After 20 years as a Firefighter, DJ Oakleigh is now using the power of music to reach out to those thousands of people who don’t dial 999.
Hailing from Grays in Essex and a childhood friend of comedian Russell Brand, it was recently reconnecting with Brand that partly set Oakleigh on this new trajectory in his life. Oakleigh worked closely with Brand on the high profile campaign to save the New Era Estate in Hoxton East London. Among other antics he could also be seen scaling the scaffolding on Daily Mail owner Lord Rothermere’s London home with Brand in Michael Winterbottom’s film, The Emperor’s New Clothes. Russell often articulated to Oakleigh that he was destined for bigger things and urged him to pursue his DJ dream.
Back in the early 90’s Oakleigh could be seen stage dancing at raves like World Dance, Helter Skelter and Dreamscape. It was during this scene that he became close friends with MC LiveLee and DJ Vibes and progressed on to working as driver and record bag carrier for Vibes. This love of dance music was to provide Oakleigh with a vital outlet as the psychological stress of working in a front line emergency service started to bite. The public see the heroic acts, gallantry and camaraderie but they don’t see the long-term trauma. Troops return from a 6-month tour in Afghanistan with post-traumatic stress disorders – stretch that over 5,10, 20 years of the working life of a Firefighter.
After a particularly harrowing experience, mind full of images he thought he would never be able to unsee, listening to music was able to give Oakleigh vital respite – provide an asylum from the traumas of the job. Music became a form of medication, a therapy, a route to peace and happiness.
A key incident in Oakleigh’s transition from Firefighter to DJ was working with Duke Dumont’s then Production Manager Simon Green on the Fire Brigade Union’s ‘Ring of Fire’ tour (Green is currently the tour and Production Manager for Pusha T but has also worked with other acts such as Duke Dumont, Jammer, Lethal Bizzle, MOBO, Andreas Moe, Lord Of The Mics, Kelli Leigh, TY ). Oakleigh struck up an instant rapport with the ex-London Firefighter. But it was a chance encounter, a sign, with Green at Amnesia in Ibiza in August 2015 that propelled Oakleigh to the next stage of his career under Green’s close guidance.
Influenced by the likes of Martin Garrix, Dash Berlin, Tiesto, Sander Van Doorn and Hardwell, DJ Oakleigh is launching himself into the world of Electro House and EDM.
DJ Oakleigh says, ‘There is no greater feeling than rescuing a life. I may not be wearing a uniform up here on the stage but I know I’m still saving people!’