EXCLUSIVE: Carl Cox knows how to improve Dubai's music scene
Carl Cox is, or at least was, heading to Dubai – for the first time in seven years! The techno giant was expected to touch down on December 27 with Bedrock boss John Digweed for a double header at Dubai Festival City. That, though, is in doubt, as of the start of November. The return of the clubland colossus has been engineered by Defbeat, the same crew who pulled off an incredible show with hip hop giant Rick Ross.
Speaking to What’s On, Coxy said the time was right to return to Dubai. “I’m ready to come in and do what I do and make sure people have a great time,” he said.
Talking of returns, we caught up with Carl the day after his return to London club Fabric, where he described his Thursday night Intec party as “epic to say the least”.
“I haven’t played that club for quite a few years and I realised how much I missed it,” he said. “It’s a truly outstanding club that has stood the test of time. It hasn’t been affected by the rise and fall of the superclubs because that’s not what it set out to be. Fabric has always been about the music. They book great DJs who play great music and have never bought into the whole who’s hot and who’s not thing. The soundsystem in there was amazing the day the club opened and it’s still amazing today.”
Sounding surprisingly fresh despite the previous night’s adventures, Carl added: “The party was rammed even though it was on a Thursday night. I actually love Thursday night gigs because [in the UK] people have work the next day, so those that come out are there to specifically hear the music and not just because it’s the weekend.”
It’s been another off-the-scale summer for the Intec label boss. His Revolution parties at Space Ibiza – in their 12th year – continued to attract record-breaking numbers to the club. But Cox revealed he also took on something of a peacemaker role on the island this year, boosting camaraderie among the DJ community and breaking down friction between rival clubs.
“In the past there has been real rivalry between the clubs and the promoters,” said Carl. “If you played for one venue you weren’t allowed to play at another, that sort of thing, almost like club wars. I think all the DJs just got sick of it so we got together and did ‘swaps’. I’d play in Amnesia, I’d go play in DC10, I’d pop up somewhere and do back-to-back sets. As DJs, we wanted to show people that there’s real camaraderie between all of us.
“What drives us most is to play great tunes to people, that’s what it’s all about for us. People see that when we come together we push the elements, push the creativity so that people hear the best music. It’s something we want to do, not something we have to do. It was amazing, really – the most positive movement in Ibiza for years.”
Reflecting on Dubai, Cox said he hoped more promoters were learning to nurture a homegrown scene, and added that promoters the world over often made the same mistake. “Some promoters think you can buy a club scene but you can’t. You have to create it, nurture it and let it grow into something organically.”
The scene veteran also revealed to us that he’s looking to set up his own Sound Camp at Burning Man, in the Nevada Desert, next year, after playing for the Opulent Temple guys there in previous years. The community-driven festival sees 40,000 people take to a temporary ‘city’ for a week of music and art, and is considered by many to be the most extreme festival on earth. “We’re looking into the logistics,” said Carl.
First though, he’ll be visiting our rather more welcoming stretch of desert for his long-awaited return to Dubai, playing at Al Badia, alongside Digweed. “John’s another stalwart,” said Carl. “Every year he gets deeper and deeper into his sound. Him and I playing in Dubai will be quite a show.”