written by Claire Maxwell
The fact that saying, "he really needs no introduction"
is completely a cliche when introducing Oakenfold, is, well, an
introduction that goes to show how well this prolific and popular
artist, DJ, producer, and industry baron is known!
Despite his Tolstoy-length list of accomplishments, Oakey (as he
calls himself) is notorious for not been all that keen on being
interviewed. I can remember an early oline video interview with
our own Jennifer Warner in 2002 where he was being adorably shy!
But he's always been extremely gracious over the years with talking
to oh probably tens of thousands of journalists, including a few
times for Raves/DJfix, like now.
download of Faster Kill Pussycat audio!
We wanted to hear what he had to say about his new artist album,
A Lively Mind, which features the super
fun single (dowload link above) with Brittany Murphy, plus a whole
slew of amazing guest appearances. So Oakey emailed us the answers
to 10 questions... and here they are! Check out the full press release
below for more info too.
Of all the people you could work with, how did you decide on
Brittany Murphy, Pharrel Williams, and Grandmaster Flash?
1: Grand Master Flash is a legend in his own rite, it was an honour
to work with him, and Pharrell and Brittany are very talented people
and a pleasure to work with.
Did you work in the studio with any/all of the artists who
appear on your album, or was some of it long distance?
2: All the artists worked in the studio, though it was sometimes
difficult with Pharrell due to his touring commitments.
Describe your role in the entire song writing and recording
process... how are you inspired, what exactly technically do you
do on each song?
I co-wrote most of the Album, and recorded it with my Engineer's
How do you decide when a track is finally done ‚ do you run
it by anyone in particular (a trusted friend for example); play
it in your car/walkman/club to test it out; leave it for a few days
and come back to it, or any other technique that you use for most
I sometimes play them out to test the reaction, but generally I
can feel when they are completed.
Where in the world did you come up with the lyrics and title
for Faster Kill Pussycat???
Me and my co-wroter Kelli came up with the lyrics, we wanted an
Another great title is ìSave The Last Trance For Meî - where
did that come from?
The idea behind the title, really was to have a joke at myself.
What was it like making that video for Faster Kill Pussycat?
Great big production, I loved it!
You are also working on the scores for three new films this
year, can you let us in on what they are, and has your film work
influenced your artist work in any way?
The 3 new Movies im due to work on are 'Nobel's Son' 'One 9' and
'The Heavy'. My film work has an influence on my artist album.
Two bands you signed to Perfecto and that you have on your
album - Bad Apples and Spitfire, are rock and rap, respectively.
Will you be signing more diverse acts to your label, or do you have
any new signings coming up that you can let us in on?
Bad Apples and Spitfire are signed to The Sound of the Renegade
Recordings not on Perfecto, I’m producing both Band and Artist's,
the new signings on Perfecto are EM-Jay and the Atari Baby's and
Youíve always been ahead of the curve, seeing where dance
music will go and putting yourself and your label there first. Where
do you see yourself, and electronic/dance music heading now?
I think Electronic Bands are the way forward 'Turbo Electronic
Rock' done live.
And thatís ten! Thank you!!!!
Thank you for all your support,
For more visit: www.pauloakenfold.com
OAKENFOLD OFFICIAL BIO
A Lively Mind is Paul Oakenfold's second artist album
and his second for Perfecto Records. Of course, every single one
of his mix albums and projects have involved a high level of artistry,
so perhaps a little explanation is in order...
Paul Oakenfold has long been one of the most important--if not
the most important--name in modern club culture. People who don't
know that much about DJ culture or the music itself are familiar
with Oakenfold's name and what he represents. Of course, many people
who think they're unfamiliar with Oakenfolds music actually may
have heard it often, thanks to appearances globally on the radio
and TV featured in commercials supports mega brands such as Coca-Cola,
Toyota, Motorola and Saab all which ran throughout 2005, not to
mention his contributions to hit films such as Swordfish (which
Oakenfold scored), The Matrix Reloaded and Michael Manns Collateral.
In fact, when the superstar DJ sold out the Hollywood Bowl a couple
of years ago, many pundits viewed the events as definitive proof
that dance culture had finally arrived in America--a force as powerful
as any other in modern pop music.
Still, when he works as a DJ and/or as a remixer and releases mix
CDs it's not a total expression of this Grammy Nominated artists
musical creativity. Thus, A Lively Mind features 12 new songs composed
and created by Paul Oakenfold. A work of love and passion, its been
three years in the making. Bunkka, his debut artist album featuring
the hits Ready Steady Go and Starry Eyed Surprise, was released
in 2002, sold over a million copies worldwide and went Gold.
"I'm an infant in the 'artist' world, weaned and ready to blossom,"
jokes the composer. "I still primarily believe that songs are
the way to move forward in my musical world, which has always been
very instrumentally-based. So coming up with great songs takes time.
And, naturally, I'd jump from making the record to working on cues
for films or doing a couple of remixes and then I'd get inspired
and jump back into it. Some of the tracks have been reworked many
times over to find a comfortable arena for me.
"Plus, even though there are 12 tracks on the CD, I've recorded
quite a few more. It wasn't a process of seeing what I could come
up with and that's what's ended up on the album. There was a lot
of tooing and froing until I was happy with the record".
By his own admission, however, Oakenfold is not a singer. Bunkka
featured such guest vocalists as Perry Farrell, Ice Cube, Tricky,
Nelly Furtado, and--in what would turn out to be his final recorded
appearance--Dr. Hunter S. Thompson. A Lively Mind continues the
tradition of employing unique vocalists.
"Faster Kill Pussycat," the kickoff track and first single,
is perhaps the most unique and somewhat shocking of the album when
it comes to guest singers. The song--which started life as a rock
tune but now might best be described as reminiscent of a young Madonna
at her very best--features the astounding singing talents of...
Brittany Murphy. Yes, that Brittany MurphyEminems girlfriend in
8 Mile. The femme fatale in Sin City. The actress-turned-diva was
recommended to Oakenfold by a mutual friend. Oakenfold claims, by
the way, to be totally unfamiliar with Russ Meyer's cult classic
film, Faster, Pussycat, Kill Kill.
"I was looking for a different genre and a different feel
and something just original for me," explains Oakenfold. "I
knew I wanted a girl vocalist but also someone who's not known as
a singer. It had to be someone from a completely different world
than mine. It ultimately seemed that film was the right place to
look because I was venturing more and more into that world. But
even more importantly, I needed someone who could sing--who could
really, really sing--and Brittany Murphy fit the bill."
The world of film--or at least of Hollywood--influenced another
of the albums stand out tracks, this one featuring vocals by modern
hip-hop great Pharrell Williams. Inspired by the four years the
London-Raised Oakenfold has called L.A. "home," the track
is titled "Sex 'N Money." "It was actually an idea
I came up for my last record that didn't make it because it was
to hip-hop back then and I already had enough hip-hop songs on that
album," says the writer. "So I shelved it and then later
came across it while hunting for some old stuff. I liked the lyrical
connotations of sex and money, thinking if anything, it's more relevant
"It's a song about how soulless the Hollywood party scene
can be. Ive been in situations where people are introduced to me
and then they spot a celebrity, standing nearby, and they disappear,
literally mid sentence. So the track is really Hollywood in a nutshell
for me--it's all sex and money. We deconstructed our original track
and rewrote it for Pharrell, in a way that's melodic and hypnotic
and just keeps coming back at you in waves."
Other vocalists include two artists signed to Oakenfold's long-running
Perfecto custom label--Spitfire (who performs on "No Compromise"
and "Feed Your Mind") and Ashley of the rock band Bad
Apples (who adds his vocal talents to "Vulnerable"). And
then theres one who can only be described as a true living legend.
Grandmaster Flash, the man who gave birth to the whole hip-hop movement
in the early '80s with his classic "The Message," joins
Oakenfold on "Set It Off."
"Flash and I have long talked about making a track together
hes the godfather! So it was truly an honor to work with him. I
don't think there's another DJ I would actually make a record with
but I really liked the idea of the guy who arguably started the
whole DJ thing being on my record. And I liked the idea of our worlds
colliding and our sounds clashing. That's why the track is a little
more electronic than some of the others. It's a perfect blend of
both our elements."
A perfect blend could also be the perfect phrase to describe the
cohesiveness of A Lively Mind a title which means an active person,
says its creator. Balance was the key on this one, and the artist
believes that this album may strike with a larger audience than
Bunkka, an album that tended to alienate a small portion of his
large audience. "What I set out to do on my last record was
probably one step ahead of the game," he says in retrospect.
"The dance world or electronic world was expecting more of
a DJ record and I wanted to make a record that was more out there.
Direction is hugely important to me--to have a balance. And I felt
like maybe I'd lost a bit of balance on Bunkka. So this record is
a lot more up-tempo, a lot more focused, and a lot more comfortable
in the electronic world than the last record was and yet it still
has a variety of flavors."
In fact, some of the titles and themes on the album have a direct
correlation to that electronic and dance world, both lyrically and
title-wise. "Save The Last Trance For Me" is, of course,
a play on words from the Drifters' classic "Save The Last Dance
For Me." His critics get their comeuppance in "No Compromise."
And the instrumental "Amsterdam" pays tribute to a city
that plays host to the biggest dance scene in Europe. Of course,
on some levels, it seems almost absurd to think of Paul Oakenfold
needing to get "more comfortable" in anything involving
the electronic world. After all, the guy helped invent that world.
His mark can be seen and heard in everything from the early rise
of hip-hop to the birth of the "Madchester" scene.
Oakenfolds career began in London, when he began DJing in small
clubs around the West End. His rising reputation led to a job as
an A&R rep at the UK-based Champion label, where his first signing
was Will Smith (still part of Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince).
His second? Salt N' Peppa. Not bad for a novice record exec. After
stints at Profile and Def Jam (where he perfected the talent scouting
skills that would eventually lead him to start his own Perfecto
label in 1991), he returned to DJing.
Oakenfold changed European youth culture throughout the late '80s
and early '90s. He was one of the first DJ's to have a residency
on the Island of Ibiza, leading to both a new sound and a yearly
festival. He also started regular "Balearic" club nights
in London, attracting a crossover audience and remixed legendary
bands such as The Stone Roses and the Happy Mondays (whose Pills
'N' Thrills and Bellyaches album was produced by Oakenfold and his
production partner Steve Osborne, becoming the biggest album of
the band's career).
His pivotal role in the Manchester scene was Oakenfold's visa into
the rock world. Over the next several years, he, along with Osborne,
remixed tracks by legendary bands New Order, The Cure and Massive
Attack. In 1991, he first worked with U2 remixing "Even Better
Than the Real Thing" and "Mysterious Ways" from their
Achtung Baby album. It was the start of a long partnership with
that band. He was the DJ on their historic ZOO TV tour and later
remixed the band's "Beautiful Day," a number one hit for
U2 on the U.S. and U.K. dance charts.
Over the years, he's remixed tracks for everyone from Madonna to
Elvis Presley to Justin Timberlake to Moby to Snoop Doggy Dog. He's
the first electronic artist ever to be in the Guinness Book of World
Records--for being the biggest DJ in the world. He's the only DJ
to have a display case in the Hard Rock Cafe's Rock & Roll Museum.
2003 also saw Paul perform a concert on the Great Wall of China.
That same year, not only was he honored with the UK's "Pioneer
of Dance Music" award, which was presented by Queen Elizabeth
herself at the "Pioneers of the Nation" celebration,"
shortly after Oakenfold had played the Nelson Mandela-organized
South African AIDS benefit concert alongside Bono, Peter Gabriel
and Beyonce Knowles. Oakenfolds mix compilation Another World (Perfecto)
sold over 500,000 in the U.S. alone making it the biggest selling
DJ compilation. He's also one helluva cook, having graduated from
culinary school before beginning his journey in the music world.
Now comes A Lively Mind, a totally new and fresh venture
and perspective, musically speaking, for the artist. The album is
just the beginning of an amazing 2006 that will find Oakenfold working
on the scores of at least three new films--as well as remixing a
number of singles including Madonnas new record Confessions of a
Dance Floor and a track from the legendary Burning Spear. At the
same time, the Perfecto label is releasing debut albums by the aforementioned
Spitfire (who Oakenfold compares to a young Anthony Kiedis) and
the London-by-way-of-Los Angeles Bad Apples. Then there's the U.S.
and European tour that will follow the new albums release.