Paul Oakenfold

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Tell us how you started in the music industry

Started in hip hop really, worked for Def Jam and Profile.  Also signed err for Champion Records when I was A&R  Jazzy Jeff and the fresh prince, will smith, salt and pepper – then went on and signed raise which was a big house record “jack the  groove”. After that I got very involved in Ibiza which I’m sure you’re all very aware of. Moved on from there, toured with U2, produced Happy Mondays, played at Glastonbury on the main stage…

What year was that

That was ‘96, ’95…and then from there  went  to become a resident at cream, home, and kinda move forward and started touring and  ended up in America and now iI’m doing soundtracks for various films.

How did you move from being a dj into an artist, what made you decide to

Natural progression really from, umm I mean as a DJ obviously produced and remixed quiet a lot of stuff anyway and done various different tracks under different names so it was just a natural progression, it was always going to take me longer to do because I always wanted the album to be  song based and I’m not a singer so it was umm it was good experience for me cos I got a chance to work with some interesting people on collaborations.

What had you done  before as an artist

Whereas well before that I’d done various records under various names from Perfecto Allstars, Grace, Wildcolour, Virus, Element 4 which was the BIG BROTHER tune, Plant Perfecto so umm I’ve done quiet a lot  but never really wanted to do a record under my own name and finally a couple of years ago, decided that I’d do it.

What persuaded you

Persuasion came from young Steve Osborne  who I’d be working with in the studio over  many years kept on at me to do it and i just hadn’t, wasn’t bothered at the time and then i just didn’t want to do that much remixing for other people or production so I thought well, i came across some singers, Carla Werner and tiff lacy  and i thought it would be good to start working with people like  that so it was just a natural development.

Was it difficult to make the album

Err … was it difficult to make the album? Yes it was extremely difficult. Umm  one choosing the collaborators I wanted cutting edge collaborators  some known  some not umm.   It was difficult because it’s song based and as  I said earlier I don’t,  I’m not a singer so  sometimes I couldn’t even see the light and the end of the tunnel and I actually didn’t think  the project would, I’d be able to pull it off but  I’m really happy with it and yeah I finally finished it.

What influenced you to make it, were there any particular bands

Influences? Probably main influences was my father who was in a sss band and as a kid growing up listening to Radio 1 my dad always playing Beatles and Elvis Presley so I got into it, I grew up on songs so it was an obvious  for me it’s obvious  to do an album based on songs, it’s a cutting dance record, it’s not an out and out club record it’s melodic and it represents what I’ve done from remixes to production.

Do you think it reflects the music you’ve listened to

Absolutely, it definitely reflects the music I listened to, in every area there are old and new school elements from hip hop,  there are influences from  when  I’ve worked with various other different bands. There’s also the cutting edge dance side of things with breaks and the, more of the movie orientated sound with the likes of Zoo York and the harder they come.

Were you conscious of making an album that people would expect you to make

No I think people who actually come and listen to me in a club, come and listen to me know my  sound through remix and production know that I have a very melodic sound so the album is very melodic.  I’ve been using movi various different movie scores in my DJing for a long time I’ve been playing all the vocals for a long time obviously not real down tempo stuff but rap, rap people know I was involved with rap, it represents me musically and it still has a melodic feel it’s just not a club record, it’s not a mix album.

Did it take a long time to pull it all together

I stopped and started actually it that’s probably why it took so long. I was, i took  6 months off when i was in, when i was working on a movie called swordfish so i went to la for 6 months and that was probably a really good move because it gave me a break from the record and I could look at the record constructive way and re-do tracks, take other tracks off.

Ok, talk us through the tracks on the album ‘Bunkka’

So the first track on the album being ready steady go features… the vocals are Asher d from So Solid Crew. A track that, the idea of the track is basically based around a piece of music for a trailer of a film that doesn’t exist.  Very cutting edge, very up temp, very James Bondy in sound.

What was Asher d like to work with

Asher was great, very professional and yeah I enjoyed working with him so that was good.

And the next track is your new single ‘southern sun’

Second track southern sun, vocals by Carla Werner. Carla is an unknown vocalist from Australia that I came across.  Unique sounding in vocal, I was looking for a very dark, umm… lyric, which we got actually with an uplifting chorus, and  music that would enhance the lyric. The track’s really based around an idea of when i was in New Zealand, not new Zealand, New Orleans excuse me, and i was coming in at about 7.30 and the sun was setting and i went through old colonial New Orleans  so that track lyrically is actually based on the darker side of New Orleans so yeah that’s that track.

Next track time of your life. Time of your life  features Perry Farell. Perry I’ve know for a few years, a great vocalist, maverick as a performer and we wrote this song for him to represent people going out and having a great time.

Track four is hypnotised.  Again an unknown vocalist called Tiff Lacey.  A track that we recorded about four years ago and a very very melodic feel that umm… I really like.

Carry on talking us through the album.

Next track’s Zoo York . Zoo York is based on an experience I had in New York  many years ago.  Whilst there we was just hanging out on times square and was just enormous amount of people everywhere, pushing, rushing, moving and it just reminded me of a zoo so I wanted this really down tempo, quite annoying track actually in the sense of  the strings get louder and louder and louder and it’s just, it’s mixed quiet high so it’s totally in your face  and makes you feel a little bit on edge which was a whole idea of the track and i really like it so check it out.

Next one’s Nixon’s spirit which features Hunter S Thompson who’s a writer who’s been around for quite a long time. The gonzo  writer probably one of the outlaw journalists out there at the moment,  wonderful writer probably people might be familiar with some of his work probably the film that he wrote, fear and loathing in Las Vegas but he was probably more, a great experience for me to do a collaboration with someone so diverse.

Did you meet him

Spent two wonderful  nights with him which I won’t go into now laugh laugh, yeah

Ok, back to the album – what’s up next

Next track is hold your hand with Emiliana Torrini  from Iceland, tremendous vocalist and i really hope she goes on to be a big star, very emotional lyric and wonderful vocal  so yeah check it out.

The next track is being used as the soundbed for capital. Tell us about that

Next track’s starry eyed surprise which is with shifty shellshock which is more modern school rap.  Bumped into him in Seattle  about a year and a half ago before his record  blew up and er yeah we wrote this feel good track which works really well

Next one is ‘Get Em Up’ which features Ice Cube which is more the old skool rap, yeah again very involved with the hip hop in the early days.  Great to work with someone so good so we worked on a track together for a movie called blade two  and this kinda came out of that situation.

Moving on a track called ‘Moton’  which is breakbeat with guitars. Features a country rock singer called Grant Phillips his first venture into dance. And a wonderful male vocalist really has got a lot of emotion, very few rock vocalists work in the dance area but this  is one that does work, really happy with this track.

The last track is the harder they come which features tricky and Nelly Furtado and, very filmic in it’s approach, quiet dark also. With Nelly’s kind of beautiful haunting vocal and tricky doing what his brilliant at doing, giving those dulcet tones that work really well around her voice.

Are you pleased with the album

I’m really happy with the record as I say at times I never thought I could actually get it finished, I have and it’s definitely the record I wanted to make

There’s a lot of tracks on there, what about the ones that didn’t make it onto the album

I made 29 tracks, there’s only 11 on the record due to maverick records only wanting 11…so there are many more tracks up my sleeve.

What are you going to do with those

I’m going to use them for films and probably put out an EP next year sometime and introduce some of those collaborations.