There’s a story behind every track. Or at least the good ones. Listening Room is our (somewhat neglected of late) music feature devoted to discovering new music and learning the story behind the tracks from their creators.

Today we’re talking with Marcel Vogel, owner of what we’ve called the “best Chicago record label not physically in the city of Chicago“, Lumberjacks in Hell.

“Doin It”, with vocals by Milos Gersi and Gianna Tam, is being released on Lumberjacks’ sister label, Intimate Friends. The record is a departure from Lumberjacks’ disco-driven material; it’s also, as we’ll see, some three years in the making. About the sound of Intimate Friends and this third release, Marcel tells us

“I suppose the label is still finding its style. Maybe the common dominator is soulful music in all its shades?”

Listen above and we’ll talk to Marcel below. Doin It is available now on wax from Rush Hour distribution.


This is different than the type of edits and disco records you’ve released as the owner of Lumberjacks, but not so different than your own last record, “Body to Body”, also on Intimate Friends. How would you describe the sound? I struggled with “Body to Body” as slo-discoified New Wave or something dumb like that.

Here is the thing: I like a lot of music. And maybe because I am not a real musician, it’s easy for me to create things that aren’t trying to be something that’s already in my record collection. But I struggle with creating songs that are like the stuff I personally play. I don’t know if you realized this but both songs “Body to Body” and “Doin It” started not as reggae tracks, but there was always something “off” that I couldn’t get the way I wanted it. So I decided to make them drastically different.


What’s your history with this song and why did you decide to cover it?

It’s just one of the most beautiful boogie songs I know and I like the lyrics. In addition it has a whole set of lyrics as opposed to a lot of disco “tracks” that are more brief.


The singer is the same one from “Body to Body”? Will you bring him out of the shadows?

Haha. I try. It’s Milos Gersi who lived in Amsterdam for awhile but originally he is from Bali. He currently lives in Hawaii. It’s tough to get hold of him now. He is a young cat who has a more rock-orientated background. I wish he would pass by for a couple of sessions again.


What’s live and what’s sampled here? Can you introduce us to the band?

So originally this was my graduating project from the SAE school for Audio Engineering and everything was played live. We have Milos on vocals and Gianna Tam from Amsterdam singing the background vocals. She is super-talented and apart from her own projects she is working with Rahaan, for example. She also plays drums and timbale.

The rhythm guitar is Jair Wix from Amsterdam. The others are a bit dim right now. It’s been about three years that recorded the core tracks. I did the final overdubs this year, though. The guitar in the beginning is played by Pat Malone from Australia who happened to be in Amsterdam for a couple of days. I have a open house and everybody is welcome to contribute.

The only thing sampled is the beat which I compiled of many different drum sounds and claps. I think I made about 5 or 6 different versions of the beat before settling with this one. I guess I have to learn to let go…


This is the third release with “Intimate Friends”, which I thought was going to be a kind of one-off label. Have you marked this label to handle specific projects like this one?

I think Intimate Friends is what I will focus the most on in the future to release music from friends and heros but I suppose the label is still finding its style. Maybe the common dominator is soulful music in all its shades?

For 2015, I definitely have a couple of House 12″s in the pipeline from different artists and I guess there will be the odd curveball in there as well. I know quite well what I am doing with Lumberjacks in Hell but the first 3 releases have been lucky accidents too. Hats off to Noema and NY*AK for their great remixes and patience with me. Their mixes have been ready to go for two years already. It always takes time with me.


Doin It is available now from Rush Hour and soon everywhere.