Legendary British DJ Paul Oakenfold had a thought: to make an all-covers album of ’90s trance anthems. It came to him while he was on a “back to basics” tour in 2013 where he played in small rooms of 500 to 1000 people.
“The idea was to connect to the crowd, get back to my roots and play trance. From that, people started coming up saying, ‘can you play some of the classics?’ I was like no, this isn’t a classics tour, this has nothing to do with old music,” Oakenfold explained during an interview with Radio.com about the inspiration behind his new full-length, Trance Mission, which find him recreating such tracks as “Theme for Great Cities” (Simple Minds) and “Café del Mar” (Energy 52). “From people asking me to play some of these old classics came the idea of taking these classics and redoing them in a 2014 production sound that could fit into a current set, and also to educate the current generation of clubbers who don’t know these songs from 15 years ago.”
In Oakenfold’s long career, his status as one of the original superstar DJs around the turn of the century catapulted him from the electro underground into the music mainstream, working with a long line of A-list artists ranging from Madonna to U2 and producing Hollywood soundtracks big budget films, inlcuding Swordfish.
Oakenfold’s ambitions drove him to push dance music beyond the norms of genre and into new territories throughout the ’00s, even to the point of alienating some of his peers and fans alike.
“When I started my residency in 2009 in Las Vegas, there was no clubs playing electronic music. It was mash-ups and hip-hop,” he recalled. “Strangely enough, I had a lot of slack from my community. They were like, ‘Vegas is old school, it’s where the old acts go.’ I always saw it in a different sense. For me, I felt Vegas was the right spot. So now when I go back to Vegas, to see all the billboards and to see every club doing it, I think it’s a positive thing. Why shouldn’t America have a home for electronic music? It’s similar to what we’ve had in Europe for years with Ibiza.”