Paul Oakenfold: "We Spend Way Too Much Time Listening To A Lot Of Music That Just Isn’t Good Enough"
25 years since setting up his world-renowned label Perfecto Records, we talk to the legendary DJ on the state of the dance industry today...
It's crazy to think Paul Oakenfold's Perfecto Records is celebrating 25 YEARS releasing tunes from the likes of club gods Tiësto, David Guetta, Carl Cox, Timo Maas and more.
Responsible for releasing some of the biggest dance anthems of all time, selling over 10 million records and personally causing 70,000 to descend on Clapham Common (not to mention playing the Great Wall Of China), dance music simply wouldn't be where it's at now without him.
To celebrate his epic anniversary, and the release of his new compilation ’25 Years of Perfecto Records’, we caught some time with the legend to talk his favourite moments from the past two and a half decades and get his thoughts on the current stars of today...
MTV UK: Perfecto has been a part of many dance music milestones – Carl Cox cracking the Top 40, the first USSR track to enter the UK charts, yourself at Glastonbury…what’s been the biggest achievement you hold with Perfecto above all else?
"I would say having over 10 million records sold and having three Top 10 pop records. Grace supporting Michael Jackson on his UK tour. Being an influential part of the electronic community. Having Paul Van Dyk, Tiesto, BT, Carl Cox on the roster and doing Perfecto Vegas and Perfecto Ibiza. Lastly, our radio show being in 67 countries to 22 million listeners!"
MTV UK: Which Perfecto singing are you most proud of and why?
P: "Gary Clow and the all new sound system. Not your typical act. We took something left field and had a massive commercial hit called 'Human Nature'."
MTV UK: What’s your favourite Perfecto release EVER?
P: "Grace – Not Over Yet"
MTV UK: What’s your favourite track on the compilation?
P: "PPK – Resurrection. It’s a timeless piece of music that still send chills down a lot of peoples spines. The melody is beautiful."
MTV UK: You must receive countless records every week. How do you find that diamond in the rough?
P: "It’s difficult, even more so now. I spend a lot of time playing the records before I give them to anyone."
MTV UK: Does anything you receive surprise you anymore or have you heard it all?
P: "Just came across a surprise recently, Joyriders 'I Wanna'. Uses a new jack swing approach."
MTV UK: In your recent interview with Billboard you said the quality in electronic music has gone downhill. Any examples? Who/what is responsible in your opinion?
P: "I think the internet is responsible. Before, the AR guys would filter all the crap. Now, everyone can release anything. Now we spend way too much time listening to a lot of music that just isn’t good enough."
MTV UK: These days the likes of Philip George can blow up on Soundcloud and have a No.1 and guys like Alex Adair are having their uni work released and reaching the Top 10… Is it a good thing that there are so many outlets for budding musicians to achieve potential success or should there be a level of ‘graft’?
P: "It’s great that there are a lot of ways to get music out. It’s a catch 22, referring to the question above."
MTV UK: Of all the new dance artists/acts lately, who’s surprised you the most?
MTV UK: Is dance music the new pop music?
P: "For sure."
MTV UK: You also mentioned you want to set up a DJ school. Tell us more…
P: "We just set up our DJ Academy at LA Recording School where we bring in talented and experienced people from all over the electronic music industry to speak to the students and really give them advice and the ways they can succeed in today’s electronic music world. Check us out online."
MTV UK: If you had one tip to give for an aspiring DJ what would it be?
P: "There are many. Learn your craft. Work hard. Focus on yourself. (And come to our school!)"
MTV UK: You were the first international DJ to hold a headline residency in Las Vegas. Contracts for headliners there are into the millions of dollars now - is there any real ‘scene’ thriving out there or is it all about the money?
P: "The scene is huge there. The clubs wouldn’t pay them if they didn’t deserve it. It’s the DJs who put them in the club. It was the same when I started my residency in Ibiza. They didn’t want to pay but they realized the DJ could pack the club."
MTV UK: With all the restrictions in Ibiza now, can the island ever reclaim it’s ‘magic’? Or is it still as good as ever?
P: "I think it still has magic, just in a different way. I still love to go there and I’ll be visiting for the openings in May and then playing again in August."
MTV UK: What one moment in your career has left you speechless? And why?
P: "There have been a few. Playing at Wembley with U2 and Madonna. Playing to 75,000 at Clapham common. Meeting the Queen and being recognised as a pioneer of the nation and being the resident for Radio 1’s Essential Mix."
Paul Oakenfold’s ’25 Years of Perfecto Records’ is out now.