Carl Cox, techno/house DJ extraordinaire, will perform his last UK date before retiring to Australia for the summer. But not before regaling TNT with stories of the good old days …
You’re in town to celebrate Bedrock’s 12th Anniversary as one of London’s leading electronic clubnights. What have you got planned?
It will be a celebration of all the best records that have happened to me this year, and I’m obviously working alongside John [Digweed] and his releases on his label as well, so it will make for a monumental night.
How does it feel to have all those people in the palm of your hand?
It’s a great feeling because you’re creating a moment in life for people. They want that feeling for whatever the reason is.
You could be upset with your wife, or whatever and think: “Right, well Coxy will cheer me up,” and we play a record and they’re like: “I don’t care about the world, this record is it for me tonight.” That’s the void we kinda fill for people, and to be in control of that is fantastic.
You were there for the birth of the second summer of love in the late 80s. Do you miss the illicit nature of the raves at that time?
The thing is, nobody knew which DJ was gonna be there, what sound system was going to be there. When people arrived it was like: “Oh wow, there’s toilets, there’s a laser, Carl Cox is playing – let’s see how long it lasts before the police shut it down.”
You were the first DJ to spin three decks at once. How did you develop that?
I wanted to push my creativity a bit further… So there were a few years in my bedroom mastering three turntables before I had the opportunity to do what I did in front of an audience and when I did, people just completely freaked out. They were like: “I can only mix on two – I dunno how he’s doing three!” It took a few years of belief and determination to pull that off.
It’s a bit like spinning plates on a stick – you’ve gotta keep moving them to keep them up.
For the millennium you played two New Year’s Eve shows, one in Sydney before flying across the international dateline to play again in Hawaii. Was that as nuts as it sounds?
The thing was, there were quite a few artists that were going to do it, Michael Jackson being one of them. But they all decided because of the Y2K [bug] that they weren’t gonna do it. But I was like: “What’s the worst that can happen?
Oh well, the plane can fall out of the sky.” Qantas flew one of its older planes so that if anything happened electronically the pilots could still fly the plane… We left Sydney in 2000 and rocked up [in Hawaii] in 1999 and did the whole thing again. It was very special.
You also witnessed a gang-related shooting of four people at one of your gigs in Venezuela in 2007. That sounds very scary.
The avenging took place right there. This guy came out of hiding with his girlfriend to see me play and these three people came down, paid off security and the inevitable happened. I didn’t know if this was aimed at me, aimed at the promoters … it was a horrible thing to go through and shook me to my core.
» Catch Carl Cox at Bedrock’s 12th Anniversary, Brixton Academy, 211 Stockwell Rd, SW9 9SL
0844 477 2000
Sat, Oct 2
Interview: Alison Grinter