Interview: Paul Oakenfold
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Date Stamp: March 2, 2007
T: Did you ever think that you'd still be at the top of the industry?
PO: (Laughs) I never thought I'd be at the top of anywhere. If you get into anything for the money, I believe, it won't happen. You don't get into an industry and think, 'I'm gonna be the top, and, I wan't to get paid. I got into it 'cause I really loved music, you know, and I never expected as a kid I'd get flown to Hollywood and work on a ninety million dollar movie, or go on tour, or produce these acts. Yeah, you can have dreams, and I've certainly lived some dreams out, but I never expected it.
T: Do you get inspired by working with new people?
PO: Yeah, I get really inspired by finding people who have not had success and see them do well. So, already with two of the artists on my record that never had music out before, they've now got signed with their own project, which I'm gonna co-produce maybe a couple tracks. It'd be good to see them do well.
T: Any new artists to look out for?
PO: Spitfire and Bad Apple will be the next two artist records I work on later in the year.
T: Do you find yourself affected by political and religious issues going on in the world?
PO: Well, I am religious and I like to be aware of current affairs, yeah, of course. I have an opinion like everyone else. Depends on what it is. Certain subjects I feel stronger about than others. I think it's good to be socially aware of your environment and what's going on, and how you can help people.
T: Do you think your music helps people?
PO: It does help people, I know it does, and I'll give you two examples. I was in Ireland six or seven years ago, and you have Catholics and Protestants. There'd been a lot of trouble, a lot of bombings over the last thirty years. And we had clubbers from both sides and they were in the club dancing, no trouble. Palestinians and Isrealis, I played in a club in Tel A Viv two years ago, 5,000 Palestinians and Israelis dancing together...not a problem. And it's not just me, I'm talking about how music can bring people together. Leave your problems at the door for one night, and have a good time.
T: Anybody that you're following now in Hip Hop?
PO: I think Hip-Hop's gone pop. I think they're all focused on the money. I think the formula is there, the chorus, the rap. I think that where Hip-Hop is at, and where the change is coming and where the creativity is coming from is the producers in Hip-Hop. Look at Timberland, what I'm noticing is pop acts are going to Hip-Hop producers, and that's good, I think the producers are leading rather than the artists themselves.
T: You mentioned Timbo, anyone else whose beats you're feeling?
PO: The obvious three for me is Dre, Timberland, and Pharrell. For me they're the top 3. Purely because of the sounds they're getting. I mean, Nelly Furtado's track is 130bpm, it's like a straight club record. That's a Hip-Hop producer, average Hip-Hop record is between 90 to 105bpm, this is 130bpm, it fits more in my world than it does in Hip-Hop.
T: Do you make an effort to work with artists from different genres in your own music?
PO: I have since Bunka. I took Ice Cube, then put a lot of rock guitars on it with a track called Get Em Up. I took Tricky and Nelly Furtado and made it really dark and filmic. (I) Worked with Hunter S. Thompson, who's a writer, and then the likes of Perry Farrell and Grant-Lee Phillips, who are rock. So, I like to take people from different genres, and I think that's why I've done a lot of collaborations 'cause they like to go in places they haven't been before, and from an artists' point of view, it's a challenge.
T: If you were to have a movie based on your life, who would play you?
PO: That's a tough one...wait, there is someone. Did you see Charlie's Angels? The first Charlie's Angels? Who played the bad character? Ros-Roswell-Rock...what, what was his name? That character, he's not a famous actor but he's a fucking good actor!
T: I know who you mean, I'll definetly have to look that up (ed. note: Sam Rockwell played the lead villain in Charlie's Angels).