Global dance music ambassador Carl Cox grew up on soul music, and by the age of 15 he had secured a couple of record decks and was starting to get gigs as a mobile DJ. Gravitating from soul and disco to hip-hop and rare groove as the '80s progressed, he was perfectly placed to throw himself into the acid house revolution in the late '80s. Owning his own soundsystem as well as burgeoning record collection, the former scaffolder landed gigs at the opening of Danny Rampling's seminal Shoom party in 1987's summer of love, at Paul Oakenfold's The Project, and at a number of M25 orbital raves.
At one of these, Sunrise, he hooked up a third record deck to the system, rocked a 15,000-strong early morning crowd, and made his name as the three-deck wizard.
The hype DJ soon started making his own music, and he had a couple of early '90s Top 40 hits — hardcore-lite opus 'I Want You (Forever)' and ravey techno track 'Does It Feel Good To You', which took him onto celebrated BBC TV chart programme Top Of The Pops. But the pop star life wasn't really right for Carl, and he soon immersed himself back in underground DJ culture – specifically techno.
He set up the MMR label, and in 1995 hooked up with compilation specialists React to release 'F.A.C.T' — it stood for 'Future Alliance of Communication and Technology'. One of the first commercial DJ mix CDs, 'F.A.C.T' sold 250,000 copies in the UK alone, and he also was voted the No.1 DJ in the world in DJ Mag's first Top 100 DJs poll that wasn't just a list made up in the office.
He had another Top 40 hit in 1996 with 'Two Paintings & A Drum', and started a midweek night in central London — Ultimate Base at Velvet Underground (which became the Velvet Rooms) on Charing Cross Road — which ran for five years in-between his weekend international DJing activities.
He was voted No.1 DJ in the world again in the DJ Mag Top 100 poll in 1997, had a cameo role in dance music film Human Traffic in 1998 as a dodgy nightclub-owner, and started his Intec label in 1999. Then, for the Millennium, he managed to cheat the time zones by playing first in Sydney — on Bondi Beach — before flying to Hawaii to play his second New Year's Eve set of the night.
All this, plus his effusive energy behind and away from the decks, set him up to be the global dance ambassador that he's become as the new century has unfolded.
In the early noughties he began his Carl Cox: Revolution nights at Space in Ibiza, and he's hosted Carl Cox & Friends arenas at Ultra Music festival and Electric Daisy Carnival in the US, Tomorrowlands in Holland, and various clubs around the world.
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