Carl Cox is a legendary name in music, not just techno. His music, DJ sets and overall persona is one of the most recognized in electronic dance music, and he continues to expand his resume with killer compilations and DJ sets that leave fans talking for months. This past Winter Music Conference he slayed the crowd with new and classic cuts at Ultra Music Festival, and he also held his annual secret party on the last day of WMC. He recently also released his new Global Underground compilation that’s been getting immense praise, but that’s no surprise coming from the man who was the first to be named the number one DJ in the world by DJ Magazine’s Top 100 DJ poll.
Clubplanet recently caught up with Carl Cox on day one of the Ultra Music Festival, and chatted about his new Global Underground release, what he thinks of the current state of electronic dance music, and what he’s got lined up for the remainder of the year.
Clubplanet: How’s Conference treating you so far?
Carl Cox: Brilliant, I have to say! Over the last couple of years you can see that there was a little bit of decline as far as attendance goes, but this year has broken all records over the past five years of people coming. That just goes to show you that the interest in this music has been put pretty high on people’s agenda. They want to know what’s going on, they want to feel it, they want to be a part of it and they want to be involved in something that’s still around in our scene and in our culture.
Clubplanet: You’ve recently released your first Global Underground compilation, Black Rock Desert. What do you think sets this one apart from other compilations you’ve released in the past? Did you have a different approach to it?
Carl Cox: For sure. As you know Global Underground has released 37 compilations, so mine was 38. I didn’t take the decision very lightly because I haven’t done one in previous years. The subject matter is Burning Man. A lot of people really seem to think that I wouldn’t be a part of a society of people that don’t want to be a part of anything else. (laughs) But I’m always interested in everything that’s going on out there, including Burning Man. Unfortunately I always told myself that I wouldn’t be able to go because I was too busy. But two years ago, I decided that I wanted to experience what everyone else was talking about. It almost turns into a religious experience for people. A lot go there and they come out and say, “That’s it, I’m giving up my job and just work for burning man.” It doesn’t matter, whatever you want to do and however you want to do it is fine by me. You can feel that energy and that positivity from people that go there. My answer to that was all about me and my music and how I bring people together by it. So when I went back a second year what I wanted to do if I had an opportunity to do it was create a situation where I can give people an experience of what I came away with. I’ve never done anything like that before. This was true to the cause. I went there, I experienced it and I wanted to capture the essence of being there on a CD. This is a part of history of my life.
Clubplanet: You’re one of the biggest and most legendary names in electronic dance music to date. As far as the state of electronic dance music goes in the U.S. where do you think it’s at? Some producers believe that popularity only comes in waves in America, while others believe it’s on a steady incline.
Carl Cox: I don’t know, you’re talking to someone who’s been playing his music in the states here for over 20 years! (laughs) Incline, upstep, downstep, overground, underground, who cares…what’s really important is that we believe in what we’re doing no matter what industry or what is said by promoters or record labels. This music will always prevail. It has been the biggest thing to happen since rock and roll and it’s always evolving. I also think that it’s a positive movement. Anything that brings people together is positive. If you’ve got something that alienates people that’s different. But this music crosses boundaries from all over, and that’s what it always has done. It doesn’t matter if it’s on MTV or not, it doesn’t matter because the music will always prevail.
Clubplanet: What are some of your favorite markets to play in the U.S.?
Carl Cox: I like playing New York and I like playing LA. Of course, I love to play Miami especially during Winter Music Conference. I love playing in places where people are subject to a situation. The best places for me to play are the ones that are the most open minded, so I love to play places like Detroit or Chicago. I did the DMF last year and it was amazing.
Clubplanet: Like you said before, electronic music is always evolving, and can almost be seen as a melting pot that fuses all of the sub-genres of music. Where do you think it’s heading in the future?
Carl Cox: The thing is a lot of musicians over the years have denied the sound and now are starting to respect it and are wanting to work with electronic artists, David Guetta being one of them. He put a lot of acts on the map based on techno-house sounds and putting them together with, Black Eyed Peas for instance. I don’t think it’s the beginning of a beautiful relationship because never the two should twine, but it’s done that. I’d like to see more of that. I think that’s something that will take it to another level.
Clubplanet: What does Winter Music Conference mean to you personally?
Carl Cox: Well I’ve been coming for many years and I’ve seen it rise and rise and rise. What’s really good about this is that people from all over the world come here that normally wouldn’t come to America, but they come because of this. That’s a really positive movement because America’s hosting a stage where music from all over the world is being represented. They’re all coming here to see what’s going on and hear what’s happening and I love the idea that they don’t know what the next big record is, unless they go out to the clubs to hear it and talk about it.
Clubplanet: Have you ever thought about playing a party outside of Ultra?
Carl Cox: I always do. I always play a little party every Sunday of Conference where I’ll just play funk, soul and disco music. It’s something completely different and that’s very exciting to me. For me it’s one of the best parties on the planet. But it’s your job to find out where it is. (laughs)
Clubplanet: What can we look forward to from you for the remainder of the year?
Carl Cox: Well basically I’ve been working on a new conceptual album for the past two years and it’s called All Roads Lead to the Dance Floor. I’ve been creating this album with two producers in Australia, David Carbone and Josh Abrahams. I was able to throw my ideas to them based on what I wanted as a Carl Cox album. That’s nearly finished so you’re going to hear a lot of that album here over the next two days. I’m really excited by that project.