eight years old. ‘We'd have friends round and my dad would say. “Do something useful and put these records on” — Wilson Picket, Otis Reading.‘ remembers Cox. ‘Then there would be all these people dancing away in the front room and I thought, “that’s all right“. I never imagined I could get paid for doing it.’
While he was entertaining and getting a buzz out of seeing people’s reaction to the music, he was making decisions. Almost 30 years later, the sensation is as fresh as it was then. ‘l‘m still there, giving people what’s required. pushing the barriers of music. progressing the music that I believe in. Other DJs don’t have the passion and under- standing. As a DJ, you are there to entertain, but also to fulfil the necessity to educate, oth- erwise I wouldn’t be moving forward. lfl was just an entertainer. I‘d be there for an hour playing all the big tracks. but you should be able to push the limits of underground dance music.‘
His canny knack of anticipating the direc- tion of the dance scene was the factor that took him from being a big name to the status of true superstar DJ. Cox was headlining at events like the Rezerection playing hardcore techno. but decided that it was holding him back. ‘I stepped down from that kind of thing and carried on with my own destiny, and from that I actually become more popular,’ he says, laughing. ‘l‘m not a robot and I haven’t beamed down from Mars as a DJ. I’ve grown tip in the situation of understanding music as a whole and as a progression. Some people think my early soul, hip hop or hardcore sets were the best thing they'd ever heard, but you can never please everyone. People are always waiting for you to make the wrong move or seek some kind of flaw in what you do. They don‘t believe that I‘m here after all this time, still creating interest. mayhem, hitting new sounds.‘
With his travelling. he’s found that he can expand even more. He loves the mystery of going somewhere totally new, where there are no preconceptions of what he is or what he may have represented in the past. ‘I love going to places that have never had a good rave scene or heard a DJ that could really pump the party. They react to me in a way they‘ve never experienced before. They could have any other D]. but when I come along it puts the whole thing into perspective and it becomes complete madness.’
Cox gives himself another five years as a DJ, after which he will concentrate on the other projects he is currently fitting into his busy schedule. He runs a DJ agency (Ultimate Music Management). he has his own record label (Worldwide Ultimatum), presents a radio show on Kiss FM every Saturday night (The Ultimate Mix) and also produces his own music. His self-penned album A! The End Of The Cliche. showed his critics he wasn’t the one-trick wonder they had hoped he would be. It’s a concept album that he hopes represents his musical inspiration and emotion. ‘There’s another side to Carl Cox,’ he insists. ‘The inner self, which is musically a lot deeper than just trying to make a number one hit. I felt at the end of the day it would be nice for people to understand what I am about and how I appreciate music.‘
You would 'expect such a huge DJ to be milking his name as much as he could. but in one area he is quite low-key. While other high-profile DJs churn out the ubiquitous mix CDs of favourite top tunes they‘re can-
'People are always waiting for you to make
the wrong move or seek some kind of flaw in what you do. They don't believe that I'm here after all this time, still creating interest, may- hem, hitting new sounds.’
ing on the dancefloor. Cox is surprisingly restrained, with only two compilations in two years. The first was Future Alliance Communication Technology or ICA.(‘. 71. which was released two years ago and has
since sold 180,000 copies. Now comes FACT. 2. which coincides with the world tour of the same name. He didn't want to do a ‘Carl‘s Fave Tunes‘ or ‘Bouncy Techno Beats’. ‘lt needed to be something more than that.‘ he says. ‘;\‘ot so much intelligent. as just having a reason why. How I'm chang- ing and representing the vibe of what I'm doing in clubs now.‘
So is he the best 1)] in the world'.’ Don't be stupid. it's a subjective question. If you were into giving crowns away. though. you might want to pass one in his direction.
F.A.C.T. 2 is released this fortnight on Worldwide Ultimatum.
. . . whichever way you look at it
7-20 Mar 1997 THE lIST 21