Resident Advisor are championing an initiative called #Cycle2ADE where a number of DJ/Artists have volunteered to cycle to the festival in Amsterdam helping to raise funds for a charity of their choice.
First up is supporting Bridges For Music in building a music school in the township of Langa, Cape Town, South Africa.
One of the DJs who has graciously volunteered is Marcel Vogel. The German DJ and label-head for Lumberjacks in Hell and Intimate Friends kindly took the time to speak to us…
Hi Marcel…how’s Amsterdam tonight?
Yeah all well this side, thanks…
So you’re cycling to ADE…quite a task and for a bloody good cause too. What motivated you to participate? Are you an avid cycler?
I’m a runner. I run a lot. I bought a bike, and I hardly used it. I really wanted to do tours, so needed a bit of inspiration…and then this initiative came up and I decided to be a part of it.
Of course, you’ve now had to train a bit, to get into some shape for the main event…you managing ok?
I’ve been training for about 2 months now, but of course my travelling and the weather often hamper this.
That being said, I find this training, based on the circuit we travel, to be very very interesting as I’m getting to see places I’ve not really gotten to see before.
The other part is that I usually cycle for about 10-20kms daily just to meet friends. So doing it as training seems to be quite easy, but I’m not sure how it will impact me doing it 4 days in a row.
Music has the unrivalled ability to connect human-beings from all over the globe, irrespective of race or class. With that in mind, what are your thoughts on this initiative?
I’m aware of how blessed and gifted we are as human beings. Having luxuries like the Internet and basic commodities like food, water and a home are often things we take for granted…so we have nothing to really worry about. I think it’s quite beautiful, to give somebody the possibility to excel in life, through this medium of music and to be able to impact the lives of people we may never even meet one day.
Mike Huckaby’s workshops are another great example of how we can impact people’s lives by teaching, educating and sharing in the knowledge/talent we have…basically just giving back!
Your Boiler Room set of late last year and pretty much every set of yours I’ve listened to and posted on the For The Record page oozes that sexy disco disco feel…this style is very rare in Cape Town, with the Private Life crew basically the only ones pushing the sound. Is it quite common-place in Amsterdam, Netherlands?
In Amsterdam it feels rather main-stream at the moment as there are a lot of (young) kids playing this sound as well as the veterans, who know their disco very well. There are different shades to it though. The Chicago DJs have their distinct sound, while the (young) kids and even the guys playing in the Red Light area, having a different style as well.
Would you say that it’s become very trendy?
I wouldn’t say the kids are following a trend, as when I was that age, starting with House music, and then switching to Disco [as it was a sound I was more attracted to] …I was around 21years of age. So, I don’t think it’s so much a trend, but rather a persuasion…
The Lumberjacks in Hell label boasts some of the big-hitting disc[o] jockeys like, Rahaan, Jamie 3:26 and Mr Mendel…tell us a bit about the relationships with these artists and how you came about working with them for releases for the label?
Well it started with me buying records and my interest in the Chicago sound [DJs like Sneak, Cajual, and Derrick Carter] and feeling a connection to that city and the style of [house] music that came from there. Back then [around 2005] we would post on a message pod called ‘Bring the Heat’ where guys like Sean Sounds and Rahaan and Jamie and Boogie Nights were posting and this is how we all got in contact. This of course was a great platform for me to learn more about the genre of disco. I distinctly remember there being these DJ disco battles [on these message boards], where DJs would post their 30minute mixes and people would vote for their favourite.
Later on in life, I started throwing my own parties and tried booking Rahaan, which didn’t happen for whatever reason. Eventually I did get to book Rahaan and he’s been a constant in my life and this is how our relationship grew and how I met some of the other cats I’ve hosted too. Rahaan has a big following in Europe, so he had/has the ability to open doors for his friends who may not be as well-known. I call him the “door-opener”
Thing is, there’s [strangely] many Chicago cats coming to/through Amsterdam, which is somewhat inexplicable. There’s a vibrant energy around the Dekmantel festival and people interested in the Chicago sound.
Coming back to how our relationships blossomed, I’d say, it started with one aspect [being our common interest in music and production] and moved from there. It’s all about building and gaining respect for the work you do and of course keeping your credibility.
You already have somewhat of a connection with South Africa, even though you’ve never been here. Tell us how you got into contact with Christopher Keys and how he became your Lumberjacks in Hell designer…
Well a while ago, I posted on a blog called DJ History, saying that I was moving to Amsterdam and asking if anyone had any connections in the city. Chris, connected me with [his friends] Juju & Jordash, which resulted in me sharing a studio with them and that started our friendship too. We then started chatting about a mix I uploaded on DJ History and Chris subsequently asked me to do a mix for his blog ‘Another Night on Earth for which he did the artwork.
I liked Chris’ work and then after I had my friend do the artwork for the first record as well as Red Light Radio , I got Chris to do the artwork for the past 12 releases on Lumberjacks in Hell.
You have an interesting bookings policy, when selecting artists for your events…
People I book are people who inspire me. I’ve been doing it for 10years, and so when I book a DJ, it’s always who I wanna see/hear perform. I’m doing a tour with Jamie 3:26 who I feel needs to be booked a lot more than he currently is…he’s a lot better than he’s given credit for. Whenever I put time and energy into an event [and it’s usually a lot of both], I do them for my pleasure. So it’s important that the artists I book are ones I really want to hear play.
So essentially you wanna hear an artist who is able to move you with their music?
Yes, I’m not interested in the whole Deep House this and that debate, I’m interested in music that has a soul…music that moves me emotionally and tells a story.
Thanks Marcel…all the best for the cycle and hopefully we’ll have you out in South Africa soon?!
Yeah, thanks man. I hope to come out and play there soon…just tell every promoter you get in contact with that I’m keen and let’s see what happens.