In conversation with Marcel Vogel and Jamie 3:26

Disco dons Marcel Vogel and Jamie 3:26 ask each other all about influences, records, standout moments and much more in this back to back interview.

Skiddle Staff

Last updated: 16th Feb 2018.
Originally published: 14th Feb 2018

Lumberjacks In Hell founder Marcel Vogel is a dab hand at creating and playing the sleaziest funk, disco, soul and house cuts. The legendary Jamie 3:26 is known for traversing eras, mixing classic cuts with fresh and exciting selections. Ahead of Doodle and Ghetto Child, the well-respected pair got chatting about the things that make them tick, their history and much more. 

Marcel asks Jamie: 

I wanna know about the first parties you went to! How old were you? What were people wearing ? What tracks can you still remember? What came first? The music? The women? Or the booze?!

My family always had parties on in our home but I started sneaking out when I was 10. The music at that time was a mix of punk, Kraftwerk, Martin Circus, and stuff like Human League 'Don't You Want Me Baby' or Slave 'Party Lites'.

How did you start DJing? Did you have a mentor?

Well I had two cousins and an uncle who both DJ'd. Our family threw a lot of parties! So I've been initiated that way and learned the basic use of the equipment. My godfather also let me roam through his record collection.

Tell us an anecdote about your family. You once told me the humour runs in your family. Who always cracks you up?

My mother always cracks me up but everybody in my family has a unique sense of humour. If I didn't have this damn stage fright maybe I would try to be a comedian.

Tell us what it is about Chicago? Why do almost all of my favourite DJs come from there?

It's the Midwest freshness, baby! We stress blending and technical skill; it's very competitive. And the funk was born here too.

When I started playing house music, my favourite label was Cajual records. How did you perceive that era, coming from Chicago and being a bit older than me?

For me the 90s house from Chicago is also the most underrated era of our musical history. It seems public opinion always orbits around the first generation of producers and DJs from the 80s but to be honest a lot of the cats from the 90s are still around and thriving while a lot of the pioneers kind of lost touch with what's going on nowadays.

What is your favourite disco 12" of all time?

It's not a 12” but a whole album. Philadelphia Classics remixed by Tom Moulton.

Salsoul or Philadelphia International?

Philadelphia all day. That's my Motown.

You cannot say Ron Hardy. Which other DJ had a really profound influence on you, your taste and the way you DJ and how so?

Actually there are three DJs that really influenced me. First there is Lil' Louis who was the first entrepreneur DJ; not only having an immense control about his parties and the crowd but also putting on his own events as a promoter, having his whole family helping set things up.

Next to that, Pharris Thomas inspired me with his technical skills and he was the first DJ to give me a shot to open up for him. And finally Andre Hatchett who also had amazing blending skills and great timing.

What was the best party you ever played at?

That was hands down the Crate Diggers event in Berlin where I played 10 hours back to back with Theo Parrish, Marcellus Pittmann and Zernell. Unbelievable.

Is there a record that you REALLY love but that you would never play?

Katrina & The Waves – 'Walking On Sunshine'.

 

Jamie asks Marcel:

Why did you move to Amsterdam?

I came here to study Audio Engineering at the SAE. Amsterdam is an interesting mixture, it reminds me of Berlin and London and many ways but it is small and has some great record stores. From my perception concert venues like Paradiso and an institution like Rush Hour have done incredibly much to keep soulful music thriving in the city.

Obviously there is more to it but when I was living in Berlin over ten years ago, those were the most visible aspects of it. There seem to be only a few things musically that interest me that don't find some room in Amsterdam. Sure the times have changed quite a bit all over Europe but it is very convenient to have all the inspiration you need on your door step. And luckily the scene keeps evolving and staying interesting.

My favourite festivals like Nomads and Wildeburg, for example perhaps don't get much attention internationally but still sell out and I feel very much at home there. Pair that with Red Light Radio, Dekmantel and our local hard working clubs like Claire, Shelter and Radion and you get a very diverse scene in a city that should be much to small to offer all this.

Hammer or Vanilla Ice?

Haha you are a bad man my friend! It would have to be Hammer though. Always loved his moves and his silly pants. There is a video of Redman online where he talks about meeting Hammer, it's hilarious.

If you could live anywhere besides Amsterdam where would you go?

Depends if I still would be working as a DJ. One of Amsterdam's advantages is of course the airport and that we are quite central to everywhere in Europe. It used to be my dream to live in London but I think I am alright to only visit a couple of times a year. Barcelona and Lisbon for some sun.

My girlfriend is from Sydney and obviously there is something exciting about the idea, even though it probably would be too far away to effectively continue to work as a DJ.

When was the first time you saw a DJ mix?

I started going out when I was 14; I had seen Erick Morillo doing his MTV Beach parties before that. But yeah, “real DJ's”, I started seeing when I was 16. The first DJs who really blew my mind were TrAXX and Terrence Parker around 1997 I think because of their technical skills and their music selection.

What song does everybody love but you hate?

Literally every single one.

If you could buy any record no matter what price, what would it be?

I don't tend to obsess about expensive records really. So I wouldn't even know whats super expensive and what isn't . There is so much music available right now, it's kinda crude to fetishize a price tag.

Funniest thing that ever happened to you while Djing?

It doesn't sound funny but I managed to make myself cry during a break up before playing Minnie Ripperton. In retrospect it's quite funny. But yeah maybe not what you were asking about.

Cajual or Stricly Rhythm?

If somebody could explain Strictly Rhythm to me, that would be great. Obviously I have a couple, but it also seems I am missing a lot or maybe it's really not for me. Cajual on the other hand, 85% is pure gold.

Favourite thing to do after a gig?!

Well my favourite thing to do is usually the gig itself. Ideally the party and the DJ after me are really great and there are a bunch of friends to party with, then dancing my ass off would be the thing to do. Come to think of it, that would be the ideal scenario.

Obviously it also depends of the time of the night, where you are, how you feel. If you are in a warm place, the sun is about to rise and you can go for a swim, that wouldn't be bad either.

Would you prefer to be just a DJ or just run the label?

Jamie, shut your mouth. I dare you asking me a question like that. I love both you know? If you ask me what I enjoy more, what I spend more time doing and thinking about, it's DJing. The dancefloor is what inspires everything I do. I imagine different places, different situations and different DJs playing certain vibes and try to understand if it would fit.

I suppose the label thing is more sustainable in the long run. In ten years I might not be up for spending my nights at parties anymore but who knows...

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