Producer and Perfecto Records founder Paul Oakenfold isn't your typical DJ. He has toured every inch of the planet with legendary acts such as U2 and Madonna. And known for the glitz and glam that often accompany his sets, he has staged every kind of spectacle, from fully produced stage shows starring 75 circus performers to special effects and light displays.
So predictably, Oakenfold isn't an easy man to reach. A simple conversation with him means calling a hotel at 9 p.m. Eastern Time and asking for a long-dead English author whose name he uses as a pseudonym. Asked if he's a fan of the aforementioned Brit, Oakenfold replies half-confused, "Sorry?" After a pause, he regroups, chuckling, "Yeah. I am a fan."
Later, it comes up that the DJ spent his early 20s pretending to be a reporter for music magazines such as NME and Melody Maker. He interviewed legends such as Bob Marley, but his major motivation was getting into the best clubs and parties in the United States.
"Well, that was how you got in," Oakenfold shrugs. "If you've got an English accent and you've got an ID card that says you work for that magazine, obviously that was good enough."
His answers to the next few questions are similarly short and calculated — almost as if he were tweeting his thoughts — until he brings up Miami.
"Well, like a lot of people, I love Miami," he says. "I think it's very cosmopolitan. Obviously, a lot of South Americans really bring out that flavor for electronic music. They love it in South America, so it really opens the door in Miami for a lot of electronic artists."
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Conveniently enough, Oakenfold will be in town this weekend at LIV as part of the 50-date Facelift Tour, road-testing new material from his currently untitled album-in-progress. Scheduled for a May 2011 release, the disc will feature a ton of cross-genre talent, including Cee-Lo, Ryan Tedder of One Republic, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Matt Goss. Meanwhile, he has assembled a small gang of young, international musicians — Chuckie, Calvin Harris, and Nervo — to help with the road show.
"I like the idea of being able to play all kinds of music," Oakenfold explains when asked about his eclectic roster of collaborators. "For me, it's the way forward. I find that I like that approach."
And now 20-plus years into his DJ career, the man behind the music has worked with every genre, from Goa trance, Balearic beats, progressive trance, and rock to acid house, hip-hop, pop, and soul. But he doesn't have much to say about all of those twists and turns.
"It's just the music I like and play, really," he concludes. "There's nothing more in it than that."