TF Archives

Carl Cox: Techno Killed the Disco Star

Author: Jo Vraca
Monday, August 20, 2001
From disco dancing star extraordinaire to flying across the international dateline on millennium eve, Carl Cox isn't just a champion DJ, he's also a junkie - of the vinyl sort.

Carl Cox has been knighted with just about every imaginable dance award, made his TV debut on Top of the Pops in 1992 and soared to giddy heights in the celluloid UK clubbing classic Human Traffic where he played a not so affable nightclub owner - something that is quite divergent from his real-life diplomat status. Add to the film and TV credits the fact that Carl has DJed across the planet on numerous occasions, including the much lauded Mobile Home party on NYE 1999/2000 - after which he flew back across the international dateline to perform at a free party in Honolulu - and the three-deck-master's credentials remain oh-so-rock-solid.

Carl, a bit of a troubled youth, spent a little time in a detention centre. A few years and a pair of decks sorted him out and he began his DJing career as DJ boy Friday playing at weddings, barmitzvahs and at his parents' social events where he'd toss in a bit of the old Wilson Pickett, The Temptations, Marvin Gaye and the like. He acknowledges however that his parents, who live in Barbados, haven't taken much of a liking to young Carl's 'new age', full-flavoured, warehouse techno sounds that embody his F.A.C.T. (Future Alliance of Communication and Technology) series of compilations. But while Barbados' leanings towards reggae or, what Carl calls 'Jump-Up' music, swayed the locals, his parents were country music fans - not exactly what you would expect from the Caribbean; Perry Como, Jim Reeves and 'Sounds of Distant Drums' were likely rumblings from the Cox household.

Much has been said and written about Carl Cox, today, we let him do the talking.

Did the earth move when you flew to Hawaii back into 1999 after having played in Sydney at midnight-
It was really demanding you know. The thing is, the anticipation for the gig I did in Sydney was so high. It was incredible but I managed to pull off the gig there. Then obviously we had a satellite link back to the UK with 10 million people. Je-esus. Anyone else-
But you're the Number 1 DJ. Get nervous-
It's difficult because people always expect you to want that blinding celebrity status but I have no desire for it because what's kept me through all of this is my sanity. I'm here because this music's great and these people are really enjoying it and I'm really fortunate to be in such a business and to represent who I am and what I'm about in such a way which breaks down all the barriers in the way that people are thinking.
Ever get over it-
There was a point about three years ago where I thought to myself that I was really killing myself; I was doing way too much. There was one point when I was trying to accommodate everyone but you find out in life that you can't do it as Robbie Williams found out. He collapsed and then was looking really rough. If he wants to keep doing what he's doing he's going to have to find some location in his own life and understand the reason why he's doing this. It's not just to have holidays but to also take care of oneself to enjoy your life. I came to that point when I thought 'wow, I've been doing it for a long time so do I now take a step back or do I carry on-' And there were three gigs that I did on that weekend and all three of them were absolutely phenomenal and I thought to myself 'how could I stop this at this point right now because I'd be denying lots of people's happiness.' That's what did it. I'm not sure if it's a selfish act or just realising the position I'm in.
Is it an addiction-
It probably is really, if I had any vices, and it could be just because of the music.
That said, what would you really like to do if there were no fans or record company…-
To be honest with you, I'm really into making music and creating music. First and foremost that leaves a legacy of what you're about as an artist or having tal