After two postponed interviews, I was finally being connected to the Balearic island of Ibiza. On the other line, which crackles and hisses for some unknown and intolerable reason, I hear Paul Oakenfold speak for the first time. Well, it wasn't his first time speaking, just his first time speaking to me. And he preferred to do it in Spanish. "¡Hola Xania! ¿Como estas, senorita? ¿Bien?"
For 12 summers, Paul Oakenfold, a native of London, England, has been returning to Ibiza, and somehow he is still enchanted by the place. He has only visited Vegas eight or nine times, but it too enchants him in a certain way. "Vegas is to America what Ibiza is to Europe. Top five for partying, bottom five for culture."
Can you blame the man? He spends months at a time touring the world, expressing his passion, and sharing his "emotional melodic" sound with the masses.
But it's more than that which keeps him coming back to Ice.
"The club's sound system is amazing; it's a Function One. The organization and the crowd are both so great that I have to keep coming back. (Godskitchen is) the best promotions company in the world."
Oakenfold dabbled in DJ-ing early on at the tender age of 16 while serving as the designated record-carrier for his friend, DJ Trevor Fung, in the Covent Garden bar scene in the late '70s. During the same period, he spent time in New York City, working for Arista Records and experiencing Manhattan's disco clubs.
Moving back to England, Oakenfold lived a double life: signing and producing hip-hop acts such as DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, and Salt-n-Pepa, while defining his sound as a house DJ and trance artist.
What else to listen to
You've never heard of Paul Oakenfold? Shame on you! You'd better have heard of people he's worked with.
Best known for his remixing and collaboration work, Oakenfold has been associated with everyone from U2 to the Cure and Snoop Dogg. His first artist album, 2002's Bunkka, even featured the voice of late author Hunter S. Thompson and was Oakenfold's favorite collaboration.
He is at work on a second artist album, and of his other projects, scoring movies and videogames has added new outlets for his creativity. Swordfish was his first foray into the soundtrack field and remains his favorite film project to date. Last year, he also was involved with the Spike TV reality series The Club, which Oakenfold co-created with Ben Silverman's Reveille company, the same force behind The Restaurant. And he is an investor, along with Tommy Lee, in LA's Rokbar, a version of which is rumored to be coming to Vegas.
Despite all of this, Oakenfold still finds time to relax.
"When I am not working, I love to watch films and of course football—or as Americans call it, soccer. I listen to all kinds of music, but right now I am really into the Game."
He's also a fully trained chef, having studied at Westminster Technical College in London, and still enjoys dabbling in the kitchen. "I like to cook pasta and a traditional English roast dinner."
Fame has not inflated Oakenfold's head. "It's important to look after people," he says. He does his best to multitask when on the road: signing albums, shaking hands and posing for pictures with fans, all the while creating an ephemeral sound sensation that stays with crowds long after his appearances, much like the ringing in their ears.
This Labor Day weekend, Oakenfold intends to break his two-day appearance into two parts: a melodic intro on day one and a heavier follow-up for day two. "It will be a balance of music and education." That's one lesson I'm eager to sign up for.