When Carl Cox unveiled his new Pure party concept at Privilege on July 11, the world’s biggest nightclub might as well have struck oil. The venue was as busy as it was bouncing, hosting what many are already calling the rave of the decade. After years in the doldrums, the event proved that Privilege could be great again, themes Mixmag has since digested here and to a greater extent in the August issue of the magazine.
But what about The Importance of Carl Cox? After all, Carl was the reason why so many of dance music’s next generation were experiencing the rave realities of Privilege for the first time. His appeal apparently timeless, many young clubbers spoke as if they knew him personally. For most in attendance, partying at Privilege wasn’t so much about buying the ticket; instead the process felt more like accepting an invitation from the man himself.
Speaking to Carl’s peers, it’s clear they feel the same way. A call from Coxy isn’t just a booking; it’s the chance to be part of something true, something meaningful, something pure… and to hang with a man whose insight, import and generosity transcends far beyond club life in the booth.
“It’s very well known that Carl Cox is my favourite DJ of all time; my DJ hero if you will. I’ve paid to watch him more times than I’ve had hot dinners, which amounts to fuck loads! Ibiza without Carl Cox isn’t Ibiza. I just knew he couldn’t stay away, I knew he’d be back this summer. Space with Carl at the helm was obviously something really special, but back at the villa after this season’s event everyone was in agreement that Pure Carl Cox was something very special too. I’m so happy to have been a part of that opening chapter of a brand new story, one that I hope I am heavily involved in helping write. Pure Carl Cox at Privilege was amazing from where I was standing. I haven’t been to the venue for years, but the sound was great, the crowd was great and the DJs were great. Special mention to the Game Over crew for smacking it with such mint production.”
“First and foremost, Carl is a ‘real’ DJ. He’s probably the most successful ‘real’ DJ on the planet. I don’t think many people would argue with that. Back in the day, he was also the only DJ that could play everywhere. You’d find him playing at raves in Germany, in England, in Holland. The scene has always been slightly segregated, but he could play with Jeff Mills one night, David Morales the next. If you ask Twilo manager Mike Bindra what their busiest night was back in the ‘90s, he’ll tell you it was when Carl performed alongside Danny Tenaglia. Fast forward to today and he’s still the only techno DJ I know who can play all these different styles of techno to all these different audiences. He’s also the only techno DJ I know that can have a stage at any festival he wants! But most importantly, even after all these years, DJing is still his passion. He hasn’t given up mixing, doing what he loves. He hasn’t become an entrepreneur or a businessman. He hasn’t abandoned what he loves. He’s just a superstar DJ – a ‘real’ one. That’s why Carl is such a role model to me and many of the other DJs as well.”
“One of Carl’s many gifts to the world is that he is always trying to improve things. He’s not afraid of taking risks, stepping in and making things better. Look at Ultra Music Festival in Miami, which was mainly an American, EDM driven festival platform. Carl went in there and arranged a deal to start playing quality underground music to a massive audience, actually making Ultra what it is today. If Ultra had continued down the EDM path for much longer, it's evolution would have been stifled. It’s the same situation with Pure. After the big economic crisis in the industry, many of the festivals in Australia were shutting down. That’s when Carl invented his Pure concept, which is based upon the simplicity of how things used to be. He started putting on big festivals, touring Australia, trying to rebuild the industry again from scratch. He’s doing the same thing with Pure here in Ibiza, turning a new generation of clubbers on to Privilege, reinvigorating the rave scene. It costs him a lot of money every year to take these risks, but he is willing to do this because he thinks it is important to keep promoting underground music to new audiences. He’s innately driven to make things better for everyone. You might not even know it, but both directly and indirectly, Carl Cox is working to affect all of our weekends for the better.”
“Carl has always been very supportive of me and my career. He was the first to book me to play in Ibiza and ever since then I have been playing for him in Ibiza every single year. Most of those parties are almost always special events – either opening or closing parties. Last year, for instance, I had the honour to play at the last ever Revolution at Space Ibiza, which was huge for me! I also played big events for him in Miami. I am super thankful for having these opportunities. But that’s what Carl is like; he’s a very kind person. Every year I get to stay a few days in his house here in Ibiza. It’s great to spend some time together away from clubs and listen to the advice he has to offer regarding our scene. Although Carl has found worldwide success it hasn’t changed his humble character.”
“Even if we weren’t working in the music industry together, Carl Cox and I would still be close friends. He’s very inspiring, he’s very talented in the way he plays, but the way he conducts himself behind the scenes is something we can all learn from. This is a man who opens his heart and his home to you. You can’t help but to love him! If you’re playing at one of his parties in Ibiza then you’re invited. He treats you like family and trusts you enough to let you in. And it’s a mutual thing: he can come to my house anytime he wants. The door is always wide open to him. If he ever needs anything from me, I’m here. Carl is easily one of the most humble people I know, yet also one of the most talented. And he’s always got the biggest smile on his face. He’s my brother from another mother! A complete original, he thinks outside of the box; that’s why the events he creates look so unique and stand the test of time. He’s a very creative, innovative human being and that’s why we love him so much.”
“The week of the first Privilege party was insane. The gig came about literally out of the blue. My girlfriend and I immediately started looking at hotels in Ibiza. We wanted to make a holiday out of it. Then the logistics girl from my agency sent me a message asking me where I was staying. She said, ‘Carl likes to invite the artists playing at his parties to stay at his villa, would you be interested?’ I was like, ‘Of course, but both my girlfriend and I are going to be out on the island for at least five days and I don’t want to take the piss.’ The girl came straight back and said, ‘It’s not a problem.’ So, for five nights, me, my girlfriend, Carl, Darren Emerson and his girlfriend, the other DJs, we all hung out, sat down for dinner together. It’s just the most amazing way to build a community, a scene and a vibe. Without this kind of community building the scene would be dead. Everyone would go their separate ways and there would be no collaboration or connection between artists. It’s one of the reasons why Carl is so important. I’d never met the guy before, but he invited us to his house and looked after us for a week. Then when we arrived at the club, he made a point of going around the entire room, introducing himself to everyone, the bar staff, the door staff, the promoters, random people in the crowd – that’s why everyone had such an amazing time at Privilege, because Carl made all of us feel involved.”
Clara Da Costa
“The simple truth of the matter is that Carl loves music, he loves a good rave and he loves a good dance. He has no ego, just a genuine passion. Carl’s career has taken him around the globe, incurring lots of flights and sleepless nights, but I have never once seen him not give 100% behind the decks. All those years, all those gigs, and he still knows how to give thousands of people an unforgettable experience. Thinking about it, I don’t actually know anyone else quite like him! When I first met Carl back in 1992, I was a young teenager and was very lucky to warm up for him in Ibiza’s Star Club, which is now Eden. He was a very kind and humble man then and 25-years on nothing has changed. He has a boundless energy that has no sell by date and an incredible talent in sharing that energy behind the decks. When he plays, he literally makes everyone in the room feel like they are a personal friend.”
“The thing about Coxy is that he is totally genuine. The man everyone sees in the booth is the same man he is behind closed doors. Everything he does he puts his whole heart, soul and energy into, and always with a huge smile on his face. It’s infectious to be around, both on a work level and also when we are just sat around chilling out and talking about all kinds of things. He just loves music and through that he has been able to give a lot of people over the years a leg up to go on and achieve their own great things by creating things for people out there to enjoy. Ultimately, Carl makes things happen. He’s had a huge impact on people’s lives whether they are a clubber, a DJ and producer or promoter. I’ve yet to meet anyone else in the industry who has done as much as him. There is so much we have seen and done together over all these years and every bit of it has been unreal. Thank you Sir Carl Cox!”
“It is so nice to have the chance to talk about Carl Cox. He is the sweetest guy I’ve met in this industry. I’ve had the opportunity to be on his radio show and also to play for him in Croatia and Ibiza. Last summer, when I met him for the first time I was super nervous, yet he received me with a big smile like we’d been friends for many years. He is never too busy or too tired to treat you well. We also met at the DJ Awards at Pacha last year. At the end, all the winners were on stage having their photos taken, but I was too shy to say hi and everybody else was talking to him. I was sure he wasn’t going to remember me, so I didn’t say anything. But as soon as he saw me he came over with his big smile and said, ‘Hey Anna, how are you? Congratulations on your award!’ He is one the biggest influences on my career and I hope we have him around forever showing us how it should be done.”
“The first time I met Carl Cox was in Paraguay. I remember talking to Nic Fanciulli. I had an early flight to catch the next morning and I was about to leave the club. Nic asked me where I was going. When I explained to him that I had to grab an early flight, he said, ‘Don’t go anywhere, hold on a second. Carl’s taking a jet to the next gig in Sao Paolo, then on to Rio.’ So I waited around for a bit to see what would happen. Five minutes later, Carl Cox comes over and introduces himself. Then he invites us to travel with him to Sao Paolo! It was an incredibly generous offer and trimmed hours off our travel time inside America, not to mention adding to the camaraderie in the booth. He just said, “No problem, boys, jump aboard and we’ll see you in the morning bright and early.” Before we set off, I remember Carl asking me if I had any new music. I handed him a USB key. It had a couple of new tracks on it and a remix of Oxia ‘Domino’ that I was in the process of finishing. Carl told me he loved the track and wound up hammering the tune at every gig. Subsequently, the tune got to number one on Beatport. It was one of the most successful tracks of the year for me. So, yeah, that was the first time I ever met Carl Cox!”
“Many years ago – June 17, 1995 – I was attending my very first rave because of Carl Cox. I don’t know where my friend and I got the money from to buy the tickets – we were only 16 years old – but somehow we convinced our parents that it was absolutely essential that we hear him play. I still can’t believe it, but they let us go! Anyway, that night changed my life. Man, what a presence, what a performance. It gives me chills just thinking about it. After that, I decided that I wanted to be an electronic musician, too, just like Carl. There are many artists out there who have had an amazing impact on the scene, but over the years I’ve seen them lose their fire. Yet Carl never lost it. Some electronic musicians brought us big technical inventions, others turned the scene upside down and revolutionised it. Carl always gave us something better: his heart and his soul.”
Johnny Lee is Mixmag's Ibiza correspondent