Carl Cox: “I’m going to bring Space back"
Talking about Carl Cox without using superlatives is almost impossible. He’s one of the most influential DJs the scene has brought up in the last 40 years. He has been playing the biggest festivals in the world -- Time Warp, Tomorrowland, Ultra Music Festival -- just to name a few. And he has been one of the most significant ambassadors of Ibiza.
With a 15 year long residency at legendary club Space and countless gigs at the other Ibiza venues, Carl Cox knows the island like the back of his hand. This season, Carl returned with his own One Night Stand parties and several guest appearances at the Resistance parties at the world’s biggest club Privilege. BE-AT.TV has been streaming Resistance Ibiza throughout the whole season, including Carl’s birthday bash at the end of July.
Ahead of his second Resistance show this Tuesday, Carl sat down with us and opened up about his feelings on Ibiza this year, some very surprising plans on the island and the differences between him and Martin Garrix who co-starred in their recent What We Started documentary.
Carl, the season in Ibiza is in full swing. How has the island been this year?
I’m absolutely loving it. I'm loving the fact that there are people who go to the island because they still love the island. I mean, with or without Space: Ibiza is still Ibiza. Of course, there are a lot of changes on the island right now. But nothing stops the essence of Ibiza. Every single party that I've done there this year has been amazing. Like Amnesia where I did One Night Stand which was my first party of the season. The second one was Pacha and I hadn't played Pacha for 13 years or maybe even longer than that. So it was a pleasure to get back to play there. And then my birthday party at Privilege. It was absolutely amazing to see the transformation of what the Resistance parties have brought to the table with the Ultra Music Festival crew. They did a wonderful job with the sound and the lights.
Tell us a little bit more about your birthday party. How was it?
Many people didn't realise how sick I was. I had a major chest infection. I should have actually canceled that party! But there was no way I could. The expectations on it were just too high. So I had to basically put on a massive brave face and get on with what I do best. I could have played better I believe, but what I delivered was the very best I could at the time. Apart from that it was a nice celebration for everyone who came. I mean, we used to have amazing birthday parties at Space for 15 or 16 years and being there at Privilege felt like coming home for me with a lot of Ibizan people there, a lot of my old friends and new friends.
Have you actually managed to find a new home on the island now, two years after the closing of Space?
No. I’m never going to do another residency on the Island, there is no club for me to play like that - Space was definitely the place for me. We have the idea of bringing Space back next year for maybe an opening and closing, but apart from that we are actually looking for a new area to build a new Space somewhere on the island.
So you are actually planning on building a new Space?
Yes, it's going to happen - there's no doubt about that! I'm going to bring it back in the near or the distant future. I mean, I’ve lost my home and I need to build a new one. There's no point in me going to Pacha to have the Space ideal. There's no point in me going to Amnesia and just put the Space logo on that club. There’s no point in me going to Privilege and doing the same thing. There is no point, because Space was built as an independent club in Playa d'en Bossa. Playa d'en Bossa only became Playa d'en Bossa because of Space. The new Space doesn't actually have to be on Playa d'en Bossa. Obviously we need some place where it's a little bit quiet. There is no way I'm going to build a Space nightclub next to Ushuaia or anything. We will go to a completely new place with a new concept. But the idea is to have the same people who made Space and have people who want to support me in my quest to create a new Space back on the island.
Will that new Space open next year?
No, it definitely won’t be next year. But 2020 sounds fantastic to me.
What did the closing of Space do to the island? Has it had an effect on the way you see Ibiza as well?
People used to book their holidays on the opening parties of Space and the closing parties of Space. People didn't go to the island unless they went to the opening and they closing and now the thing is that Space is no longer there. Yes, you can go to the opening of Ushuaia and the closing of Amnesia but Space brought everybody together – whether you worked in the post-office or whether you worked in a supermarket or a petrol station. Space was for the workers and the people who lived on the island. It wasn't just for the tourists. The closing was a celebration of the work that they did on the island, to celebrate the fact that they got through the season. That's the thing that is absolutely missing on the island and that's the thing that I have to bring.
Have you had a chance to visit Hi Ibiza? In the past you have said that you struggled with that idea.
I'm still struggling. I watch and I know everything that is happening in that club. I don't actually need to go in that club to be convinced of what I think of what is good or bad about it. I hear so many stories about it that I feel I don't actually need to go there.
Your schedule this year seems a little bit more selective than in previous years. Was that a conscious decision?
That was a massive conscious decision. I am getting to a point where I only do events that I really want to do and not events that I have to do. It doesn't mean that it has to be the biggest and the best. That's why you see me at some events which people are not expecting me to be at and at the events that people are expecting me to be at I haven't been. When you think of Time Warp for instance, they're in their 25th year now coming up next year and I only missed two of them. So if I'm not there it makes a difference but I also have to give myself some time off to make a difference once I go back. It also gives me the opportunity to do other events and other places which I want to go back and enjoy. I haven't been back to South America for two years. I haven't been to Japan for five years, I haven't played Greece for the last eight years. It's amazing what I haven't done based on what I've been doing.
Are there any places that you've really been wanting to play?
I remember playing in Reykjavik maybe about seven, eight years ago. I'd like to go back and play there, that was just awesome. Or I haven't played Finland for quite a few years now. I haven't played Turkey for quite a while now. I haven't played Sofia for a little while also. Quite a lot.
You recently starred in documentary What We Started alongside Martin Garrix. How was filming the documentary?
When I was approached to be involved in this movie I was a little bit hesitant about it because of the connotation of the success of EDM and I thought that maybe I would just be irrelevant, but then I met the directors and realised that they were going to treat the topic with the respect it deserved. They went deep into the history of our scene, and this was really great. They really did make sure that the story was told of how it started. It wasn't like I woke up one day and said I am going to be a successful rave orientated electronic DJ artist. Martin Garrix, he basically has woken up in the digital age, he has woken up with social media, with making a record on a computer. I woke up and was lucky if I got a message or my pager. If I was to go find anybody I had to physically go get in my car or walk or get a bicycle and see if my friend was awake. A mile and a half away. All of these things were different. The road of success for me was definitely much harder than it was for him but I'm still here relevant in today's society. Also I didn't have the support of my father like he has had the support all the way and still in present day. And I had to basically push through that because my father was always about me getting a proper job and I was not into falling in line with that because I had this music within me. As for Martin, as soon as he made a record it went up on YouTube and got the attention of 1.5 million listeners, which basically ended up with a record deal and then with him being a superstar. That never happened to me. My road of success was basically making sure I was at every event humanly possible and being a reliable DJ rocking every single place. That took me 30 years. Martin has already achieved that in the last six years. But if Martin really wants to get to the level where I am in the sense of how long I've been in the music industry, he's got 30 years left to go.
Looking into the future, what's your plan for 2019?
At the moment I built a new recording studio in Melbourne, Australia. I've had a few successful remixes out, one of them being for Ninetoes. I've just done a mix for Monkey Safari, and I've just got another remix out for Alex Mine and then another remix for Nic Fanciulli. I've got some of my own records out as well. I am just working on a new one coming up called ‘Odon’. I'm on fire with the studio. I'm really happy to get back to being creative again based on how amazing this studio sounds and how it makes me feel when I'm making music. so much that I basically started a new record label called Awesome Soundwave and I'm only signing electronic artist that can play live. And what we are going to be doing is most of the artists that play live are going to be streamed from my own recording studio. It is going to be like an insight of what's coming up next in the of electronic music scene in the future.