A musical ambassador since he was in short trousers, a professional DJ since his early teens, a veteran of acid house and a champion of techno - you name it, Carl's been there and done it but never losing sight of his passions...playing music, breaking tunes and celebrating life. Dan Prince checks in with one of the giants of dance music looking back at another incredible summer at Space in Ibiza and ahead to his Global 500 event in Amsterdam. The Revolution goes live...
Hey Carl how you doing, you must love these press days on the phone for hours on end...
"Ha ha, hi Dan. I don't mind one bit, although I do feel sorry for the last journalist who called as my phone battery died mid conversation, I thought it was her calling me back."
Oh well, her loss our gain. So October 17th sees a huge milestone with the 500th episode and 10th year of your Carl Cox Global show broadcast live from ADE in Amsterdam. Who were the radio presenters you were brought up to listening to?
"Wow that's going back some. A real plethora of DJs really. People like Greg Edwards and Kenny Everett on Capital Radio, Jeff Young on Radio London, Gilles Peterson of course, Tommy Vance on Radio Luxembourg, Pete Tong in the early days and lots of DJs on Kiss such as Paul Trouble Anderson and Colin Dale with his amazing techno show. My main reason for tuning into to all of these guys was simply to hear the freshest music around, which unfortunately, doesn't happen any more."
Do you ever listen to UK radio when you are back in this country?
"No! It drives me mad Dan, I really have no idea what has happened in the UK with it's radio stations. Radio 1 are trying their best with their In New Music We Trust but that's about it. They are trying to be urban with some of their shows but they just don't get it. I think that's maybe why the clubbing scene is still healthy, if people want to hear new music then they have to get off their arses and go clubbing. It didn't used to be like that, the music that used to be played on air would be a reflection on what was being played on some of the old great radio shows. It's such a shame."
Your radio show is listened to by over 14 million people all around the world including such far flung places as the Lebanon, India and Hawaii. What is your ethos behind the show, what are you hoping to provide to all your listeners with?
"It's very simple. What you hear on the radio is what you will hear me play in a club or festival."
What can we expect on the big night at Global 500, what are you excited about…
"I don't usually get to play in any intimate venues in the Netherlands, it's usually at events like Dance Valley where I am playing to 50,000 people. So this is a chance for the clubbers to get up close and personal and my music will change accordingly for this set. Last year at Club Paradiso was unbelievable, it has taken me a whole year to get back to the city and play in that sort of environment which I am really looking forward to."
This is the first time you have broadcast the Global show live right?
"It is yes. I used to do my Radio 1, Kiss and pirate radio shows live of course, but this is the first time for Global. And the good thing is, I have no idea how it is going to turn out! I another Global first I am going to be joined by a special co-host in Charlie Hedges. She has such a bubbly personality and the energy between us is awesome, Charlie has never seen me in radio operator mode so it is going to be really interesting."
You're not shy of using the microphone though Carl!
"I have absolutely no qualms on saying a few words on the mic during a set, of course not. You can't be insular on the radio or in a club, it's great to communicate with the crowd in a live space, it shows them that the DJ isn't a robot and has a bit of personality."
Your Revolution night was without doubt one of the best in Ibiza this summer, a season rounded off by you scooping Best International DJ at the DJ Awards at Pacha last week. Who were some of the new stars at Space this year?
"I really admire how a lot of young DJs come and play at the club, it must be such a daunting challenge knowing that this could be the first and last time they play at the club, and that's not I decision I make, the crowd decides who they love or hate. It's easy for me, people there know me and know my music. I put my first record on an whoosh, off it goes. As for this year, I really enjoyed Heidi at the club. I have heard her on the radio of course but have never seen her play live and she really gave it to the crowd which I love. I love seeing all these great female DJs now coming through playing underground House and Techno, it's really balancing it all finally. Charlie was brilliant at the club, I said to her 'what are you going to play, Electro House?' and she said, 'no Carl, I'm playing Techno!'. She ended up playing more Techno than I usually did and I was standing there thinking, how the hell am I going to follow this? Lucca, Monika Kruse and Ferhat Albayrak were also brilliant. Ferhat is from Turkey and I don't think too many people had heard of him before the party in July, well he absolutely rocked the Terraza."
What has been your Summer anthem at Space?
"Has to be Pirupa 'Party Non Stop' which won Record of the Summer at The DJ Awards. A real old skool vibe akin to the Todd Terry sound. There hasn't been a record for ages that crossed so many genres, I totally got it from the first time I heard it and supported it ever since. Absolutely slammin'!"
Locations such as Las Vegas and Croatia have all had a good crack at taking Ibiza's mantle as the number one clubbers destination in the world, why does Ibiza just get better and better?
"There is nowhere quite like Ibiza in the world and there never will. The island and it's values have never changed for me since the first time I went. Sure with 21st century life Ibiza has changed, people taking photos with their Smart Phones and the whole social media aspect has opened the island up to the whole world, but the cross section who go there are incredible. You have the families heading up the north of the island away from the maddening crowds, you have the clobbers going there with a list of the biggest DJs in the world who they have to see before they go home and you even get the people who just want to go there and chill and watch a drum circle at sunset. There are a lot of stunning landmarks in the world, but nothing I have ever seen for it's sheer beauty comes close to the sight of Es Vedra sitting so proudly in the sea. It takes my breath away every time I see it."
Have you never fancied buying a house there, I know you have your villa in Mallorca...
"I had a look around there this summer, some of the villas that have been built are amazing…if you've got five million Euros spare!"
How did you end up being part of the Sands Bar in Playa D'en Bossa?
"I have known Jason Bull a long long time. He is the perfect advocate of an Englishman going to a foreign country, treating it with respect and doing a marvellous job. From his days at The Rock Bar to his Es Vive Hotel and now Sands, they are all class. An incredible energy that man has and what you see is what you get. When Jason approached me and Lynn Cosgrove a couple of years to get involved, he got us just at the right time. Sands back then was doing well, but it had to offer more than just bacon butties. We all love a bacon butty but we also love Sushi and nice wine. I always feel that a menu has to say something about it's home and the menu at Sands needed a bit of a rethink. It was a labour of love to begin with for sure. We have introduced some world class chefs there and it has now become a great place to put on your nice clobber, listen to some good music, eat good food and have a great day on a lovely beach."
And do you ever get stuck in with your apron on?
"Ha ha. No way. They can have my money but I'm not doing shifts!"
Would you agree that Ibiza is now split straight down the middle with serious DJs spinning quality house and techno on one side, and DJs playing the big room bangers on the other?
"Totally. It's right down the middle which is great and it showing everyone the rin and yang of where the DJ is at in 2012. If you go on a tour of all of the big clubs in Ibiza, and all round the world for that matter, you will see time and time again how the majority of the biggest DJs in the world have the same playlist playing the same records every time. They are scared of stepping out of their '2 hour comfort zone set'. It is far too poptastic for me, you get what you see on the tin with these guys. It's like having an MTV jukebox behind the decks. On the other side of the coin you have us lot, they probably see us as old skool DJs. But I am where I am, still at the highest level. If I want to go and play Drum & Bass at SW4, House music at DC10 or Techno at Space, I can. People out there still want to see a 'DJs DJ' - they want to see a DJ make a mistake, they want to see some passion, they want to get their money's worth. Look at someone like Laurent Garnier - it's as if you know Laurent just by the records he plays, he does such an awesome job. It is not in our essence to do what other DJs do and go for the Rihanna reaction as we call it. We will happily leave that to others…"
You are back in the UK with some big gigs coming up including Cream's 20th Birthday with Digweed, Tongy, Oaky and Norman and also the Mencap party at The Electric in Brixton this weekend. Is this a charity you have worked with before?
"This is the first time I have been associated with Mencap, but I have worked with lots of other charities. I have experienced dealing with people with mental illnesses in my life, we all have - and if there is anything I can do to raise the awareness, I'm in. Also, if I'm made aware that some blind or deaf kids are in the club, I will always go out of my way to say hello and make my presence known to them."
You did some work with the Everyman testicular charity a few years back right?
"I did Dan. I hope I helped a lot of blokes start checking their balls because it can kill you."
Looking ahead, you return to your adopted country Australia in a few weeks for 4 very large Stereosonic parties - looking forward to going back home?
"It's kind of interesting Australia at the moment, it has always been known for it's promoter wars and in the past I have played for the likes of Future Music and Big Day Out. But now Stereosonic have clawed their way to the top spot by putting on the best line ups they possibly could. Their production is really good and their events are really good value for money. What they do is create a very good balance of commercial and underground artists. I don't see the problem of putting on big chart bands like LMFAO in one arena as long as there are other places for people like myself to continue pushing the boundaries of good, new music."
Carl Cox Global 500 - The Revolution Goes Live
@ Gashouder, Amsterdam on October 17th 2012, 10pm-6am.