Paul Oakenfold: an adventurous mind
There's no stopping the driving force of the Perfecto label, Paul Oakenfold. After a quarter of a decade, the mastermind behind some of EDM's greatest dance classics still has plenty of energy to take on new challenges. With a flaming fresh mix album in the pipeline, his new single 'Tokyo' reviving the 90's trance flow and an adventurous, musical mind, Paul faces an exciting future. We stole some of his precious time for a quick interview…so read on!
Last year, your Perfecto label has joined forces with Armada Music. How do you look back on the past few months regarding this choice?
Paul:"The last few months have seen a number of changes within the Perfecto infrastructure and partnering with such a prominent brand as Armada has enabled us to expose this new infrastructure and the new artists / tracks we are getting behind - to a wider audience. It has been really productive and positive but it's the next 6 months I'm focused on now. There's so much hot material / music coming up. It's a new chapter for Perfecto."
Perfecto recently kicked off the Perfecto Fluoro label. To which tunes and sound will the Fluoro label be home?
Paul:"Perfecto Fluoro was my underground trance label back in the 90's and so this is more of a re-launch. The label will focus on hot, energetic music with attitude. Part of the reason I lost interest in trance was because everything started sounding the same. Dull, monotonous drivel. It was all so commercial and uninspiring. But now there is a new bunch of artists making incredible sounds that have really made me fall back in love with the genre and it's those artists that Perfecto Fluoro is now focusing on."
2010 was another busy year for you. You released your ‘Firefly’ single, the collab with Matt Goss. How did you get to work with this legendary singer?
Paul:"A mutual friend introduced us a while back. He’s an incredible talent & so when the opportunity came up - he seemed the perfect choice for this track. He's such a cool down to earth guy and a real pleasure to be in the studio with."
What can you tell us about its follow-up, 'Tokyo'?
Paul:"’Tokyo’ wasn't really a follow up to 'Firefly'. There are many sides to my musical output as a producer and while Firefly was more of a commercial vocal record - 'Tokyo' is a really underground trance record that is more influenced by the Goa sounds I used to play and have recently been getting back into. The remix of Tokyo was undertaken by the first artists that John Askew (new A&R for the Perfecto labels) signed - Beatman & Ludmilla. Their version is tough breaks with serious punk attitude which sounds phenomenal on a big sound system and it's now been sat at number 1 in the Beatport breaks chart for I think the last 5 weeks running."
You also set up the DJ’s United ‘Remember Love’ charity theme last year. Any idea how much money the theme has already raised?
Paul:"I don’t honestly know how much it’s raised to date but I hope it was enough to help - even a little. The Love Parade in Berlin was a legendary institution in the international dance music calendar. The name of the event alone gives those who have never been an insight into what it's all about. Coming together as one big family of dance fans. So when such a horrendous tragedy happened it shocked everyone in the scene including me. It was just great that Paul, Armin and I were able to come together ourselves to create some music - not only to try and raise money - but to also have a tangible something to remember those poor people that lost their lives that day."
You're holding residency for the Rain nightclub in Las Vegas. What's it like to have the Perfecto Nights in Sin City?
Paul:"It’s been amazing, the residency has been going strong since 2008. It's great to have a residency at a club where you can build a relationship with the crowd over time - like I was able to do back at Cream in Liverpool. From the perspective of a dj once you have gained the trust of the regular crowd - it enables you to be more creative - to really take those clubbers on a journey - playing a wider variety of music than you might normally play when doing a guest appearance. I love Rain. It feels like a second home for me and I feel so proud that after 3 years we're still packing the venue out again and again. It's not just about the venue and the sound system, the lights and the guest djs we put on - it's also the effort we put into the production and those little extra touches to make it a full on experience - as opposed to just another night out clubbing. The electronic scene is really alive and kicking here in the US. Vegas is to the US what Ibiza is to Europe."
You’ve been part of the dance scene for more than 25 years. Can you name one of the positive and one of the negative developments of dance music in general?
Paul:"I would say the internet is my answer to both of your questions. On the positive side it has put international fans in touch with each other enabling a vibrant mix of cultures and ideas that was previously impossible en mass. It has also enabled djs like me to be in touch with producers from all over the world - constantly getting super hot music in my inbox within minutes of tracks being finished. Now that is something I love about the net!! On the negative side - the internet has also given birth to piracy and illegal file sharing on a scale nobody could have ever predicted back in the vinyl days. It's seriously hard for any producer to make money from selling records these days."
On Facebook, you announced there's going to be new mixes of your classics. Tell us more!
Paul:"Well I can't say too much until things are 100% confirmed but I will say that we are working on the re-release of some of the hottest tracks from the Perfecto back catalogue with fresh remixes. Keep an eye on both mine and the Perfecto facebook pages for exclusive news updates."
You're not afraid of a bit of experimenting when producing music. Is there anything you've still got left on the 'to do' list, whether that be artists, styles or anything else?
Paul:"There’s always things left to do. In the film score work I do I'm always working on finding new sounds and I guess this has helped me be more creative when working on my own tracks as well. My next artist album "Pop Killer" will see a range of different styles and sounds with a bunch of cool collaborations."
You played at the Den Bosch edition of ASOT 500. What did you think of the celebration? Glad you were a part of it?
Paul:"It was an amazing event and a great production. I really enjoyed being part of it and am now keen to see what you guys do next year!"
Armin asked you to make a special mix for the A State of Trance 500 album. Was it a hard task to create a mix that represents 10 years of trance music?
Paul:"The hardest part was picking from so many great tunes that have been influential to me in the genre over the years - but no it was fun listening back to so many tracks - because each one has so many fond memories."
What else can we expect to hear from you this summer?
Paul:"I have my new mix album 'Nevermind the Bollocks....here's Paul Oakenfold' coming out in July which I guess is something special for the Trance fans and then there's a collaboration with Marco V called 'Groove Machine' coming out on Perfecto very soon and a new single on Perfecto Fluoro which is seriously banging. I am playing with the idea of releasing 4 Paul Oakenfold singles in one month (possibly August) and of course I'm also working hard on my album 'Pop Killer'."
Paul Oakenfold - Tokyo
1. Tokyo (Original Mix) 2. Tokyo (Beatman and Ludmilla Remix)
Download on Beatport.