UK-come-Frankston local Carl Cox takes us through his 30 year career
It’s one of those urban myths that turns out to be true: UK’s pioneering acid, techno and house legend Carl Cox actually does live in Frankston, and what’s more, he loves it.
“I bought my house here in Frankston 12 years ago and I’m still here now,” he says. “Every time I come back it feels like new. I see my neighbours again and go to my local store up the road and they’re like, ‘Hey Carl, you’re back again, we saw you on Spicks and Specks. It’s hilarious. I love it.”
Cox, who started out as a mobile disco DJ, was on the cutting edge of the nascent bangerz scene in the ‘80s and has been a stalwart ever since. Even the big man is somewhat bewildered when it comes to his longevity. “I can remember when I played my first acid house record to a crowd that had been listening to hip hop and funk and cut-up break beats: the dance floor cleared,” he recalls, unleashing his trademark contagious laugh.
“But then somehow, this music became the very soundtrack of our existence to date. No one could have foreseen it. I can remember saying in an interview that, ‘by the time I’m 45, I’m gonna be done; too old for this thing,’ and I am now 55.
“I’ve been involved in this music now for nearly 30 years. I never knew that my career would span that much. You know, I never even had a job that lasted longer than six months.”
Indeed, Cox is in awe of how techno has unfolded. “This thing has lasted longer than punk, longer than rock’n’roll,” he throws down. “Longer than rock music to some point, because a lot of them rock legends are dying off or not performing anymore.
“In our lifetime, the sound of the kick drum is outlasting nearly every single musical genre that’s been out to date. I know we’re not the Beatles and I’m not John Lennon, but that’s unbelievable.”
Perhaps understandably after his long service to the scene, Cox has made a few noises about edging towards retirement. For instance, he’s pulled the pin on his legendary residency in Ibiza at Space after 15 years and folded Global, his weekly podcast radio show (Kiss FM broadcast it in Australia every Monday). Plus, he’s easing back from DJing a crazy 80 to a 100 shows a year to a more than modest 38.
“If you’re going to any of those events, they’re going to be so special because people may or may not know that it could be or couldn’t be the last party I do,” he says. “I’m not saying it will be the last party that I do, but what I am saying is that even for me I need to move on at some point and do something else.”
Realistically though, Cox isn’t showing any sign of going quietly into the night. On top of gigging around the world (for instance, he’s headlining Tomorrowland in Belgium in July), he runs Intec Digital, his record label, he’s a dedicated rev-head (he heads up his own racing team, is partial to the drags and mad for dirt biking) and is taking his own dance party Pure – a showcase of new techno talent – into its second year.
“It was even difficult to cull the amount of parties that I do this year. In the end, the gigs will go down from 38 to 30, to 25 to 20. I’m not going to retire: it’s not possible. I think I’m going to die, eventually, over the turntables.”
By Meg Crawford