One of the founding father of techno, Carl Cox makes his annual visit to Miami to host his eponymous tent at Ultra Music Festival.
“I would love to come [to Miami] more,” says pioneering DJ and music producer Carl Cox. “But it’s difficult for me to be everywhere at once.” Indeed, at almost 55 years old, there’s no stopping Cox from being the life of the party—especially at Ultra—year after year.
You’ve been playing Ultra Music Festival since 2001 and have had your signature tent for over a decade. This year the Carl Cox Megastructure will go under the banner of the Resistance—a subgroup of Ultra itself—to create this underground vibe outside of the realm of mainstream [with] a worldwide perspective. As global ambassador, I’m leading that charge.
What should fans expect? I’m going back to raw and to the reason I’m here in the first place: to continue to mix as much music—whether it’s old-school techno, slamming-hard house music, vocals in the track, break beats, or bass lines—as I can. Things have gotten complacent the last couple of years, so it’s all about kapow and resetting. Beats go up, it gets louder, and I do not quit.
What new talent will be joining you in your tent? I am giving two girls from the UK called Eli & Fur a fantastic stage to perform on for the first time with me. Laura Fudonk from Liverpool has a very underground Chicago sound. I am taking Saeed Younan, who has been around for a few years but never been able to play at Ultra, under my wing, and a Radio 1 presenter from the UK, B. Traits, who doesn’t use a computer, just a USB, and mixes everything.
What about old friends? We have the big boys—Marco Carola, Joseph Capriati—and [we’re] bringing back for the first time in ages Sasha, John Digweed, and a few old surprises. A few young ones.
What if people can’t make it to Ultra? I always do a club funk-and-soul after-party on Sunday, and this year that’s at Basement [at The Miami Beach Edition], which holds 500 people, and I take on a whole new style of music. Most people follow me to that.
Longest you’ve ever played? The last long set I played was at Space, and six and a half hours of that was just vinyl. I wanted to show people who have been going to Space for the last five years, and who have never seen me play vinyl, that I still can do that. I’ve done 11 hours a few times, but anything after that, your brain is fried and you’ve had enough for one day.
So, vinyl over digital? I’ve got a vinyl collection that’s 150,000 strong, starting from 1968 and finishing at 2007, sitting right next to me.
What’s something about you that would surprise a lot of people? Every time I show people what I do on my day off—motorcycle sidecar and drag car racing—they gasp. The adrenaline rush at 192 mph is ridiculous. I have over 90 motorcycles and 22 cars in my collection.
You’re turning 55 this year and still the man. What’s your secret? I never sat back and watched life pass me by. I’ve always loved meeting new people and being an adventurer.
Craziest night in Miami? It was the moment I became Danny Tenaglia’s go-go dancer for a couple of years. The place was slammed and Danny wasn’t stopping anytime soon, so I got on top of the bar and danced from 5 am to close at 10 am. If you’ve ever danced on a bar before, it’s quite a heightening experience.
Last words before Ultra? Put your phone down and enjoy the music. These are records you won’t be able to find, so forget about recording and dance. March 24–26, Bayfront Park, 301 Biscayne Blvd., Miami