The End of an Era: Carl Cox weighs in on his final year at Space Ibiza [Interview]
If there’s a mecca in dance music, it goes by the name Space Ibiza.
Year in and year out, Space is consistently ranked the top club in the world, and for good reason: it boasts the best sound, the best artists, and the best production. By all accounts, the storied venue is the crown jewel of nightclubs.
If Space is the royal palace of dance music, then Carl Cox is its king — the main room discoteca his sweat-stained throne. For 14 years, Carl Cox has maintained a world-class residency at Space. This summer marks his 15th, and final, season at the club. To commemorate his legendary stint at the venue — as well as what is by all means an end of an era — we sat down with Carl to discuss his legacy on the island and future plans.
Space in its current form began in 1989, when Pepe Rosello, its current manager, took over. Rosello converted the club from a 300 person venue to its now gargantuan 10,000 cap. Over the years, Cox and Rosello have developed an inextricable relationship. In fact, 2016 not only marks Carl’s last year at Space, but Rosello’s as well. “He’s gonna be 80 years old this year,” Carl says. “I couldn’t do it without him.”
It’s thus worth reiterating that more than just the end of Carl’s tenure at the venue, this season marks the end of Space as we know it. “Next year, the club is no longer,” Carl says. “And that’s a really massive shame. To be a part of its success, and the way it’s reached out to thousands of people worldwide, to come year in year out, as if it were church… it’s gonna be a massive day when its doors finally close.”
To know Space is to be familiar with its two faces: the terrace (terraza) and the main room (discoteca). In coordination with Rosello, Carl was instrumental in shaping the terrace into a legitimate dancefloor, turning it from a lounge space into the most iconic open-air spot on the isle. Nowadays, the terrace has since been covered, but remains the smoother, more intimate counterpart to the behemoth main room. While Carl got his start on the terrace, he’s since become known for his marathon sets from the discoteca. “What it is with the room inside the discoteca, it’s acoustically treated,” Carl says. “The sound in that room is the very best sound you’re gonna get to hear anywhere. Not just in Ibiza, or Spain, or Europe, but the world.”
As anyone who’s been to the club can attest, Carl speaks the truth. With its towering Funktion-One system — custom fit for the the dynamics of the room — it’s an awe-inspiring experience to say the least. “When you hear any tracks on the sound system in that room, it’s one of the best things you’ve ever heard,” Carl says. What’s more, Space is upping the ante for 2016. “This year is no exception,” Carl says. “They’ve actually upgraded the system to be even more amazing.”
The prospect of even more decibels out of the system is a bit daunting, but it’s only fitting with the insane lineup Carl will be bringing in this summer. The 15th edition of Music Is Revolution will feature the likes of Danny Tenaglia, Masters at Work, John Digweed, Fatboy Slim, Marco Carola, Sasha… you get the picture. Suffice it to say it’s just about every DJ who’s played a significant role at Space over the years. Carl couldn’t help but hide his satisfaction with the curation: “Every week the DJ lineup is perfect,” he says.
The big question on everyone’s mind, however, is what happens after this season? Carl has been a constant fixture on Ibiza for over two decades. It would be a tremendous shame for him to suddenly disappear from Ibiza completely. Luckily, Carl feels the same way. “Me not being a part of the island is unthinkable,” he says. “I haven’t not been on the island since 1985.”
It’s reassuring news, but don’t expect to be catching Carl every week next year. “What I will probably be doing is guesting at the clubs I enjoy playing at,” he says. “I’ll probably be playing maybe 3-4 times a year maximum.” Carl specifically mentions parties like Marco Carola’s Music On at Amnesia and DC-10’s legendary CircoLoco as events you’ll likely be able to catch him at.
Knowing how rare his appearances will be in the future, however, makes this final season all the more climactic. And what about that final moment, when Carl plays the last track on the last hour of the last party? How does one even select a track to close out a 15-year residency? “I’ve been thinking about it, and I’m not worried about it,” he says. “That final record will come… it’s already in motion.” Though he remains stoic about the moment, his sentimentality can’t help but slip through. “When it does become that final one though, there will be tears,” he says.
If there’s one legacy Carl will leave behind on the island — outside of his heart-pumping sets and killer curation of course — its his raw enthusiasm. You’ll never see a DJ having as much fun as Carl Cox in his booth at Space. “I always have a smile on my face big time every time I step up to the turntables, knowing that it’s my time to play,” he says.
“I’m gonna miss that… a lot.”