Paul and Perfecto, one year later

(Photo by Richard Brian)
(Photo by Richard Brian)

Paul Oakenfold has kept his promise. Before Perfecto began at Rain, he said he’d bring Vegas something different, and over the last year, Perfecto’s impact on the nightlife scene has been undeniable. Other venues around town seem to have taken note, branching out from the safety of music that’s all-commercial, all-the time in favor of more versatile dance and electronic music.

On Perfecto’s one-year anniversary last Saturday night we caught up with Oakie backstage (OK, in the private dining room of N9NE Steak House) to hear his reflections on his first year at Rain.

Perfecto Vegas was only originally slated to be at Rain for one year. What prompted extending your first U.S. residency?

I think it’s been a lot of hard work by a lot of people that are involved – management right down to bar staff. We’ve all worked hard; we’ve all been focused; and we’ve all had a plan that we’ve stuck to. Congratulations to all the locals that have supported us to make it work.

I think both the club and myself were happy with what we were trying to achieve. I felt, personally, we achieved all our goals that we set out to do, but we both have more that we want to do as a team. It made sense to continue the residency for another year.

Perfecto Vegas the album came out recently. What do you think are the differences and similarities between the party and the double mix CD?

The idea behind the album was to give people a sense of direction of what we’re trying to do musically, not to fill it with the hits. I could have just put all the hits on there…[but] I thought it would have had a time on the shelf where people would be like, “I’m bored of this. I’ve heard this all the time.” But this record, it gives you the spirit of what we’re trying to do, which is something new and different. Also we’re supporting local artists; we’re supporting new artists, and that’s what the record is all about.

Your next artist album is set for 2010. Can you give us a hint as to what might be on it?

I’ve got some very special guests, from the Chili Peppers to Ryan Tedder—who had this huge hit with OneRepublic – and a few little secrets, but we’ll have to wait for that. I’ve been road testing a few of the tracks in the club and they’re going well.

Do you think you might expand the Perfecto party to other cities?

That’s a very good question. We’ve been asked by four other cities to do Perfecto nights in their cities. So we may do it, actually. We are thinking about it. I don’t want to spread myself too thin because, mainly, I’ve been in the studio. [I] just produced the new Madonna record. I’ve got a movie coming out that I scored. I don’t want to be doing everything. I’d rather it be “less is more.”

You mentioned Madonna. You’ve been gone from Vegas the majority of the summer on tour with her. How did that go?

First of all, I want to thank [Rain] for allowing me to take two months off, because I’m under contract. … The club realized it was good for them to be attached to it and said “Yeah. Go.” I missed the club and weekly conversations… The club is a very important part of my life, and I’m glad to be back.

As someone who frequents Perfecto, I’ve noticed there are certain tracks you tend to favor almost every time you’re here. How do you decide which tracks to keep in heavy rotation and when to replace them?

It’s very important as a DJ to break new music, and the only to only way to break music is to play it every week. The records that we’re playing are not on radio, but are big club records. It’s what you feel works really well. One of my favorite new tracks is a Marco V track that I will introduce tonight and be playing for quite a while, so that’s one of the new tracks. … Continuity is a very important word when it comes to trying to establish something. So not just the timing of the visuals and the opening, but it’s also the arrangement and structure of the set. That is really important. The first hour is really important. It’s to establish a happy, really great vibe, and then the last hour is where we [go] much more underground and it’s for the kind of, let’s say, the real clubbers.

On the off chance you get a free moment in Vegas, how do you like to spend your time?

Shows. I’ve got a list as long as my arm of shows I want to see.

Speaking of shows, do you have a favorite character or performer in the whole Planet Perfecto experience?

I have a few, but I think it probably wouldn’t be right to say which ones I prefer. (Laughs.) But what I do like, and what I will say, is that the whole idea of freshening things up every four to five months is a really good thing. Tonight we freshened it up and in November, we’re having a whole re-org and completely break it all down and start again.

(Originally published in Las Vegas Weekly and at LasVegasWeekly.com.)

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