ago. Pure underground vibe, banging sound and a fabulous crowd that came to party! Also basically just coming back from Club Moroder in Madrid, the people there immediately felt like family!
Christmas is only around the corner. How will Marcel Vogel celebrate the holidays?
Ha! Nice one. I will be with my girlfriend in the States for the entire month of December. Playing some gigs, meeting lots of friends and buying a couple of records. Hopefully we can catch Jerry Seinfeld in Las Vegas again. Saw him two or three years ago and had the time of my life!
We presume you have big New Years Eve plans…?
It looks like we will meet my man Zernell in Las Vegas but I am not booked yet or anything! LV promoters, this is your chance for a great double booking!
For anyone who hasn’t experienced your live sets before, why should they come down to Beat Boutique on 24th November?
Marcel Vogel aka Em Vee is all about happiness! And arguably I am happiest behind the decks. Also, I will hand in my Bachelor thesis on Monday and I will be soooooo relieved to have a bit of freedom, and I am totally stoked to play Manchester, since its people have a great reputation for getting down!
Interview: Jo-Anne Waddington
It's getting cold up North so we've booked one of the hottest properties on the Dj circuit world wide MARCEL VOGEL aka 'the Bearded Lumberjack' hails from rural Germany
and chops soulful tunes as a profession with his highly acclaimed Lumberjacks in Hell label.
After last months jam packed euphoria this is lining up to be another monumental night down in the Soups basement right in the heart of MCR...
German Marcel Vogel lives in Amsterdam where he takes care of his label Lumberjacks in Hell featuring rel
It's already last weeks news but we had godfather of the funk Sadar Bahar to play Disco Madness during the Amsterdam event. We 've had tons of fun and were able to deck shark tons of records. What a wonderful night and thanks to everybody who came out!
So guys on Saturday April 21st we celebrate the next edition of Disco Madness at our usual hotspot, Canvas! We are very happy to have Eddie C with us rocking the turntables and CDJ's dont sleep. Presale will be announced shortly!
Here is the presstext....
Marcel Vogel groeit zo langzamerhand uit tot een fenomeen, zijn naam synoniem met het betere discowerk.
Hij nodigt voor deze speciale editie niemand minder dan Eddie C (Jiscomusic) uit voor die niet te versmaden diepe diepe disco-edits.
Official Bio for Eddie C:
Raised in Southern Ontario somewhere between Detroit and Montreal, Eddie C began his experiments in music some time in the late 80s. Inspired first by Hip Hop and the burgeoning Acid House scene, he began making tape edits of late night radio and shortly thereafter began visiting record shops and warehouse parties to discover the music first hand. Record collecting has since been a way of life for the man, followed closely by an opposing passion for skiing which lead him to his current abode in the Rocky Mountains. With plenty of time over the past decade for reflection and research in his log cabin studio, C has found a re-entry into the underground with his raw yet sophisticated approach to both production and DJing.
Check out the new Lumberjacks in Hell advertisement campaign...
Em Vee's on-point Lumberjacks In Hell imprint reaches its fifth release with another three disco edits par excellence. This time around, it's the turn of Germany's Frico and British edit specialist Mannmademusic to supply the goods. Frico dominates the A-Side with his fast-moving edit of Coffee's "Casanova", teasing out its vocal hook with an extended piano build-up. On the B-Side Manmademusic offers two cuts; first up is "Circles", a guitar led stomper with loose percussion, which serves as the perfect contrast to the slow moving, symphonic disco strings and syrupy vocals of "Easy Lover". Another winner for what is surely one of the more discerning disco labels out there.
The lovely people from Rhythmic Cycles spread all over Switzerland, UK and Sweden (quite impressive thinking that they only consist of approx 2 people ) asked Marcel Vogel to record a mix for them and asked a couple of questions (a real interview really). Please follow the link to check it out. Playlit to follow soon.
South African deep disco blog writes up a feature on Marcel Vogel and the lumberjacks imprint and also a nice new mix. Check it out!
After a little time away to sort out DSCNTD 003 we thought we'd do another little shindig in the big smoke... This time we have guest coming over from the 'Dam, Berlin and a couple of local
Marcel Vogel (Lumberjacks in Hell)
Franz Underwear (Slow Motion/World Unknown)
Chamboche (Under the Shade/Tusk Wax)
Picture House (Sccucci Manucci)
Feb 4th, Big Chill House, 9pm - 2am, Free all night