Paul Oakenfold Travels From 'Planet' To 'Planet'

DJ remixes Afrika Bambaataa's 'Planet Rock' for 'Swordfish,' Elfman track for 'Planet of the Apes.'

Paul Oakenfold has always hopped from genre to genre, but this year the distinguished DJ has traveled from "Planet" to "Planet."

As music supervisor and composer of the movie "Swordfish," which opens Friday (June 8), Oakenfold found himself remixing Afrika Bambaataa and Soul Sonic Force's classic "Planet Rock." And for his next project he's remixing Danny Elfman's title track for the soundtrack of another potential summer blockbuster, "Planet of the Apes."

"The original stuff Elfman recorded is so good, I've just been going through and finding stuff I'm going to use," Oakenfold said Thursday from the Los Angeles studio where he's ensconced. "It's going to be dark and dangerous — at least that's the idea."

Like Oakenfold's "Planet Rock" remix, his version of "Planet of the Apes" will be released as a single to promote the film.

Aside from remixing Madonna's "What It Feels Like for a Girl," Oakenfold has dedicated his year to big-screen music. For "Swordfish," his first film project, he composed eight new tracks (some with Hollywood veteran Christopher Young), remixed four tracks and commissioned bands and remixers for three tracks (including newcomers Dope Smugglaz, Lemon Jelly and Patient Saints).

"'Swordfish' was a really enjoyable experience," he said of the film, which was directed by Dominic Sena ("Gone in 60 Seconds") and stars John Travolta and Halle Berry. "It is a little nerve-racking. It's a [big budget] film, so there's pressure. But I knew I could do it and will probably do more."

The "Swordfish" soundtrack, released Tuesday, finds Oakenfold producing a variety of uptempo and downtempo tunes. Unlike his famed mix albums, it features several tracks separated by dialogue from the film.

"I wanted a record with a few new tracks by artists such as the Muse and the Smugglaz, and I wanted to take a classic record and give it a twist," Oakenfold said. "'Planet Rock' had never been featured in a movie and I thought its vibe worked well."

Oakenfold's "Planet Rock" remix is featured in a club scene in "Swordfish," an adventure flick about hackers who gain access to a Drug Enforcement Agency slush fund.

The British musician, listed in "Guinness World Records" as "Most Successful Club DJ," will spend his summer on the road, first with Moby's Area: One tour (see "Area: One Festival's Details Come Into Focus") then in August on the Mekka tour (see "Crystal Method, Roni Size, BT Heading To Mekka").

First, though, Oakenfold will stop in Las Vegas, where he will be the first electronic musician honored by the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. The Hard Rock will unveil a memorabilia case featuring his turntables, headphones, record bag, signature sunglasses and the original mastered vinyl copies of his remixed versions of "What It Feels Like for a Girl" and U2's "Beautiful Day."

Did Oakenfold ever expect to see his clothes hung next to threads worn by Elvis Presley and the Beatles? "Never," he said. "I was quite surprised. I hope a few more dance acts get in there."