INTERVIEWS / FILM
"Q" for Quirky
A force to be reckoned with
By Kit Bowen
Let’s say that you’re a middle-aged trance DJ, a Brit. Back in your 20s, you went from spinning records on London’s West End to an A&R desk where you signed two rap duos that didn’t amount to a hill of beans. One was called something like Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, and the other was named maybe Oil and Vinegar or Salt’N’Pepa, or Garlic and Mashed Potatoes... something along those lines. Anyway, you went on to be a big remixer, producer, DJ, and label mogul—and you’re wondering what’s left?
So, you start exploring other outlets—scoring films and co-authoring biographies rich in wisdom for the aspiring DJ. Maybe you starred as a raging un-dead mutant in an English dystopian film, or even if you didn’t, your Wikipedia entry steadfastly claims you did. Whatever. You’re Paul Oakenfold and you’ve done a lot in your 44 years on earth.
Nikki Style: Are you scoring any films or games right now?
Paul Oakenfold: Yeah, I got a movie coming out that I scored called Noble Son. Then I go back to L.A. to work on a movie called Humboldt Park.
NS: So you’ve kept busy then.
PO: Yeah, I enjoy the movies.
NS: What made you get into scoring?
PO: I got a chance to score a movie called Swordfish, which was a John Travolta and Halle Berry movie. I really enjoyed the process, so I just continued to do it.
NS: Who were your big inspirations as you started getting into film scores?
PO: In terms of composers and conductors, I like Harry Gregson-Williams. I like John Williams’ work. I think Hans Zimmer is really good. They’re the kind of guys who I always look out for their scores. I think that John Powell does good work.
My sound is pretty much a melodic trance sound, and people
NS: You played a zombie in 28 Weeks Later, right?
PO: No, that’s not true.
NS: Damn. I saw that on Wikipedia.
PO: Yeah, I was given a chance to do it, but I turned it down.
NS: Why’d you turn it down?
PO: Well, it’s because I don’t want to be in front of the camera.
NS: What else are you currently working on besides film scores?
PO: That’s it really. I just got my greatest hits album. It’s just come out, it’s doing really well. I’m just supporting the album and the book.
NS: I meant to ask you about that. You’ve got this biography out.
PO: Yeah. It’s with Richard Norris.
NS: Did it take a long time to write?
PO: Years. Three years.
NS: Did you guys just meet up and talk about your life?
PO: Yeah, but it’s also to give younger DJs an idea how to achieve certain things because that is always the biggest question you get asked.
NS: So what’s your advice for younger DJs?
PO: Buy the book. (Laughs). Yeah. Buy the book.
NS: Which younger DJs do you see a lot of promise in?
PO: I like Kenneth Thomas from Detroit, Robert Vadney from Greece, Adam White from England, Liam Shachar from Israel. I see a lot of international DJs, but they’re just a bunch of my favorites.
NS: Do you consider your personal sound the product of a particular place such as England, New York, or Spain?
PO: No, not really. My sound is pretty much a melodic trance sound, and people around the world can relate to that sound because it brings good feelings out of them.