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What's in iJamming! Music
Fri, Nov 15, 2002
From the Jamming! Archives:
interviewed in 1978
"A number one single would be a bit scary."
The iJamming! interview:
"'Acid Trax' by Phuture came out and I was just 'Okay, forget all hip hop and all old school rare groove right here, this is it.'"
The Best Of 2001
Tony Fletcher's Top Albums, Songs, Concerts, and Books
Strange Currencies:
R.E.M. at Carnegie Hall
In his room:
Brian Wilson at the Festival Hall
ECHO & THE BUNNYMEN: "Flowers is Echo & The Bunnymen's finest hour since Ocean Rain."
Latest album reviews
An intrigue of early 90s New York nightlife.
NEW CHAPTER now online
From the Jamming! Archives:
U2 interviewed in 1984.
"It's not U2 that's creating this great art. . .There's something that works through us to create in this way."
iJamming! Wino/Muso:
"New world wines are just too techno for me."
iJamming! interview:
Jesse Hartman, aka LAPTOP
"Every New York band knows the meaning of failure"
MIX Albums:
Who, what and why you should bother
"I don't think people realize that life can become so exciting and interesting that it can draw you away for long periods of time from creating music - & why not?"
From the Keith Moon archives:
the JEFF BECK interview .
The iJAMMING! chat:

"If I was asked why Sniffin' Glue was so important, it was the way we conducted ourselves, the style of it, just the attitude. It had attitude in abundance didn't it?"
Forgotten Classics:
THE CHILLS: Brave Words
THE iJAMMING! Book Review:
SNIFFIN' GLUE: The Essential Punk Accessory
Musing with SALLY TAYLOR:
"I'm not interested in what the major labels have to offer."
From the JAMMING! archives: ALTERNATIVE TV
interviewed in 1978
Fran Healy explains why "you cannot own a song." (And why Liam Gallagher "is going to turn into a really great songwriter.")
Featured Artist Web Site:
From the JAMMING! archives: The Story That Spawned Creation
The iJAMMING! interview:
"Once you've had your go, what-ever it may be, they want you to piss off, and they can't bear it if you come back, they can't bear it."
They love rock'n'roll but they don't want to deal with the hassle
The full iJamming! Contents
A Conversation with CARL COX
Over a twenty-year career, Carl Cox has not only garnered a reputation as one of the world's most formidable Djs, but has also become known as The Nicest Man In Dance Music. Certainly, on the couple of occasions I've met him in busy clubs, he's been a standard-bearer for politeness; the several times I've heard him spin have been some of my most hallowed club experiences. (In particular, I'll never forget his first major New York appearance at Twilo a few years back; when he took to the decks around one in the morning, immediately upping the tempo and volume several notches, a roar of approval came up from the dancefloor such as I've never heard before or since.) There's no denying Carl's status as a Superstar DJ - this is the man who played the Millennium twice, once at Sydney's Bondi Beach Pavilion before jetting back across the International Date Line to play in Hawaii twenty-four hours later - but there's something about his attitude, both in the booth and out, that keeps him removed from the sometimes galling trendiness of the international elite. Consider it real-ness; anybody who's heard Carl - and especially who's watched him - knows that this is someone who still gets his biggest thrill in life from playing new music at high volume for people who want to dance.

Still, allowing that Carl was there at the birth of rave, that he was the first to spin three turntables at once, that he's had hit singles under his own name in the Uk dating back to 198, and that the readers of DJ magazine have twice voted him 'DJ of the Year,' then it seems something of a mystery as to why he isn't more of a household name, especially in the States.

To rectify this, he recently signed a deal with Warner Brothers, which is releasing a mix CD, Global, on March 5. (His four previous mix CDs in the States were all released on Moonshine Records.) I was asked to write the bio for the label and jumped at the chance to sit down with Carl, who I'd never spent any quality time with before. As I had hoped, he was ideal company, good-natured and full of humor and more than happy to talk about the south London of the 1970s that we both came of age in. I wouldn't say he's entirely humble - you'll see the interview peppered with many comments as to his considerable reputation - but he's certainly genuine. Without making it sound too strong a statement, I like to think that when everything else - the awards, the remixes, the glamor gigs and the high income - is put aside, Carl Cox still stands out as the Peoples' DJ.
"Every Friday I would get on that 157 to Croydon and just buy buy buy. All my friends thought I was nuts, because McDonalds had just come out and they would all go out and buy double cheeseburgers, and I'd go off and have gotten myself a record. They'd have come back and eaten it and gone 'wicked!' And I'd come back and say, 'This record by Brass Construction is unbelievable!'"
Carl Cox fondly remembers his suburban late 70s youth.
-I was at the second day of the Area One festival here, and it was brilliant, because you did a 3 a.m. set, but at 3 pm! And it was spot on, because I was full of energy, and it was a beautiful day. And being a dad I don't get to do so many 3 am nights any more.

It was funny because a lot of people saw it as, Well, what are you going to do? And I said, what I always do. I just get on there, get on that mike as well - because I'm a human being as much as anyone else - and I want to have a party, and I've only got a two hour window of opportunity to do well...let's have a good time! It was just perfect.

-I find that you're one of the few DJ's who's worth actually <i>watching </i>, because you're so into it that it exudes back outward. I love it when I see the sweat dripping off your head, like is the record going to get so wet that . . .

...The needle will skip? And sometimes it does! It's true. Even if I'm just playing records, I'm into the moment of playing, and with that, if I'm dancing, and I'm in this way of enjoying this moment, then I'm sure you guys can too, without this record having to be the focal point of why we're here. Of course, yes, the music prevails, but at the end of the day, there has to be something that gets behind that music. I just draw people into that sense of getting into new music, because I believe in what I'm playing, full stop. And everyone can feel that, and go with it, and then they can walk away with the experience of Carl Cox.

-So now you've signed a deal with a major American label.

I think the situation here with Warners, is they want to encapsulate that whole thing with me. There's Paul Oakenfold, there's Sasha & Digweed, there's Timo Maas, there's Paul van Dyk, and they all have a point where they interlink with each other, and it creates a force that is out there in America, which people understand and enjoy themselves by. I'm over here. (Points off to one side.)

-I was going to make that exact point. There are other people who have got this very established name with Joe Public and they have branded themselves a certain way, and you have always been a step outside of that. I don't know if that's deliberate because you want to stay more underground, or whatever the word may be, or whether it's because you haven't made the most of it.

I would say that one half of that is to do with my step up the ladder in the right way. If I had this deal with Warners five years ago, and was promoted in such a way, would I still be here now talking about the future? If I got onto the gravy train of what's going out there now - Carl Cox Trancecentral Vol 1 - I'd just be another person tagged onto what is going on. I think I have more of a chance than anyone in a sense of breaking this whole thing wide open, based on new music coming through. I can always talk about it, there's a reason for doing what I'm doing, I've been into this for so long that it's not even funny. I do have a multitude of remixes that I've done, albums that I've put out, compilation albums that I've put out over the last twelve years, to know that I'm trying to push music to the forefront, and it's only a matter of time before people in America get to understand who Carl Cox truly is. I think Area: One was a great example of what I could do initially without the whoops and bangs of what Paul Oakenfold had, because when he came on, it was a complete theatrical show, he had the visuals and everything. And it was amazing to see what can happen to a person that has promoted himself.

-He's very much branded himself, whereas I think you remain, 'I'm the DJ.'

I'm still the DJ. (At Area: One) I had the turntables, my music and my persona. That's all I had. When we done all our early parties, it was all renegade. You got a sound system? Let's hook your sound system up to our sound system. You got a few lights? Let's throw them together. Meanwhile, the purpose of the party is something which gets created within itself, and what I had to do was that exact same thing on this tour, create this thing. I see myself as someone who was at the beginning of this whole situation, rather than the last two years of where it's been progressive or trance-orientated music coming through. Because I do play a lot of funk, a lot of bass lines, a lot of grooves, but with a lot of power and energy - and techno, to boot. Which is the same speed as trance but it has a lot more balls to it.

The last CD I did with Moonshine, Live at Crobar, I wanted people to see what I could do live. There's no editing, no going back, it's what it was as is. I did a four hour set on that night, and we took an hour out of it. I really enjoyed doing that, and people who bought it enjoyed listening to it and quote me on it to this day. There's always this thing because my name is massive all over the world, then they see Paul or Sasha and they can't understand why my name isn't so big here. You hit the nail on the head, I haven't been promoted by another company in such a way to get me to such a place.

-I also don't know that it's such a problem. That you've taken your time.

I used to play trance music and pioneered trance music in 1995, when I released my first true compilation album on React music, the FACT album volume 1. That whole album was about European trance music - and Jeff Mills. And a bit of Dave Clarke. Because for me I always sat on the fence in between trance and real techno, or hard house. It ended up being my biggest compilation release to date. FACT 2 wasn't as great as FACT 1, but again it was still something I wanted people to see as a progression. Three years after that I did FACT Australia, which was a domestic release for them.

-One of the things I like about your mix CDs is that it always sounds like it's live Djing.

With all my compilation albums, I've never used a computer. I've always gone on the vibe on the day. On my FACT2 album, we was in LA, and I invited 25-30 people to come down to this room, to this warehouse, that had 25-30k Tonka sound system in it, We got the lights and the smoke machine and I was like, okay, this is the album. When you're hearing it, you're just like 'If I shut my eyes, I could be on the dancefloor at Twilo right now, ooh yeah, it's coming in now, I'm feeling it!'

-There's a different feel when you can hear a record being faded up, you can hear a backspin, you can hear a cross-fader action.

And you can't do that on Pro Tools.

-So this album will be the same way?

Normally what I do when I play is, I just have a whole bunch of records. I go, 'Right. You lot are here, I'm here, it's two o'clock in the morning and I'm not leaving until seven. So, Let's go...' But this time, I'll have the records that have been licensed and the records I've been playing and then I'll do 'em in one hour segments. And if it feels good, done, hour two.
-So it's almost like when a musician does a take, and runs it off, and you listen back, and sometimes you say, you know what, I could do it better tomorrow. So you come back the next day and DJ again in your home studio?

Six Cox mix CDs. This row: FACT 2, FACT Australia, The Sound of Ultimate B.A.S.E.
This row: Non-Stop Cox, Mixed Live Crobar, Non Stop 2000

I did it on the FACT 1 release. For the first 30 minutes, I felt lackadaisical, and I kept going back and doing it again. And then when I went back again, I had about a half bottle of vodka and then everything just flowed. It felt natural, the whole mix. That's what I strive for, that it doesn't feel so rigid. It doesn't feel like it's been programmed, or like it's sterile. I think doing compilation albums is a trademark of what you do, and if it doesn't follow what you do, then it instantly looks like you're trying to find something, or you're steering yourself towards something that could be criticised as a case of, Why are you doing that?

-You've got some of your own tracks on there.

I'm just letting a couple of them go just so that people can see from a production point of view that this is what's going on with the new album. I've spoken a lot about the new album, I want people to know that I'm doing something and that when my album comes out it will be as important as the new Chemical Brothers or Basement Jaxx. I want people to know that Carl Cox will be releasing his third studio album - not even his first or second. I'm already on the train of making albums. I've been in the studio lately with Roni Size, Neneh Cherry, Tommy D, Josh Wink....

-When you record your own music at home is it just you?

The last two albums I've done everything myself, which I found very difficult, because I have to be musician, the engineer, the programmer, the arranger...

-...And the taskmaster.

Yeah. (Imitates talking to himself.) 'Get in that studio, stop going out,' 'OK Carl!' I thought I'll step back and have someone else help me produce, program and mix my music. So I got Neil McLellan in who did all the production for the last two Prodigy albums.

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