Carl Cox
Exclusive interview

by Dan Prince November 2016 MUSIC Read in PDF format N12/2016
Carl Cox Saying goodbye to Space

Hey Carl sorry to call so late, I have visions of you walking around your Melbourne home in fancy slippers, a posh dressing gown and sipping a hot chocolate?

Haha, well it is 11pm over here but I am not ready for bed just yet Dan…

So I guess it’s time to take the Cox foot off the pedal for a while after what what must have been the most exhausting summer you’ve ever had? 

Oh man it just didn’t stop, it was the hardest I have ever worked in my career bar none. There was my last residency of Music Is Revolution, touring all around the world either side of the Tuesdays including Burning Man and then of course the Official Space Closing. I have never experienced such high expectations from clubbers than working at Space this summer, the crescendo of intensity that built week after week was unreal. Everyone at the venue stepped up a gear, the attention to detail was unbelievable and the effort that every single person who worked there was amazing. The pressure is off now but I was straight to the airport for a two week tour of South America before finally coming home to Australia for a few months. I can now try and make some sense of it all!

 

Carl cox

When I saw you at the Official Closing you told me that you were looking forward to waking up in the morning and feeling normal and being able to get your body and brain out of the different time zones you were dealing with. Have you had a good night’s sleep yet?

Just yesterday! I opened my eyes and saw that I’d had 6 hours natural sleep and I was like ‘yeeeeessss!’. I was so tired of not knowing where I was in the world, just being told ‘Carl it’s time for your breakfast, eat!’ Or ‘it’s time for your dinner, eat.’ But don’t worry everybody, I am still hanging in there…

How long did it take for you to decide on the final ever Space track Angie Stone’s ‘Wish I Didn’t Miss You’?

You know what, I didn’t. The thing was I knew I had some amazing ‘last records’ to play, I’d short listed them and put them in a file knowing that when the time was right they were there waiting for me. And then a funny thing happened. I was eating dinner at Cipriani in Marina Botafoch with some friends when all of a sudden the DJ played Angie Stone. Everyone was talking away at the table enjoying their food, but I was in a trance listening to the song. I had tears running down my cheeks with a big silly grin on my face as I knew that THIS was the record I was going to play as my last tune at Space. It was a sign, fate, a lightening bolt from God - call it what you want but the last piece of music ever to be played at this world famous club had been decided for me. I tried telling my tour manager to listen to the music but he was too wrapped up with some Brazilian chick…

What struck me was that it’s not normally a track you’d associate with Carl Cox, I half wondered if Nic Fancuilli had slipped it on!

I loved that part of it all - the whole mystery of it as nobody would have ever guessed I’d play it. As soon as I left the restaurant I bought it on iTunes, put it into Ableton, speeded it up two beats per minute to 126, a bit of hi-hat, a kick drum, some congas and boom, job done. When I was playing in the Space car park during the day I slipped it in a couple of tracks before the end to show everybody that Carl Cox was playing and loving it, then when the end came in the main room I simply played it from the start. With that whole O’Jays ‘Back Stabbers’ intro, wow I was in tears again, well everyone was weren’t they? The lyrics were so poignant to the whole experience and whether people liked it or not, good music is good music and that’s what has made Space stand out from every other club on the planet these past 27 years. Listen, I could have played anything but I wanted the unexpected. I’d heard ‘Your Love’ about 6 times during the party, people were thinking I’d play something like Candi Staton but I wanted a real shocker. 95% of the people loved it, the other 5% were dreaming if they thought I was going to play the latest Dixon or Jamie Jones track. This record really touches your soul and was perfect.

One thing from the Closing I just have to mention, Solomun in the DJ booth at the end, what the hell was going on?

Haha, how bizarre was that? Most DJs were coming over to myself and Nic to congratulate us both and buy us a drink, but Solomun? He was screaming his head off with his arms all over us, I was thinking ‘hold on mate, this was meant to be OUR moment, not yours!’ It was pretty obvious watching it back on Be-At-TV how annoying he was, it was kinda funny but a lot of people at the time thought it was very bad form.

Did you continue the party afterwards anywhere?

No way, I hadn’t anything else to give. After playing in the car park which was emotionally really draining for me, I went away for two hours to get my head together and chill. Then it was back for another 6 hours in the main room and come midday all I wanted to do was get back to the villa and fall into bed. You know, looking back at those last few minutes with Pepe doing his speech, the white curtain and the final record, I found it all quite solemn. Everyone was shouting for one more tune, everybody around me was crying not knowing what to do with themselves and there was a real sense of disbelief in the air. On one hand I didn’t want to be prized away from the decks but it really was the end. My job was done.

When Cream and The Hacienda in the UK closed I managed to grab a few pieces of memorabilia, did you take home any Space souveniers?

All I wanted to do was steal the two security vans outside with the bar takings haha! Seriously though, I am just happy with my memories of the best club we have ever witnessed, that’s all I need. Saying that, Pepe still has the keys for a few more weeks so I could still nip back with a pick axe and rip up a piece of the dancefloor…

Ibiza is a small island. Rumours circulate very easily, important people get spotted leaving venues after meetings, word gets around. What are you allowed to say about Carl Cox in Ibiza 2017?

As you can imagine everyone has been calling us for next year. I do know one thing though – I don’t want another residency and I don’t want to be tied to another superclub again. But I’m not finished with Ibiza, no way. The plan for next year is to do 4 or 5 pop up parties on the island. I am doing the zoo at Benimussa Park 100%, I cannot believe I have never been to that venue before! The after party of the Closing of Music Is Revolution just blew me away and was the best party I have been to in a very long time. We had a look at Privilege but I’m not touching that club unless they spend 10 million euros on it, such a shame for what is a great space. We are looking at DC10 as I love that early evening slot there, Amnesia are definitely on the table and we are looking at Cocoon, Music On and HYTE and then there’s all these Space Hotel stories. Now don’t get me wrong it’s a lovely idea and a dream come true for so many people, but I really cannot see them getting a license. The government are not allowing any new club ventures on that side of the island as it is, so the idea of a new hotel with a club? Even if they succeeded in two years time, the whole Space bubble will have burst by then. Timing is everything in our world I am afraid and all I want to do next year is pick and choose the best options. They will all be very special and get everyone out to join me for a party.

Glad you mentioned HYTE, they have had a storming summer in Ibiza once again, I see you’ll be spinning there on New Years Eve in Berlin…

The great thing about HYTE is that they have created a real niche for themselves all around the world and I love their total party ethos. I played for them in Barcelona for an Off Sonar event and the atmosphere was bananas. It was the Sunday night and I was playing b2b with Loco Dice and it was complete chaos. I haven’t seen scenes like that on a dancefloor in years, I loved it. The best thing about the people who run and go to HYTE is that the most important thing is the music and I totally respect the fact that they do not see the numbers through the doors as a gauge of their success - if a party was for 10,000 and they only had 5000 inside it wouldn’t matter because their clubbers party so hard. When we started this scene in the late 80s it was all about having a great time with the party and the DJ coming first. If loads of people turned up then great, but it didn’t matter…everyone was just free and happy dancing. New Years Eve will be incredible with Richie Hawtin, Chris Liebing, Dubfire, Loco and Seth. Bring it on!

On the subject of London, it’s not looking too bright at the moment with institutions like Fabric closing. How as a generation can we come together and show the powers that be that we are here and will not be swept away?

(long pause and a heavy sigh…)

It is such a mess isn’t it? As I see it, we have to take it to the authorities just like in 1994 with the Criminal Justice Bill when 100,000 of us marched to Trafalgar Square fighting for our right to party. We need to do that again, get it onto TV and show everybody we have had enough. Clicking a button on the internet is not going to solve anything, that I do know. I am happy to get out there with a banner as we all need to start doing something now or soon there’ll be no clubs left. We have to show the powers that be what strength we have because if it does go for review, we’ll never know what happens in that room! It’ll be a case of ‘no sorry the judgement stands’ and then it will be over forever. We have to go out and fight just like we did when we followed Tony Colston-Hayter in the 90s. Stop the traffic! Get on the news! Let our voices be heard! The MPs have to see that by getting the youth of today on their side now it can only mean one thing for them in the future, votes. 

Well exciting times for the Intec family right now with the release of the Pure Intec 3 compilation mixed by yourself and Jon Rundell. This is the third in the series dating back ten years, why did you feel this was the right time for a new album release?

Most people don’t understand how difficult it is to run a label these days with the mountain of music you have to go through that we receive. There is so much great music out there at the moment and we get excited by it all, but there is only so much we can release and it is impossible to put out everything individually. So we decided now was the right time to release an album showing everybody something from our past, present and future. We are thrilled with the ‘Pure Intec 3’.

There are some incredible producers on the double album…

One of the most important factors we stand by is that you have to take into consideration that what is relevant musically now may not be in a few months time…and keeping the label’s essence is so important to us. Artists like Harvey McKay and Carlo Lio all have their own sound, sure it’s house and techno but it’s different…it’s their own vibe and that is so exciting for us. We want to nurture these artists who have more water in the wells than most, we aren’t just putting out bangers, each one has their own brilliant story. Danny Serrano, Ian O Donovan – the list goes on and on… 

What were some of the tracks you just HAD to have on there?

Sidney Charles shocks me with everything he does. He is so prolific and so forward thinking. Saeed Younan’s ‘Drop It’ is mind blowing and as for Nicole Moudaber? Her remixes over the years have been stunning and I love how dark she goes, I have no idea where she is going next and to be honest, her music scares the shit out of me!

You launched your Pure Festival in Australia this Spring with events in Sydney and Melbourne. Will it return in 2017?

Absolutely! We have Noir and Adam Beyer playing alongside myself, Eric Powell and a host of local DJs. We will always have one house superstar and one techno with me sitting in the middle trying to keep control. We are expanding next year as well, Sydney and Melbourne joined by Perth and the very exciting news of New Zealand joining the party. This is huge news for this country as they have not had an event of this caliber for many years. They have been starved and we are coming to feed them our music! No confetti cannons or fireworks – just low sighting and a big fuck off system.  Who needs video walls when the tunes are this good?

And finally a famous quote from you…“If I’ve made people happy based on giving part of my soul to music, then that’s what I would like to be remembered by.” What about your services to the MotoGP world…? 

Haha, you want to hear a great story? You know how much I love my involvement with my Carl Cox Motorsport, well last week at the Philip Island’s Australian MotoGP I was invited down and asked to do a photo shoot with Britain’s Carl Crutchlow and his bike. They were like ‘go on Carl, hop on his bike - just don’t touch the gears or the breaks as they are set for the race’. This is like being asked to climb into Lewis Hamilton’s Formula 1 car, I couldn’t believe it. I was then interviewed by Suzi Perry on BT Sport who asked me what I thought of Crutchlow’s chances? I said that if World Champion Marc Marquez made a mistake then it could let him in. And what happens? Marquez crashes on Turn 4 and Crutchlow rides the race of his life to become the first British rider to win a Grand Prix in Australia. Well the press were all over the fact that I had sat on his bike beforehand, they thought I’d brought him good luck and since then I’ve been inundated by other riders to sit on their bikes! I am not sure about that as he crashed in his next race.”

Thank you Carl, hopefully see you in Ibiza soon.

Thank you Dan. And yes you will, I love the island too much to be away for too long…

‘Pure Intec 3’ is available exclusively via Beatport on 11th November and everywhere else two weeks later...

Preview...

https://soundcloud.com/in…/pure-intec-3-carl-cox-promo-mix-1

TRACKLIST

CD1 – Carl Cox
1. Saeed Younan – Drop It
2. Misstress Barbara – Don’t Tease Me
3. Matt Sassari & D Unity – Fired Up
4. Kasbah Zoo – Shifted Control
5. Nicole Moudaber – One Day Later
6. Jon Rundell – Utopia
7. Harvey McKay – Wrong Turn (Gero Jansen Remix)
8. Sidney Charles – Justice
9. Steve Mulder – Kusesai
10. Victor Calderone – Mole
11. 999 feat Amadeas – Find The Answer (Marco Bailey Remix)
12. Carlo Lio – Love Nation
13. Copy Paste Soul – CTRL
14. Josh Wink – Talking To You (Carl Cox Remix)
15. Ramiro Lopez feat Thomas Gandey – Revolution Space
16. Drumcomplex & Roel Salemink – Awake
17. Carl Cox – Your Light Shines On

CD2 – Jon Rundell
1. Dosem – The Path
2. The Junkies – Revolution
3. Harvey McKay – Something Good
4. Danny Serrano – Paragraphy
5. Carlo Lio – Escobar Season
6. Carl Cox – Kommen Zusammen (Joseph Capriati Remix)
7. Stephan Hinz & Philipp Ruhmhardt – Kachel
8. Ian O Donovan – Gauntlet
9. Tomy DeClerque – Restart
10. DJ Jock – Raw Love
11. Fabio Neural & Alex Costa – Dillinger
12. Cristian Varela – Alarm Waves
13. Jon Rundell – Mind
14. Josh Wink – Talking To You (Jon Rundell Remix)


 

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