Paul Oakenfold has one of the largest dj followings around. He has been in the business for a couple of decades at least now, but it has been in last 10, and more so the last five years that he has risen to DJ superstar status. Paul Oakenfold first came to my attention when the first Cream Live CD was released in 1995 and he mixed the second cd, it comprised of songs that were to become big hits 6 months later, but at the time were unknown great tunes, mixing vocal house tunes along with more ambient mixes of tunes like Odyssey to Anyoona by Jam and Spoon (still a fave of mine), for me the 2nd cd alone was worth buying. At this time Paul Oakenfold was one of Creams resident dj's and the whole dance scene was just starting to explode and was in fact becoming more mainstream. In a sense in recent years Paul Oakenfold has moved on to more commercial music, playing in clubs around the world, mixing many mainstream chart compliation cd's inclcluding more cream Cd's. The house Collection and of late Paul is responsible for the theme to Big Brother (soon to be released). His mixing skills remain one of the most superior to date and I am glad that he is raking in the rewards. The sets that he plays still remain a mixture between styles and I appreciate that more than sets by others that move from one track to another never changing tempo or beat. I hear stories of how arrogant and self impressed he is, however my friends and I have seen him at clubs a lot of times and he never comes that was as much as some other Dj' do. Also, on a couple of occasions I have actually chatted to him for some time and he has always been interesting and quite a good laugh. There is always a good atmosphere and for me that is what counts.
Well I have to say that Paul Oakenfold has to be THE best DJ to grace the planet! However, I really think that things like the Big Brother theme tune don't do his reputation any justice what so ever. He has performed some absolutely stunning sets, namely at Homelands, Creamfields, @Cream, etc. I have also heard some tip top sets from Havana, Shaghai, and Ibiza through the Essential Selection. He has the ability to take a crowd and force them to experience a very good blend of ups and downs, whilst changing the up to the down in a flawless and smooth manner. This is the Oakie the world needs! We need to see him doing more DJing around some of the lesser known clubs rather than Home (is that Home of the Mass Media hype...) Come on Oakie, lets have some more! (And whilst he's at it we need some new Oakie material on CD for the Global Underground series!)
I've never actually seen Oakey live, although I hopefully will soon (I live in Liverpool, home of Cream). I listened to his set from Brighton on Radio 1 a few months back. As he started off, I wondered what he was up to - lots of vocals and not much of a beat. But sat back listening to it I suddenly realised it was moving on. That's what I like about Oakenfold - he does know how to get the crowd worked up. Other DJ's just go from one track to another without thinking about how they fit. Oakey has also made classics like Bullet In The Gun (under the name of Planet Perfecto), and more recently, the Big Brother UK theme (with Andy Gray, calling themselves Element Four). Both are classic trance, and I doubt they will ever become "cheesey" like Judge Jules' tracks do.
Paul Oakenfold wrote and produced (along with Andy Gray) the theme tune to Big Brother. I've become quite used to hearing it every night the show comes on, and like it so much I bought the single (out last week). I hear a lot of dance on the radio but rarely buy them. I can't stop playing this though! This is the full version of the theme, rather than the 15 second version you'll hear at the start of the show. It stands on its own as a great track. Theres another couple of tracks on the single, both remixes of the main theme. The Grayed Out Deep House mix lasts 4 minutes, the 12" mix is 10 minutes which is the better of the two. Sadly no tracks of Anna on the guitar :/ It was a new entry in the charts at Number 4 last week, hopefully it'll stick around, and maybe even get to Number 1? The show continues for another 2 weeks (and its going to get more popular at the climax) so fingers crossed, it won't drop down. I wonder what the housemates would have thought of it?
I recently helped stage a digital arts installation at Slinky in Bournemouth, and Paul was the headline DJ. I hadn't actually seen him DJ before but I had heard some of his mixes, and his general reputation, so was keen to see what all the fuss was about... We were filming in the club, to document peoples reaction and interaction with the art we were presenting, and my first encounter with Paul was one of the bouncers telling me that I wasn't allowed to film anywhere in the club (including the rooms where Paul wasn't playing) when Paul was on, as he didn't want anything else to upstage or be the focus of attention, so we also had to turn off all our projections and touch screens. The crowd were very excited and chanted his name for about three minutes while he stalled coming on to get the best reception. He then started, launching with a track that build up giving fuel to the general atmosphere, the track eventually peaked and set off on a techno rollercoaster and the crowd went wild.. This was the climax of the evening because from that point on the music just got more and more bland, and the rollercoaster was a disappointing monotonous let down. the crowd showing signs of tiring and becoming disinterested. So my conclusion is that he is an over rated egotist who doesn't deserve the following that he has, and it will only be a matter of time before the crowd realise it.