Carl Cox is teaming up with his old buddy MC Magika for a special reunion set in Birmingham in a few weeks time.
Carl will be throwing down a rave classics set, accompanied by the MC and old friend who he worked with — Magika — back in the day.
Magika originally got to know Coxy on the rave circuit, and was invited to MC with the big fella at a show in Northern Ireland in the early '90s. Magika carried on MCing with Carl for a few years until he effectively left the rave scene, but the pair stayed in touch as Carl's star rose exponentially so that he became one of the biggest DJs in the world — a spot he's maintained for many years.
As well as some rave classics, Carl will also reportedly be dropping some drum & bass — a style he loves, but rarely plays out. Magika has subsequently made a big name for himself in drum & bass, and has promoted the Drum & Bass Awards in the Midlands for the past nine years. He's also part of the Raveology crew who have played a big part in building the Brum scene up over the past decade or so.
Magika has done many other things over the years, such as present on MTV Dance and host radio shows, as well as performing with Quantum — his ongoing band project.
DJ Mag grabbed some time with Magika in advance of this special reunion show...
How did you meet Carl and what was it like working with him back in the '90s?
“I met Carl on the circuit, just gigging every weekend around the UK. The introduction really happened at Kinetic in Stoke-on-Trent, which was a weekly club-night every Friday and was packed to the rafters every weekend. It was here Carl got to see me work.
“Then I was on a booking in Belfast in Northern Ireland called Hellraiser at the Ulster Hall. This rave was unreal, it was my first performance in Northern Ireland and the crowd were something else — the energy was crazy. Carl was doing his live thing with the Carl Cox Concept with his team mate Neil McLennan, who went onto work with the Prodigy.
“After the live set, which I watched from the sidelines, Carl did a DJ set which I hosted on the mic. It was electric, and after the show Carl asked me to become the MC for his live act which did not sink in for some time. I sat in my room thinking, 'I am an Asian from Birmingham from a little place called Stirchley, how can this be happening to me?' but real it was.
“I became the MC for the live act for a period of time and often was his MC on his DJ sets until Carl left the rave scene and crossed over into other areas. My life changed, and my hard work was paying off. I owe him a lot, his seal of approval was the stamp I needed as it was difficult being Asian — it had its drawbacks, believe me — but I worked hard and got recognised and Carl's head-nod was a great thing for me. I am just so honoured that I was a part of Carl's career for a moment in time, and to say I was his MC of choice makes me very proud — a very special part of my career.”
Have you and Carl kept in touch over the years?
“For a period of time we did lose contact and occasionally I would see Carl on my travels — mainly at airports or events, primarily overseas. Then in 2009 we linked back up and since then we have stayed in touch and now we are in contact every week pretty much and have developed a friendship. He is a top bloke, always happy, always got time for people and when he is in the UK I hook up with him.
“A few years ago I visited him at his humble abode in Ibiza — and what an abode it was! I was swimming in his pool thinking, 'This is great!' whilst listening to chill-out tunes on his pool surround system. What a life, hey?! Ha ha — fair play to him, he deserves it, the man's a legend.”
What can we expect from a classics set from you and Carl?
“All I can say is that we all know that Carl delivers, so that's all I can say — Carl will deliver, and deliver big. This is going to be massive. It's a two-hour rave classics set with some drum & bass, Carl loves d&b, so this will be something people will not probably see ever again — it is truly a unique thing. People are travelling from all over the UK and overseas for this event, it's going to be a very special night for me and Carl.
“The night is going to reflect the past, present and future of my career. I am also going to perform with my band Quantum — we are a live outfit writing hybrid dnb-type music. There will also be many more artists consisting of friends i have worked with, associates and people who i am a fan of.”
You've survived in the game for 25 years, which is no mean feat — what would your advice be to young MCs?
“All I can say is you have to think big, be as creative as you can, and think out of the box. It's a competition out there, and competition is fierce so you have to promote yourself. We never had internet and YouTube etc back in the '90s, there are some serious platforms to be used, but it's how you use them. Like i said, think out of the box and be enterprised because to stand out in the crowd you need to be special and have something about you.”
Who's the hottest artists to look out for in the future?
“MC-wise, the new guns are Harry Shotta, MC Stormin, DJs like Alpha from Birmingham who is going to be a big star, also others such as Guv, Mind Vortex, Optiv and Btk, Levela, and there's a female producer who I think deserves some props — her name is Liz-e and she is being supported by DJ Friction's label Shogun. There are loads coming through...”