Paul Oakenfold has been championing the trance sound with his Perfecto and Perfecto Fluoro labels for over three decades. With a career that has been scene-defining, he has been credited with bringing the Balearic Ibiza sound back to the UK — as well as exporting EDM to the American masses — with his weekly residency at the legendary Rain nightclub in The Palms, Las Vegas. DJ Mag spoke to Paul about his latest compilation ‘Vegas To Ibiza’, musical adventures and deep-routed passion for the dance music scene and his long-awaited next artist album...
How do you go about putting together a compilation like 'Vegas To Ibiza'? Is it about taking inspiration from the time that you’ve spent in these two locations?
“That’s exactly right. Both of these destinations have played important roles in my life, so making an album that was dedicated to them was always going to be about finding music that was an accurate representation of what I play there.”
When you first started to play in Ibiza, did you ever envisage how the island and the dance music scene would develop into what it is today?
“When I first started maybe not, but when the internet took off, there was never any doubt. Yes, the scene has exploded in the last few years — certainly in the US — but I think everything will continue to grow. Everyone is connected with each other. Everyone can share and discuss their music, their tastes and their experiences.”
You’re still producing and remixing quite a lot of music, has there ever been the urge to slow down and take a back seat?
“You sometimes have moments when you are in the middle of a heavy touring schedule with four or five shows per week and long flights between… but generally speaking, no. I love being on the road, love gigging and love the sense of adventure that comes with being in a different country every night.”
What have you been working on recently?
“Well, other than the 'Vegas To Ibiza' compilation I have just finished, most of my studio-time is being taken up with the new album — 'Pop Killer', a few remixes — including one I have just finished of a new single from Beatman and Ludmilla, which is really hot. Those guys are so talented. I’m also remixing Leama’s Perfecto back catalogue classic 'Requiem For A Dream', which is getting a re-release.”
Tell us about your current studio set-up?
“The studio in my house is now pretty scaled back. It’s more of a writing suite with loads of interesting instruments that I’ve amassed over the years. When I do go into a studio to record I have various guitars, amps, percussion and drums set up in a live room, and then for the computer side of recording I use a few different software set-ups. But 90% of the time I’m on Logic, occasionally using Ableton for fast edits, time stretches and cuts.”
Are you quite hands-on in the production process?
“Yes, absolutely, I’m very hands-on with all sides of the production. In terms of the material I am working on right now for my new album, which is mostly made up of collaborations, the songwriting process is definitely a shared input with the singer or songwriter I am working with at that time.”
When can we expect to see the next Paul Oakenfold artist album?
“Release date is the most common asked question and sadly I still can’t give one, but we’re close. I’m collaborating with Azealia Banks, Miguel, LP, ZZ Ward, Alan Stone and a bunch of other young unknown acts that I’ve discovered while on tour.”
Perfecto has been one of the leading labels throughout the whole dance music scene, what plans have you got coming up for the label?
“The plan is to continue releasing music from fresh up and coming talent that we believe in. We have so many talented guys we are working with across the two labels — names like Beatman & Ludmilla, Disfunktion, Felix Leiter, Moe Aly, Simon Patterson, Astrix, Thomas Datt, Neelix, Blazer, Eshericks, Yahel...”