INTERVIEW | Pete Tong
Dance music has evolved tremendously since you’ve first started. What are some of the most significant changes? How do you think the Internet and ease of accessibility of music has impacted the culture of the scene?
The web made our business global overnight. Dj’s that had previously been revolving around their home markets were suddenly able to get their music heard all over the world and the bookings flowed and the airmiles started building !
Whilst the early internet years had a detrimental effect on earnings for dj’s and electronic acts via recorded music and mixes the global live market was a timely compensation. It democratised the process in many ways. I would say the Electronic music genre has been the biggest benefactor of the internet to date
What’s some of the best music advice you’ve received in your life?
Play what you love , Sign what you love , Work with what you love ! … ie keep it real 🙂
Many artists look to you as a role model; who were the guys that you looked up to early on in your career?
A handful of people had a profound influence on me in the early days. Robbie Vincent was the radio don and the first specialist presenter I was really aware of. Rosko was another DJ who turned me onto the power of radio – he was an American voice on BBC Radio 1 back in the 70’s and sounded like he came from another planet. Club wise at the beginning, Chris Hill was someone I really respected and he helped me alot. In the USA , Timmy Regisford was a massive influence who really taught me what mix show radio was all about, Larry Levan, Frankie Knuckles , David Morales, Mark Kamins & Bobby Konders and Frankie Crocker all helped shape who I became.
You celebrated the 20th anniversary of Essential Mix at the end of last year. Who have been some of your most memorable Essential Mix guests?
David Holmes, Paul Oakenfold (Goa Mix), Ame , Sasha, Carl Cox , Daft Punk , Dixon … so so many !!
Being a host to one of the most influential radio shows in the history of dance music, what are two tips you would give to an upcoming artist to be successful in such a dynamic environment?
1. Don’t start unless you have a real passion for it …. you need to be a fan. Know your music.
2. Get the 10,000 hours in as Malcolm Gladwell said – you can never learn enough about the process of writing,making music and DJ-ing and its all out there to grab. Its never been easier to lean but there are no short cuts.
Congratulations on being a recipient for an MBE award! Tell us about the experience of being presented with the award by Prince William at Buckingham Palace.
It was a great honour and a magnificent experience. I was so proud to be able to take my Mum and and some of my family to the Palace. I still can’t quite believe it happened. I had met Prince William before so it was a nice conversation when I received the MBE. He was asking me about what would be happening in Ibiza next !!
You recently moved to LA from the UK, what sparked your decision to make the move over here?
LA is a real hot spot of creativity (music / film / tech) at the moment and the whole electronic scene is enjoying huge popularity in the USA on an unprecedented scale. I just felt I had to be close to the source of all that and see what fun could be had ! I also needed a new challenge. Its good to be uncomfortable and test yourself.
You’ve been performing for crowds all over the world, where are some of your places to perform? What do you think makes these places so memorable?
Most places on the planet have a good spot now so its harder to just say one place. Ibiza will always be special because its visited by so many different nationalities. The USA is on fire. I love Argentina & Chile. Eastern Europe the former Soviet countries and South Korea and China is getting interesting…. oops and don’t forget the UK. Musically the UK has been fire.
Let’s talk about All Gone to Sea, which is coming up at the end of this year. Tell us what we can expect from a Pete Tong boat party.
4 Sunrises 4 Sunsets A desert island party – in all 96 hours of amazing and diverse electronic music , a desert island party and the chance to hang out with 2500 like minded people from around the world who want a quality musical holiday.
In addition to your cruise, what are some other projects you have coming up? Any new tracks or collaborations?
Always trying to make music between my crazy schedule – I just released a track with Tom Flynn and Paul Rogers called HHEAR ME NOW. I have another coming with John Monkman called “The Bumps” and I just remixed the new Kings Town single as well.