In the summer of 2002, pioneering British dj Carl Cox embarked on a journey with Ibiza's Space club. Ten years on, they enter their tenth season together on the island to continue what is one of the longest running residencies Ibiza's ever seen. Not only is Carl resident for 'Revolution', but he heads up the music programming and promotion whilst playing host to some of the most highly regarded dj's and Live acts from around the globe.
"My ethos is still the same now in 2011 as it was when I first started, it's simply because I love it! Love is the only thing that will withstand the test of time." Carl Cox's ethos proves to be right on point as his career dates back to the early eighties and doesn't look like it's going to slow down anytime soon. One of the rare electronic dj's to make it into the mainstream music charts with his productions, he's run record labels, appeared in music films, played at and promoted nights around the world and back again.
But, what Carl Cox hasn't done - is faltered from his clear vision of what he stands for through his music and what he strives to represent within such a fast moving and often fickle industry. An artist who seems to have balanced underground integrity with a level of commercial success, it's through his tireless passion and innovative and often brave line up choices that he keeps himself at the top of his game.
Before the celebrations commence, Carl opens up about this season's 'Revolution' guest's, takes a nostalgic look at the best musical moments over the last decade and passionately tells us what makes him angry about this industry and some of the jokers in it!
This year you're celebrating your tenth season as resident for 'Revolution' at Space - congratulations on such a long run! You're going to be joined by some other residents this year - why is that?
What I really wanted to do was start extending my arm to other dj's to step through into what I've created over the last nine years. This way people get to see other dj's on a regular basis because as it stood, all the times we opened the doors for people to come and see people play, they only got that opportunity once a year. I decided that Nic Fanciulli, Umek and Yousef should play at least four to five times a year so that people can see how they are developing their music. The dj's can be part of a family, part of something that's ongoing. If you think about the dj's that come and play for us - we put them on the world stage, everything's amazing for that night and they totally rock it and then they don't come back for another year! It just seems like a shame. Also it develops those dj's and their sets into something that they can truly make their own, it gives them the opportunity to play out more tracks than they'd get in just one set. I this it's something really good for Space's future!
We do it because we love it, we enjoy it and we want to give people the very best time possible by what we can get our hands on in terms of music. We haven't diluted that in any sense over time... So you're not prepping for this to be your last season by introducing replacements?
No no not at all! Well, haha, I mean inevitably at some point when you've been doing something for 40 years your gonna have to step down and say "there you go boys - that's all I've got - have fun!", but no, it's just nice to share the load. It's Carl Cox at Space every Tuesday which is fantastic but I'd like to show my support for these other dj's and their music.
You must have seen Space evolve enormously as a venue since you first began?
It's been amazing really! When they asked me to do the residency ten years ago the Main Room held 2,500 - 3,000 people and the Terrace held 800 - 1000. We needed to find pretty much 3,500 people per week to fill that club. We thought ok fine, but two years into it when all we had to do was find dj's for the main room and the terrace they decided to make a new terrace, and open up the Premier Etage and the El Salon and then they decided to have the Sunset Terrace and now suddenly we needed to find 6,000 people!! We were like "are you joking!!??" So, haha, yeah, that's the development of the club over the years! It's grown as we've grown. In turn it's given us the opportunity to bring other defined dj's and acts to play things slightly off the mark from house and techno.
Introducing drum and bass, dub step or breaks into that club was something that's never been done before. When we brought in Pendulum for example who are a massive crossover into breakbeat and drum and bass it was like "Who are they and what do they do?" When they came on though the place was absolutely jumping and we managed to get around 2,500 people who would never normally go to Space in the club. Not just Pendulum either, Andy C, Roni Size, DJ Marky, Goldie, Giles Petterson - all these eclectic and amazing dj's who don't normally play Ibiza style music! It's great, it gave us such an opportunity to really work on a different angle to what Space is all about musically.
Of all of the guests that you've brought in over the years who would you say has given you the best memories musically?
It's really hard to define that! Laurent Garnier comes in and he's just amazing when you hear him play - it's not trance, it's not techno, not house, not rock or pop or soul or anything - he's just the embodiment of everything to do with a dj just playing great music. And the way he plays it, with soul and passion, energy, belief - he's so dramatic in his sound too! Christian Varela is the same in that dramatic sense, his sound is so powerful that it really gets into the crowd.
Danny Tenaglia is someone that when the lights go down plays the most unbelievable tribal house you've ever heard - stuff that I can't find or get anywhere! I stand there in disbelief when he's playing! Norman Cook brings the house down every single time, absolutely blows the place to smithereens!
Moby when he first came and did his first set - I've never seen the place jumping so much in my life! I remember when DJ Marky first came to play there was me, Laurent Garnier and Jack De Marseille there, we'd never heard a dj come and play his style of drum and bass before. It was just beautiful the way he was playing, what a talented dj!
Who have you got coming this season that you're excited about?
If you imagine waiting ten years to book a dj, well, that's what happened for us this year. And that dj is Richie Hawtin! Richie's known for playing at Cocoon so the only reason he's coming is because I said to him "Will you pleeease come and play at my 10th birthday party!?" and he said "OK!" - I was like "whoooohooooo!" That's gonna be very exciting for us. He wants to be part of the celebrations - what we are now from when we first started so for us, having Ritchie is great. We're also gonna have Laurent Garnier doing his LBS Live show for five hours - that's gonna be awesome!
Introducing drum & bass, dub step or breaks into that club was something that's never been done before.
When we brought in Pendulum for example who are a massive crossover into breakbeat & drum & bass it was like "Who are they & what do they do?" ...On your blog you said that "We wanted to prove that dance music was still a cause worth fighting for, this year, it's the same fight - we're still revolting against what's wrong in the scene." - What are you referring to specifically when you say "what's wrong in the scene"?
Just the way it's become so commercialized! To be successful now it seems that you've got to have a hip hop artist on your collaboration list! Dj's are now making albums where they have Akon, or Rhianna or The Black Eyed Peas alongside them. It's like "Uhh?? Hang about a minute!! Isn't it you, the dj, the reason why people come, isn't it you that the people are buying into if you're making music. Why do you have to tag on R'n'B artists to what you do?" It basically dilutes what we've fought for from the beginning.
What I've always done is play music that you're not gonna here on rotational radio and you're not gonna see on MTV, because what's the point? You just become record players if you're not doing that! Here's the top 20, I'm gonna play it and you lot can spend a load of money and wait outside an overpriced club and pay extortionate drink prices to hear the same music that you can hear on the TV and the radio! And they call themselves dj's - how can they do that? You've got someone like Laurent Garnier who puts together whole Live shows and plays music that you're only ever going to experience in a club - that's the reason why people are going there to see it!
My role is against all of that so that we've got longevity in the scene , otherwise, it's just all gonna be over. I've been at Space for ten years. I was dj'ing 15 years before that and then doing all the groundwork and research another six years before that! We do it because we love it, we enjoy it and we want to give people the very best time possible by what we can get our hands on in terms of music. We haven't diluted that in any sense over time. But the problem is when you've got major record labels who want to take the elements of what we've created in the scene and then basically water that down to appeal to the masses. There was always a split divide between house music, R'n'B and hip hop. And now, it's a combination of all which is fine up to a point.
But what I don't want is for people to say that they know that the contributing star is successful so it must be good, and then off the back of that they then know who the dj's are that are playing at space for example - because they should already know! It's all do with consumption and being a consumer. If you listen to all the riff's and elements that are in this commercial music it comes from techno and house music - which before, these people didn't want to know about! To them it was too ravey, nothing to do with them or whatever. What, and now it's acceptable? Because they water down everything that we fought for and believed in and use it!
As soon as something new comes along and our sound is not popular enough all of a sudden they'll take themselves elsewhere - But you know what? It doesn't matter, because I for one am going to continue what I'm doing because I love and believe in what I do. And all those dj's who are into that current sound, I won't book because it doesn't sit with what we're about!
There have obviously been negative adjustments in the scene in Ibiza as we've just spoken about, do you think there have been positive changes too?
I really like the idea that now people want to party on the beach - it's not just about the afterparty and how long people can last without going to bed and all that kinda thing! The quality of life and the party's have changed. When the sun comes up at 6am in the morning you still want to do something, you can't go to bed can you!? So you've got Ushuaia, Sands, Blue Marlin - all these places that cater for the daytime which allows people to enjoy the sunshine too. People are finding the quality in the day time of Ibiza these days which is great.
How has the treatment of dj's in general developed over the course of your time in Ibiza - in terms of higher fees, rider requirements, diva behaviour and all that?
People only get 'treated' as such if there's a value to it! Some dj's unfortunately don't see that, they think that just because they've got a record bag they can demand a limousine and the pent house suite and massive fees! For those dj's who are 'putting bums on seats' on such - and we do - Morillo, Tiesto and those sorts, they are gonna get treated in a certain way because they fill those venues with their music and have earned the right to. You have to earn the right to demand those things and unfortunately, a lot of dj's don't see it that way.
I've worked hard and earned to right to get a private jet if I need one, I can have a penthouse or a motorcycle if I need one, but I don't expect or want it. I'm actually pretty quite when it comes to all that. I'll have a bottle of Champagne and two or three beers when I'm playing. If I get a table my credit card is the first one down and that's how I respect it. Some dj's expect all that and when they don't get it they complain! Its people like that who put us in a bad light coz we aren't all chasing that kind of thing.
We've been talking a lot about certain people, yourself included who are often referred to as 'legendary'...what do you see as your role within dance music in order to have earned that title?
More than anything else it's just love of the music. If you look at my garage in Australia where my records are stored there's over 150,000 pieces of vinyl which I've collected since 1968. I think to become legendary as such, or someone that people look up to you have to go back to the beginning of where and how they started. You have to look at the history of that person and what boundaries and steps they have gone through.
My ethos is still the same now in 2011 as it was when I first started, it's simply because I love it. Love is the only thing that will withstand the test of time! We also have a responsibility because of that title or whatever, which for me is always to stay true to who I am. I love music, I love going out and I treat everyone as equals and try to always give 110% every time, no matter how many people I'm playing for or where that may be.
What's one thing that stands out to you about Space as being special other than the music programming?
One of the things that I've witnessed at Space that I love is when they put this blanket all over the club. They have this arts company who dress up and make it a really 'Cirque De Soleil' style act. They have this moment where they unravel this huge blanket all over the club so that everyone's dancing underneath it together! All you can see from the booth is all these hands pushing through this material and it's just so amazing to see how everyone gets involved and that it's about being in one space, under one roof, everyone experiencing something together with no divide - I never get bored of seeing that!
10 Years Of Revolution @ Space Ibiza 2011
Andy C | Carlo Lio | Christian Smith | Cirillo | Cristian Varela | DJ Vibe | Dubfire | Future Disco DJs | Gilles Peterson | Green Velvet
Jack de Marseille | John Digweed | Jon Rundell | Josh Wink | Laurent Garnier | Loco Dice | Magda | Marco Bailey | Marky | Michel de Hey
Monika Kruse | Nicole Moudaber | Pendulum (El Hornet DJ Set) | Pukka UP DJs | Richie Hawtin | Roni Size | Steve Mulder | Tini
Resident DJs: Yousef | Nic Fanciulli | UMEK
The opening party kicks off at 10pm on Tuesday, 5th July with weekly Tuesday nights throughout the summer, closing on the 20th September.
|Carl Cox Online|