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Paul Oakenfold
While DJ Paul Oakenfold played his first gig in India, we had a chat with him about his longstanding experience in the business and his trip to India.

He is known for refashioning rock bands for club consumption besides being labelled the ‘most sought after’ and ‘most expensive’ DJ. “Am I really the most expensive one?” he laughs and goes on to explain the secondary role that money plays in his life. “It’s about doing good work and money flows in,” says DJ Paul Oakenfold who was recently in town. His career spans over 38 years with a fan base sprawled all over the globe. Oakenfold, who broke trance music in Britain, takes in the Indian air and is tossed back to the memories of landing in Goa. “Things have changed in India,” he observes. He is a brand name and that is reason enough to excite you for the show.

Perched on a pedestal, he seems to be controlling the flashy green spotlights hitting the dance floor. In the darkness, you manage to catch the demigod-like figure spinning all the funky tunes you’ve only managed to catch on radio, CD or in the pubs, and the live feeling immediately seeps in. This is short-lived, with most of his live act taking a predictable turn. Yes, Faster Kill Pussycat is catchy and fun, but it’s just like playing it on your headphones.

The pulse of the crowd sets the tone of the gig. With most people hanging outside the gig area, the tempo is dampened. He is legendary, has been around for a long time and a master at his work. We caught up with DJ Paul Oakenfold to tell us about being in the business, making it big and his Indian connection.

It’s not all about money
Oakenfold believes success and money follow good work. He might be the top party DJ and someone who climbed up the ladder through downright passion and talent, but his thoughts on money simply underline his devotion towards his work. “The funny thing is you don’t really think about money so much when you are putting your heart and soul into it. If you enjoy what you do and work very hard, money will automatically come about. When you are in the club, you give the people your best.” His musical tastes developed while hanging out with his friends in various clubs. Exposed to disco, soul and house, young Paul carefully picked up his interests and soon was on his way to success. He produced Happy Mondays’ Pills ‘N’ Thrills And Bellyaches, and then went on to remix a string of internationally popular works. He really hit it off after becoming the resident DJ of Cream, which was amongst the most popular dance clubs in Liverpool.

A Lively Mind
His debut album Bunkka, which released in the year 2002 ~ featuring Nelly Furtado, Perry Farell (Jane’s Addiction), Ice Cube and Crazy Town, to name a few ~ made a mark. This was his first experience with building songs; as opposed to Tranceport, which was a mix of trance tracks. Though it nourished his growth in the American market, it was Bunkka that really did it for him. He experimented with everything from trance to breakbeats to vocal mood pieces. The follow up, A Lively Mind also threw it open to various musical collaborations and cashed in on the single Faster Kill Pussycat featuring actress Brittany Murphy. This was Paul’s attempt to experiment with someone who was not known to be a singer. “I’m very happy with how this album has turned out. Though it’s not doing as well as my first album which was a big sell out, this one has won a couple of awards in the UK. It was a good idea to work with Brittany as well because I’ve been doing a lot of Hollywood mixes and I wanted to work with an actress,” he explains.

India in a mix
His Goa Mix, which he churned out of trance influences that he stumbled upon in Goa is a hit till date. Oakenfold picked up trance from the beaches of Goa and has been highly influenced by the whole experience he had early in his career. “I love India and it’s a great feeling to be back here. I have been to Mumbai once before but things have changed here massively. The youngsters are a lot more clued into the international music scene,” he says. His work with Pakistani musician Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan on Bunkka created a perfect marriage of Urdu lyrics and dance music on ‘Zoo York’ and post that Oakenfold now sets his mind on an Indian singer. “On my next album, I plan to work with an Indian singer. I’ve been looking for a young singer,” he says.
Goa is an unforgettable place for Paul. He describes the experience as overwhelming. “I would like to visit Goa. It was an amazing experience back then; I would really like find out how the place has changed. Hopefully someday I’ll get to go there,” he smiles.

Snippets of Oakenfold
Chill out: So how does Oakenfold chill out? “I wanted to capture myself chilling out on camera and so I just released a DVD on how I chill out (laughs). I just hang out with friends and like everyone else, I do things that calm me down.”

You can read the rest of our feature on Paul Oakenfold in the June 2007 issue of The Record Music Magazine available at your local newsagent.


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