Carl Cox could have been forgiven for being a bit nervous about the opening party of his eight date season at Space. Superstar djs are not exactly flava of the year, and where do you go when you’ve reached the top?
However he looks a picture of togetherness when the Space Ibiza team are there to meet at the airport on the day before the big gig.
“I unfortunately had to fly from London. I was supposed to be in Turkey over the weekend. And the British Airways were going on strike, unofficial strike, and they cancelled all flights over the weekend to all destinations, mine included. I ended up staying the weekend, seeing friends and stuff but now I’m feeling a bit fresher because I’m not coming from a party.” However not all is well.
“I’ve lost one bag, but I do have a hell of a lot of other records.”
Well obviously, you’re Carl Cox. You and dance music as we know it today have been at the centre of probably the biggest recreational revolution since the 60s. The economic surge generated by a generation of raving has changed the way the citizens of the big cities of Europe (and other continents) socialise during night time hours. At the end of the evening all roads lead to the club. And if you have a big one, one person you would like to be able to book is Carl Cox. Because Cox works, and hard.
He looks hard too. In photos he might appear built for comfort and not for speed, but up close he’s formidable. Any vague thoughts about a confrontational interview immediately vanished from the head of the Space Ibiza team. However the man at the eye of a small storm of attention in the airport is particularly accommodating. Local rag El Diario intervene in the baggage recovery proceedings to get a quick interview and a photo, several fans request and receive an autograph, and all the while he reminisces about his early days serious clubbing on the island.[center]
Space Ibiza in hot pursuit, paparazi-style
The Cox villa, not a real estate advertisement[/center] Unfortunately as soon as the mic comes out all potentially libelous tales cease. However what we do learn about his background demonstrates commitment far beyond that of all but the most hardcore and dedicated seasonal worker. Instead of renting an apartment, the younger (and presumably slimmer) Carl rented a Fiat Panda and slept in it for three nights. Accompanied by his sister.
“I couldn’t afford to stay anywhere else. I just needed to come and broaden my horizons and to learn more about being in a different country on my own and not going with a school or with mum and dad or anything and it was like an adventure. I think I was about 17, 18 years old and it was kind of like ‘I’m taking charge of my life, I’m going to Ibiza, I’ve got no money, but what ever happens happens’.
Now he flies business class, and comes with a posse.
“Normally it’s me, Ian my road manager and I have some friends coming over tomorrow and it just grows bigger and the season goes on. I’ve one record label, Intec Records and I’ve got three staff there and with Cosmack my management company there’s at least five people there and then it goes into accountants and financial advisers and possibly Ian Hindmarsh who books me. He normally meets me or arranges people to meet me and two security plus a promoter and a dedicated driver so it ends up being an entourage wherever I end up playing.”
He could have done with the last of those listed when he first flew in one night in 1984.
“In Ibiza was the first time I drove on the other side of the road. I came in the dark. I had no idea of where I was going. I came from humble beginnings and I still meet some of those old friends today who I see around running bars, and some of them are tour operators and some are selling beads. It’s just fantastic when this island catches you in some way and you feel compelled to become a part of it.”[center]
[/center]But Carl became more than a part of it. He took the “real” techno he heard first at Space to the world. Quite an achievement, as even those who have had even a brief acquaintance with this form of electronic music know, it’s not particularly accessible. Its sparse textures and angular beats are created by people whose ethos is an uncommercial one. But it can sound so right, especially when played by one with as much enthusiasm for the big stage as Carl Cox. Love Parades, London sweatboxes, Ibiza palaces, countless radio shows – Cox has rocked them all. He was the king of Millennium Eve, or Millennium Eves in his case, flying as he did from no. 1 Hawaii to no. 2 in Sydney. He was the man Space came to when looking for someone to close their 2002 season, and open it in 2003.
Yet he’s still trying something new. Space on a Tuesday has traditionally been the preserve of the Manumission’s flying circus. They’re still packing it out in the daytime, but how do you get the party people to change long held habits and arrive in Playa d’en Bossa when the sun is below the horizon?
A reasonable ticket price is one way; additionally selected hotspots have been the lucky recipients of free entrance wrist bands, another bold gesture. And not in vain, we should add. Carl Cox’s desire to please has been communicated effectively, and the queue is fucking massive when he arrives.
The cheer when he takes to the decks for an hour of terrace action makes the heart swell. Carl’s must be beating like drum, and the sweat pours from him like a soldier in a tropical battlefield. The system booms like bombs dropping and in the end he is the victor, and the spoils of war his.
And what of retirement?
“There’s no chance. It’s an addiction, it’s a drug, I can’t stop. There’s no way, I’ve been djing for 33 years now and you’re asking me to chop off one of my balls, I just wouldn’t do it.”
Thanks to Jumper & Lynn for precious help.