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MARCH 26, 2002


DJ Carl Cox talks about the moment and beyond

By Jeremy Kressmann
Daily Arts Writer

Carl Cox is arguably one the world's most
popular DJs and one of the hardest working. His
distinctive blend of house, techno and soul has
been rocking audiences since the early '80s
when Carl started DJing family gatherings. From
there, he moved on to bigger stages, becoming a
major force during the exploding UK rave scene
of the late '80s. Today, he remains one of elec-
tronic music's most famous ambassadors, known
everywhere from St. Louis to Singapore. He is
currently touring North America in support of
his new CD, Global. The Michigan Daily recent-
ly sat down with Cox to talk about his CD, his
experiences touring on the American electronic
scene and his unique technical mastery of the
The Michigan Daily: Why don't you tell us a
little about your new CD, Global?
Carl Cox: It's a great new CD. I haven't really
come out with anything new in the last two years
because the CDs I did before were on Moon-
shine, and there was my live CD from Chicago.
A lot of it really has to do with where I'm at right
now with my music at the moment; and it gives
people a chance to understand what kind of
music I'm into and what's being played all over
the world by me being international, and playing
everywhere else. I'm just bringing that music
into America in my way and what represents me.
A lot of these tracks on Global are what I played
at "Area: One." For me, that was perfect for
introducing that music to an audience that had no
idea what the hell I was playing (laughs). It's pri-
marily to show what I'm about, and I think that's
important for people to truly know the reason
why I'm still around after so many years.
TMD: Do you feel like Global is a progres-
sion of your sound toward something new? Or is
it more an extension of the Techno and Tech-
House sound that typifies who Carl Cox is?
CC: (laughs) Global wasn't really put out to
set the world on fire. It's just there to represent
where I'm at and to be accepted for that. Either I

can put out Global so people understand, "That's
the track I heard in the club yesterday," or I make
some really underground electro records, which
has no meaning to what I do, because the way
forward is the way a lot of people are concerned.
As far as I'm concerned, it's about what I'm
doing, and it's about me giving people a good
time from a House perspective, a Techno per-
TMD: I can tell from everything I've listened
to that one of your favorite styles is harder Tech-
no and also House to an
extent. Would you say "Detroit
you've been influenced a lot
by the Detroit sound? has soul
CC: Without a doubt, that roots
is always something that is in #a (I-
my soul. For some reason, of Detroil
Detroit, and also Chicago as ,
well, but Detroit primarily taking it
has soul within its musicalt
roots. (The artists of Detroit
are) taking it past these soul and
boundaries of soul into thef
future world. Hence, Kevin future W
Saunderson, Juan Atkins,
Derrick May - these are all
guys that were just basically messing with the
sound and the machines and created something
completely unique. You can still quote them
today. There's some people that still try to make
the sound of Detroit and still don't pull it off, but
there's a few people that do, and it gets respected
by the Detroit peers. The point is that they copied
a sound of what [the original artists] created, and
they should feel really proud of that. Meanwhile,
I do take my basses a lot from the concept and
sound of Detroit - which is always soulful.
Hence, the last track on the album, Friction by
Vince Watson - it sounds like an UK/Detroit
influenced track, but it's just beautiful. I wouldn't
call it "Techno" or "House," I would just call it a
great piece of music.
TMD: I was wondering about your distinctive
three-turntable style. How did that come about?
CC: When I was mixing up records during the


(early) hip-hop era, going back in '79 - '80, I got
really bored of two discs at a time. I was like
"The elbows on, and cutting and scratching all
the beats, and the transformer and everything
else." I couldn't take any more, so I used a third
turntable. At the time, there wasn't even an input
on a mixer for another turntable, so I had to pre-
boost on a small mixer, and set the small mixer-
to pre-boost the same as the rest of the channels,
and then the third turntable was born. For me, it
wasn't like I was scratching between three
turntables, because you
rimarily can't really do that - you
actually can, but you have to
vithin its be ambidextrous.
- TM~D: I'm sure it takes a
e artists lot of dexterity.
Sare CC: Totally (laughs). I've
always been kind of in to
)ast beat scratching to a point,
s of but (more) into beat-blend-
ing/mixing. I had two
nto the records of Little Louie
Id ~ French Kiss and beat-blend-
ed/mixed those records in
completely perfect, doubled
- Carl Cox back/spin back/cutting back ,
on the beats. Then, I had a record called Doug
Lazy - Let it Roll, and I had just the a-cappella
version of that. When I ran all these three things
together, people just freaked out. (They were
thinking) "I know Doug Lazy, but I don't know
that beat underneath it. I know Little Louie, but
it didn't have a vocal over the top of it." When I
did this people were like "How did you do that?"
Three decks. And then, Ta-da! The "Three Deck
TMD: A lot of other people are using it now.
CC: Yeah, it sounds like a screenplay written
for Harry Potter (laughs).
TMD: Do you feel like there's an emotional
attachment of the crowd to vinyl - seeing a new
record being put on the decks?
CC: Yeah totally. There's a story where some-
one was upset with John ,Acquaviva because
someone thought he played the same record for
two hours (laughs).
TMD: How about the "Area: One" tour?
Would you say you were able to reach a broader
fan base in the U.S. that hadn't really been
exposed to your music yet?
CC: Without a shadow of a doubt. It was prob-
ably the most positive thing I've ever done in
America based on reaching an audience that now
has started to understand it. Half the audience
knew who I was, and they were going to be there
no matter what. The other (half of) people were
like, "I'm going to go see Outkast and Moby, but
they're on later, let's go and check out this guy."
But people couldn't actually get in the tent
because it was already full.
TMD: Do you have any favorite locations
here in the U.S., where the fan base is especially
CC: I don't know really. I mean, in Detroit, I
pull them out no problem. I'm going to L.A. my
God, it's a bang. Boston is mental, absolutely
TMD: What do you look for in a track when
you DJ? When you search through the bins at a

cortsyo cn o

Cox points out his favorite Backstage Betty in the crowd.

record store, or when you get a release from
someone, what are the characteristics that are
important - that would make you spin it in one
of your sets?
CC: I look for emphasis on the track. I look
for something that's going to happen straight-
away (makes percussion noises) yeah ok, let's
have it you know? And then, obviously other
things have to happen after that. Personally, I
love strings, I love rhythms, I love good bass
lines. If I'm getting those three elements in a
track, then it's a Carl Cox track. It also depends
on how its edited and arranged. I do like a lot of
mood emphasis on tracks. You know, I like a
really good drum track but then also strings and
piano pieces.
TMD: So you pay attention to the background
elements too, aside from just a track's bass line?
CC: There's a lot of overproducing going on.
You know like (makes imitation of an overpro-
duced track, laughs). To me you just don't need
all of that. Sometimes if a track is overproduced,
I just say "nah" and fling it, it's as simple as that.
TMD: Trance was the big sound in the late
'90s. Can you spot any new trends that are devel-
oping as we move through 2002 and in the new
CC: The only thing I can really say is tech-
house is something that a lot of people are really
getting into. All the kids that were into progres-
sive and trance are now starting to get into a
funkier sound. I'll tell you why ... there's a lot
of girls out there that love the "funkier" sound.
If you get girls dancing, you get the boys danc-
ing, and you get everyone dancing. The thing is
with trance, it sometimes goes over a lot of peo-
ple's heads. The thing with progressive is that
sometimes it can be so boring that you just want
to leave. As far as I'm concerned, with that style
of music you can overplay house, tech-house or
techno. You get a lot more range within those
musical (styles). You can have house-fink, you
can have house-latin, you have house-techno,
and then you can have tech-house and tech-
house funk you know what I mean? And then
techno across the board (laughs). It depends

where you want to take it. And within that style,
you can play tribal. There's a lot of different
facets with that music. If you just play trance,
and its just one sound, after a while, you've had
enough of it. The same with Progressive.
TMD: I think it's a great characteristic to see
you mix the sound up during your sets.
CC: Yeah, I think a lot of DJs at the moment
are leaning towards mixing up their sound now.
TMD: As opposed to sticking with one par-
ticular style?
CC: Yeah - (saying things like) I'm a pro-
gressive DJ, or I'm a techno DJ. To be honest,
for myself, I've always been about playing
music within the circle of genres of different
music. I've played breakbeat with stabs. I won't
go as far as drum n' bass, but it can come close
to that point. But, if it's a really good progres-
sive record that says something, I'll play it. It's
just that I'm trying to break down the conceptu-
al barriers of the scene, which is hinged on pro-
gressive and trance over the last two to three

Courtesy o Carl Cox

Couts o0 f CaC

Cox contemplates building a giant turn-table for us all to live in.

Kicking out the jams.

Basement Arts will showcase POuO GOT ssgsasYU
'Sexual Perversity in Chic ago. O' O
xCOM a4sya e , aND WOk" eb 3E

By Christine Lasek
Daily Arts Writer
This weekend, Basement Arts will
bring David Mamet's "Sexual Perversity
in Chicago" to the Arena Theatre.
The play is a look into how society sets
up relationships and the ways in which
the sexes interact. It was written in 1973, "
but is set in present day, as the. language
used by the characters and the settings of
the show are timeless. The audience fol-
lows the course of one summer in the
lives of Bernie and Dan, two co-workers,
and Joan and Deborah, roommates. Dan
and Deborah are attempting a relation-
ship, while wading through the fatal
advice of their friends, a male chauvinist
and man-hater, respectively. The play is
episodic, showing real life moments in
Dan and Deborah's relationship from
beginning to end.
The play is set in several locations,
which can sometimes become a challenge
when working with the black box stage
space in the Arena Theatre. Director Erin
Bahl explained that she had to think cre-
atively about the set. She has implement-
ed a number of props and moveable set
pieces in her show to give the illusion of
several different locations. She imple-
ments this, for example, when the two
male leads go to see a movie and sit in the
audience facing the stage, as if all the
audience members were the other movie
theater patrons.
David Mamet is a prolific writer. Some

was an actor and teacher who believed
that acting was the process of living
truthfully under imaginary circum-
stances. Or, in other words, what happens
on stage should mimic
reality. This idea is preva-
lent in "Sexual Perversity
in Chicago," for, though SEX
some of the characters PERVEL
may seem over the top, CHIC
the emotions and situa-
tiqns that the characters At Arena
find themselves in are all Friez
very true to life. Thursday
Because the show Friday at7
spans over Dan and Deb-F
orah's relationship from Basem
start to finish, there is a
wide range of challenging emotions that
the actors need to divulge. All the charac-
ters are different from one another, and
they all need to be versatile in their act-
ing. "The reason why this show is so suc-


cessful is because of the chemistry
between the actors," said Bahl. "This
show demands a strong and grounded
talent from its players, and the actors
have certainly stood up to
that challenge."
"Sexual Perversity in
)AL Chicago" is full of dra-
ITY IN matic moments, but these
AGO are offset by some hysteri-
cally funny scenes. The
Theatre, audience is enough
Bldg. removed from the charac-
at 7 p.m. ters that there is no prob-
nd 11 p.m. lem laughing at their
antics, but at the same
t Arts time, their situations are
still real enough to be
poignant. Bahl said, "This show is for
everyone. It is a social commentary, but
it also entertains. Everyone in the audi-
ence will be able to relate on some level
to the characters in this show."

Launch a New Career.



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