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November 4, 2014

Talk to: DJ Marcel Barlag


With his grey hair, outstanding glasses, his folding bike and his discmans, Marcel Barlag (60) is not your average DJ. Back in the days, he was one of the first to play in Canvas and he’s still going strong. Every Tuesday, Barlag parks his bike slash DJ booth in Werkplaats, to play records at Working Class. Time for Volkshotel’s Ewa to get to know this style icon just a little bit better. Turns out that being a DJ wasn’t his dream, but somehow it just happened.

How did it all start, your DJ career?
I wouldn’t call myself a DJ, I’m just someone who enjoys playing records, haha. You could call me Marcel Barlag ‘The Discman’. 15 years ago, I started playing at friends parties in the living room with a little mixer and two Sony discmans in a suitcase. That was really uncool back then, but I just didn’t like to carry all those records. And that’s still my thing, using old school CD players.


Yes, I think people mostly know you from your characteristic bike and those weird portable CD players. Can you tell us more about that?
Seven years ago, I was playing at Canvas on a regular basis and I got tired of carrying that old suitcase around. So I fixed a little folding bike, small enough to fit the elevator to take me to Canvas on the 7th floor. It’s been my companion ever since. I even decorated it with some cosy lights, a neo flamingo that I’ve got as a present from fans. People go crazy when they see it and act really surprised, like ‘can I take a picture?’ or ‘wow, I’ve never seen anything like it’. I never get tired of those compliments.

Any last advice for aspiring DJs?
I do think its good to create an image, so be sure to distinguish yourself in your music and style. I try as well, with my glasses, blouses and so on. Authenticity is really important, there’s so much fake stuff around. And next to that: get out of your room and start throwing parties! Play whatever you like, you’ll discover your real taste later on. And then you can go on until you die, just like I will, haha.

Working Class // Every Tuesday // Werkplaats (ground floor Volkshotel) // 17.00-22.00 // Free entrance

Looking for glasses? Marcel Barlag has his own optician shop where he collects and sells incredible vintage glasses.
Marcel Barlag’s Eyedentity // Nieuwezijdsvoorburgwal 129-131 //


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