dj magazine  
Club DJs



Search DJzone

This Issue
Daily News


Issue Archives
DJ Games
DJ Musiclists
DJ Book Store
Gear Mall
DJ Software





Paul Oakenfold - The Selekta Interview

Everyone knows Paul Oakenfold... The man needs no introduction. Rising from humble beginnings and greatly influenced by the sounds of New York city and Larry Levan's Paradise Garage, Oakenfold has found himself an international celebrity and perhaps the highest paid DJ and producer in the electronic music industry. Whether you love his or hate him, Oakenfold has become the undisputed heavyweight king of popular dance music.

Having always produced compilation DJ mixes, Oakenfold decided that the time was right to "do his own thing." After two years in the studio, Paul is now releasing his first CD of original music, hitting shelves in May 2002 on Maverick Records. The CD, with guest vocals by the likes of Perry Ferrell, Shifty Shellshock, Ice Cube, Nelly Furtado, Grant Lee Phillips and Asher D, seems destined for cross-over market and radio airplay success.

We talked to Paul about his new CD, his thoughts on the industry and the future of electronic music. Will "Bunkka" be a smash or will it be "bunk?" You decide.

- Dave Meeker, Director,

Check out: Paul Oakenfold & Nelly Furtado doing "Harder The Come" from Oakenfold's new album "Bunkka."  
-- To comment, please fill in our online form, or use the "rate this article" link at the top of this page!

Selekta:  We have found that many large distributors and retail music outlets (virgin, etc) have been seeking artist CDs rather than compilation mixes due to a combination of falling CD sales and a shift in the market. Your soon-to-be-released original CD "Bunkka," is your first non-compilation release. Does that have anything to do with the slump in the market and the demands of the retail consumer, or was it strictly a creative decision on your part?
Paul Oakenfold: I didn't know there was a slump in the market. This (album) has been a conscious effort of nearly two years ago to make an artist based record. Collaborations with singers, partly because I'm not a singer myself, is something I've wanted to do for a long time. That's the reason.

Selekta:  Can you give us a little background on how you came up with the idea to do "Bunkka?"
Paul Oakenfold: Over a period of time I've done mix records and released them under a pseudonym, not my own name. I wanted to do an album that I felt would have cutting edge sounds represent an overall sound in dance music that was song based. And that was the idea.

Selekta:  What led you to seek the particular co-producers that are credited? (i.e. - Perry Ferrell, Shifty Shellshock, Ice Cube, Nelly Furtado, Grant Lee Phillips and two-step phenomenon Asher D?
Paul Oakenfold: The singers were various different people that I thought were up and coming and that I really liked. When I recorded with Nelly, it was well over a year ago and her single had just come out, so she wasn't a hit then. People like Perry, I've respected from years ago from Janes Addiction and what he did with Lollapalooza. I wanted to work with people like that.

Selekta:  Why Hunter S Thompson? Is it his infamous past that attracted you? How did you come to work with him?
Paul Oakenfold: I've been a fan of his for a long time and I felt that what he had to say is relevant to youth today.

Selekta:  What do you think of Thompson's notoriety? What is your opinion on Thompson's writings about recreational drug use?
Paul Oakenfold: I haven't really read any of those so I wouldn't really know.

Selekta:  How do you foresee radio airplay of "Bunkka" turning out? You seem to have picked a lot of crossover artists to put on the CD.
Paul Oakenfold: People like Nelly and Shifty Shellshock, at the time when I worked with them hadn't had success. They were all newcomers; the only name as such was probably Ice Cube. And that came in really late in the date because I was working on a track for a movie called "Blade 2". It was never a conscious effort to go for those kinds of names. It was more of a case of working with people whom you respect.

Selekta:  Is the plan to make Paul Oakenfold a cross-market radio phenomenon here in the states? (Meaning that the urban stations will pick up the ice cube track, the alt. rock stations will pick up the Furtado and Ferrell tracks, etc)
Paul Oakenfold: In America? I don't really know, because I don't live here. In Europe you have the radio stations play all kinds of music.

Selekta:  Who came up with the name "Bunkka?" What does that mean?
Paul Oakenfold: Bunkka was the recording studio I was based in for the first year and that's really what it means.

Selekta:  What are your views on the MP3 Revolution? About people trading mp3's on the net.
Paul Oakenfold: I didn't know there was a revolution going on. It's not big in England. I think its unfortunate that any artists don't get paid. I think that destroys it, if you can't even get to release the record before it is available, that's very hard on the artist.

Selekta:  What about streaming media, live shows on the net?
Paul Oakenfold: We do live shows on the net I t gives people globally access to hear the shows. People that are in Buenos Ares or Shanghai who may never get to see a DJ or a band thru the net they get to see what goes on in the new underground music. They get to also see fashion wise what's going on with the youth of today.

Selekta:  It is no secret that along with Sasha and John that you are one of the top 3 "drawing" DJ acts that currently tour. What is your current road schedule like?
Paul Oakenfold: I've got a lot of work to support the record so I will be on the road a lot.

Selekta:  Will you ever get burned out and stick to doing primarily studio production?
Paul Oakenfold: I hope not. I really enjoy playing music to people and talking to them.

Selekta:  In addition to that last question... Do you foresee "Paul Oakenfold Live?" Will you ever do a regular concert tour where you perform your songs along with your guest vocalists and co-producers?
Paul Oakenfold: Maybe, we haven't got that far. We haven't discussed that yet, we only just finished the record.

Selekta:  Where is the market headed? Acts like Moby, you, Bassment Jaxx and Deepdish are crossing into the mainstream market now. What is this all headed?
Paul Oakenfold: In American I don't really know, in Europe its massive. Dance Music dominates radio. It dominates Pop culture.

Selekta:  As the market grows, How can small labels (that at one point and time drove the dance music industry) stay competitive and not be put out of business by major labels with strong media ties and relationships with the major market radio and retail distribution?
Paul Oakenfold: I think it is all down to the record. If you've got an A&R man if you've got a good record then people will buy it.

Selekta:  Do you feel any responsibility to help keep new talent and small labels buzzing in order to keep the industry on its toes?
Paul Oakenfold: I do. We release on Perfecto, my label, and a compilation series called the "Underground Sound?" On my travels around the world we find young talent, new DJs, new producers and we release their music. I also signed an American DJ from Austin, Texas called Dfuse and put him on tour with me. I think that's a very important part. I'm lucky enough to be in a position where I can help people and I want to.

Selekta:  Why don't you play non-commercial tracks?
Paul Oakenfold: My sound is a melodic sound. What happens is... I'm given the record before radio, before even promo. Like "rapture", I had that eight months ago. I'm a DJ...and that's what a DJ is supposed to do is break records.

Selekta:  How do you think your music has progressed over the years?
Paul Oakenfold: I've always played a cross section of all kinds of music. I'm inspired by new, cutting edge music and I'm always looking for what is tomorrow's newest sound.

Selekta:  In the States there's a lot of two-step that's breaking into the genre, even the drum and bass market is expanding.
Paul Oakenfold: It's quite hard to play two-step in my sound. So I don't think I will be playing it, no.

Selekta:  You've made a big impact in the electronic music industry as far as making it known and existing. How do you feel about the music being bigger now and how do you think you've impacted this?
Paul Oakenfold: I don't think its just me, there are many club promoters, many DJs...and most importantly the people who go to clubs have all taken part in making it bigger.

Selekta:  Would you ever consider playing at an event that wasn't promoted, strictly underground?
Paul Oakenfold: I have, I've done many parties like that but you haven't heard of them because they weren't promoted. I went to Anchorage, Alaska and played to 250 people for no money last year.

Selekta:  Do the tracklistings have any significance and who came up with them?
Paul Oakenfold: Yes, the tracklisting are based around the lyrics of the song or the instrument or what I felt that inspired me to write that piece of music.

Selekta:  How do you feel about your fans and how have you given back to them?
Paul Oakenfold: I feel very lucky that people are into my music. It's a privilege and an honor for me to come to America and have people like what I do. I always try to make time to listen to what they have to say because to me the people are the most important thing, not the DJ.

Selekta:  What's the nicest thing you've done for a fan? A fan done for you?
Paul Oakenfold: The nicest thing that people do is bring me presents. The only true thing that I can do is give them the best possible show, that's why they are coming. I respect them and its very important for me to give 110% every time I come. They don't want to know whether I'm tired or I'm not well, I've got to perform and I will do my best.

Selekta:  Any additional comments?
Paul Oakenfold: I hope that the people who listen to the record and like the record for what it is. It's a dance record, its not an underground club record. But all the club mixes are on the 12".

The Selekta |

powered by



web hosting | how to advertise | submit an article  

  about DJzone

DJzone network: | | | | | | | |

   DJzone | letters to the editor | features | reviews | daily music news | classifieds | resources

Copyright © 2001 DJzone, Inc. All rights reserved.