Paul Oakenfold is the DJ, remixer, and producer who was single handedly responsible for breaking house music in Britain during the late '80s.
He has gone on to produce more than one hundred remixes, and sold over 5 million albums over the course of his career, not bad considering his simple DJ beginnings at a basement bar playing soul in Covent Garden.
After a stint club promoting and being an agent for the Beastie Boys and Run DMC, between living in the UK and America Paul became a leading authority on hip-hop, and as an A&R man for a label he signed the as-then unknowns Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, and Salt N’Pepa.
But the real story of Oakenfold the DJ started when he travelled to the Spanish island of Ibiza for a birthday celebration and falling in love with a new sound dubbed Balearic (a mix of house, soul and Italian disco), he brought the sound back to Britain, introducing them to a completely new dance experience. It was this successful shift in music that had Oakenfold's name on everyone's lips.
After a couple of Oakenfold remixes charted well for UK band The Happy Mondays, they asked Paul and his long-time collaborator Steve Osborne, to produce their new album "Classic Pills, Thrills And Bellyaches" - a Brit Award for Best Producer came to them in 1991 for the album and NME named it Album Of The Year.
Under the Perfecto name, Paul remixed the likes of New Order, Massive Attack, The Shamen and Arrested Development among others, even U2. U2's song "Even Better Than The Real Thing" charted higher than the actual original song, thus signalling a watershed in the history and growth of dance music. Paul went on to be hired as the warm-up for U2's Zoo TV world tour as well as supporting INXS, the Orb, Simply Red, Boy George, and Primal Scream.
Being the name he was, the Oakenfold name was a huge drawcard for clubs and promoters, so it was a massive coup for the Liverpool club "Cream" to have Paul signed up to what would become a legendary two-year residence. Die-hard fans travelled from far and wide with the press dubbing them "Oakenfolk".
He began producing his own music as well, introducing a new breed of dance music called Goa, something he discovered on the beaches of Goa in India which he combined with similar sounding European tracks to create his own distinct sound. In 1995, he became the first DJ to ever play on the main stage at the Glastonbury Festival for 90,000 people which he still considers his favorite gig.
1998 was the year DJ Magazine took their Best DJ poll online and who should take it out? Paul took first place in the coverted Top 100 DJs award, and then in 1999 Paul Oakenfold took it again. That was a big year for him as he left his adoring fans in the UK, and headed to the US to try and break dance there, not the easiest of tasks. Extensive touring including playing in the smallest of clubs, as well as carefully crafted mix albums saw his name steadily grow state-side.
After completing many mix albums Paul released his first production album in this time (2002) called "Bunkka" (named after the Peter Gabriel recording studio where is was made). The album features Jane’s Addiction vocalist Perry Farrell on "Time of Your Life" and Shifty Shellshock of Los Angeles rock and rap band Crazy Town on "Starry Eyed Surprise" with popular Ice Cube on "Get Em Up" as well as Tricky and Nelly Furtado on "The Harder They Come". The record became his most successful to date when it sold more than a million copies, and it was at this time that Q magazine named Paul in their list of the "50 Bands To See Before You Die".
Oakenfold has gone onto to remix the James Bond Theme song, a variety of Madonna songs, been involved in countless tv ads and computer game soundtracks and even produced film soundtracks such as "Swordfish" starring John Travolta and Hugh Jackman.
Little known fact: Did you you know that Oakenfold produced the theme song for the Big Brother TV show?