Paul Oakenfold on dubstep, coming to Denver and how Beta is one of the best clubs in America
Catch Paul Oakenfold this Saturday, January 26, at Beta, a club he considers to be among the best in America.
One of the first true superstar DJs, Paul Oakenfold has done more to popularize electronic dance music in the United States and in his native Britain than any constituent of the current EDM explosion. Long before Skrillex and Deadmau5 brought styles like dubstep and electro into the mainstream consciousness, Oakenfold played a pioneering role in the establishment of contemporary nightlife.
Oakenfold became a household name in the States with the release of his 1998 mix album, Tranceport -- a greatest-hits compilation of late-'90s trance -- and the relentless gigging that accompanied it. His lengthy career includes highlights too numerous to count, including tours with Madonna and U2, residencies at British superclubs like Ministry of Sound and Cream, and his recent stand in Vegas at Rain.
Over the years, Oakenfold -- affectionately known to millions of club-goers worldwide simply as "Oakey" -- has performed frequently in Colorado, everywhere from Mile High Stadium to Red Rocks. We caught up with the panjandrum just prior to his return to Denver this weekend to get his take on the present electronic-music craze, what he thinks of big DJs getting kicked off the decks and what his fans can expect Saturday night at Beta.
Westword: Tell us about touring with Madonna last year. You've worked with her for years, but, obviously, the tour was a huge deal.
Paul Oakenfold: I've been very lucky with respect to Madonna. I've produced her, remixed her, toured with her...it's my third tour that I've done with her. So it was great to do it. It really is a wonderful show. She's fantastic. So it was a great opportunity for me to go on the road, and I really enjoyed it.
How do you reflect on being one of the key artists to popularize dance music in the U.K. in the late '80s, and then doing it again in the U.S. in the late '90s?
I don't really sit and look backward; I'm more of a person that looks forward. Vegas was a real big focus for me. I really focused on trying to build a regular event I was doing every Saturday and build out a whole electronic community. When I went there and started, there was nothing going on in Vegas. So that was a real important moment in the last few years. I'd say that was a very important moment for me.
Your recent residency, Planet Perfecto, was at Rain in Las Vegas. What was a club night there like?
Oh, it was fantastic. We had nearly 5,000 people there. I did it for three years. It was a long time to be a resident. It was absolutely amazing, and now Vegas has exploded. It's the hub of electronic music in America.
What did you think about Mark Farina getting kicked off the decks at Marquee [in Vegas] over the summer?
I never heard that. Why'd he get kicked off?
People in table service complained he was playing too much house...
...and the management asked him to stop playing.
[Laughs] Really? Why the fuck would they go to the club? They must be stupid people.