Early Raves to the World’s Main Stage: Words With the Legendary Paul Oakenfold [Exclusive Interview]

Paul Oakenfold Interview
Paul Oakenfold B2B Hernan Cattaneo at Creamfields Buenos Ares. Photo – Paul Oakenfold – Facebook.

Paul Oakenfold. A mainstay and instrumental force in the growth of the dance music scene for upwards of 3 decades, the name resonates like few do when driving across the eardrums.

Bringing the Ibiza sound to the UK in the late 1980’s, Oakenfold’s “Spectrum”, “Theatre of Madness”, and subsequent raves and parties have gone down in electronic lore even to this day.

Helping the scene coalesce around his music and events, the DJ, producer, and label owner has continually changed the fabric of dance music culture throughout the entirety of his career.

In order to dig in to the famed musician’s progression through the decades, we asked a few questions to pick his brain about the state of dance music, his recent Back To My House compilation, and more.

Dubai NYE 2013.
Dubai NYE 2013. Photo – Paul Oakenfold – Facebook.

Notoriously short with interviewers, we didn’t get a lot from the wily DJ, but here’s what he had to say:

With such an illustrious career, you’ve been able to influence dance music throughout its many stages of evolution. What are the biggest defining moments that you’ve felt throughout your career, personally, and in the community as a whole?

Of course, the trip to Ibiza. Spectrum, playing with Madonna and U2, and my residency at the Palms in Las Vegas that launched the whole electronic music scene there.

You recently released the double-disc “Back To My House” compilation as the newest addition to your annual We Are Planet Perfecto Compilations, can you tell our readers what the idea/process was behind the creation of 2 mixes?

It’s the same for all our compilations really. We put a lot of effort and time into these and go through an enormous amount of music to be able to come up with what we think is the perfect mix compilation. We are really trying to give you the best and nail that mood so you can just put the mix on and let it play through.

Paul Oakenfold Interview
Photo – Paul Oakenfold – Facebook.

Do you gravitate to one disc vs. the other, or is a completely mood/moment oriented choice?

It’s pretty mood and moment oriented. Right now in LA, it’s still 85 degrees so I’m feeling the outside mix.

Is there any planning or track selection beforehand for your compilation releases or do you completely let it fly?

Yeah, the Perfecto team and I put a lot of thought into these compilations. We go through loads and loads of music before I mix it.

You may be getting tired of this one, but how does Ibiza of today differ from the Ibiza of yesteryear. Has it lost its magic?

It’s a lot more expensive and becoming a bit overcrowded. There is still a great vibe there though.

What are your favorite record(s) of all time?

Ha, that’s impossible to answer. I have a room full of records that I like to pick through. I have a new favorite record every day.

Paul Oakenfold Interview
Photo – Paul Oakenfold – Facebook.

Favorite artists?


Who’s pushing boundaries of dance music and moving the art form forward right now?

I’ve always liked what Calvin is doing. To have that many hit singles is a huge accomplishment .

What’s right with dance music today? Conversely, what’s wrong with dance music right now?

The market is flooded with too much music and the road is very busy. But besides that, all is good. Dance music is continuing to flourish and its great to see it at the top of the charts all over the world.

So I have to ask, in over 3 decades of dance music, what’s the craziest thing that you’ve ever seen while performing, touring, etc.?

Oh, I’d get in a bit of trouble if I told you that haha.

For the man who’s done it all, what’s next?

Just finished my upcoming album, PopKiller. Look for it early next year.

Paul Oakenfold
Photo – Paul Oakenfold – Facebook.

And there you have it, words from the legend.

Click here for more interviews from the top artists in the EDM world like ARTY, MOGUAI, NERVO, HIIO, and more.

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