INTERVIEW & DJ CHART Marcus Worgull

Marcus Worgull has been a constant in the electronic music scene for more than two decades. Despite only eight released EPs over a period of 16 years under his Worgull moniker the former Groove Attack record store owner has remained relevant and influential up to the present, and possibly just kicked off a new era in the history of Berlin based label Innervisions. With the release of his three tracker ‘Broad Horizons’ the Cologner manages to combine various genres on his latest EP following a musical approach that is rather new for Innervisions and the current musical development. While ‘Broad Horizons’ is a cooperation with Finian Paul Greenall alias Fink and finds beauty in its melancholy, the EP’s tracks ‘Seen’ and ‘Skango’ emphasize on a more reggaish vibe, still both don’t seem to be musical contradictory to the EP’s title track but rather an endorsement. Almost at the same time of ‘Broad Horizons’ release Torture the Artist had a chat with Marcus about working with Fink, ‘Skango’s’ reference to Lee Perry and much more.

I’ve always wanted to combine reggae and dub elements with the stuff I like to play when DJing, and as a result, ‘Skango’ and ‘Seen’ somehow took me there.

Torture the Artist: ‘Broad Horizons’ is only your ninth EP under your name Marcus Worgull since 2001. How close does this EP come to your own perception of the perfect sound?

Marcus Worgull: Haha, that makes me laugh! When thinking about my own music, the term ‘perfect sound’ is the last thing that comes to mind. The ‘perfect sound’ is always found in all the other musicians out there, and I’m only slowly trying to get closer. This doesn’t mean that I’m not happy with the tracks/songs on this EP.

I’ve always wanted to combine reggae and dub elements with the stuff I like to play when DJing, and as a result, ‘Skango’ and ‘Seen’ somehow took me there.

I was star-struck and shy as I didn’t quite know how to work properly in this specific studio environment.

Torture the Artist: After two consecutive EPs with collaborationist Peter Pardeike and one with Daniel Bortz, ‘Broad Horizons’ is more or less your first solo EP in a while. ‘More or less’ because you worked together with Fink on the EP’s title track. How did working with Fink for ‘Broad Horizons’ come about?

Marcus Worgull: The biggest issue for me, concerning music creation, is making decisions. Having some nice little ideas that might work well for a DJ set or short-lived moments of pleasure is easy. But finishing a whole track or song is a long road paved with rocks.

When I’m in the studio on my own, I tend to lose faith or get bored and therefore skip a lot of those little ideas, sometimes even before the real ‘work’ starts. Maybe it’s a lack of discipline or something alike. However, when it’s two creatives sitting together (like with Daniel, Peter or Danilo), this process is more fluent. If the guy sitting next to you says ‘Yes – that’s good!’ or ‘No – it’s nonsense!’, I can accept it much more easily.

And the collaboration with Fink came about when he heard this bootleg version I did of his song ‘Move On Me‘ on Philomena. He contacted me because luckily he liked it, and even offered me to choose a track from his album ‘Perfect Darkness’ for an official remix. During this time we agreed that we should do some music together at some point, so we met a couple of times in a Berlin studio and recorded. The first time we met, it was quite strange for me to sit next to this absolute pro and a musician that I really admire. I was star-struck and shy as I didn’t quite know how to work properly in this specific studio environment. Nonetheless, I approached it full of respect and felt genuinely happy about every single note we recorded. After some days when I got comfortable and started contributing more we found a nice way of working together. We managed to record 4-5 songs and ‘Broad Horizons’ is one of them.

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Picture by Carolina Redondo

Torture the Artist: From your experience, when using vocals or working with a singer on a track, do you pay more attention to the timbre or the flow of the vocal?

Marcus Worgull: It depends. Ideally, it should be both. As I haven’t worked with singers that often, every occasion and song had its own little history so far.

I try to sing from time to time, but, believe me – it’s for the better of all if it stays within my little four walls.

Torture the Artist: Since you have a history of singing in a choir, did you ever consider recording the vocals for one of your tracks and if not, why?

Marcus Worgull: I only sang in a choir until my vocal chords changed with puberty, so I’d need to learn singing from scratch again. But actually yes, I try to sing from time to time, but, believe me – it’s for the better of all if it stays within my little four walls.

Torture the Artist: ‘Skango’, which is not only a track from the EP but also the name of a dance hybrid between ska and tango is devoted to the characteristics of these musical influences. What would have been the story that Marcus Worgull, the (former) record store owner, would have told a vinyl digger at ‘Groove Attack’ about the track?

Marcus Worgull: First, it’s a reference to a Lee Perry track. And, for this EP, it’s a reference to the sound of the track, it’s dub and ska roots and the little, somehow melancholic melody can be related to Tango.

Torture the Artist: Aside from the fact that you could make a sentence out of the three track titles: ‘Broad Horizons’, ‘Seen’ and ‘Skango, are there any other hidden connections between them?

Marcus Worgull: ‘Seen’ and ‘Skango’ certainly have the same reggaeish vibe, whereas ‘Broad Horizons’ is more, a kind of melodic song. The fact that all of them found their way on this release, I think, is mostly a matter of the right timing. No hidden connections or secrets, unfortunately.

Torture the Artist: Where would you place your EP on a scale of ‘calm’ to ‘restless’?

Marcus Worgull: I totally leave this up to you <winks>.

Torture the Artist: You combine different styles and genres in your productions. Could this be interlinked with you browsing all kinds of music in the record store when you were younger?

Marcus Worgull: I think I’m still browsing through all kinds of music, more than ever. And out of this, probably similar to everyone else, I get a lot of inspiration.

The development of the label as well as our individual development felt quite organic for me.

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Picture by Jörg Grzenia

Torture the Artist: You’ve been part of Innervisions from the beginning and seen the label grow and develop to what it is now. This growth is accompanied by a lot more attention drawn to the releases, rising in the popularity of the artists and in people’s demands to have their expectations met. Have you grown as a person at the same pace with the label to deal with the aforementioned?

Marcus Worgull: As I knew Steffen, Kristian and Frank as friends, partners and colleagues long before Innervisions came about, the development of the label as well as our individual development felt quite organic for me. Provided that, everyone did and does it at their own tempo.

Esoterically speaking: the end is always a new beginning.

Torture the Artist: What makes you forget about time?

Marcus Worgull: On a good day, it’s music. What always works though, is playing chess, mostly online.

Torture the Artist: What was the best you have ever given up on?

Marcus Worgull: I think, it’s more something new that comes across, making the other things fade away. Esoterically speaking: the end is always a new beginning.

Check Marcus Worgull’s 10 tracks that inspired and influenced him and his work regarding his current EP ‘Broad Horizons’ in no particular order. Marcus Worgull’s EP ‘Broad Horizons‘ was released January 19th, 2017 on Innervisions. 

Rhythm & Sound ‘We Been Troddin
Joe Gibbs & The Professionals ‘Chapter Three
Jake Hottell ‘Horizon
Mad Professor & Macka B ‘We’ve Had Enough
Bill Campbell ‘Galaxy (I’m the Ruler)
Bob Marley ‘Them Belly Full
Adrian Sherwood ‘Hari Up Hari
Scientist ‘Dangerous Match 4
Flying Lizard ‘Secret Dub Life
Lee Perry ‘From Creation