When it comes to a career the magnitude of Paul Oakenfold’s it’s hard to encompass one of the true legends of electronic music into just words. For over 3 decades he has elevated and shaped an entire genre and remains one of the leading forces in the global music scene today.
From the DJ booth of the world’s hottest dancefloors to the studio producing groundbreaking records or pioneering soundtracks for Hollywood blockbuster movies, Paul Oakenfold’s diversity as an artist and performer have earned him accolades from critics and fans the world over. Gathering 3 Grammy Nominations along the way – this journey has been epic to say the least.
But let’s take a step back…..
The son of a musician, Paul Oakenfold always knew music would play a major role in his life. He was drawn to DJing in the late ’70s – spinning Funk in the cool hang outs of London’s Covent Garden.
In the ’80s two life-changing trips took place. Trips that each played their role in defining a generation.
In 1984 Paul spent several months living in New York City – working in A&R for the famed Champion Records – where he signed DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, as well as Salt-n-Pepa. He also became promoter and British agent for the Beastie Boys and Run-D.M.C.
The second trip was in 1987 – this time to the White Isle of Ibiza. Here Paul discovered the Balearic sound that filled the Ibiza air at clubs such as Amnesia. Inspired, he took the music and experiences back to the UK and became its ambassador – starting an underground scene in London, which soon spread virally across the entire country and beyond.
Paul returned to Ibiza again and again – often holding residencies at the Island’s two main clubbing institutions Amnesia and Pacha. Around the same time Ministry Of Sound in London opened its doors for the first time with Paul Oakenfold as their resident. However it was his famed residency at UK super-club Cream in Liverpool during the late ’90s that brought Paul global respect as a true master of his art.
This residency was celebrated through the Grammy nominated 2004 compilation “Creamfields” (Paul went on to receive a second Grammy nomination in 2007 with his artist album, “A Lively Mind” and then again in 2009 for his production work with Madonna).
Paul Oakenfold’s stature as a DJ and entertainer has taken him beyond the normal club and festival circuit, playing landmark gigs that have changed the face of electronic music. Highlights include four worldwide tours warming up for Madonna and two for U2 (with both artists insisting on a DJ set from Paul instead of a support band); performing on the Great Wall of China and two sold out dates playing to 30,000 people at the Hollywood Bowl in California. In 2011 Paul took a thousand people and a huge sound system down to the southern most tip of South America – on the Tiera Del Fuego peninsular to DJ all night under the stars at his Party at The End of The World – the Southern most party ever held.
A year after his visit to Ibiza, Perfecto Records was born. Founded in 1988, Paul Oakenfold’s groundbreaking Perfecto label played an integral role in the birth of melodic trance and progressive house, with Paul at the helm producing massive international hits such as “Not Over Yet”, “Ready Steady Go”, “Bullet In The Gun” and “Southern Sun”. With countless high profile releases and remixes to its name, Perfecto and Perfecto Fluoro are still at the forefront of the scene today – releasing forward thinking electronic music for discerning listeners and fans worldwide.
With over half a million sales one of Perfecto’s most notable releases was the recent double album “Perfecto Las Vegas” which held the #1 spot on the US iTunes dance chart for ten weeks. This release solidified Paul’s stronghold as an International DJ power – as it achieved “highest selling DJ compilation ever released in US history”.
Paul has produced pop sensations U2, Madonna and The Happy Mondays as well as three acclaimed artist albums of his own. He has remixed Bruno Mars, Justin Timberlake, Michael Jackson, The Rolling Stones and many more…
He has released over 30 DJ mix compilations and recorded 36 Essential Mixes for BBC Radio 1 including the first ever one in 1993.
In recent years Paul has also been responsible for creating breathtaking film scores and cues for a long list of Hollywood blockbusters – including The Bourne Identity, Matrix Reloaded, Shrek 2, Swordfish and Collateral. But his most anticipated release is yet to come.
Paul Oakenfold’s forthcoming album “Pop Killer” is features collaborations with The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Azealia Banks, Ceelo Green, One Republic and The Wanted.
Astonishingly, despite all his success in the worlds of chart music and film, Paul Oakenfold has continued to tour relentlessly – playing over 190 shows in 2012 on his We Are Planet Perfecto and Four Season’s worldwide tours.
His weekly residency at legendary Las Vegas club Rain at Palms Casino Resort which ran weekly for three years gave birth to a scene which many now credit as being at the epicenter of recent US dance explosion.
Paul Oakenfold’s weekly Planet Perfecto radio show is syndicated worldwide to 64 stations in 52 countries. 16 million people tune in every week to hear the hottest records in the world according to Paul Oakenfold.
Paul’s We Are Planet Perfecto compilation series, which now nears its fourth release, celebrates all sides to Paul’s versatile, non genre-conforming sound as well as the equally ambidextrous sounds of his Perfecto and Perfecto Fluoro record labels.
Paul’s 2011 album “Nevermind The Bollocks… here’s Paul Oakenfold” saw a return to Europe with his refreshed underground Full on Fluoro sound. His 2012 “Four Seasons” live shows and box set album reaffirmed his position as a pioneer and ambassador of quality underground trance.
In 2013 he recorded “Cream 21”, a double album celebrating a two decade long relationship with Liverpool’s legendary clubbing institution and today, in 2014, we are poised for the release of “Trance Mission” – an album which will feature Paul Oakenfold cover versions of twelve of his all time favourite trance releases – including Café del Mar, Toca Me, Adagio for Strings……
Whether you are listening online, CD, watching a commercial or movie, in a club, at a festival, tuned into the radio, playing a videogame or listening to BA long haul inflight entertainment; Paul’s omnimedia presence is everywhere.
Paul Oakenfold is the original pioneer of DJ culture and is its most recognizable icon.
Hi Paul, what an honor for this interview!!
Which artists and styles inspired and influenced you?
I’m inspired by all kinds of music but I’m certainly a big fan of U2
What kind of audio production equipment did you use when you started?
Neve Desk, SSL, Tape, Pro Tools
What difference do you see in the music scene from the 90’s to now?
There is much much more competition now
Best stage you have ever played?
Wembley Stadium. What an incredible venue and something on my home soil with a deep connection to football too so was a very proud moment for me.
How was working with a legend like Madonna?
Working with Madonna was amazing, I’m very lucky to have produced for her, remixed for her, and toured with her.
You’re celebrating 26 years of your label Perfecto Records? A proud moment I’m sure, did you imagine to be in the scene still running the label this many years later?
It’s a very proud moment for perfecto. For anyone to be going as long as we have really. We’ve had good and bad moments but we are moving forward and signing the next generation of talent. So much so that we started our dj camp in Los Angeles at the la recording school where we teach the next generation and sign them to the label
What’s next for Perfecto?
We are looking at going back into Las Vegas. We did our 3 year residency in 2008 and our Ibiza residency back in the day. We are weighing up our options to go back to both. Watch this space..
Describe your sound in 3 words?
One word, Melodic
Your favorite Perfecto release?
Grace – Not Over Yet
What was the first record that you bought?
T Rex – Get It On
Two of my favorite albums are “Two years at Cream” and the GU NY007, did you plan to do an album of your greatest hits?
I released a greatest hits album in America a few years ago that did really well. We tied it in with my autobiography
Las Vegas or Ibiza?
Both. Vegas is to America what Ibiza is to Europe
Why do you think Las Vegas has become such a haven for club music?
We started our residency there in 2008 because it’s a place where people go to have fun and party all night. For me, it was the obvious place to do it
Do you think the Vegas music scene will change again, as in the past was all Hip-hop and now seems all EDM?
It is starting to change; techno djs are now playing there like Carl Cox
What’s your favorite club to DJ in?
I have many. It’s really hard to pick one
I personally saw you in Amnesia for the 10 years at Cream and was amazing, tell us about your Ibiza season this summer?
I have a residency at Privilege starting the last week of july
Your top 5 current tracks on Perfecto?
Hibernate – Lux Tua, Paul Oakenfold – Lonely Ones, DedReckoning ft. Sophie Ellis Bextor – Only Child, Art Deko – I Need You , 2 Symetry – Yotta
What advice would you give to aspiring Producers or DJs?
Come and join our DJ Camp, whether in person in LA or online. We are without a doubt, the best DJ School out there. We bring in top speakers from every aspect of the genre and have partnered up with the Los Angeles Recording Academy
What do you do in your spare time?
Watch movies and go to restaurants
What music we can find in your iPod?
The score of Theory Of Everything
How important is Social Media for you?
Its very important, it’s a voice to the youth and brings your fans closer
Three things you can’t live without?
Family, friends, music
What projects are you currently working on and what can we expect from you in 2015?
I’m wrapping up my 3rd artist album, PopKiller
Where we can follow you?
Movie: Blade Runner
Travel Destination: Buenos Aires
Drink: Perfectomundo Tequila
Actress/Actor: Tom Hardy
Song: Bob Marley – Waiting Every Weekend
Sport team: Chelsea FC