TF Archives

Carl Cox interview: Painting a Picture Past

Author: GoldFuzion
Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Sincerity is something many famous DJs lack. However, globally renowned DJ Carl Cox is far from your average fame-hungry artist.

As corny as it sounds, Carl Cox truly loves his music. Upon speaking to Carl it quickly became apparent that when it came to money, this DJ was interested in one thing only: having just 'enough money to rock the house.'

We explored his pure, passionate and humble musical journey.

Carl paints us a picture of the early days.

"I started as an aspiring young mobile DJ doing birthday parties, weddings and whatever I could do really, in terms of performing as a DJ. A friend of mine, Leroy James had the sound system and I had the records. We kind of worked together this way. We used to do house parties and that kind of thing around the area in which we lived. No one ever paid us though.

"During the '80s and early '90s the cost of audio technology proved a great barrier for me and other musicians alike trying to break into the electronic market. This cost affected both up and coming DJs as well as producers. There was a company called Futuristic Acoustic Development who made these really nasty turntables and sound systems, but at least they were better than my mums *laughs*.

"In the early days I would take it out and often blow out the speakers. My dad was not very happy with me either. When I was learning how to scratch, it was on his turntables, and after going through about four needles, he kicked me out of the house *laughs*. I think he understands now. I would try and do as many jobs as possible to buy records. I used to do milk rounds, paper rounds and even cut grass for the council just to get enough money to buy records and rock the house. I couldn't even afford to drink beer at the time. I didn't take taxis to get to the clubs.

"All my money went straight back into buying music. I have been collecting music since I was 9-10 years old. My collection really goes from '68 to present day. I probably have over 150,000 records."

Carl describes what it was like making the late transition from amateur to professional.

"I would say I would have been 26 when I became a professional DJ. At this stage, I wasn't doing any building work or doing anything else besides DJing. That was the age when I was relying 100% on my DJ work. At my first real DJ job, I earned 30 pounds. At that point, I thought to myself 'I'm not sure I've done the right thing' *laughs*. As a scaffolder, I was earning about 4-500 pounds a week. Now I'm earning 30 pounds. But I stuck at it! I was also receiving government grants at the time because I owned the equipment and therefore they considered me to be investing in my future, so they gave me 1000 pounds which was nice."

Cox's years of developing his impeccable turntable skills came to fruition in the mid-'90s. 1996 was a watershed year for dance music. The launch of Worldwide Ultimatum marked a new era of electronic music, further fusing the sounds of modern electro and techno together. Carl has managed to gain exposure for many underground artists.

His endeavour to bring previously unknown DJs and producers into the limelight has not only served to better the quality of music that listeners are exposed to, but it has also provided many artists with the resources to fulfil their potential. There are many DJs with stellar turntable skills and impeccable production methods to boot. What distinguishes Carl Cox is his humble nature and altruistic desire to support fellow artists.

Interview courtesy of Melbourne's Royal Dark Journal. Look out for the recently released Issue 3.

Carl Cox Headlines the Future Music Festival Tour Dates:
Sunday 04.03.07 Perth, Supreme Court Gardens
Saturday 10.03.07 Brisbane, Brisbane Turf Club (Doomben Racecourse)
Sunday 11.03.07 Melbourne, Sidney Myer Music Bowl
Monday 12.03.07 Adelaide, Garden of Unearthly Delights (Rundell Park)
Saturday 17.03.07 Sydney, Royal Randwi