CMM Contributing Writer, Reviewer, and Interviewer, Kelly Milionis, recently had a conversation with Electronic Dance Music (EDM) pioneer and legend Paul Oakenfold about up-and-coming talent, new music, touring with Madonna, and more.
CMM: Hello, thank you for chatting with us and welcome to Chicago. You are scheduled to perform at North Coast.
Paul Oakenfold: Hello Sir. Yeah, thank you. How is North Coast?
CMM: I haven’t been there yet, but REACT does a real good job. CMM attended Spring Awakening Music Festival 2012 and they did a real good job at Soldier Field.
Paul Oakenfold: I am looking forward to it
CMM: Obviously, this is not your first time to Chicago…
Paul Oakenfold: No, I have been here many times and I will be back next month with Madonna as opening act for Madonna at the United Center on September 19th and 20th. I love Chicago. This is the home of house music. This is where it started.
CMM: And you are the pioneer. We thank you for all that you have done.
Paul Oakenfold: Thank you
CMM: Electronic Dance Music (EDM) is huge. Many new musical artists are attempting to break into the business on a daily basis. With your record company and your talent discovery experience, how should they present themselves.
Paul Oakenfold: I am always looking for new DJs, new artists to sign to Perfecto, to embrace, to help me. I have found allot and worked with allot over the years and it is key for me to move forward and I actually enjoy finding new talent and I am always on the lookout for people and encourage people to give me music if they are a songwriter or a producer, a DJ or whatever.
CMM: Are you releasing new music, maybe not an album or single, but a new genre or sound?
Paul Oakenfold: I will have a new artist record coming soon, it will be my third album and it has always been realistically melodic beats, mainly up-tempo with guest singers. One of the first singles will be with a singer called Azelia Banks. I am actually looking forward to that coming and then I am just on tour with Madonna that is a pretty busy time at the moment.
CMM: With residencies in Ibiza and Las Vegas, do you see another location that might be considered a hub?
Paul Oakenfold: NO! NO! The hubs for electronic music are Ibiza and Las Vegas and that is where I recommend the community come experience it, see it, enjoy it and have fun.
CMM: Do you think Chicago could ever enter into the EDM hub mix?
Paul Oakenfold: No, not really. [lots of chuckles] No, I don’t think so. [more chuckles]
CMM: A three time GRAMMY nominee, do you advocate for certain programs with the Recording Academy, such as music in the schools?
Paul Oakenfold: Yeah, I think it is important to support and help and be a part of that. I played the Hollywood Bowl and we, we meaning myself along with the GRAMMYs, we brought along fifteen deprived children from the suburban areas of Los Angeles, embraced them, encouraged them and told them what we were doing.
CMM: Was this the first time the Hollywood Bowl presented an EDM artist?
Paul Oakenfold: Yes
CMM: Congratulations on that.
Paul Oakenfold: Thank you.
CMM: A busy summer touring with Madonna and just recently completed a residency in Ibiza…
Paul Oakenfold: It has been a pretty busy summer because I have done shows with her [Madonna], obviously my own shows and I have been doing shows in England at the Ministry Of Sound for this tour that I have called “The Four Seasons Tour” which represents the underground sound of electronic music which is completely different to what is going on in America. It is very commercial in America. Which is understandable, people just got into it. And I think you dig deeper and you find new DJs, you find new music and you find a sound that you really like.
CMM: Any type of soundtrack work?
Paul Oakenfold: Soundtracks for the moment have been on hold. There is only so much you can do really [more chuckling] but we have just released this compilation in Europe entitled, “We Are Planet Perfecto Volume 2″ so there is allot going on.
CMM: You have your Planet Perfecto Podcast on your website, how is that working for you?
Paul Oakenfold: Yeah, I mean the podcast and the social media side is incredibly important and that is where new DJs have to spend time on developing their own social media bringing as much attention to themselves as possible. And that is the new direction and they have got to make music so there is two new thing you gotta do really.
CMM: You have been a pioneer from the talent side, with DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince and the Beastie Boys and you understood the old music business models. You are living and perfecting the new models…
Paul Oakenfold: Yeah, yup, the new models are much more expensive but I think that is the way it is, that is what comes with social media not just for DJs but for the community in terms of artists. You basically need content.
CMM: Do you see it differently in Europe than in the United States?
Paul Okenfold: No, it is all the same, it is all the same wherever you are.
CMM: How are the Chinese and Asian markets looking?
Paul Oakenfold: China, in terms of electronic music, China and India are growing certainly South America has been a big market for allot of us but China is interesting because it is only key locations; Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong really are the key places in China that are really understanding and getting it.
CMM: Any future plans for maybe a Bollywood collaboration?
Paul Oakenfold: A Bollywood collaboration would be very interesting, very much so. Yeah, who knows…you never know
Interviewer: Kelly Milionis
Photographer: Brian Morgan