Marcel Vogel Interview

No doubt, Marcel Vogel is one of the most respected DJ’s and producers out of Amsterdam! Known for his Lumberjacks in Hell imprint, his electrically energetic soulful- house and disco sets, and for being an all-round likeable guy. We have the pleasure to put a few questions to Marcel on the week of his next release in partnership with LYMA, out on Dutch label Boogie Angst.

LHM – It’s great to talk you, Marcel. Where are you this moment and how are you spending today?
Marcel Vogel – I am in Sittard at Loud E’s house. We spent the day in thrift stores looking for records and making music.

LHM – What projects have been filling your time this last year?
MV – I am constantly sending tracks back and forth with LYMA and other artists. I don’t wanna jinx things by talking about projects prematurely.

LHM – You’ve been an artist, DJ and producer for a long time Marcel. How much do you think what it takes to be a successful artist has changed from a decade ago. Or do you think the fundamentals have remained the same?
MV – We certainly would have to define what you mean by success. Also, the realms of when a DJ should be considered an artist and when an entertainer. You still need faith, lover and determination. You still need to get up every morning and try to make a difference. A lot of things have become easier, and a lot of things have become more complicated in the last ten years. I guess the ability and the desire to grow and learn has remained the same. It’s a complicated question. For me obstacles also can trigger growth.

Maybe there is so much more competition but if you stay true to yourself, nobody can really do what you can do. It’s when you try to live somebody else’s career and dream, that you should get stuck. I am not saying that you would, but you should. Art validates itself by providing context. But as mentioned before, it’s a line between being an artist or an entertainer or both.

LHM – Where was you most recent gig and how did it go?
MV – I was in London at Metropolis, and it was wild!

LHM – What kind of vibe might we hear in a set currently?
MV – Haha, the million-dollar question. I am into soulful house, disco, boogie and everything around that. I guess a lot of things are possible depending on the energy. I will always play loads of vocals. I’d say the EP’s with LYMA representing that mindset quite well. I wanna feel all sorts of things during a DJ set. If that’s best expressed through a Techno or garage tune at a specific moment, I don’t know. It’s always a matter of the moment and the energy. It’s a democratic process and my interpretation what I think that moment should be.

LHM – What’s the most recent record you bought?
MV – Janet Jackson’s first Album. I’ve heard about it on Questloves podcast. It hadn’t even crossed my mind, that I have slept on that.

LHM – Who do you think is making great music right now?
MV – Kaidi Tatham, Tensnake, JKriv, Luke Solomon, Kaytranada, Sampha. Tons of people to stay hip to, I don’t wanna miss too much, always curious and excited about new music.

LHM – How do you go about sourcing new music?
MV – We have a bunch of dope record stores in Amsterdam for old and new stuff, Rush Hour of course, but also Red-Light Records and Waxwell and many more exquisite spots. I frequently check Traxsource, Beatport, Juno Download, Bandcamp and Spotify. Shazam even. Friends’ recommendations etc. When I travel, I usually hit one or two stores. Even Instagram can inspire you to buy a dope tune.

LHM – What’s going on with Lumberjacks in Hell currently?
MV – It’s been a bit on a hiatus after the pandemic, but I am currently preparing a slew of releases by LYMA, DIKKENS, myself, Casino Times, and a comp.

LHM – Your new release is with vocalist LYMA. How long have you known each other and how did you get together?
MV – Shamis had asked me to remix LYMA for their label, something that I had started but couldn’t quite get to the point. When I was working with Tim Jules on Why Don’t You leave me for Shall Not Fade, I sent him the track to see if he wanted to do something with it. In true LYMA fashion I didn’t hear anything from him for 2-3 months until the night before we had to send the project to mastering. That’s how we ended up with two versions on the EP, Why Don’t You Leave Me and Like a Fish in the Water. From there I just kept sending him music and occasionally he would send me things back and blow my mind. TBH, for me LYMA is a star in the making. His talent is awe inspiring and I am privileged to work on this music with him. I am curious how he’ll eventually break into a bigger market, but I know it’s only a matter of time for him. Definitely follow and support this guy!

LHM – What has LYMA been doing musically before you paired up?
MV – He’s been busy with a multitude of projects and in the studio honing his skills as a musician and singer. He’s been working with Utrecht’s INI Movement, Lucas van E aka Rebiere as Likeminds. As Likeminds, they released a very strong album. He’s done music with the successful Galloway and lots of features both singing and playing. LYMA lives and breathes music!

LHM – What is the setup of your musical partnership and productions?
MV – Usually, I have something he could work with. An idea, a beat, a loop. The extent of what I send him is always changing, and it blows my mind how in a short amount of time he’s able to send me an almost full arrangement with words, melody, verses, and hook. If I manage to grab his attention, the music just shoots out of him. Most of the time we work separate from each other in our own work environments.

LHM – Who are the artists who have inspired the music that you make Marcel?
MV – Romanthony, Peven Everett, Theo Parrish, Moodymann, Osunlade, Madlib, Dilla, Kaytranda.

LHM – Your new release ‘No Time’ is hard to put into a musical box. How would you define the sound?
MV – It’s an amalgam of our different influences. It’s great to work with LYMA who is endlessly talented and together we explore all these different moods. I guess we are channeling Sade as much as a Mr G, or Prince.

LHM – It’s out on Boogie Angst. This isn’t your first release on the Dutch label, right?
MV – No, LYMA and I have previously released the EP Games Change with the Digital singles Head Back In the Game and Keep On Stepping.

LHM – What other projects are you working on right now Marcel?
MV – I am busy with projects with all sorts of artists, foremost LYMA but also James Alexander Bright, and others in different stages. I am open. Since have put together my studio, I am much more efficient in my work process and interested to make all sorts of music.

LHM – It’s not a secret you’re a big family man. How do you balance your life with work projects and growing children?
MV – I don’t know the answer to this. It’s constant chaos! My family is my priority, but my work is my passion. A day has 24 hours. Naturally something’s gotta give. I guess one way to go on about is, is fewer projects and shrinking things to size that’s manageable or outsourcing more where necessary.

LHM – When you’re not making great music, what might we find you doing to relax?
MV – Riding around on my Bike and listening to podcasts. You’ve spent most of your adult life working in music.

LHM – If you didn’t work in music, what else do you think you might have done instead?
MV – Perhaps I would have expressed myself more in writing or other creative endeavours. I guess my curiosity is often triggered by a multitude of things, I’ve just chosen music to focus on.

Marcel Vogel and LYMA’s ‘No Time’ EP is out now here