THIS year is proving to be a vintage one for legendary British DJ Carl Cox.
His residency at DC10 in Ibiza this summer was one of the most forward-thinking on the island.
Called Carl Cox Invites, it incorporated his Awesome Soundwave label – bringing acts including Saytek, Robert Babicz and Mat Playford to perform live – alongside a mouth-watering selection of artists from Laurent Garnier to Danny Tenaglia.
But it’s not just about playing Ibiza. There is also the small matter of a monumental Carl Cox live show which was due to take place on September 17 at Wembley Arena but has now been postponed in respect of the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, to Saturday October 15th. The release of Carl’s album Electronic Generations is also postponed and will now be out on the 28th October.
We caught up with Carl recently to find out more.
YOU’VE really embraced playing live again, even incorporating live elements into your DJ-ing sets. Was lockdown a call to arms?
Lockdown stopped me in my tracks. I went from doing gigs all over the world to nothing and sitting at home and watching Coronation Street.
So I got all my equipment together. I’ve always had aspirations of being a live electronic artist. I did it when I was with Perfecto Records 30 years ago under the Carl Cox concept. I did that with a bloke called Neil McClellan and the MC that I had at the time, MC Magika. And we went out for a year. We didn’t have the equipment that we have now. It was a lot more cumbersome. But we did it. But then I had decision to make, whether I carried on as a live act or continue as a DJ. I continued as a DJ.
As I’ve gone along making studio albums over the years I’ve continued to just kind of dabble in and out. And then it got to the last album, All Roads Lead To The Dance Floor, and I thought about bringing the live elements back.
I worked with loads of artists from Melbourne on that album – singers, vocalists, percussionists, all this sort of stuff. And I thought, I want to bring this back out on the road live. So I did two live shows in Melbourne.
I loved it, but I couldn’t get it on the road because of all the artists, equipment and stuff we needed. We needed major label support and we didn’t have one at the time.
Working with Christopher Coe and other artists on your Awesome Soundwave label must be a big inspiration for performing live . . .
I think I’ve influenced him as much as he’s influenced me in what I’m doing now today. He is a very special and talented man. When he DJs, he feels suppressed, but when he’s on the electronic equipment it’s such a groove. And I’m just like, yeah, awesome!
But I still want to push the envelope further.
Someone like Saytek, for example, his music is all made directly from live jams. It’s unbelievable. He has an amazing output and that’s why, because he’s recording the music from his live jamming. So you know, I really get it.
I went out and got the stems for all my tracks and I just found every time I jammed I went to a different place with what I wanted to produce.
So is that how the 17 tracks on new album Electronic Generations came together?
Yes, that album basically was all done live. Every single track was recorded, put down and then basically edited to become tracks.
You’ve teased the album with collaborations with Fatboy Slim, Nicole Moudaber, Juan Atkins and Franky Wah. But these tracks are not on the album??
They’re going to be coming out on another conceptual album, down the line. The album that will be released in September is all Carl Cox.
You are doing a huge live show at Wembley on September 17. Are you daunted by it?
I come from rave culture, so it’s still going to be treated as a dance music event. Originally that is what it was going to be – Carl Cox playing and here are his mates. We had the date to do something there for two years but obviously because of what happened with the pandemic, here we are now and I’ve got a record deal. The music’s coming out, I’m going live or hybrid live, all this sort of stuff.
But I decided I can’t just DJ. I’ve got to use that day and turn it into something which hopefully becomes memorable and historic based on the path that I’ve taken to get to this point. I’m pushing the envelope even further. This is it. This is everything. This is all I’ve got.
It’s going to be visually mind-blowing and the Funktion One sound will be incredible.
Like I always do, I want to give people the very best experience I can deliver.
Listen to Carl’s Awesome Soundwave DJ playlist below and head HERE for tickets to see Carl Cox Live at Wembley Arena on Saturday October 15th.
Back To The Garden – An On Bast
Last Night – Saytek
Hannes Bieger – Poem for the planet (Christopher Coe remix)
Use your Mind – Julien Chaptal
Kings for a minute – Digital Afrika
Stream – Charlie Thorstenson
Headland – Christopher Coe
Dezik – Hybrasil
Entity – Honeysmack
Ptolmey – Mat Playford