Paul Oakenfold has been at the forefront of the dance scene for as long as there has been one. From the lads holiday in Ibiza that contributed heavily to the formation of a youth movement that would eventually evolve into the global community that we know today, Paul Oakenfold has been and remains an important influence. He has flown the flag around the world for over two decades, playing some iconic shows that opened up new territories as well as providing some of the most exciting new music during that time. More recently he has been based in LA, a coincidence that the US scene has recently exploded? We think not. He is the only DJ to have sold out The Hollywood Bowl. As he gets set to rekindle his love affair with Asia through his Way Out East Tour, we caught up with Paul…
You’ve played alongside some of the world’s biggest bands and in many iconic places and venues, do you ever catch yourself wondering how you got to such a place in your life from those early days playing funk in Covent Garden in the late ‘70s?
I’ve been very fortunate to have the life and the career I’ve had. Travelling around the world – seeing and experiencing so many different cultures I often think how lucky I am.
You have famously played on The Great Wall Of China, how far has the scene in the east evolved since those early performances?
Back then electronic music was so niche and so underground in Asia, but the Internet has played a massive role in opening up access to music from all corners of the globe. And so the scene has grown at a phenomenal rate. When you speak specifically about China – you can see how much the popularity of electronic music has grown there – by the number of cities that are now putting on shows. I love spending time in China – and Asia. The region has been like a second home for me.
What are you looking forward to from your Way Out East Tour?
It’s been a while since I was in the region so I can’t wait to be there from this weekend. I’m looking forward to playing great shows, catching up with close friends and of course enjoying the awesome food. It’s also really interesting to see how each city has changed from the last time I was there.
Having played numerous landmark gigs, how do you maintain your enthusiasm for the normal club gig?
I don’t think the size of the show has any relation to levels of enthusiasm. I can get just as excited from playing an intimate club show to 800 people as I do on a festival stage playing in front of 40,000. If the vibe is electric – then it gets me pumped up and excited – regardless. The music – that’s still the main source of enthusiasm that drives me.
I know you still have an appetite for checking out new talent, new music and new trends, how important is that as an artist when it comes to maintaining longevity in the dance industry?
It’s incredibly important – not only from the perspective of a DJ who wants to push boundaries and explore fresh and exciting new sounds – but also as an A&R person running a record label finding new songs, new artists….it’s the main priority all the time.
You’ve been at centre of many scene-defining moments, what do you most want to be associated with if you ever hang up the headphones?
I would like to be remembered as a passionate music lover, DJ and producer who dedicated his life to the scene.
Perfecto has provided a vehicle for new and established producers, delivering some of the hottest tunes over the years, what should we be looking out from the label in 2013?
You should be looking out for music from Richard Beynon, Thomas Datt, Disfunktion, Moe Aly, Simon Patterson, Neelix, Angry Man – the list is extensive. Perfecto is an exciting hub of activity right now.
XANA with Attica stands on Bang Tao beach, one of the most stunning views on the island, how important is a location for you when considering accepting an invitation to play?
Location is important in some respects and of course it can make the occasion truly incredible, but the music, the people, the sound system, the vibe – they are top of the list.
Phuket is anxiously awaiting your arrival, what can we look forward to from you on Sunday April 28?
Energy, melody and razor sharp beats!
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