Carl Cox Digs Deep in Sydney

Posted on November 7, 2013

Dave Leeson is the driving force behind Sydney based events company Dig Deep, a collective that has become synonymous with cool, one-off parties around the city, bringing some of the most exciting names on the dance scene to play on luxurious boats and quirky warehouses, building a loyal following along the way. Dave is a child of the UK club scene, spending his youth, like many of his peers, driving up and down motorways all weekend, checking out the numerous legendary parties and DJs that emerged after the initial acid house and rave scene. It was a halcyon time for clubbing as DJs like Sasha, Carl Cox and Graeme Park were making names for themselves at some of the UK’s innovative parties, including Back2Basica and Up Yer Ronson, to name only a couple.

Carl Cox in Sydney
Carl Cox in Sydney

With that ivy league clubbing education in his armory, Dave is perfectly positioned to deliver the finest bespoke parties for his loyal following in Sydney and when he’s not planning another great get together, he is busy making sure that the other Sydney promoters have the very best soundsystem and lighting for their parties. What started as a boat party for 70 friends has evolved into a regular turn out of over 1,000, with the events selling out weeks in advance. Ibiza had played an instrumental role in Dig Deep’s evolution, providing musical inspiration for Dave and identifying the new breed of DJs that are touring the world. The most recent Dig Deep event, however, was with an Ibiza legend, as Carl Cox joined the Dig Deep crowd a boat and after party. We caught up with Dave to find out how the party went and what else he has planned for Sydney this summer…

Carl Cox in Sydney
Carl Cox in Sydney

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What is Dig Deep?
Dig Deep is a boutique events company that tour international artists and throw cool, one-off parties here in Sydney, we also take care of a lot of other promoters audio and lighting productions, we have a great team of geeks that love twiddling knobs and pressing buttons.

What attracted you to Sydney in the mid nineties?
The sunshine and a break from the rain in mother England!

That was about the time that the UK scene was at its peak, how much did the dance music movement in the UK influence you in your younger years?
Coming from the North of England it’s all we lived for, every weekend was the best night of your life, there were a bunch of us that used to travel up and down the country from Up Yer Ronson and Back to Basics in Leeds to the Institute in Birmingham to catch Sasha on one of his residency’s. It was a very special time for music and clubland, the clubs had moved on from the early rave years and were developing into something amazing, it was a great escape from the weekly work schedule that at the time had me working outdoors on a construction site!

Carl Cox in Sydney
Carl Cox in Sydney

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How has your Sydney party evolved over the years?
It has been a very slow but natural progression over the last 12 years, what started out as a small get together for 70 good friends has blossomed into a slightly bigger get together for 1,000 – 2,000 good friends, all the while keeping a great vibe that only people that know each other can create. Some of our regulars only bump into each other at our events, so there is a great sense of celebration at every party, something we have been very lucky enough to hold on to over the years.

What has been your favorite booking to date?
That’s a tough question; we have had some fantastic moments over the years, many with some of our residents that really know the crowd and what makes them tick, we had a stand out show with Dave Lee (Joey Negro) last Boxing Day cruise which set the standard and we have just had the pleasure of bringing Carl Cox here for our opening party, which was as good as it gets! Carl played a total of 6.5hrs for us and would have kept going all night if the club could have stayed open! My personal favorite would have to be Graeme Park though; I spent many nights listening to him in Leeds when I was a young kid, so to bring him out here and watch him rock one of our warehouse parties was a great moment, he’s also one of the nicest guys in the industry, and has plenty of stories to boot!

Carl Cox in Sydney
Carl Cox in Sydney

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You remain a regular visitor to Ibiza, how much does the island influence or inspire what you do in Sydney?
I will always have a soft spot for Ibiza, I have been visiting the island for over 13 years and even got married there in 2005, everything about Ibiza is inspiring. It can be anything you want it to be, crazy and wild or super chilled, there is a magical history to Ibiza and the more you find out about it the more your drawn to it. The brilliant thing about Ibiza is you never know which direction it’s going to go in, everything is forever changing and evolving, keeping things fresh, musically if your looking for something new, if your willing to search for it you will always find it in Ibiza.

Carl Cox is your most recent booking, selling out your boat party in 9 mins, how much satisfaction does that give you as an independent promoter?
Carl was the perfect booking for us, we have a huge British ex-pat crowd that have not only grown up listening to Carl but also fly back to Ibiza to see him at his massive Revolution parties at Space most years. We are lucky enough to sell a lot of our shows out but have never sold one out that fast, it’s a credit to Carl and how he’s managed to stay current over such a long career, looking out on 1,400 people rocking to Carl was a very special and satisfying moment indeed.

Carl Cox in Sydney
Carl Cox in Sydney

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Huge companies are buying up club brands and festivals all over the world, is there still room for the independent?
I would have to say yes to that and we are living proof. I don’t think we can compete with the huge offers from the big festivals but bigger is not always better, I’m sure acts love playing to 50,000 people at festivals but my background has always been clubs and I don’t think a big festival can create the intimate magic that a small venue with 800-1,500 people can.

The Carl Cox booking also saw you make your debut at the Metro Theatre, how was that party?
The Metro Theatre is one of the oldest venues in Sydney and has really stood the test of time, I have had some of the best days of my life in this venue with nights like Renaissance, so was great to pull Carl in to play an extended set in there for us, always brilliant to see a venue reach it’s full potential with the right act and crowd, it was 1999 since Carl last played there, so people like me have been waiting a long time to see him back in that venue!

What does the future hold for Dig Deep?
Who knows, we didn’t think the small 70 capacity party for friends would last this long, we have a brilliant loyal crowd that have been with us from the start, as long as they keep coming we will keep throwing the parties! There is a few of us who need to catch up on a bit of sleep but that won’t be happening in the near future, we have Jonathan Ulysses joining us for our Boxing Day cruise for 1,000 people as well as a couple of secret warehouse parties with some very special guests to announce later in the year. Watch this space.

CHECK OUT CARL COX @ DIG DEEP…