Paul Oakenfold, a DJ and producer who has seemingly had a hand in every phase of electronic dance music's evolution, is entering the uncharted waters of the film world.
Along with Hollywood veteran composer Christopher Young, who worked on 1999's "The Hurricane," Oakenfold is creating an original score for "Swordfish," a film about hackers who gain access to a Drug Enforcement Agency slush fund. The film, set to open June 8, stars John Travolta and Halle Berry. "Swordfish" was produced by Joel Silver ("The Matrix") and directed by Dominic Sena ("Gone in 60 Seconds").
Oakenfold's music for the film, which includes original tracks, incidental pieces and his own remixes of other songs, will be released on CD May 29.
"I've always wanted to get into this area, so it was a big challenge for me, a good learning experience," Oakenfold said of his contributions to the picture. "I've done incidental pieces, but never worked on this level."
Silver Pictures approached Oakenfold earlier this year, and he relocated his London studio to Los Angeles to work on the score, which he said would be completed in the next month or so. Oakenfold said the project features a variety of styles, describing its overall sound as cutting-edge.
"It has a lot of energy, a lot of breaks in it," he explained. "It's got uptempo dance tracks, more downtempo stuff it's right across the board."
Oakenfold said that apart from recent remixes of U2's "Beautiful Day" and Madonna's latest single, "What It Feels Like for a Girl," he has focused solely on "Swordfish," even refraining from DJ gigs.
His next project is a spot on the massive Moby-curated Area 1 tour, on which he'll join Outkast, Incubus and Moby himself at stadiums around the United States this summer.
Despite both techno stars' decade-plus careers, Oakenfold and Moby have never met in person.
"I would have thought we would," he said. "In the early days definitely, but then he went rock 'n' roll, so I don't think it would've happened then."
A mainstay of the dance-music scene since the mid-'80s, Oakenfold is often credited with introducing to Britain the burgeoning American house-music scenes of Chicago and New York, and in 1991 he founded Perfecto Records, which remains a well-respected and popular label. Oakenfold said he recently signed the newest Perfecto artist, a female producer/vocalist from London named Jan Johnston, whose debut, Emerging, is due this summer.
Oakenfold called a recent compilation titled Voyage Into Trance, which is credited to him, an "illegal bootleg," saying that eight years ago he mixed some tracks on the British label Dragonfly for a friend who owned it. Now, he claims, "they've changed the cover, they've put me all over it, and it looks like it's an album from me. I have nothing to do with it. The original title was Dragonfly: Voyage Into Trance." Oakenfold said his lawyers are working on preventing further copies of the collection, which is released in America by Hypnotic Recordings, from reaching stores.