RC 15

Straight out of Amsterdam, we bring you Marcel Vogel. We are pleased to get to know this guy a bit better. He kicks this soulful mix off with some head nodding pieces, slowing it all down with some heavy grooves until bringing the energy back up again. Marcel being a big music lover and record collector this is what it’s all about. As he calls it: rhythmic freedom for Rhythm Cycles – get ready to sweat.

RC 15 — Marcel Vogel — 15.02.2012 by Rhythm Cycles

Hey Marcel, thank you so much for your mix tape. Let us get going with some questions people can read while listening to the great tunes.

Hey Mads, thanks for having me.

Recently you have started your own label Lumberjacks in Hell. So far you have released edits from yourself and a few other people. Could you tell us about your approach and use of edits?

My approach is very simple, I release what I like. The first one was the infamous Miss You edit that I had put up on soundcloud and I got so much love for it that I felt I wanted to have that on vinyl. Vinyl is my favourite format (though not the only one) for DJing, mostly because I like the handling and the inspiration that I can draw from it. The next one that I could win for the label was Traxx – To The Beat Bizarre which is a megamix that combines many different influences. I’ve heard Traxx play that at a party here in Amsterdam and immediately fell in love with it. He needed to be persuaded though because he only made it for personal use.

So I released Rayko’s All Along The Watchtower and Broadway in between which turned out to be a massive favourite with a lot of DJs (like Move D for example). My take on a couple of funk tracks including Body Heat were the number four and next week we expect to have LiH 005 in the shops with some fantastic re-works by Mannmademusic & Frico (aka DJ Friction). And LiH 006 is being prepared for release right now and will be an EP by Chicago’s finest, Rahaan.

You are also organizing some parties in Amsterdam right? Tell us about what you like about throwing parties? You recently had Al Kent over, how was that?

I’ve been organizing parties since 2003 when I was living in Berlin. For a young DJ it is a kind of necessity to start out somewhere and do something. But I learned quickly how much I love putting my ideas to live. I don’t like the dirty job of promoting but I love getting DJs to my nights that I might not hear otherwise and I always try to bring something that excites me in the first place and then it’s my job also to transport that feeling onto others. So what I truly like is hearing the music I live for and taking care of some details that sometimes go missing with other nights. (like turning the lights down at the right time) Al Kent is an amazing character who’s paid his dues in more than one way and he is a fantastic DJ. I think it was my best party in Amsterdam so far.

You are persuing (or already pursued) an education in sound engineering. Can you tell us a bit about your school? Any recording projects of your own coming up?

I have a SAE diploma in Audio Engineering and studying now to hopefully gain a bachelor degree in what they call music production(which is the business side of things) by the end of the year. Unfortunately that also means I don’t have a lot of time. But I’ve recorded a reggae tune with a couple of musicians that probably will come out this year and I have a couple of projects bubbling but all that might only really come into life after I finish my studies. But I am also rediscovering sampling for me at the moment. (did I tell you my first musical instrument was the MPC 2000xl?)… We’ll see.

Your mix being on the soulful side you still cross some genres and tempos. Could you maybe tell when and how you started listening to these genres? What was the first record you bought? A lot of the tracks played in your set are from the past, any labels and artists of today you enjoy?

Oh, I started writing long answers already and now the tricky questions start. You could say I started DJing whith vinyl when I was 16, but even before I was buying a lot of Hip Hop CDs and looted my mothers collection for anything that sounded sweet to my ears. Lots of odd stuff that I had to listen through to find some stuff I liked. So I was already digging my mom’s collection on more or less hiding it in my room. I couldn’t possibly remember what the first record was I’ve bought but it would be some Hip Hop stuff that I could find cheap in the local shop. I know that the Fugees and Warren G were quite important for me. And Funk Master Flexx 60 minutes of Funk mix CDs and of course the Wu tang Clan. And a lot of R’n'B like R. Kelly, Heavy D, Blackstreet and Aaliyah.

When I started buying vinyl it was mostly disco house like DJ Tonka and DJ Sneak. Then the whole Cajual catalouge and Dimitri from Paris disco house compilations. I always had a thing for disco like Anita Ward, Michael Jackson or the Whispers. When I was coming of age I moved to Frankfurt, Germany and through many different influences began digging deeper into disco. Two important institutions for me there where the infamous Robert Johnson club that had everybody playing from Theo Parrish to Metro Area with wicked Resident DJs like Gerd Janson and Sasse.

The other important fact was that Frankfurt had a lot of brilliant record stores but foremost the amazing Pro Vinyl where I spend most of my hard earned money. So I had a strict disco, soul & funk phase in Frankfurt and moved then to Berlin to draw a lot of inspiration from the fantastic Jazzanova DJ Alex Barck and the Kaleidoscope nights at Cafe Moskau. Listening to Alex Barck’s warm up sets made me appreciate hip-hop again. Around that time I got hit by Madvillany by Doom and Madlib.

Today I dig everything that rocks me, from rare boogie 45s, Stones Throw, Osunlade, DJ Spinna’s mixes are very important to me, the whole Detroit scene, Chicago, a lot of what Rush Hour brings to the table, Rodenion is a big favourite of mine, Madlib still surprises me and the raw house beats of MOS, Jak Nation or Max D. It’s so much stuff that’s interesting from today tomorrow and yesterday. So it’s a constant look out to find just the best of every genre to do what I do.

You are also a digger and record collector. In which record store did you start hanging out and buy your records? Have you got friends through digging and trading? Where do you usually buy your records? Still any flea markets or record fairs around worth going to?

So like I said Pro Vinyl in Frankfurt was just totally crazy because it was so huge and they carried every genre with a good assortment and also most important for me a lot of Disco 12″. And Big Black sold me also a lot of important records in my collection. I do enjoy the records stores here in Amsterdam, especially for things not disco like jazz and rock. I have to admit though that most of my stuff comes from the internet. It’s also an time issue but also a lot of things are quite hard to find in a store over here. If you are in Amsterdam Waxwell and Record Mania are a must for second hand and of course Rush Hour for new stuff. I must also say that digging in the states has a whole different quality.

You’ve been living different places in europe, now settled in Amsterdam. How do you like it there? The city, the people and the parties? Lot of soul, funk and hip-hop people over there right?

The people over here are fantastic. Very open hearted, lovely and welcoming. I am constantly campaigning for the city though. If you live here for too long you start idolizing other cities like Berlin for many reasons but for me it’s truly paradise. Amazing live venues like the Paradiso and Melkweg that have constantly great shows and lots of promoters trying to do the right thing bring in so much talent from abroad. And then you have the local DJs being legends in their own right like Antal. And this city is soooo beautiful or picturesque as some of my friends like to say. And many people seem to forget that the sea is just 30 minutes away by train. Seriously.

So did you have had any memorable gigs the last year? You played in Geneva recently how was that? The venue? Your set? The crowd? etc.

Look how well informed you are! Playing at the Shark was a very spiritual experience for me. It is a very tiny venue and I always enjoy the french part of Switzerland. (btw I was living in Switzerland for a couple of years too). So if I have a crowd that allows me to go everywhere musically and am hosted by a rabbit and people that I consider friends like Gregor (aka Crowdpleaser) just because we share a similar energy than that is close to the best things that can happen to you. Playing there was very liberating experience to say the least.

Another highlight of the last year was a house party we did at our place in December. Sometimes it is just the right combination of people at the right time and the right place that create the magic. I dont know how it is with other DJs but I love getting goosebumps from a track that just electrifies the room. That’s what drives me. Finding the magic recipe every time that ignites the room and gives everybody shivers. Music is not just a bodily exercise and here I quote: « It’s a spiritual thing ».

What are the plans for the future for yourself as well for your music?

You are taking an easy one for yourself here, eh? So foremost I am busy with the bachelor right now. I wanna DJ as much as my time allows but would also like to go for quality rather than quantity. If the people who book me don’t understand what I am about to bring then I am clearly in the wrong place. Lumberjacks in Hell will see a bunch of exciting releases this year and might also make a transition from the mostly edit side to releasing some more genuine productions. Still representing my values that I stand for as DJ. But we ll see about that.

At this point I have to give my graphic designer Christopher Keyz a shout for delivering top quality both for the label and the parties. There might also be an offspring to the label. Currently I am doing an exciting internship with an Amsterdam label close to my heart and also in the Red Bull Studio Amsterdam as an Audio Engineer. Each take one day per week so you see I am kinda busy all around. But I am working on original music and we’ll have to see how I can finish all that stuff. Apart from I consider Amsterdam my hometown now so there are no doubts about staying here or not. At the moment I feel that I have arrived.

Marcel’s upcoming gigs:

Disco Madness w/ Zaf at Canvasopde7e, Amsterdam, Facebook event
Love Lessons w/Sunset Mike at Jolene, Copenhagen

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