INTERVIEWS

Paul Oakenfold Discusses ‘Shine On’, Tour, and Autobiography

The English trance legend is currently on his North American tour with New Order and Pet Shop Boys.

Paul Oakenfold, for over the past few decades, is one of the top legends in the electronic music industry. The English trance DJ/producer has come a long way from his beginnings in the historic clubs of New York City and London and founding his own record label, Perfecto Records, to being a two-time #1 DJ voted by DJ Magazine and releasing his own autobiography, Ready Set Go, which came out earlier this year (he had also released a graphic novel about his career back in 2017 titled, The Wonderful World of Perfecto).

Paul Oakenfold also released his newest album, Shine On, which was a masterpiece four years in the making. The 17-track release contains collaborations with the likes of Zhu, Aloe Blacc, and Benny Benassi. Here is One EDM’s exclusive interview with the three-time Grammy Award and two-time World Music Award nominee as he described his current tour with New Order and Pet Shop Boys, the music from Shine On, and how his autobiography, Ready Set Go, can motivate everyone to succeed no matter what obstacles are in front of them.

Ken Ngo: Hello, Paul. October is here and 2023 is going to arrive in a couple months. In your own words, what do you think of 2022 (so far)?

Paul Oakenfold: 2022 has been an incredible year so far. I released my third artist album. I’ve done a summer European and North American tour. Furthermore, I was invited to be the first DJ to play in the Patagonian mountains in Argentina. I’ve released my second autobiography and I’m currently on tour with New Order and Pet Shop Boys where we played Madison Square Garden last week. This weekend, we will play two shows at the Hollywood Bowl. Not bad for a year’s work.

Earlier this year, you released your latest album, Shine On. What makes this album stand out the most compared to past releases such as We Are Planet PerfectoTrance MissionA Lively Mind, and your debut album Bunkka?

This album was a labor of love that I finished during COVID. It is very cinematic and it works with a 75-piece orchestra with great, driving songs.

When producing Shine On, were there any tracks on the album that you created that made you develop nostalgic memories of the music you made in the past couple decades?

No, this album is unlike no other.

What were your favorite critic reviews about Shine On that you like the most?

That I pushed the envelope and didn’t just make an album full of dance tunes.

Paul Oakenfold Live Photo
Photo Credit: Pawel Wieloch

Additionally, you released your autobiography titled, Ready Steady Go. What made you decide to publish an autobiography?

It’s my second book and whilst I was approached to do it, I thought long and hard about it. This is not a kiss and tell book. This is a book about a boy who struggled in school with dyslexia and music was the way out. If one person can read this and be motivated by it to achieve their dreams, that would mean the world to me.

While reading through the autobiography, the readers get the opportunity to learn more about yourself, how you got your career started, your struggles, and your accomplishments. If you were to return to the ’80s when you started your music career…what piece of advice would you like to give to the ’80s version of Paul Oakenfold?

Honestly, I do not know. I think that whatever you do in your life, just stay on track because it will get very hard at times. You got to have self-belief and motivation to fulfill your dreams.

Your music career has also seen you create your own prestigious music label, Perfecto Records. What is going to happen for the label next year in terms of releases and other upcoming projects?

Perfecto Records is doing very well and next year, we will be celebrating our 30-year anniversary. There will be major collaborations with myself and various artists of the label. There will be a documentary that features some of the biggest DJs in the world. As well as wonderful shows with some great lineups. I am looking forward to it.

You are currently on your latest North American tour. Which locations in North America do you like performing at the most and which locations do you want to perform at in the future?

This tour is very unique, as I mentioned earlier on, we are playing some fantastic North American venues. I really enjoyed Madison Square Garden, which I have played once before. I have played the Hollywood Bowl twice before but they are celebrating their 100th year; I am very excited to be playing there again.

In the next decade of your career, where do you aim to see yourself?

I am going to be opening my own venue with a couple of friends in Park City, which I’m really looking forward to. Just being in the studio and making more music.

What do you have planned for 2023?

More shows. More music. More projects. Working on my own club.

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Ken Ngo

Ken is a passionate sports and music fan with soccer being his #1 sport and European (particularly French and Dutch) house music being his #1 genre. His favorite producers are Martin Solveig, Sebastian Ingrosso, Madeon, Tiesto, Martin Garrix, and Armin Van Buuren.

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