As one of dance music’s hardest working and most genial figures, it comes as no surprise to find that Carl Cox is up early in Ibiza, doing interviews by phone. With good reason, too – his new album ‘All Roads Lead To The Dancefloor’ has just been released, and it’s not just any old album release either.
This is Carl’s first long player in five years, comes into the world in the form of a USB stick, to which Cox will be adding more and more remixes. It’s a possible future direction of the album format – and one of many elements contributing to a pumped up DJ when we call. “I’ve been working on it for a year and a half,” he exclaims. “I’ve been able to do music which I believe in, that people will enjoy. I’ve never made music to enhance my career, or to sell records – that doesn’t really matter. It’s how people react that matters to me. If you take the tune ‘Nexus’ for example, it’s just a good tune with a melodic build, there’s a lot of feeling in that track. I’ve been loving the reaction to it, where you can see people on the dancefloor when they ask who it’s by, and you tell them – they say “No way!” Cox is, to put it mildly, a motormouth – but in a wholly endearing way. “My whole sound came from drum & bass, and I couldn’t go in to the studio and not make a d&b track. I think ‘Chemistry’ is one of the standout tracks on the album though. I’ve performed the whole album live, and recorded it in Australia in that form. This is the most I’ve ever done on any album that I’ve created. I’ve had to do it all myself and fund it too, every penny for it has come from my back pocket. I think charging what we are for it is justified though, purely based on what it’s cost. It’s purely from me – not from a record company telling me what I should be doing.” His personal attachment to it is almost akin to an extra limb. “You’re going to want to treasure this and not lose it, I hope,” he says. Too many people put an album out, and there are three tracks that are good, but the rest no one gives two shits about. With this album every single track has been tested and works. FG started as a breaks track, and now Sharam has done a 13 minute mix, and Layo & Bushwacka! have also done a remix. This is what’s really exciting for me, as in six months time there will still be new stuff going on to the USB stick, stuff that you can download.” “We worked out the release of the album in three phases,” he explains. “With phase one, people can enjoy the first taster of the album, with 12 brand new tracks becoming available. This includes cuts that will be on the final album, along with B-sides and exclusives. Phase two will be the next single, Chemistry, followed by the final and complete album, along with lots of extras, including some DJ tutorials from Pioneer. This is some tricks and tips that I’ve been learning with the mixer, as a lot of people have no concept on the things we do. We’ll do some interviews too. The final phase, phase three will be all that we’ve been doing live. The USB will be updated with ongoing live footage of me and my band touring, and you’ll be able follow us at rehearsals, on the road and on stage…” An unusual pause for breath – Cox is on a roll this morning. Did he road test the songs on the album before setting them down? “Yeah, I worked through everything with Josh Abrahams – he helped with a lot of the analogue stuff, the house and techno – and with Dave Carbone, who’s been busy with the dubstep and drum ‘n’ bass side of things. I’ve been sat in the middle of that really!” Like a referee? “Yeah, kind of – I wanted someone to bounce my ideas off. I don’t have time for sound cards and upgrades to equipment and stuff like that – but what I do have time for is basslines and ideas. It took a while to gel with that situation but now the chemistry between the three of us is sorted.” For now though Cox’s attentions are on Space, where he has just clocked up a decade of his Revolution series. “To be somewhere for 10 years like that, it’s just been unbelievable,” he gushes, “and it’s gotten better as we’ve gone along. When we started we thought it might be 4-5 years, and see how we go, but now every year we tone it up. People are enjoying what we’re growing there, and not just the people – the DJs too, like Josh Wink, Dubfire and all of them. Richie Hawtin played for the first time this year, which was amazing. The Carl Cox album ‘All Roads Lead To The Dancefloor’ is out now, released on a USB stick through his own Intec Digital label. His residency at Space in Ibiza, fronting the ‘Revolutions’ night, continues through until September 20.