Carl Cox and Pete Tong go B2B at Virgin Media O2’s Club Rewind.

We virtually travelled over to Virgin Media’s Club Rewind event, the UK’s first inter-city connected club experience taking place in two cities 400 miles apart on 22nd September.

The livestreamed event saw Pete Tong headline at London’s Ministry of Sound, where he joined Ibiza icon, Carl Cox for a back-to-back set, who played from Glasgow’s Barras Market

We spoke to Carl Cox on the experience and his views on the dance music industry, looking back at some key periods in time and his career.

Carl, thanks very much for interviewing with us! We’re massive fans of everything you have done for the scene. How does it feel to be recognised as the godfather of House Music?

“I always seemed to pick up name or two – it started as the ‘People’s Choice’ before becoming the ‘Three Deck Wizard’. But if you ask me who the Godfather of House is I’d have to say the late great Frankie Knuckles.”

When you look back at the early 90s when it all happened, did you ever think the scene would turn into what it has become today?

“No chance. As things grew from a tiny movement into a small scene and raves and club nights started emerging across the country we couldn’t imagine that things would end up where we are today with a global industry that spans nationalities, genres and generations. There were a lot of obstacles following the Second Summer Of Love, but we were doing what we loved. Looking back now it couldn’t have gone any other way as people need to come together, share music and dance but at the time we didn’t realise that we’d uncorked the genie’s bottle - and that it contained unlimited wishes.”

DJing over the decades, playing to new generations of ravers, how does it feel to see different people and the community develop over that time?

Amazing. As a DJ I get my energy from the audience so we are bouncing off each other. As artists we develop too so even people having their first clubbing experience today are getting something fresh. Despite the size of the industry we really are a community – as we used to say back in the day “our unity is our strength”.

With Virgin Media O2’s Club Rewind, their research about the connective power of music and bringing generations together has helped them build the idea for the show. Are you excited to play back to back with Pete Tong virtually?
Over the last year I did more than 100 streamed shows including a weekly Cabin Fever so the idea of being able to connect in a real time B2B set was always going to be exciting. I’ve streamed all over the world but never in real time with a live audience in front of me and a live audience at the other end – both listening in real time. Having a monitor so I could see the other audience and utilising Virgin Media’s gigabit broadband made the 600km distance feel non-existent. Taking this new step forward with Pete made perfect sense, his Essential Mix paved the way, opening new genres and exciting artists to a wide audience.

Have line ups become more diverse lately?
“Line ups are just line ups. They have always been diverse – from the very start all races, genders and genres have always been welcome. I think today people like to label things and people but in reality, the music should always speaks for itself and comes first.”

Do you think Ibiza is still globally at the heart of dance music? Where else in the world do you love playing?
“Ibiza is definitely in my heart. It is a focal point for a lot of people – a small island where people come together from all over the world and a very special place to play. We had our own little Ibiza vibe going on at Club Rewind in Glasgow, with the crowd enjoying some timeless Ibiza anthems. I love playing everywhere but I think that Burning Man has an extra magical quality that makes each time just that little bit more incredible.”

Do you have a favourite club you love playing that’s still open now, or one that you used to love playing before it shut down?
“So many clubs to choose from with so many different plus points. I’d have to say Ultimate B.A.S.E which was my first west end night that I could really call my own. A couple of hundred people there for techno, sweat dripping from the ceiling and a pumping sound system.”

I’ve heard your Disco Knights sets at Burning Man are legendary, what makes them so special?
“Burning Man is what makes things special on the Playa. The energy from the people is unbelievable. The dust is blowing everywhere but we don’t care – we come together with a shared love of life and that brings out something extra in me when I play there.”

Other than Pete Tong, is there anyone else you enjoy going back to back with most?
“I’ve played so many phenomenal back to back sets that I couldn’t say there is a favourite person to play with. It all boils down to what’s going on in the room, where we are and why we’re doing it. At the end of 2019 I played a full B2B set with Fatboy Slim which was very special. There were 1000 people in an art gallery in Chelsea in London who were all there to dance. The crowd were pressed up to the stage, there was no support act and Norman and I went straight on and had a lot of fun together.”