In Conversation: Carl Cox & Eats Everything
Carl Cox, industry figurehead who’s legacy includes his Intec imprint, which he runs with friend and business partner Jon Rundell, hosts a new Techno focused EP from none other than the eclectic Eats Everything.
Having first burst onto the scene with releases on Dirtybird and Petz Records, Eats Everything has risen through the ranks adding labels like Relief, Hypercolour and Crosstown Rebels to his back catalogue, as well as collaborations with Justin Martin, Green Velvet, Tiga, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, Catz ‘n Dogz and Claude VonStroke making it only logical that Carl would be the next person to welcome Eats Everything into the fold.
Here, with the “Bettah” EP out now, Carl and Eats go In Conversation discussing Intec, Producing, Ibiza and more.
“The motivation behind starting a label was actually to try and escape the mainstream”
Eats: How you doing mate, thanks again for signing my EP on Intec. How much of my music had you heard before sighting the EP?
Carl: I’d first heard about you through our mutual friend Yousef, as he was booking you to play at his Circus parties in Liverpool. Later, I picked up a couple of your tracks and became a fan of your jackin’ style sound, which to me always felt like it had a lot of honesty. Some producers are very of the moment, and whether it’s deliberate or not, their music feels like it is part of a trend, but there is something a bit more timeless with what you seem to be doing.
You are quite established these days so it would be odd if I wasn’t familiar with you before signing the tracks to Intec, and over past years I’ve supported many of your tracks, but some of the ones that I keep coming back to are your collaborations with Green Velvet. Recently I’ve also been hammering out your exceptional remix of Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love”, as it makes me smile every time I play it.
It should be me thanking you for letting us release those two tracks on Intec, am I right in saying it’s your first solo EP of techno… what inspired the change of genre?
Eats: I suppose it is my first solo EP solely focused on techno, but I have been making techno based music for a long time now. My remix of Green Velvet’s “Flash” was techno and I did that in 2015.
I’ve been into techno since 1993-94 and it’s the first genre I went raving to. In the ‘90s I went to parties called Death Row Techno in Bristol where Chris Liberator, Roland The Bastard, Fda Fda were all playing flat out techno. One of the other nights I was a regular raver at was called Temptation at Lakota in Bristol and I saw you play there many a time, along with the likes of Dave Angel, The Advent, Trevor Rockcliffe, Daz Saund, Colin Faver, Gayle San, Tasha Killer Pussies, Tanith, Billy Nasty, and Adam Beyer among many others.
So techno is a genre I’ve long and continuously been into, and if you listen to my sets over the last 4-5 years they are all different, but 5 years ago many of my sets were full techno. I suppose it’s just the sound I’m most into right now and I get the most joy from playing it. Plus I have SOOOOO many old techno records that the younger ravers of today won’t have a clue what they are, so they will sound brand new to them, and I’ve been ripping loads recently.
Whenever I say you play at Temptation all those years ago I would never have imagined that one day we would be working together. This is where I’ve got to be a bit of a fanboy, and admit you are one of my all-time favourite DJ’s. What did you think the first time you heard my tracks, as going back to my early days, releasing something on Intec is a dream come true for me?
Carl: Well you were a bit sneaky in the way you got the music over to me, but to be honest I quite liked your approach. Ian who shortlists promos for me passed them over saying that he had been sent a couple of standout tracks from an unknown producer, and I spent the best part of a year playing those tracks in many of my DJ sets.
The sneaky bit came when Jon Rundell who is the other half of Intec, sent me an excited message saying he had signed an Eats Everything release to the label. He couldn’t wait for me to hear the tracks, but little did we know I had already heard them, as turned out you were the unknown producer behind those tracks Ian passed over lol.
Jon also had no idea that I’d already been sent the tracks anonymously, and after we got over the initial confusion we had a good laugh about it. The fact I’d already been playing the tracks for a year showed they stood for something, and I really liked their jackin’ Chicago sound.
Although the tracks have a bit of a Chicago house influence they are definitely techno, and I’m always impressed with how much personality shined through in your music. What kind of studio set up have you got, and where do you dig for samples, as your tracks always have a chunky sound?
Eats: I have a fairly varied studio set up. They key for me and my sound is a good set of monitor speakers. I have PMC twotwo.8 monitors and they make you really work to get the sound right. As you know the kick/bass relationship is the most important thing in dance music, especially techno, and once you get that right everything else is easy.
“Bettah” on the EP is all sample-based, so that was all done within Ableton, whereas “No Seating Available” is mainly synths. For synth parts, I use my Moog Voyager, Roland SH-101 or Prophet 12. All the crazy delay stuff is down to running the synths through a Strymon El Capistan effects unit, which is like a tape echo pedal that gives things a distinctive sound. I also run synths through a Strymon Deco pedal to grunge them a little. Then for a bit of wallop, I finish things off using my Warm Audio WA76 compressors.
When I first got into music I never imagined that it would be you asking me about how I make tracks, so I guess I’ve got to fire that one back at you. How have you always managed to keep things sounding fresh, even after all these years?
Carl: Music styles might have changed with things coming in and out of fashion, but the core elements of what makes people dance has always been the same, and I make music for the club based on what I know works. Not only from watching the crowd response when playing records, but also from my days on the other side of the decks, as before my career as a DJ I spend many years on the dance floor as a clubber.
Whether it’s a remix or an original track the Idea is always the same, as I start with a hook that people can latch onto, and then build a backing track that I know has the right ingredients to make people dance.
Take my recent remix of Ninetoes’s classic track Finder for an example, as in many ways the original is not an obvious club track, but its melody hook is so strong that it became a hit. When I got asked to do the remix I said yes knowing instantly what I planned to do, I used the melody to keep the original’s personality and hook, but focusing on power and energy, I added more drive to the percussion and other backing track elements.
So when did you first discover Intec, as the label has been a big part of my life for many a year now. Did you ever pick up any of the early releases when we still pressed vinyl?
Eats: I have been into Intec right from the start pretty much. I must have at least 20 or so on vinyl. Jon Rundell – Dirty Disco, Marco Bailey – Never Say Never, Trevor Rockcliffe – Visions Of You, to name only a few. The big ones for me are Filterheadz – Sunshine and Renata Cohen – Pontapé. When it relaunched as Intec Digital I have been buying them fairly consistently, always quality, and always proper techno, although I notice that you do occasionally switch it up a bit with the style which I really like.
Anyway, it should be me asking the questions about Intec… it’s your label lol. So what are your most memorable releases, and what inspired you to start it way back when?
Carl: Haha, well Intec isn’t actually my first label project, as before that I’d run Worldwide Ultimatum Records, EDEL, MMR and Most Records, but it’s definitely the one to have stuck with me the longest.
The motivation behind starting a label was actually to try and escape the mainstream, as early in my career I’d had an accidental hit with a release on Paul Oakenfold’s label, which went top 40 and had me playing on Top Of The Pops.
At that point, I decided to set up my own label as a way take control of my career and release music that was relevant to me even if I wasn’t going to sell enough copies to be in the top 40. There was also a lot of music I was getting sent to DJ with that wasn’t ever getting an official label release, and I wanted to set up an outlet for those tracks because in those days there weren’t so many options outside of the major labels.
Intec is an abbreviation of “International Techno Records” and I feel proud that after nearly twenty years the label has remained relevant, as it’s not often that happens especially now online culture and social media has saturated people with so much new music, because as a result, things seem to have a much shorter shelf life.
Obviously, I love all of the Intec releases but two of the stand out ones are Thomaz vs Filterheadz “Sunshine” and Renato Cohen “Pontapé”, the fact you listed the same two is the perfect example of why, as they really have stood the test of time.
“Pontapé” particularly because my version with an acapella from a Tim Deluxe track called “It Just Won’t Do” actually went top 40, which was funny because my original ethos behind setting up the label was to avoid this happening. This was more than a decade after making that decision though, and the industry had changed a lot in that time, so I felt a lot more comfortable with it a second time around.
Talking about labels how’s yours going, as I’ve played a couple of the bits off Edible Records. What’s coming up in the coming months?
Eats: The label is going great, the response so far has been fantastic and we have some amazing stuff lined up for the coming months from Skream, Melé, Justin Jay, Seb Zito and Ben Sterling. Remind me in an email after this chat and I’ll send you a couple of bits to play as exclusive promos.
I’m glad you have been feeling what I’ve been putting out on my label, one day I hope to have a back catalogue as impressive as Intec has. So what’s lined up in your schedule over the next few months, and what’s it like playing Ibiza now Space has closed down?
Eats: It’s hard to keep track of the gigs at the moment, as there are so many of them. I have my Elrow and Resistance residencies in Ibiza plus my festival stages at Eastern Electrics and Boomtown. I’m also at Sonus Festival and playing after you at Medusa Festival in Spain, which will be nuts too. Release wise I have a remix of the classic “Size 9 – I’m Ready” coming on Josh Wink’s Ovum. I’ve also got something coming on Dense & Pika’s Kneaded Pains plus another EP lined up on Relief so things are looking pretty rosy!
All the best mate and look to hook up again at Medusa Festival if not before. Also, let’s defo try to catch up in the DJ booth to play back to back sometime. Before I go, I hear through the grapevine that you recently finished off putting together a new studio, so let’s schedule some time to work on music together, as I’d love to collaborate on some tracks.
Carl: Definitely mate, I’d love to have you join me in the studio! Your personality always shines through in the tracks you make, and I’d be very happy to collaborate on some music… we can also chat about some back to back gig dates. All the best, and chat soon fella.
“Bettah” is NOW AVAILABLE on Intec BUY