Paul Oakenfold rocks the floor in Bangkok


Normally Thursday’s are a fairly lame night out at the Narz Club in Bangkok as everyone awaits the arrival of the weekend.  Not so however when England’s numero uno DJ is in town!

Paul Oakenfold is still regarded as one of the best music producers and DJ’s in the world.  He is the man who entertained 90,000 people at the Glastonbury open air festival in 1995, an attendance record still unbroken by any other DJ to this day.

So Bangkok’s party people flocked to Soi 23 on Thursday, April 25 to view this maestro in the flesh and dance the night away – and “Sir Paul” was just the man to cater to their musical tastes.

Paul Oakenfold plays the Narz club in Bangkok, Thursday, April 25, 2013. (Photo/ Klaus Kaschel)Paul Oakenfold plays the Narz club in Bangkok, Thursday, April 25, 2013. (Photo/ Klaus Kaschel)

First off the audience was warmed up by resident DJ Pan before the master himself took over the turntables around midnight and was greeted by a huge round of applause by those in attendance.

Oakenfold’s music is a mixture of techno, house, drum & bass, spiced up with a flavor of trance music – mostly synthesizers playing a motif that climbs higher and higher.  Then the thumping steady beat (120bpm) sets in and carries you away.

The crowd was into it right away, everyone enraptured by the structure and melodies of the pieces which were occasionally enriched by seducing female voices.  You’d have to be deaf not to get caught up in the music of Paul Oakenfold.

Oakenfold provides proof that this genre of music, which is often thought of as being cold and mechanical, can actually attain human warmth and can stir up the emotions big time.  What a beautiful night it was in Bangkok.

Before his show at the Narz Club, Paul took time out to speak exclusively to Pattaya Mail about his work with Madonna, his colleagues in the industry, plus the little matter of getting older.

Pattaya Mail:  You have used music from Goa/India in your work before.  Are you interested in traditional Thai music?  There is a distinct style called ‘Mor Lam’ from the rural north-east of the country.

Paul Oakenfold:  I’m not personally familiar with “Mor Lam’ – but why not.  I know some people who search for old vinyls of this type of music in the used record shops in the Yaowarat area of Bangkok.

PM:  Was working with Madonna a very important point in your career?

Paul Oakenfold:  In 2008 I opened for her “Confessions” tour around the world for two months.  One of the last pieces of work I did with her was producing the song “Celebration” in 2009 from her third greatest hits collection.  I also remixed a past demo “It’s so cool” from the album “American Life”.

PM:  “One Night in Bangkok” is the unofficial anthem of the capital here.  How about doing a new version of this song?

Paul Oakenfold: … (Laughs) It’s a very good song. … (Sings) “One night in Bangkok makes a hard man humble.”  It was written by Benny Anderson of ABBA fame for the musical Chess.  The original version by Murray Head is brilliant.  Sometimes it makes no sense to add new spice to a nearly perfect song.

PM:  How long can a DJ keep playing live in public?  I mean, a blues musician can play when he is 90 years old.  Rock musicians perform when they are 70 years old.  What’s the considered shelf life for a DJ?

Paul Oakenfold: … (Laughs again) I hope to keep working as long as it’s fun.  I’ll finish when I feel it’s time to say goodbye to my fans.  But at the moment I’m not thinking about the end of my career as a DJ.  If the audience sends the message that they don’t like what I do anymore then that could change.  At the moment though I’m still in pretty good shape for touring and I enjoy what I do.

PM:  Can we talk about some of your contemporaries in the music industry?  What do you think of the German DJ, Paul van Dyk?

Paul Oakenfold:  He’s very good – one of Germany’s best.  He played with me at the same festival at Speke airfield in Liverpool in 2002.  It was the “Cream Fields” event.

PM:  Soon David Guetta will be coming to play in Bangkok.  He is very popular now all over the world.  Do you think he brings a breath of fresh air to the music scene?

Paul Oakenfold:  David has been doing that for many years.  He is an excellent DJ and deserves all his success.  I don’t think he’s too much ‘middle of the road.’

PM:  We’ve already talked about Madonna.  Are there any other artists you would like to work with?

Paul Oakenfold:  Nobody special immediately springs to mind although Nelly Furtado is one of my favourite artists.  She’s extremely talented and a great vocalist.  Most of all she’s good fun.  She doesn’t take herself or the music business too seriously, as some others do.

PM:  Thank you very much Paul for taking the time to talk to us and we hope to see you back in Thailand soon, maybe even in Pattaya next time?

Paul Oakenfold:  Thanks – that would be great!