From underage weekend clubber to Gallery debuting British stormer, Matt Smallwood accession to the distinguished standing of British underground leader has definitely been well earned. Having touched base with the likes of Armada, Spinnin and Doorn Records along the way and bagged the outlined support of Techno heavyweight Carl Cox, 2012 has already seen him join the ranks of Toolroom Records and bag further live exploits for homeland clubbing hotspot Ministry of Sound. In short, Smallwood’s eclectic blend of sophisticated club cuts are well and truly on the road to becoming proud and promising exploits for country and genre alike.
“The Record May Stop; But I Will Never Quit Doing What I Do!”
To reflect on the musical legacy that is Carl Cox and his outright obsession with dynamic Electronic music, one cannot help but grapple with an endless list of attainments that read like the ultimate ‘kiss arse’ catalogue of respect and admiration.
However, as the global beacon of Techno music who broadcasts to some 50 million listeners every week across 24 countries, as well as the plutocratic recording artist of four momentous studio offerings and an unlimited armoury of explosive releases that have continued to fill dance floors across the globe since his 1991 label debut ‘I Want You’, for Oakenfold’s ‘Pefecto Records’, you would severely struggle not to appraise the rigorous work ethic of Britain’s undeniably impassioned ambassador.
With so much already on the cards for 2011, it is hard to believe that Carl Cox could comprehend packing anymore of his industry stirring antics into the year ahead. But ever the showman and always the relentless contributor to his craft, Carl’s forthcoming full-length offering has every Tech head, Electronic nut and avid clubber from London to Australia and all the way back impatient in light of this highly anticipated follow up to 2005’s powerful studio offering; ‘Second Sign’.
Having already been dubbed as a British ambassador for global Dance music with his own studio productions and further work in line with his personal Techno imprint, Intec Music, the relentless pressure surrounding this fourth outing for the industry adored ‘Techno Heavyweight’ has driven Cox to establish a landmark studio album that intrinsically represents global Electronic, drawing on Dance floor vibes from every imaginable genre and scope of sound to create an innovative chapter in the legacy of Carl’s epic studio offerings.
Where Cox has innovated in the past, an essential advance upon the unsuspecting industry that has too often been plagued by insincere trends is to be employed by Dance music’s larger than life leader of both schools of sound.
And if anyone could pull of an Electronic album to end the ‘genre wars’ and reproduced club cuts, Cox was surely the man to bring home another fulfilling victory for British Dance music.
“With this record, the concept is making music for the dance floor,” explained Cox. “It has been on the cards for quite some time now and I know a lot of the fans were getting impatient, but in my defence I haven’t had time to work on it properly until more recently. As soon as we finished at Space this year, I threw myself into the studio to finish it and I am pleased to say that a summer release definitely on the cards.”
Donning a host of old and new faces to this exciting studio outing, including Josh (Puretone) Abrahams & David Carbone, the pioneering Australian production force previously known as the Future Sound Of Melbourne, Carl has emerged with a record as significant in terms of chronology as it is in sound. “With this record I wanted to do the entire thing live for a change, so I had the concept straight away and as a result I have been able to utilize vocalists and certain aspects of the instrumentals and give every aspect a fuller sound.”
“It was great to bring back some old artists and musicians, such as Josh and David, as they did some great work collectively as FSOM and they were an absolute joy to work with on this record. They brought some truly great ideas and aspects to the record and as a result I think this emerged even better than I could have anticipated.”
After an extended vacation from the world of studio releases, Carl is not prepared to be precious towards his new material. Armed with a handful of the crop of his recent full-length endeavour, Carl’s mission has been to continuously raise the profile of his new release whilst rewarding fans for their patience in the process. “I have been testing the tracks on the road so that by the time the album drops people will already have an opinion of the new material, which I figured was only fair given that I have made a lot of people wait it out for this record,” he explained.
Those flocking to Miami Winter Music Conference for the essential landmark in the industry calendar will be amongst the first to return with a sneak peak of Carl’s initial offering from the new album, ‘Family Guy’, which will be released subsequent to the conference via Intec Digital.
Despite the anticipation of this first notch within Carl’s freshest offering for global Dance music, Cox is not one to fold under the pressure, taking a light hearted and conventional approach to the unravelling of a track that could well prove a most precious yarn for global clubbing this summer.
“I chose the name ‘Family Guy’ for a number of reasons, the main one being that I love the cartoon and the theme music from that got me thinking whilst we were in the studio. I also just wanted to use the name of something well-renowned to emphasise the significance of this release for me and essentially, I like to think of myself as a ‘father figure’ when it comes to Dance music, as amongst my own side of the industry there is always a close and familial sense surrounding our work and I wanted to encapsulate that with this first track from the album.”
Cox added: “WMC is one of those pivotal events within Dance music and so I figured what better time to drop the track than around then. It should see a digital release shortly after the conference.”
Whilst the world patiently awaits Cox’s highly anticipated new offering, it is reassuring to see that even after such an affluent and productive recording career the thrill of dropping a new record has not left Carl’s system despite his copious experience and output within the industry. “The truth is that I have really missed making music, despite the fact that the touring is an unforgettable experience and I am looking forward to finally getting it out there on Intec and seeing how people respond to this new chapter in my incredibly satisfying career.”
As the definitive ‘Daddy’ of British Dance music, Carl’s reputation amongst the industry was bought to an all time high earlier this year with a joint honour alongside Slovenian Techno pioneer Umek. Together, they have collectively been dubbed the ‘Techno Heavyweights’ of modern Dance music, a title that both have received with the utmost gratitude and modesty despite their soaring profiles within modern Dance music. During an extended back-to-back interview with the hard-hitting Techno duo, Uroš and Carl reflected on the decades of evolution, revolution, shifting attitudes and those empirically moving experiences both in the studio and behind the decks that they have shared and experienced.
Reflecting on the figure that has continued to encapsulate his hope in modern Electronic music whilst leading the way for future generations of groundbreaking producers, Cox explained: “It was great to sit down with someone like Uroš and reflect on the music we have both made and love as well as the road to where we are today. Whilst Umek has only been around for half of my life, he has inspired me in my life and music in so many ways, just as I have inspired him. The guy has never been precious about what he does and as a result I have always respected his work. He truly loves the music that he makes and this shines throughout his work.”
Since donning Umek’s superior sound to Intec Records and a host of spots as a resident for ‘Revolution’ in Ibiza last summer, the two Techno wizards have continued to inspire each other into those essentially productive places that have allowed them both to continue to move people across the globe in a heartfelt bid to make passionate Techno music. “Over the past 12 years we have fed off each other, musically and spiritually and so I felt privileged to be dubbed as a ‘Techno Heavyweight’ alongside him as he has certainly earned the credit,” Cox added.
Following 34-years of unwavering commitment to his craft, Carl Cox has truly been there, seen it, bought the T Shirt and had his name branded to it. So, with so much ground already covered, what could there possibly be left for the father of British Techno to achieve?
“I often find myself reflecting on this and I suppose there isn’t much more for me to achieve in a sense,” laughed Carl.
“I have done every club imaginable, both huge and intimate, every big global festival on offer, we are touching 50-odd million a week with the radio show, I am now onto my fourth big record. On top of this I have survived a ten year residency in Ibiza and many more on the island before that and if I am honest, the overall feeling surrounding all that is somewhat immense.”
But the reward of worldwide recognition and his ‘ambassador’ status has been enough to keep Cox infatuated with his essentially calling within Dance music and fans can be assured that this is enough to keep Carl injecting the world with explosive new music for years to come. “It means so much to have opened doors with what I do and in turn I really feel like I have become some sort of ambassador for the scene,” he explained, adding: “I may not be chasing anything anymore but so long as I can keep it fresh and vibrant for the fans and community then I will be happy, though it doesn’t get much better than what I am doing right now!”
For now, the show must go on and judging by the Techno Heavyweights undying enthusiasm for Electronic music and the culture that surrounds it, it will be one to remember.
“There is no chance of retirement just yet, I feel young and happy and allegedly I still look it, so for now the only option is to keep working away. There is no denying that there will be a time to hang up the headphones and stop DJing, but even then I would have to continue working behind the scenes with Intec and putting on amazing nights.”
Beautifully summarising the driving passion that will surely seal Carl Cox as one of the industry’s most enthralling figures, there is no doubt that the big man remains one of the Britain’s most genuinely enthusiastic and driven artists of the past 30 years; displaying an outright passion and creativity that will outlive the base limits of mortality and continue to enfold the world in the positive energy and resonance of Carl’s musical legacy.
“The record may stop; but after so many amazing years and fond memories of doing something that I truly love, I could never quit doing what I do. There is no doubt that I am hooked for life and it doesn’t get much better than that!”
Being the ‘big man’ of Dance music has never been a more prestigious role than it is for the hard-hitting heavyweight champion of Techno music and the 21st century dictator of Dance music’s most crucial revolution to date; spreading a unique and infectious devotion to timeless music to the masses on a scale that every aspiring artist will continue to dream of.