The Carl Cox School Of DJing

Breaking News

Image for The Carl Cox School Of DJing

July 2012 saw Carl Cox celebrate a significant milestone: his 50th birthday. Of those 50 years, at least 30 have been dedicated to dance music – as a producer, label boss and first and foremost, a DJ. As he prepares to bring his own arena to Stereosonic this summer, the mighty Carl Cox shares his DJing philosophy with inthemix.


To be involved in this for so long, there has to be a reason. My reason hasn’t been about chasing money, having a record go to number one on radio or being the most popular DJ in the world. All I did was basically believe in what I do and the music I play. I do everything because I feel compelled; whether the music I’m playing is popular or not. That’s still how it is today for me. I just hear a record and think, “Right, I really want to share this track and I want people to understand that I love this music.” So I’ll play it based on that principle.

Two years ago, this track came out by Joe Brunning called Now Let Me See You Work. No one had heard it before at all, and I remember playing it for the first time at Ultra Music Festival in Miami. The whole place was going crazy to a track they’d never heard before. And that for me is the reason I do what I do, week in, week out, year in, year out. Because most DJs these days will play music that you have heard, especially from a popular point of view. They know everyone’s going to sing those songs and have their hands in the air.

I have no clue what this record’s going to do. All I know is it’s bloody brilliant, so here we go! I’m flying by the seat of my pants. It’s like, Oh god, this is either going to make or break my career. Then bang: it just goes off. People walk away and from everything they’ve heard that night, they haven’t heard that record. They can walk away and say, “Coxy played this record.” Then they can go and find it, but they know where they heard it first. That’s been my drive.


I think the great thing about being a DJ and an artist is that you’re able to paint your own picture. You’re able to go, “I’m on for four hours, so I’m going to give you a journey into what I enjoy; a collective of sound.” Whether that’s drum & bass, dubstep, trance, progressive, house, Latin, tech-house or techno, it’s all there to be played, and you have to know how you’re creating the night. Most of the music I’m playing, people haven’t heard before. They might be trying to chase it all down, but even I don’t know half the time, because it comes directly from the producer as track 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5. But I just know how it sounds and where it fits at a certain point of the night.

The longer you’re at a Carl Cox set, the better it is. It’s not about having an hour-and-a-half, playing the big popular records, and you’re done. It’s all about finding the records that aren’t popular, but have that emotion and feel.

  • 1
  • 2

Comments arrow left

TJAY said on the 2nd Nov, 2012

Respect, as always. That's why he's still nailing it after all these years and all these one hit wonders.

And I bet no one on his dance floor cares the lights aren't perfectly sync'd to his 4 decks either.


Shall said on the 5th Nov, 2012

This is why Carl Cox is so admired in the scene. I was fortunate enough to be there at Ultra in 2011 and I still remember hearing that Joe Brunning track and memorising the simple track lyrics and suddenly seeing every other person around me shouting out the lyrics at that very moment - The whole arena burst into a frenzy over that track! Definitely a track and a 'moment and memory' that will stick with me for a very long time. Mind you, that whole set had been a real music journey to say the least - total unadulterated musical bliss. Thank you Mr Cox.


nrjize said on the 5th Nov, 2012

<3 Coxxy. There's a reason he's been successful so long. He's got the balance between underground and commercialism.


nrjize said on the 5th Nov, 2012

<3 Coxxy. There's a reason he's been successful so long. He's got the balance between underground and commercialism.


JamRock said on the 5th Nov, 2012

CARL COX is my #1! :)


lawlietskyy said on the 5th Nov, 2012

The epitome of how a DJ can retain his soul and still move with the times.


Wowk said on the 6th Nov, 2012

I've mentioned this before, but I'll say it again: I may not necessarily dig every tune Coxy plays these days (my tastes have somewhat changed over the years), but I have the utmost respect for him because he always has been, and always will be, passionate about what he does and will never compromise who he is. That takes a kind of love and understanding of music that is sorely lacking amongst a lot of the "big hit" DJs.


matzta73 said on the 6th Nov, 2012

A DJ's DJ, I first saw Coxy back in 97 at the old Skygardens in Pitt St, Sydney. Still one of the best sets I have ever heard!!!


TranceUnited said on the 6th Nov, 2012

RESPECT. Long live the king.


mind_gutter said on the 6th Nov, 2012

Saw Carl Cox at Space this year. Couldn't lift my jaw from the ground. Such an amazing set.


Mundsy said on the 6th Nov, 2012

Carl Cox has ruined sterosonic for me two years in a row because I can never bring myself to leave his tent!!!!! please play a crap set this year so I can escape!


Needles said on the 7th Nov, 2012

What goes up must come down. No for you big man. Thanks for playing Adelaide as well.


jamwildway said on the 9th Nov, 2012

Carl "smokes big fat " Cox is the most overated DJ of all time!!!


ArmySniperDan said on the 9th Nov, 2012

unlike that no talented Jack Ass Guetta, Carl Cox knows what real EDM is, and it isn't crappy remixes of crappy top 40 pop tracks


kevinth said on the 10th Nov, 2012

30 years in the biz, the man is doing something right! Big Ups!


ArmySniperDan said on the 15th Mar, 2013

he knows what real EDM is, he doesn't use Bottom of the Barrel Talent like David "No Talent" Guetta and his wife Cathy "No freaking Clue" Guetta