As many of us bemoan, there is too much music released these days. Now imagine if there were no record labels, the bastions of quality that act as the initial filter between producer and listener. While DJs and producers garner so much attention from the media and fans, the role of the independent record label has had an immeasurable impact on the shape of the music world. So our new Label Liason feature will profile the people who take on the role of creative director and commercial manager and wrap it into one difficult balancing act.
Marcel Vogel setup Lumberjacks in Hell in Amsterdam at the turn of the 10’s. Focusing on soul-infused, disco-fuelled sounds, the label has released killer records from the who’s who of the modern disco tribe such as Rahaan, Jamie 3:26, Cratebug, Philou Louzolo, Giovanni Damico, Dan Shake and Eddie C. We caught up with Marcel to learn more about the past, present and future of Lumberjacks In Hell.
Can you tell me about the beginning of Lumberjacks In Hell? What inspired you to start the label? Who’s on the label team and what do they do?
I started the label in 2010. I did a lot of edits at the time that I put on Soundcloud and the feedback was nice and encouraged me to try something. There is a quote from Mike Huckaby that I like: “People are trying to get involved with the music and everybody is trying it on their own terms.”
My own productions just weren’t good enough to be released but I needed to get myself out there and participate on a wider level.
Lumberjacks in Hell is all me. I do the A&R, the release schedule, every decision goes through my hands. Since LiH 002 I work with South African Graphic Designer, Chris Keyz who drives me crazy most of the time missing all deadlines but the look of the label talks for itself.
Apart from that, there is Lana who helps me a bit with social media.
Soulphiction – Dirty Hot
Where did the name come from? It always makes me think of this underrated film
Please bear with me that I didn’t click the link. It’s more or less an inside joke between Mark Seven and me. It was an unfortunate gig, a really empty party and two DJ’s in Lumberjacks shirts that made me think of the name. Simple. I suppose my advice to all aspiring label owners is, whatever you start probably will become bigger than you can foresee if you mean it. So you might wanna consider the name twice. It’s a funny name though and I guess it works.
How do you select the artists to release through LIH?
Quality is really the only thing I consider. Sometimes I get a track from big-name artists that just don’t fit the bill and at the same time, I have released a lot of great first records by a bunch of artists and people really liked it. If I think it’s interesting, I‘ll go for it. It’s a bit of a family thing, so I guess it helps if I like you and you like me.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve had running the label?
Cash flow I suppose. There is always money that needs to be paid for all sorts of things and if the other end is disrupted that’s where it becomes problematic. If you prepare a lot of releases but for some reason, you get some delays and all these things. It must be great to have a huge security net to catch you. But for me most of the times when something goes wrong, it becomes tight for me.
Dan Shake – The Bee Won
Which other labels do you admire?
I love Sound Signature, KDJ, Philpot, EGLO records, Stilllove4music, Razor N Tape, Al Tone’s Label ( i don’t really know the name), BBE, Clone, Rush Hour, Stones Throw, there are tons and tons… and maybe for different reasons. I also have a thing for labels that have unusual releases but I would have to go through my shelve to remember what I am talking about 🙂
What role do you think labels play in the music industry?
What is that, the music industry? For the small bubble in that we operate, labels are a tastemaker. A creative force itself. Filtering a certain sound from everything that is available. Nowadays that everything is available to everyone, it becomes more interesting to be more specific with your sound.
Major labels have a different role of course. They have more power to force a certain product into the market. I find that interesting and appealing too.
What’s coming up next for Lumberjacks In Hell?
We just released Andy Compton & Shamrock – Bunny Chow which is pretty much what I mean. A very original beautiful record that was recorded in South Africa. I have another record coming next month and in July we have Alma Negra joining the label with a great record.
Andy Compton & Shamrock – Roga Mizki
Which record do you wish you’d signed?
In your opinion, what is one tip that an aspiring producer needs to know?
It’s all about your own taste, your vision, your sound. Stop copying others. Your education is in the record store. You need to listen to as much music as possible and stay thirsty. Learn to play instruments, go and dance as much as possible. Be in love with music. Inspiration lies everywhere. Movies, music, books, musea, theatre. If you are just trying to have the next club hit you are probably boring as fuck to me.
You’ve got an unlimited budget and no one is dead – who would play at your ultimate club-night, and where would it be?
That question is so boring because the answers must be so similar. There is beauty in the limitations we have. If there are no limits often we follow a formula to make more money and foster more success. It is much more interesting to try to create the perfect night for 200 people that are all in the same vibe. Creating the perfect vibe is maybe more important than the biggest lineup. But obviously, it’s easier to book the hippest names to try to achieve that.
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