As the British DJ turns 61, not only does he continue to inspire generations to embrace the power of dance music, but he’s recently joined life in the fast lane, backing a new team in the all-electric racing series, Extreme E.
Carl Cox is one of the OGs of the UK rave scene. From his humble beginnings in the British underground scene, to his meteoric rise to superstar DJ, producer, industry influencer and now racing team owner, Cox's journey is one marked by remarkable achievements and triumphs over challenges.
Carl Cox: A Passion for Music
Born in July 1962 in Oldham, Cox's love for music blossomed at a young age. Growing up in a diverse cultural environment, he was constantly exposed to various genres, which laid the foundation for his eclectic musical taste. As a teenager, he found solace and inspiration in the soul, funk and reggae sounds that echoed through the Mancunian streets, planting the seeds for his future career.
A Legend of the Rave Scene
Carl Cox's rise to fame began in the late 1980s when he became one of the pioneers of British rave culture. His energetic house and techno DJ sets and infectious charisma quickly earned him a dedicated following on the huge UK underground rave scene. In 2001, he was offered a residency at the renowned Space in Ibiza, at the time when house music and Ibiza were at their absolute peak. His unforgettable sets in the club's legendary Carl Cox & Friends nights cemented his status as a global dance music sensation.
Since then Cox has produced numerous chart-topping tracks and remixes including I Want You (Forever) and The Player. Loved and respected for his unparalleled ability to seamlessly blend genres, from house and techno to drum and bass, the world-renowned DJ’s performances at major festivals like Ultra Music Festival and Tomorrowland have electrified crowds of all ages. These days, he calls Hove on the Sussex coast his home, and he recently presented a third On The Beach event, playing on Brighton beach for the summer weekend crowds.
Reaching Career Highs at 60
Carl Cox has also been a regular at Glastonbury since 2016, and this year, he played the Glade stage once more. To be fair, he had a lot to live up to after his 2022 performance when he played a jungle set alongside Chase and Status at the Arcadia stage, which saw his elaborate 50-tonne, firebreathing Spider stage design make an appearance – the first since 2018.
Overcoming Rave Resilience
While Carl Cox's career has undoubtedly been filled with extraordinary success, he's also faced his fair share of challenges along the way. The 1990s was a dark time for dance music, with people turning their back on the genre and the frequent violence and clashes that were seen in the clubs. However, Carl Cox persevered and now, in 2023, he's better known than ever, with younger generations now enjoying his musical soundscapes and styling.
Embracing Philanthropy and the Greater Good
Beyond his musical endeavours, Cox is a committed philanthropist. He has supported various charitable causes including his involvement with the Last Night a DJ Saved My Life Foundation, which uses the power of the music industry and the influence of DJs to create positive change and improve the lives of those in need. Cox has actively supported LNADJ's initiatives, which include fundraising events and campaigns focused on raising awareness and funds for projects in impoverished communities.
Elsewhere he has lent his support to causes like environmental conservation, disaster relief and children's charities, and has received several honours and awards in recognition of his philanthropic efforts. He was named "Outstanding Contribution to Charity" at the International Dance Music Awards, acknowledging his dedication to using music as a force for good.
Life in the Fast Lane
Earlier this year, Cox revealed his Carl Cox Motorsport Extreme E team, an idea sparked only five months earlier when he attended his first Extreme E race as a guest and played an impromptu DJ set. Captivated by the action, he began asking what it would take to set up his own team. “I’m here to make a difference,” said the DJ as he announced the launch. “To have the opportunity to be part of something so dynamic on four wheels is a dream come true.”
As it turns out, Cox is no stranger to the racing world and in addition to owning seven Mustangs and several classic Minis, the international DJ set up his own motor sport outfit in 2013 and began backing road racers at the Isle of Man TT, starting with the Smith and Shorter sidecar team.
The current Extreme E line-up includes teams run by legendary motorsport names including McLaren, Lewis Hamilton (X44 Vida Carbon Racing), Nico Rosberg (Rosberg X Racing) Jenson Button (JBXE), and Carlos Sainz Snr. (ACCIONA | SAINZ XE Team), with teenage driving sensation Lia Block joining the team this summer.
Carl Cox: An Everlasting Legacy
Carl Cox's journey from the British underground to global stardom is a testament to his unparalleled talent, unwavering passion and resilience and he continues to leave that influence on the international dance music scene. But there's far more to the man than some canny skills on the decks. He's a mentor and influencer, promoting the next generation of artists through his label, Intec Digital and now, racing boss.
Only he knows what's coming next.