Carl Cox started DJing when he was just nine-years-old at the request of his dad, who would let him stay up late if he picked out the records for his parties at home.
“I was playing Wilson Pickett and Isaac Hayes and all of this music, Dolly Parton, quite eclectic,” he tells us.
It's been pretty much non-stop for him since then, with his Global Radio Show attracting 15 million listeners a week, a chocka DJ diary, release after stonking release... and then there's his 13th year residency at Space with his Music Is Revolution parties. Phew!
On catching up with Carl at his South Coast home in Hove it's his latest collaboration with the legendary Nile Rodgers that's got him fired up. After bumping into him at IMS last year the two teamed up in Melbourne on some downtime, producing a couple of techno and house tracks. “He really was interested in working with me, doing some music and he knows I come from the old school, I go right back to the '60s, funk, soul and jazz, and he really wanted to do something conceptual.”
Who better to cast their thoughts back over the music that has played its part in the making of greatness than Carl Cox?
What is the track that reminds you of your childhood?
“At the time of understanding artists and where they come from... Michael Jackson, he was only nine or 10 when he was performing with his brothers. So the first record that I had an affinity with at that time, was 'Looking Through the Windows', which is a beautiful, beautiful track and you can hear a young Michael Jackson belting this song out, pure innocence. Still to this day, what a tune.”
What's the first record you ever bought?
“The first one that I bought with my own money — because every time I went to the record store my dad would be buying me records and he would choose them, because what did I know, I was only eight-years-old? — when I heard this record by Diana Ross 'Love Hangover', it came out in 1976, it cost me paper-round money of 85 pence and I went to HMV in Sutton, Surrey. I think it was all about being in love with her fella and how it made her feel. And the funny thing was that when it came out, the 7” singles were always three minutes and 17 seconds long, no longer than that, so the record would kind of die down at the end and I thought, 'There's got to be more to this record' and they did actually release it on the album as an 11-minute version, and then eventually a disco mix 12” version.
What's the cheesiest record in your collection?
“I don't know about cheesy but I like quirky records, I like things that make people feel good about themselves, and have nothing to do with funk and soul or anything. Cliff Richard's 'Summer Holiday' where they'd be smiling and on a London bus, 'We're all going on a summer holiday, no more troubles for a week or two'. I suppose you can't get any more cheesy than that! And actually when I do my funk and soul parties where I get to experiment a little bit, I chuck that one in. And people go 'what?!'.”
What's the track that's guaranteed to make you cry?
“I have to say that when Frankie Knuckles died... one of the records that I always thought 'lumps to the throat' was Sounds of Blackness 'The Pressure', because the intro, there's nothing else that sounds like that record. I did a two-hour mix as a tribute to Frankie and I had a tear in my eye when I played that. What a tune. A legend, maybe I wouldn't be where I am if it wasn't for him.”
What's an album that you're currently into?
“I actually like the new Kelis album. The thing is about that is she's very cool, she doesn't follow any fashion, obviously she enjoys her surroundings and she's like 'OK, I like food, so I'm going to call my album 'Food''. All the tracks are something to do with food, but one of my favourite tracks that I like on the album is called 'Hooch', and 'Hooch' is a drink (laughs).”
What's the record in your collection that you most treasure?
“I would say the Stevie Wonder album 'Songs In the Key of Life'. It came out as a triple-pack album, all the mixes were the full mixes out of Motown Records and every record has some amazing abundance of substance. And for me that's one of my all-time favourite albums, and that's treasured. I actually don't play the vinyl any more and I have it digitised, it's on my iPad and it's on my computer, and whenever I need to hear that album I can get it.”
What is your all-time favourite track of all-time?
“Because I am pretty eclectic in the music I like to hear, one that I thought was just amazing is a track by Pink Floyd called 'Breathe'. There's no massive drums and it's great guitar work and the song's awesome, and it's just because it's beautiful and there's nothing that sounds like that. Pink Floyd are just awesome anyway.”
Copyright Thrust Publishing Ltd. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.djmag.com as the source.