Our 101st podcast arrives this week thanks to the king of the lumberjacks and mainstay of the disco revival, Marcel Vogel.
Also known as Em Vee, the Amsterdam resident has been captain of the Lumberjacks in Hell label since launching it in 2010, releasing a number of sought after edits from himself and a select crew of editsmen like Rahaan, Jamie 3:26 and Rayko.
If you’ve heard a Move D set in the last couple of years you would be familiar with Rayko’s edit of the Barbara Keith cover of All Along the Watchtower, an old Bob Dylan classic which dropped on the label early in the piece. Lately the label has been busy paying homage to Chicago’s service to the scene with a double pack of edits hand picked from six of Vogel’s favourite Chicago disco aficionados, with the Jamie 3:26 workouts in particular some of his finest work to date.
Marcel Vogel is in Australia this week for some dates in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide.
Like most heads out there we came across your work through your label Lumberjacks in Hell, which is now onto its 10th release, what were you doing before starting the label?
Actually I will celebrate my 10th anniversary as a party promoter this year, which is kinda cool too. I’ve been hustling for a long time, living in various cities around Germany, plus Basel and now Amsterdam. I picked up DJing over 15 years ago and that was always the red line for me since then. It’s no wonder that I eventually turned up with my own labels in the end and I am quite sure I will start a club at some point too.
Thinking of how the label came to life, what has been the main idea behind Lumberjacks in Hell? It has become known primarily as an edits label, do you plan to continue down that path?
Well, the edit thing was an easy route to get my feet wet and start something. To be part of this scene I love so much and too learn by doing. I think there is a lot of development in our output and eventually I want to release more high energy laden records, that might use samples or not but mostly count as original productions. Hugo H’s and Boogie Nite’s tracks are a good example.
It’s funny how that’s a circle closing on me too. Even though the sound might be considered a little bit more sophisticated, the first house records I bought were DJ Sneak and Cajual Records releases. So a long journey just brought me back to my first love.
What are your thoughts generally on the disco edits being released in recent times? It seemed like there was a couple of years there where everyone was doing edits, now it seems there’s less out there but more quality produce to an extent..
Let’s hope so. To be honest, I was never the biggest fan of edits per se. I always had a tendency to rather play the originals. I hope it’s obvious that the releases on Lumberjacks have been selected carefully and because they are very special. That’s how I feel at least and the feedback we are given. What I care about is music and how it makes me feel. If a record NEEDS an edit. Yeah. But simple 16 bar intro loops piss me off. Always happy to find tunes that are simply bananas.
The latest LIH release Chicago Service has shot to number one on the charts, with six of Chicago’s finest disco heads supplying you with some fantastic workouts. What was the story behind that release and getting all those guys on board?
I am hanging out and talking to a lot of guys from Chicago. I was looking at how the Three Chairs and the whole Detroit scene is knit together. They are always holding it down for the D. Always show togetherness. I suggested Rah and Jamie that it would be good if they approached their business in a similar way.
All the DJ’s and producers in Chicago know each other but they rarely create and promote together. With the compilation I wanted to contribute to the legacy of this amazing city and help my friends grow a bit more visibility. There are some things you just can’t accomplish if you are always fighting for yourself. It’s all about joining forces, and the success of the record speaks for itself of course. Its a labor of love. And I hope many more collaborations will follow.
Then again if you check the LiH catalogue, 7 out of 10 releases are actually from guys from Chicago. I can’t say that i have planned it that way and it might not even be that obvious to our supporters, but it is. If you are into real dance music, Chicago is the mother. Chicago is what’s real. It was in the beginning and people are still drawing so much inspiration from all the music that’s coming from the city.
You play a fair bit of house too by the sounds of your podcast, what can you tell us about it?
Well, I started as a (Disco) House DJ back in 1996 and always kept buying some bits that I liked from Omar S, Theo Parrish, Osunlade, Mathematics, Golf Channel, Philpot. I play dance music. I play soul music. Music from the soul. I am always trying to get people in the zone and you need to surprise them. With me its often a a steady build up until I feel I can take people onto the ride. Like a roller-coaster really.
My second label Intimate Friends that just dropped Mate 002 is basically a house label without restrictions. I am into so many things ad Disco is just one big part of it, because it inspired so many things.
What do you have coming up, and where can people catch you playing in Australia?
Driller’s Sugar in Adelaide, The Croft Institute in Melbourne and Soul of Sydney.
I have lot’s and lot’s of things going on right now. My other label Intimate Friends is just catching on. Lumberjacks sees a couple of releases and side projects with Al Kent, Mr Mendel plus Mannmademusic and Rayko make their comeback.
I am still promoting some parties every now and then. In October we are celebrating 3 years of Lumberjacks in Hell in Amsterdam with an all-star cast of maurice Fulton, Kon & Rahaan, which is a big thank you for letting me do what I love.
Apart from that touring, DJing and producing.