Paul Oakenfold is not merely a musician, he is a musical institution.
In 1979, he was spinning soul in London. In 1984, he brought hip-hop from the streets of Harlem to the rest of the world. In 1985, he sampled Ibiza and became a pioneer of house. In the ’90s, he turned to trance after a trip to India.
He discovered Will Smith, as the Fresh Prince, and promoted both the Beastie Boys and Run DMC. He has toured with Madonna and U2 -” his remix of the latter’s Even Better Than the Real Thing outsold the original.
In his 30-year career, he has been named a world number one DJ, produced over 20 studio albums and toured every corner of the earth.
Oakenfold has changed the face of music many times over. And he isn’t done yet.
You shouldn’t follow trends -” I’m more interested in what’s around the corner, Oakenfold declared as he chatted down the line from LA, where he is working on his latest album.
Much as he has consistently turned music trends on their head, Oakenfold upended the interview format, asking question after question and pumping for information about what new talent is emerging Down Under.
Recently, Oakenfold’s musical explorations have taken him to film scores, which he believes are moving away from the cliched orchestral backdrops to something far more experimental and compelling.
Score for film is pushing the envelope in terms of sound. The score for Dark Knight -” I read an article on the composers and what they were doing to get that sound was really interesting, he said.
As he approached the studio for this album, Oakenfold challenged himself to merge the emotion of film scores and the energy of dance to create an album that moves away from clubby tracks. The musical chameleon, it seems, is ready to change colour and reinvent music -¦ again.
They’ve lacked strong songs in dance music, he said. I know I can make a track that works in the club -” I’ve been doing it long enough.
I’m not at the stage where I want to make records that just work on the dance floor. I want to be challenged and make records that move people in terms of emotions and make songs people sing along to.
Despite Oakenfold’s desire to stay in the studio (and out of the public eye) until the album is ready, he has been lured out by two of Australia’s finest festivals -” the Future Music Festival and the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.
At Future Music, audiences can expect a more experimental and diverse set, while Mardi Gras punters will be treated to something a lot faster with more energy. Between the two, Australia will be among the first to hear the visionary sounds of one of music’s most prophetic DJs.
info: The New Mardi Gras party is on March 7. Tickets: www.ticketek.com.au