60 reasons to celebrate the legendary Carl Cox - 2 - Features - Mixmag

His many, many Essential Mixes

Possibly one of the only DJs let alone artists to have done over 50 BBC 1 Essential Mixes, the man is forever sharing and caring with fresh new tracks from 1994 when it began till his most recent mix going out last year. Having many b2bs with the likes of Moby, DJ Sneak, John Digweed as well as Pete Tong himself. They never get old and we want 50 more.

The fact he constantly evolves his DJ set-up

One of the secrets to Carl’s lasting power as one of the world’s best DJs is the fact that despite having spent the most part of five decades behind the decks — he is constantly learning and adapting his set-up. The “Three Deck Wizard” learned to mix using vinyl, but is now just as comfortable on a four-deck digital set-up and Traktor. Indeed there’s something incredibly satisfying about watching a (very) seasoned pro losing his mind at filters. You keep getting funky Coxy.

The Carl Cox Concept live show

The Carl Cox Concept was a short-lived idea that Coxy put together with the hopes of taking his show live - although it didn’t quite pan out this way when he hit the big time. It was one of his first envisioned live gigs, which he dropped shortly after its inception to focus on DJing. “My biggest problem then was that my popularity as a DJ was so extensive, and to take on the live show, as well, was like battling between two elements,” he told Mixmag. “I had to basically do one or the other - I decided to DJ and drop the live.”

Being Dr. Dre and Naomi Campbell’s favourite DJ

That’s right. The Dr. Dre. As Coxy revealed in 2016 once while playing Space Ibiza: “My tour manager Ian tapped me on my shoulder and told me that Dr. Dre was in the house and wanted to come and say hello. I laughed at him and carried on DJing thinking it was some look-a-like trying it on. The next minute Dre is standing in the DJ booth with some of his family. He said he just wanted to shake my hand and congratulate me for such a great night and that he had been a huge fan for a long time. Dr Dre? I couldn’t get my head round that one."

As for Naomi? This one’s a corker. “Apparently she had been trying to get hold of me for ages to ask me if I could come and play at her birthday party with George Clinton. But it was that night. I was like, ‘Naomi I am mid-set with thousands of people here, I can’t just walk off.” Nice try.

Showing off MAJOR dance moves on an Australian quiz show

If you’re this far down the list, by now you already know that Carl can bust out some serious moves if the occasion permits. For an appearance on music-themed Aussie quiz show Spick and Speck in 2006 Coxy let them have with some light footed choreography to Michael Jackson’s ‘Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough’ — wowing comedian Adam Hills, who would later make a move to the UK to head up The Last Leg. Gwarrrrrrn.

This photo with Shaq

There’s not really much to say about this. At a perfectly above-average height of 5’11, Cox is still made to look like a short king here next to Shaq. Short or not, he’s our king forever.

And this photo of him swimming with records

You know what they say to digital DJs: sync or swim? Whereas we all know real vinyl heads ride the wax wave whatever the circumstances.

The time he helped a turtle named Coxy

After three Ibiza locals discovered a dying turtle floating near Conejera island just off San Antonio, they immediately rescued the animal and nursed it back to health — lovingly naming the reptile “Coxy” after their favourite island resident DJ. When Carl heard about the rescue of the loggerhead sea turtle he agreed to become its “godfather” and helped release it back into the wild. A friend to not only ravers, but also, the animals — a veritable Snow White of the White Isle.

His labels Intec Records / Intec Digital

Beginning in 1998 between Cox and DJ C1, Intec Records before relaunching at Intec Digital in 2010. It’s gone on to work with big names such as Sébastien Léger, Pete Tong, Paul Oakenfold and Richie Hawtin as well as sign Robert Babicz, Jim Rivers, Adam Sherdian & Mark Maitland, Carlo Lio, Yousef and many more. Working with established artists to launch the next producer, Intec Digital is making the stars of tomorrow. As Cox says himself: “We just want to put out reliable and solid releases in a cool, understated way. If a hit comes along, we’ll go with it but we’re not going to push it – it just needs to happen naturally.”

Founding Pure Festival in Australia

Debuting in 2016, Pure Festival is the only place you can get pure techno. Handcrafted by Cox, the Australian festival has had talent including Nastia, Eric Powell, Christopher Coe and plenty more. Since its launch, the festival has spread from his home in Australia to New York in 2019. This year, Pure hit up Prague alongwith Lucca, Misa Salacova, Subgate and DJ Nuff.

Bringing good music to the world’s biggest EDM festivals with Carl Cox & Friends

Carl Cox & Friends is a world-conquering festival mainstay, but even when landing at the biggest and most mainstream festivals in the dance sphere such as Tomorrowland, Ultra and EDC, Coxy keeps it credible. “I’ve been really luck that the organisers give me free rein (and a healthy budget) to programme with, and I use the opportunity to introduce a new generation of EDM-following Americans to the music I play,” he’s noted. This includes programming such as Laurent Garnier at Ultra in 2011, who was given an extremely rare (at this type of festival) five hour set, blowing the minds of the crowd with flawless techno and reshaping their minds for what dance music is.

Always uplifting new artists

As well as programming the greats to new ears, Carl Cox has always stayed committed to bringing through the new generation and helping to create new legends. “He’s the one that discovered me,” said Nicole Moudaber, for instance. “He played my music on his radio shows. He was one of the first people to invite me to Space and I’ve been playing the club ever since.” While in our recent Anfisa Letyago cover feature, she revealed one asking him for a photo at a gig and slipping him some music, which he checked out and thern released on Intec Digital. “He was the first DJ or producer who supported me. I will always remember it and I am so grateful. I always will be for the rest of my life,” said Anfisa.

Getting 15,000 people back on their feet at Sunrise in 1988

Truly there are moments that change everything for not only the individual, but for everyone. Isaac Newton had the apple falling from the tree, Neil Armstrong had his one small step for man and Albert Hofmann had his bike ride. For Carl Cox? It was being given the monumental task of rousing thousands of ravers as dawn broke at the infamous Sunrise free party in 1988. The moment has gone down in rave history, Carl wanting to just add that little extra oomph to get everyone dancing again decided to plug in a third turntable — banging out complex, high energy acid transitions and getting a 15,000-strong crowd, who had been idly coming down, straight up on their feet. The set cemented his reputation as the “three deck wizard” and an icon of underground dance music.

Becoming a fully blown burner at his Burning Man debut in 2008

Considering Carl has played just about everywhere, we imagine it must take a lot to phase him at this point. So it’s pretty charming to read through his account of his first time playing Burning Man in his book Oh Yes, Oh Yes!. Describing having attempted to get to burning man for the better part of a decade, Carl finally made the Black Rock City jump in 2008 — arriving at the festival with “nothing but a rucksack.” In true burner style, Carl was adopted by a San Francisco crew and earned his keep by, what else? DJing — giving his new family “the full Coxy.” The experience moved Carl so much he decided to set up his own Burning Man area: “Playground.”

This b2b set with Adam Beyer at Junction 2

This trippy set at Junction 2 with Drumcode boss Adam Beyer was a mesmerising one, and three million people seem to agree going by our 2018 livestream. Cox was on top form as he went toe-to-toe with Beyer, who acknowledged: "It's a dream come true,” he told Mixmag. “Playing back-to-back with one of my absolute heroes will be one of the highlights of my life personally as well as professionally".

Doing Mixmag’s alternative Christmas King’s Speech in 2016

Ho Ho Ho, Merry Coxmas! In 2016, Mixmag had the honour to get a Christmas message from Cox himself. Noting on the highs and lows of the dance music year reflecting on the sad deaths of David Mancuso, David Bowie and Prince. Noting on his own highs he mentions the success of Intec Records, Pure Festival and his closing night at Space Ibiza. Screw the Queen’s speech, this is the King’s speech!

Encouraging people to get vaccinated to protect the clubbing scene and community

The process of coming out of the pandemic was not a fun time, nationally, but Carl kept the well-being of the community at heart when teaming up with the NHS to encourage people to get vaccinated.

"What we don't want is clubs to not work at the end of the day, we are all on the frontline now. So the only thing we can do is protect ourselves, to be able to enjoy our moments,” he said, and he’s absolutely right. Now as we’ve fully returned to normal, we can thank Carl, in part, for his effort to restore trust in the nightlife scene and in keeping our vulnerable club community members safe.

His love of cooking

When he’s not rustling up a fiery mix, Cox can cook up a spicy dish as he told Mixmag back in 2020: “If I wasn't a DJ, I'd be a chef. I've always said that.” Prior to our interview with Chef Cox, we had a peek into the kitchen to follow him create a ‘Coxy Shepherd's Pie’ which made us scream “Oh yes, oh chef!”.

Picking out sharing a slice of pizza with Paul McCartney at Stella’s 18th as a life highlight

One moment Cox thinks about a lot was when Paul McCartney asked him to join for a slice of pizza at Stella’s eighteenth. “I still feel a huge sense of pride at that point in my life,” Cox recites in his book, relfecting on the taste of oregano. Emotional.

His love of motorbikes

DJing isn’t Carl’s only great pastime, he also has a deep fondness for motorsport. Not only has he featured in yet another BBC documentary - this time recounting his love for motorbikes - Coxy even owns his own motorsport team that he checks on just as regularly as he keeps up with the music. And, on top of that, Carl also runs a motorsports themed cafe in Australia’s Cape Woolamai - talk about a jack of all trades!

Being in a drag race with a car called Eleanor

Did you think Carl just enjoyed racing from a distance? Coxy loves getting up close and into the action, too, as proved by his very own personal drag racing car he’s coined ‘Eleanor’. You can evenwatch Carl skidding around the tracks for yourself.

Designing the Carl Cox timepiece

Wanna look like the legend? Well then, it's “time to reach your star” with Cox’s very-own watch. This ain’t no ordinary watch, this carbon fibre timepiece has a miniature vinyl record as a seconds indicator as well as being GLOW IN THE DARK! Rolex could never. Cox said on the partnership: “I feel very proud of this, firstly because it shows me how far dance music has come that a luxury brand like this can recognise our industry and secondly, on a personal level, it shows me that my unswerving passion for what I do and the way that I do it is recognised by a company like this.”

Advocating for the importance of mental health

In his book ‘Oh Yes, Oh Yes’, an entire chapter is dedicated to taking care of mental health, knowing what resources are out there to help, and explaining the importance of community in maintaining good mental health. Using anecdotal experience and narrating stories from his youth in Brighton, Carl describes how he’s always taken care of himself and hopes that the same tips may help some readers. He also stresses that he knows life is not always easy and says that he always wishes people have a fun time and can experience bliss on his dancefloors. He’s here for his community and its well-being, “it’s okay to ask for help, we are a community” - he says frankly in his book.

Saving us in lockdown with the Cabin Fever - the vinyl sessions lockdown

Eager to keep smiles on faces and the tunes spinning - Carl Cox started his own solo vinyl mix stream session dubbed ‘Cabin Fever - the Vinyl Sessions’ over lockdown. This was a great opportunity for fans to learn more about Carl, his eclectic music taste and see the more personal side of the DJ as we see him at home spinning vinyl and not just behind the turntables on the dancefloor.

Some of the episodes were incredibly personal, including one which was dedicated to his father, Henry Carlilse Cox, who passed away in July 2020. This show featured all of Mr Henry Cox’s own records, ranging from soul, disco, calypso and everything in between. Carl was even joined by Barbados’ Prime Minister Mia Mottley for that episode of the stream.

And the Cabin Fever Jazz Funk playlist he started

With this, he’s also created a Spotify playlist full of jazz funk tunes that he rates. If there’s anyone’s taste we trust, it’s Carl Cox. This 218-track-long playlist features everyone from Marvin Gaye to Patrice Rushen. For funky vibes all mixed in with eloquent jazz - we know we can count on Cox to provide the sophisticated vibes. Check out the playlist here.

His endless list of awards and nominations

As we already see the man as a legend it comes as no surprise that he’s an award-winning DJ. Winning awards from 1996 up until 2020, he’s talent that has been appreciated by generations making him walking, talking, djing gold trophy icon.

Playing B2B with Chase & Status on a fire-breathing industrial arachnid

Glastonbury's Arcadia spectacular is a favourite fixture of the festival with his spectacular lasers and incendiary pyrotechnics. Its first appearance since 2018 at the latest edition was a very welcome return - not least because Carl Cox went B2B with Chase & Status with an absolutely ferocious set of high-octane sounds.

His new album ‘Electronic Generations’

It’s an exciting surprise that this is happening, since Cox previously said his fourth album, 2011’s ‘All Roads Lead to the Dancefloor’, was going to be his last, feeling annoyed about it being misunderstood. “My music is as well-produced and thought-out as anyone else out there,” he said, “But as soon as you put the Carl Cox label on it people go, ‘No, he can’t be a DJ and a producer’.” We’re glad he’s back because this new offering looks a real treat, featuring a bunch of collaborators from Fatboy Slim to Juan Atkins across 17 tracks. And he’s gone in. ”There are no apologies for the album if it's too hard,” he said back in June. Bring it on.

Being more popular than he’s ever been at 60

Who else has that staying power in the dance music world? “Realistically, when I'm 70, I won’t still be at it!” he said to us back in 2021. We wouldn’t bet against it.

He’s just a really lovely bloke!

Ask anyone who’s ever met him and they’ll attest, he truly is an absolute diamond. And what a winning smile! Coxy forever.

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