HigherFrequency  DJ Interview


Carl Cox

Carl Cox, having grown up with parents from Barbados, he grew up surrounded by music. In addition to his passion for music, his overwhelming desire to entertain granted him stardom. He signed to Perfecto and had his first hit in 1992 with 'I Want You' He then performed on Top Of The Pops when his record peaked at number 23 in the UK charts.

His first imprint, MMR, was for techno productions. His first album, FACT (Future Alliance of Communication and Technology) has to this day sold 250,000 copies. In between jet-setting between gigs he kick-started his acting career in the classic UK clubbing film 'Human Traffic', followed up by 'LA DJ'. He started new house and techno labels Ultimatum Breaks and Intec. He was awarded IDA 'DJ Of The Year' 2 years in a row, Muzik named me as the Best British DJ and he's had more honors from NME, Dancestar and countless other organizations all over the world.

He was able to see in the millennium twice - first on Bondi pavilion, then hopping on a jet over the timeline to Honolulu, Hawaii. To date, he has given up his residency at Base but he will still be making regular appearances there.

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> Interview : Laura Brown _ Photo : Mark Oxley


HigherFrequency (HRFQ) : This past weekend, you played at ageHa and Yellow. You played with Takkyu Ishino at ageHa. How was that?

Carl Cox : Playing at Ageha was again amazing to come back there for the anniversary. It's something special, almost like coming home to a point, because the people have to wait so long for me to come back, so I feel very special that when I play that the people really appreciate it. This time playing Ageha was really better for me because I wasn't playing from the DJ booth upstairs, but playing from the floor. that means I'm playing with the crowd and inside the room with the sound system and everything. The sound at Ageha is amazing and when you play upstairs, you lose the sound energy on the floor. And the DJ booth is probably one of the best I've ever DJed at, but when they made the booth downstairs it was better just because your inside the room. Again playing with Takkyu, he played some exceptional music before I played, and the crowd were going crazy when I started. And so he is definitely a DJ that people respect also, so it was a pleasure for me to play with him of course.

HRFQ : And at Club Yellow you played a long set where Laurent Garnier joined you as well.

Carl : The Yellow club is always special. Whenever I seem to play there, there is always something that happens. And this time, but the time I finished my seven hour set, Laurent Garnier showed up, because he was also playing in Tokyo at the same time as me and he knew that we were going to gone on for a little longer. And he wanted to compliment the night also by him playing and decided to get his records and carry on where I left off. And the rest is history. Everyone had such an amazing time at the end. Laurent and I always have a really great time when we are together and people can see that. When we get together, there is a click that happens and something is created. And Laurent was able to play what he wanted - from disco to old school house records and jazz - he played everything. And it was just fantastic that a DJ was able to come along and also play completely definitive to what I played. And the crowd still wanted more at the end, even though we were playing drum & bass! It was fantastic and I think it will leave a strong memory on everyone for another year, until I come back. I look forward to doing that very soon also.

Carl Cox Interview

HRFQ : You just released the "Back To Mine" compilation and it includes a rich history of music, including vocals. You will release an original album sometime early next year. It is said this original album will include some vocal cuts. Can you give me some details regarding this new album?

Carl : I'll be releasing the third album from Carl Cox, called the Second Sign. And this album will be much more seminal for me in a sense that I really want to show people exactly where I'm coming from, from where I'm making music. And also working with people like Roni Size and Norman Cook, Josh Wink, Kevin Saunderson, Onalee who was the lead vocalist for Reprazent, Roni Size's band at the time, Saffron from ex-Republica, and also a new vocalist called Hannah Robinson and a new track called Give Me Your Love, which is out at the moment. It's all been quite mad really. Because the album is full of all different types of sounds really. There is drum & bass, punk rock guitar, techno, tech-house, there's funk and jazz on the album. I think it's time for people to make music on the album, not just one conceptual sound. What I believe to be good music and what shows people the scope of my musical knowledge. I'm into all sorts of different things, and this really does show on the album. Some people will be pleasantly surprised by the album and some may be disappointed, thinking they will get a complete techno album. There is techno on the album, but the album really needs to be listened to and I think that's really important.

HRFQ : It's been about 5 years since Intec was set up, so can you give some highlights of last 5 years?

Carl : There's a lot of highlights on the Intec catalogue. I have to say Pontape, a track by Renato Cohen that I picked up when I was in Sao Paolo, maybe three years ago. This record is still selling today. And when I made the remix of this record called Just Kick, it just really superseded any techno record that I've known over the last few years in the sense of awareness. It was just a phenomenal success, this record. I did a remix with a Tim Deluxe vocal as well and it just made it more and more popular. There's a funny story with this record actually. At Yellow club, a guy came down with a record for me to sign. And then he asked, can I play it, so I said sure and played it straight away and the crowd went absolutely mad and then when I finished he asked me to sign it and I signed it and gave it back to him. And then I don't know where he went -- probably to E-Bay to sell it. But it was fantastic to be able to play it directly and then give it back to him. Now he has a record that was played by Carl Cox. But also Sunshine from Tomaz and Filterheadz was a phenomenal success for our label. It was amazing how that got accepted. And also Miss Suave by Deetron, was amazing seminal hit and Bryan Zentz's Declash, a record that sounds a little like Goodlife, but from a techno point of view.

HRFQ : And what will be in store for the future of Intec?

Carl : I've got music coming out from Marco Bailey, he seems to be a DJ and producer that's really coming forward at the moment. He's got such a plethora of all different sounds that I can't ignore some of his music. Already we've put out one EP off his called Underlounge and it's been working very well. And we've got a new Thomas and Cobra coming out, Sebastian Leger from Paris, Leandro Gamez, a producer from Madrid. Valentino Kanzyani is our next DJ who's going to make a compilation for us. He's got some great music he's been producing at the moment, so we'll be pushing his music out very soon. So, we've got quite a bit of work to do on the label right now.

Carl Cox Interview

HRFQ : The 'Carl Cox and Friends' DVD has Jimi Page from Led Zeppelin playing with you?

Carl : Well, we wanted Jimi Page, but unfortunately, he was unavailable for work. I had written a track for Jimi Page to perform on and we're looking to have him perform on our next 'Carl Cox and Friends' that will be a Part 2. We really wanted him to do it and Jimi really wanted to do it. For me that would have been it! For him to do it - YES! Led Zeppelin lead guitarist, thank you very much! But it didn't happen. He was going to be our mystery guest, but we had a mystery guest called Secret Cinema who is from Rotterdam, who is an artist in his own right. So we basically had a home-boy come in and fill that void to a point. But when we try to do something special and unique, and unfortunately it didn't work out at the time. But fortunately we're still working towards getting Jimi Page to work with me, and to have us perform that track and have Carl Cox versus Jimi Page Live.

HRFQ : Can you tell how this project came about and do you have plans to release more DVDs?

Carl : The idea was to capture a moment of Carl Cox based on it's enormity, because it's not just me DJing in a venue, but Djing in a venue with live elements to my show. So it's all the music I've made on my album with people on the album, like the vocalists and guitar, percussionists, so they'd be performing those tracks live. So I'm kind of Djing and then I stop DJing and introduce one of the tracks with the artist, stop again with another track, so it's intertwined with live music and Djing, from my point of view. So it's a long night for me, because it can turn into a seven-hour show. But it's part Cox and part concert. And there are elements of production and choreography as well to the show. The next show we're going to do, you'll see a lot more of that happening. So it's like a concert and a dance party event and I'm leading the chart to all of it. I'm very happy to have done it three times already. One was in Space in Ibizia and another was in Madrid in an amazing club called Radical and we had 10,000 people come and pay money to see Carl Cox. So I feel very honored to be in a situation where people drive miles and miles to see what I've got to offer in the sense of entertainment. It's working very well and we're looking to do this concept world-wide as well. All I'm doing is pushing my DJing to another level, another step. It's time for people to see the future of where I can hopefully end up.

HRFQ : The new film LA DJ has you doing a cameo appearance. Do you have any other film projects lined up?

Carl : I don't have any other film projects lined up. I've had a few scripts come through, but they are just a little too big for me. I don't see myself as turing DJ/actor. I think you have to work very very hard at that. I love watching movies and I appreciate cinematography and scripts, and screenwriting and I think of it as in industry in itself, to be involved in something like that, you have to live and breathe it. When I see some of these actors' portrayal of other people, it's is an amazing talent, especially when you have heavy dialogue in scripts. I find it very hard to remember all the lines in such a way! The thing about LA DJ is that I had the opportunity to be in a Hollywood movie, just based on its subject matter. And it's something that I had done very easily. For me it was a lot of fun to do it. It was actually my second movie.

HRFQ : Can you talk a little about your first?

Carl : The first was called Human Traffic and I actually played a character called Pablo Hassan which was very funny when people saw it because I wasn't Carl Cox the DJ, I was Carl Cox the nightclub owner. And I had to be very mean and moody, which I found really difficult to do until they said that they weren't going to stop filming unless you get it right, meaning no one was going to get any food until I got it right. So by the end, I was mean and moody and they got the shot! And then everybody got to eat. But it took 12 hours to shoot that scene that I was in in Human Traffic. So I can understand what it's like to be an actor, in that way. It looks glamourous in a sense, but it's a lot of waiting around for camera angles and shots. It was exactly the same as LA DJ -- that was also a 12 hour shoot. It was about two kids want to be superstar DJs and they are Jewish and their dad is a DJ who plays Bar Mitzvah parties, but he gets ill. So he passes the tables to his sons who then play trance and trip-hop and stuff that is different from what they should be playing. And they then want to know how to make money by DJing and sell their record, and begin upon their quest to do so. I came in a cameo role and I gave them some words of advice. It's quite funny and was made by the same people who were involved in American Pie.

HRFQ : Regarding new technology, what are you currently using for your DJ sets - like Final Scratch, DVD-J, or Traktor?

Carl : The only thing I'm really getting into at the moment is CDJs 1000 by Pioneer. Technics have also put out a new player that is good as well, but I'm always a creative DJ and the things you can do on CDs, you can't do on turntables. But I use the eminent of the two because people still want to play on vinyl and can't get their hands around CD players and this is a combination of the two. It just means that I'm taking a next step. I can utilize CDJ1000 players to the benefit and it's interesting how you get those loops, samples and how you get them to work the way that you want them to work. And I find out that I don't have much time for else after that, when I'm DJing. As for Traktor, Final Scratch and these kinds of things, I don't really see the necessity of having them because they still take away a little element of "exciting" DJing. They are very good for having a great collection of music of different styles, not having to take your vinyl, but the thing for me is that the computers can still crash and I don't want that. So I'm sticking with the old school at the moment. It's tried and tested and the only thing that could happen is a power cut in the room and then you can't do anything. But the CDJs are really a favorite among DJs and it's taken a good 15 years to develop those machines. You should be seeing a lot more of the DJs getting into them.

End of the interview

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