Carl Cox Aims To Give Techno Artists A Face

DJ's In-tec label seeks to shed spotlight on best of the underground.

With his In-tec Records imprint, renowned DJ Carl Cox hopes to bring such techno unknowns as Bryan Zentz, Dano and Trevor Rockliffe up from the underground.

"There's nobody that has a clue who they are; they just have great records," Cox said. "They can be talked about in such a way like, 'Isn't that a great record?' But it's about time to stop making these people faceless. These people are artists."

In-tec has released five singles since January, including Christian Smith and John Selway's "Move" — eight minutes of pulsing techno beats, with keyboards lightly sprinkled over some of the most intense moments — and will release 12-inch singles by Zentz, Dano and Rockliffe in the spring. Cox said he will release a remix record of all In-tec groups by December.

The 37-year-old native of Horsham, a small English city near Brighton, is hardly a rookie in the record business. He founded his first label, Ultimatum Records, in 1995.

In-tec, which Cox and manager Sirwan Rahman (better known as DJ C1) started a year ago, differs from Ultimatum and Rahman's jazz-influenced Zozan Music in its penchant for signing underground acts.

An Eye To The Future

"The idea was to have a collection of artists that I believe in," Cox said. "I want this thing to carry on for the next 10 years. And I have the chance to find some really great DJs and really great producers who are making the music of the future.

"With my Ultimatum label, I've had my own music and artists that I've found as well," he continued. "But unfortunately, it became something that was too overpowering based on what needed to be achieved by the label. I wasn't going to find the next Prodigy or Fatboy Slim. ... There [were] too [many] expectations on it."

Cox said he expects In-tec to sell 2,000 copies of each release; though, according to the label, the first three In-tec singles have already sold twice that amount. Sales are expected to increase this, as Cox, Rahman, Rockliffe and Smith are supporting the label with a 12-city tour that ended Wednesday at the Winter Music Conference in Miami.

"Some labels that we respect have a very specific sound, but we'll go from mellow, jazzy house to really tough techno, and that's why we wanted to make a tour with a few of us playing," Rahman said. "We start the night and play through the end, so we can take you on a — I hate to use the word — but, journey."

Rahman, 31, said he and Cox share a desire to get good, unheard house and techno music into the hands of big-name DJs. So far their efforts have paid off. In-tec singles are currently staples in sets by Jeff Mills, Danny Tenaglia, Derrick May and Sasha and Digweed.

Across-The-Board Electronica

"At the moment, we are club techno, very funky techno, not too hard, really groovy stuff," Rahman said. "But in the long run, we want to be putting out electronica albums that go across the board. We don't want an artist just to do house tracks for an album."

When In-tec releases its first full-length, Cox's highly anticipated opus of exclusive In-tec music, it will be internationally distributed through K7, Rahman said. Until then, the label will press its own vinyl, primarily club singles.

"A lot of it is music that I actually do play," Cox said. "My record box has some fantastic records which make the dance floor go crazy. The thing about that is, I know they're good records. It's nice to have a group of people from my camp. I've been playing so many of their records from other labels that it's quite nice to have them under one roof as a collective."

Cox, whose nickname is the Three-Decks Wizard, is known for his unique mixing style of running three records together in perfect syncopation. He has been considered a pioneering DJ since the late '80s, and first reached the British charts with his 1992 single "I Want You (Forever)."

He has released two studio albums, At the End of the Cliche (1996) and Phuture 2000 (1999).

Rahman is known for his unique flavor of tough house and soulful techno. He has released singles on L.T.J. Bukem's Cookin' label and Cox's Ultimatum Records, Zoom Records and Bukem's Good Looking Records.