The Hot Seat: Carl Cox

Published in The Music Network


Carl, Australia is a long way from where the big action is in the dance scene. Why did you relocate?

This place has the essence of life; it gives me sensibility and grounding. There’s a lot of great energy here. In the sense of the arts and music in Melbourne, there’s just so much going on. Every time I’ve come to Australia since 1988, I’ve probably done my best sets in Melbourne. It feels like I’m coming home when I play in Melbourne.

I’ve been doing what I’m doing for nearly 30 years. There’s going to be a point when I hang up my turntables. When that’s done, I’ll kick back and enjoy what Australia’s got to offer. Until then, I’m still being creative in the sense of my DJ sets, my record label, my radio shows and creating my own music.

You have a new album out this year.

It’s called All Roads Lead to the Dancefloor, and all the artists on it are from Melbourne. I’ve been working with Josh Abrahams and David Carbone; there’s a lot of talent here and I want people to see that. It’s probably the most technical, sound-enforced music I’ve made. It’ll come out this year through Intec, my own label. This is the first time I’ve represented my own music on the label. All Roads Lead To The Dancefloor will be delivered on a USB format-only, in three different configurations. The USB stick will contain various interactive elements and bonus content].

Is now a good or bad time to launch a label?

It’s a good time, I think. It’s quite easy to do now and it’s not as cash-heavy to set-up a label as it was in the early days. The problem now is that you don’t have anything tangible. I’ve got more than 150,000 pieces of vinyl. There’s nothing better than caressing a piece of vinyl. Illegal downloading really has killed the industry.

If anyone wants to make an album, it’s going to cost $50,000. It can be a lot less, but that’s money you might not have if someone downloads and shares it to the rest of the world for nothing. That’s a lot of money to lose. But it’s also about your music being shared by others, which costs you time, energy and your talent. No-one’s music is there to be thrown away.

How did you get started in this business?

I started playing music when I was 8-9 years old. The best grounding I ever had from a DJ and performing point-of-view was from playing weddings. When you’re playing weddings you have all types of people who want you to rock it for them. Some people want Madonna, some want Adam and the Ants with Elvis Presley chucked in for good measure. Eventually it all came together. I played weddings for at least 12 years of my life, and probably became one of the best wedding DJs of the moment.

How did you find the transition from vinyl to digital?

It was a big scary change. I never thought in a million years that the CD player would replace the turntable. Then Pioneer brought out a machine that could emulate the turntable. When I first saw it I thought an alien aircraft had landed. From a technical point of view, it’s fantastic.

From 2005 I stopped buying vinyl and started burning music onto CDs using download sites like Beatport, TrackitDown, DJsUnlimited. Behind all that was the Final Scratch system, which is now called Traktor. I will probably end my career on Traktor.

What’s the problem with clubland?

It’s difficult here in Australia. Every club owner wants to make money and nothing’s stable. There’s a point where I’ll be playing a venue for two years, and because we’re making a certain amount of money they decide to turn it into something else. That’s happening all over this country. The London club Fabric started off as a dance club and its still there today after ten years. That’s what you need, some stability.

You’ve had a few film roles. Anything in the works?

I’m working on a series for American TV called DJ’s Diaries. It’s a day-in-the-life, or rather, the years-in-the- life of Carl Cox, played by actors. We did a pilot and we’re looking at one of the big companies to pick it up. We’re hoping for that to come out by the middle of 2011.

Any plans to hang up those headphones?

Not any time soon. But there will come a point. I’ve given most of my life to nightlife. It’d be nice to see daylight for a change.

Carl Cox’s fourth artist album All Roads Lead To The Dancefloor will be released in three phases from August 1. Family Guy single arrives July 4.

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Clips of Lars Brandle’s interview with Carl Cox can be found here.

And here.