On Friday 23 October an unassuming superstar is playing at Matter in London. Dan Slipper spoke to him about why this is such a rare event.
Paul Oakenfold graduated from Westminster Technical College with the intention of becoming a chef but his life took a very different path and he has become a world famous dj, producer, and musician.
A potted biography would refer to in excess of 5m records sold, performing in front of over 50m people, and a citation in The Guiness Book Of Records as the most successful dj in the world.
A more detailed look at his career would point out two excellent studio albums (Bunkka and A Lively Mind), the mix albums (some of the biggest selling of all time), the film music (including Matrix Reloaded, Die Another Day, Pirates Of The Caribbean, and The Bourne Identity), and remixes of artists such as U2, Rolling Stones, Michael Jackson, and Justin Timberlake.
The event at the O2 is presented by Oakenfold’s Perfecto record label and playing alongside him will be respected dj Lottie and someone he describes as “one of Britain’s biggest stars” Adam White.
Oakenfold’s enthusiasm and energy explodes as soon as the gig is mentioned. “I’ve heard all good things about Matter,” he says.
He has recently completed a tour supporting another iconic performer – Madonna – playing to over 1.5m people around the world. He describes her as an “amazing woman”.
It takes great skill and self-control to perform before the main act. The musician can’t outshine the star and yet must deliver an impeccably pitched set. The fact Oakenfold has been chosen to do this for Madonna three times is testament to his consummate professionalism.
Perfecto Records has also taken up a residency at Rain Nightclub in Las Vegas and Oakenfold has been playing regularly during the season. It’s been going “incredibly well” he says and last time he was on the decks he played to over 4,000 people. He describes it as “the new Ibiza” where you can find the likes of Paul van Dyk and Carl Cox performing in the same week.
I ask about his new album – Pop Killer – which will be his 3rd studio album and includes collaborations with OneRepublic and Infected Mushroom. It’s due for release in 2010 with a new single at the beginning of the year. He promises to play at least 4 of the tracks during his set at Matter to road test the effect on a discerning crowd.
During this hectic workload Oakenfold has found time to pursue his interest in film music. He has worked with producer Jerry Bruckheimer on 3D film, G-Force, and the new gangster movie, The Heavy, starring Christopher Lee and the return of Vinnie Jones.
There my questioning about his career ends even though his conversation is enthusiastic and infectious. I simply dare not take up any more of his time. I want to let him get on with his straightforward, hard-working, and unassuming genius.