Paul Oakenfold
800px-Paul Oakenfold 2009
background information
Birth Name Paul Oakenfold
Also known as Electra
Born August 30, 1963
Greenhithe, Kent
Origin London, England
Genres Trance
Progressive Trance, Techno
Occupation Disc jockey, Record producer, Remixer, Actor
Instruments Synthesizer, Turntables
Years active 1980–present
Labels Perfecto Records, Maverick Records
Associated acts Madonna
Element Four
Wild Colour
Record Producer

Paul Oakenfold (born 30 August 1963 in Greenhithe, Kent UK) is a British record producer and trance DJ, whose work has included remixing Duran Duran's "Out of My Mind".

History Edit

Early career (1979–1984) Edit

Paul Oakenfold's career was set to be a chef, after having hopes of becoming part of a band. He describes his early life as a "bedroom deejay" in a podcasted interview with Vancouver's 24 Hours, stating he grew up listening to The Beatles. Later 21-year-old Paul Oakenfold and Ian Paul moved to 254 West 54th Street. Studio 54's Steve Rubell ran the place and only allowed popular people inside. Oakenfold and Paul used fake passes to sneak into places in New York where they met Maze, Bobby Womak and Bob Marley, whom they also interviewed, as they said to be NME and Melody Maker journalists. Other people were Brooke Shields, Cher, Donald Trump and Bianca Jagger, Warhol, Dali and Yves Saint Laurent.

Paul Oakenfold's musical career began in the late '70s, when he started playing soul in a Covent Garden wine bar. Here, he met Trevor Fung as well as Rumours in London where he played Earth, Wind and Fire and popular British bands. In 1984 he spent several months in New York City's West Harlem. During this time hip-hop was the most popular sound in the area (see 1984 in music). Larry Levan, one of the early deejays during this period performed at the Paradise Garage. He began breaking into the mainstream as he was working as an A&R man for Champion Records. At that time, he signed DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, as well as Salt-n-Pepa. He also appeared on the Blue Peter BBC programme for children with a breakdancing crew. He also became promoter and British agent for the Beastie Boys and Run-D.M.C.; Since then, he began his presentations at The Project in Streatham playing soul and jazz music.

Perfecto and fame (1985–1991) Edit

In 1985, Oakenfold traveled to the island of Ibiza for a week to celebrate his birthday. Trevor Fung, Nicky Holloway, Ian Saint Paul, Danny Rampling and Johnny Walker accompanied him. It was during this time when playing at Amnesia that Oakenfold demonstrated the balearic trance sound that he would later become known for. The event marked his career as a producer as he convinced the owner to host an "Ibiza Reunion" party after-hours. He had previously made an attempt, but it failed as the crowd was not prepared for the acid house style until 1987 when the party was successful. Since then, the night became a classic and became one of the UK's major acid house nights, known as "Spectrum at Heaven in Charing Cross". Spectrum became popular in The Sanctuary. As a bigger space was required, it turned into the Heaven club, which was run by Oakenfold and Paul. The party was best known for the "Theatre of Madness", as more than 1,500 people were present on Monday nights, until it went down; with the financial issues it changed its name to the "Land of Oz". Artists like Alex Paterson DJ'd in the VIP chillout area known as the "White Room", which gave Paul more free time, and then he began producing music under the alias "Electra" in 1988 with his friend Steve Osborne. In 1988 he decided to create a place where new artists could develop their careers. At that moment, Perfecto Records was born.

In 1990, he worked with Terry Farley, Andrew Weatherall and Osborne on two remixes for The Happy Mondays. The remixes of "Rave On" and "Hallelujah" were released on the Madchester Rave On EP, as well as "Step On", a covered version adapted from John Kongos' 1971 hit "He's Gonna Step On You". The song reached the Top 5 position in the UK. He was invited as a guest DJ to Spike Island, a gig with The Stone Roses. Pleased with the last single, the Happy Monday's gave Paul and Osborne the opportunity to produce their third studio album, Pills 'n' Thrills and Bellyaches. The album entered the UK charts at #1 with pre-sales of 150,000. The album was named NME's "1990 Album of The Year", and both Paul and Osborne won the 1991 Brit Award for "Best Producer".This is a tremendous record and a gauntlet chucked at all the other would-be legends in town... Wild, brash, corrosive funk rock, grimly northern and yet pan-cultural in a Tesco's shoplifter kind of way. As they continued releasing only four singles as Electra, in Full Frequency Range Recordings (FFRR) founded and run by Radio 1's Pete Tong, the duo created a new alias under the name Perfecto. They remixed Massive Attack's "Safe From Harm" as well as many others. Grace was formed in the late 1990s, consisting of Oakenfold and Osborne and various singers, including jazz singer Dominique Atkins and Patti Low.

Tours and nightclubs (1992–2000) Edit

In 1992, when U2 released their song "Even Better Than the Real Thing", the Perfecto remix reached a higher charted position than the original song. In 1993 with the success of his last remix as Perfecto, he was hired by U2 to provide the warm-up sonics to their Zoo TV world tour, and replaced BP Fallon on the 1993 legs in Europe and Australia, New Zealand, and Japan, with more than fifty shows in Zooropa '93 and Zoomerang from to of the same year.He began producing his own tracks as well, continuing to remix songs from popular artists. He began using Goa music, something he discovered on the beaches of Goa in India, fusing it with similar sounding European tracks to create his own distinct sound. He took this to the mainstream in 1994 he created a two-hour set for BBC Radio 1's Essential Mix. In 1995, he became the first DJ to play on the main stage at the Glastonbury Festival for 90,000 people, which he considers his favorite gig. His album Perfecto Fluoro became the #1 essential dance collection of Boston Beat during 1996 with Jamiroquai's Travelling Without Moving. The group Grace dissolved in 1997 as Oakenfold was touring as a performance DJ more frequently and could not commit to recording.

On June 9, 1997 Oakenfold created Global Underground 004: Paul Oakenfold, Live in Oslo (GU004) which is a double mix CD in the Global Underground series, compiled and mixed by Oakenfold; it is the first work he created for GU. The mix was recorded live at Cosmopolite Club in Oslo, Norway, as part of the official launch of the Quart Festival. It showcases Oakenfold's eclectic taste in music at the time, as the mix combines drum and bass, progressive house & progressive trance, and goa trance. In 1997, Oakenfold mixed one disc of the double album Fantazia House Collection 6, a UK house music compilation series. Oakenfold became Cream's resident DJ from 1997 - 1999. During this time, he began to concentrate on the release of Tranceport in 1998.

In 1998 and 1999, Oakenfold took the first place in "DJmag's Top 100 DJs". With the two-year contract as a resident in Liverpool's Cream, it was in 1999 that he released Resident. Two Years of Oakenfold at Cream. on Virgin. Thrive Records, the US distributor for early Global Underground releases had a different numbering scheme for the Global Underground albums, due to this Global Underground 007: Paul Oakenfold, New York (GU007) was released as (GU002) in the United States only. The compilation was released on May 25, 1998, with the US release on Jan 19, 1999. This was the second production from Oakenfold with GU and it contained trance, drum and bass, progressive house, progressive trance, breakbeat and Downtempo. This became his last work with GU.

In 1999, he left the UK and Europe and moved to the USA where he went on tour. A

In 2000 he created fourteen tracks of jazz, soul, house and goa based styles with Mitchell Oakenfold. Twenty-four FX and scratches loops and sounds were included too, each consisting of six seconds; the album cover says "Only for DJs and Producers" and was released on Music of Life. It is not considered his first studio album, as it only included useful tools for deejays.

In September 2000 he opened the new Digital Radio station Ministry of Sound Radio with a live mix from the famous London club .

Deals and barriers (2000–2001) Edit

Oakenfold's next project took him to club Pacha in Ibiza for the summer, before returning to America for the Burning Man festival in August; Even though he had spoken extensively to the press about breaking barriers with the US, the DJ/producer said he felt his "Stateside" ambitions were not unique. Together with drum and bass maestro Aphrodite, he sold out the 10,000 capacity of the Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado. He continued to present the Perfecto Nights for a year in Pacha, but he decided to host for a second year; he recruited Hernan Cattaneo as his co-resident at the club, which has a capacity of 3,500 guests.With the success of Tranceport and the mix compilations he created for GU, he released two DJ Mixes known as Perfecto Presents: Travelling and Perfecto Presents: Another World, both released in 2000 as double disc albums. The compilation traces Paul's hip-hop sense as well as underground disco, and includes Quiver's remix of Led Zeppelin's "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You" with a passive rock feel to it. The compilation sold 13,000 copies at counter sales in its first week, and over 80,000 copies were shipped to stores across the US. While in the US he met actor Jack Nicholson at a Lakers game; it was Paul's first Basketball game.

Paul joined Seb Fontaine and Timo Maas for Cream's event at Nation before travelling to play at the Ministry of Sound event at the Millennium Dome, London. He performed with The Dreem Team, who broadcasted live on BBC Radio 1 from 1:00 am to 3:00 am. In 2001, Oakenfold took part in the first Area Festival tour. This tour featured Incubus, Carl Cox, Orb, OutKast, and The Roots. He later released a new compilation album, Perfecto Presents: Ibiza; The album features the essence which has inspired his dance music focused on Ibiza.

Global Underground sold over 150,000 copies of Paul Oakenfold's previous Global Underground: New York. A spokesperson for the label revealed that in the US, demand for UK dance music had been increasing in the past couple of years, and now made up over two-thirds of the label's sales. The Global Underground New York office opened in on Ninth Avenue in Manhattan. The Mekka Electronic Music Festival, otherwise known as the "electronic Lollapallooza" took place in ten cities in the US and Canada during August and September, including New York, Los Angeles, Toronto and San Francisco. The event featured Paul, Armand van Helden, De La Soul, LTJ Bukem, Josh Wink, Derrick Carter, Roni Size, Deep Dish, BT, Crystal Method, Carl Craig and Überzone. Since Oakenfold had been working in the American market for a long time especially during 2001, he moved to Los Angeles to work on film soundtracks and to intensify his DJing commitments Stateside. In 2001 he created the soundtrack for the film Swordfish, Swordfish: The Album contained a transformation of "Planet Rock" into a seven minute breakbeat trance anthem. Most of the tracks are collaborations with Andy Gray, the remix of N.E.R.D.'s "Lapdance" which gained total notability from other tracks. The soundtrack was produced under Village Roadshow and Warner Bros. and distributed through London-Sire Records. Paul recorded a track with Crazy Town vocalist Shifty Shellshock at the end of the year for his new album. In an interview with Rolling Stone in the US, Shellshock said that the track known as "Starry Eyed Surprise" was created after the pair met at a Crazy Town show.

Bunkka (2002–2004) Edit

In 2002, Bunkka became his first official studio album when he signed to Maverick. Bunkka is a compilation of styles which Paul has learned to mix throughout his career; the blending in of progressive trance with goa makes the album different from other conventional dance album. The name Bunkka comes from Peter Gabriel's studio in the UK, where the album was recorded. An extended play was released featuring live versions of four songs under Peoplesound Records. It is also Oakenfold's best selling album to date, with sales largely exceeding 1,000,000 (1 million) copies worldwide.For the past 10 years I've been creating music under various different names, but I was never comfortable with putting out an Oakenfold record... It was, however, an idea that I'd been thinking about for a long time and Steve Osborne, my colleague in some of the production work I was doing at the time, kept putting pressure on me, saying "you should do it, you should do it". So eventually I felt it was time to make that record The album features the vocals from singers from Jane's Addiction vocalist Perry Farrell on "Time of Your Life" and Shifty Shellshock of Los Angeles rock and rap band Crazy Town on "Starry Eyed Surprise" with popular Ice Cube on "Get Em Up", Tricky and Nelly Furtado on "The Harder They Come". The album contains the appearances of Asher D of So Solid Crew on "Ready Steady Go" and Grant Lee Philips, founder of the 90's Los Angeles rock band, Grant Lee Buffalo, is also included as part of the disc with Carmen Rizzo's version of his song "Motion". Bunkka also provided the start to three new artists, Carla Werner on the smashing single "Southern Sun", Tiff Lacey on "Hypnotized" and Emiliana Torrini on "Hold Your Hand"; Hunter S. Thompson's spoken words are provided on "Nixon's Spirit". The world-renowned Pakistani musician Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan's composition was adapted in an electronic version on the tracks "Zoo York". In 2002, Q magazine named Paul in their list of the "50 Bands To See Before You Die". In 2002, Oakenfold revealed he had struggled with dyslexia as a child and announced his intention to help dyslexic children.

In 2002, Paul remixed David Arnold's widely popular "James Bond Theme", the song was released under Warner Bros. Records and was followed by the album's next two singles after "Starry Eyed Surprise", "Ready Steady Go" and "Southern Sun". "Southern Sun" with Carla Werner was first issued as a B-Side of "Ready Steady Go" until it was included on Tiësto's In Search of Sunrise 3: Panama compilation with his own remix of the song. "Southern Sun" became a smashing hit as it was then released as the A-Side of "Ready Steady Go" in mid-2002, "Ready Steady Go" was featured in Saab commercials, the EA Sports game Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2003, THQ game Juiced, the pilot for the television program Las Vegas, NASCAR theme song for 2006, It appears in the video game series Dance Dance Revolution in DDR Ultramix for the Xbox, Fastlane episode "Dogtown" and the Alias episode "Snowman". In an earlier episode, "The Imposter", of Radio Free Roscoe, a 2005 series on The N, a character Travis Strong DJed to the song, acting as if it were his own. It has more recently been used in the film adaptation of Anthony Horowitz's novel Stormbreaker, The Bourne Identity and it was reproduced with Korean lyrics for the movie Collateral, the song has also been used during the performances of extreme freestyle water ski jumpers, the song later became the theme song for the TV Show TRL Italy since 2003 until 2005. An EP of "The Harder They Come" was released on Perfecto and featured other works from Oakenfold and other artists. On the Creamfields event, in 2002 at Speke Airfield DJ's like Paul Oakenfold, Seb Fontaine, Paul Van Dyk performed along Dave Clarke, Jon Carter, Richie Hawtin and Felix Da Housecat, the event also featured live appearances from Basement Jaxx, All Saints, Death In Vegas and Moloko. In 2003 he released the fourth single of his album, Hypnotized which became successful enough to be included on Paul's next compilation from the "Perfecto Presents..." series, "Perfecto Presents: Great Wall" included the Deepsky remix of the song as well as tracks like Motorcycle's "As the Rush Comes", Björk's "Pagan Poetry", UNKLE's remix of Ian Brown's "F.E.A.R." and Paul's recent remix of Madonna's "Hollywood" song.

With the event of Creamfields that took place in 2004, Oakenfold felt inspired enough to release a compilation of songs he played during the event as well as tracks influenced by the environment and the vibe of deejays like Paul Van Dyk, Armin Van Buuren, Ferry Corsten, Judge Jules, Fergie, Tall Paul, Eddie Halliwell, Chris Lawrence, Adam Sheridan, Shan, and Alex Kidd at the Cream/Goodgreef & Mixmag Arena.

Duran Duran related releasesEdit

Discography Edit

Albums Edit

Studio Albums Edit

DJ Tools Edit

DJ Mixes Edit

DVD's Edit

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