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Go BackPETE TONG TALKS – Concisely about Ibiza, a positive future, market conditions, P Diddy, and the sound of the underground…

Posted: 15/10/04 13:09

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The search for a spirited and perfect beat has taken Pete Tong on a gigantic journey around the globe. Originally from Kent in the UK and with a modest start, Pete initially set out as a mobile DJ. He later emerged as one of the most influential figures in the dance industry. From working at Blues & Soul magazine to the almighty London and FFRR Record labels, from Capital Radio to achieving permanence on the airwaves at Radio 1, a high-profile Tong is extremely experienced in music matters. Radio 1 jingles perhaps proclaimed tongue-in-cheek that, ‘Pete Tong’s got the power’; but indeed it’s true. With an eye for talent and an ear to the ground, Pete can spot big hits at a distance, and has considerable commercial capacity to break and make tracks.

Tong first DJ’d in Ibiza back in 1986, and has maintained a presence ever since. This season between the 11th June and 27th August, Pete broadcast ten Essential Selection shows live from Cafe Mambo and enjoyed another hectic Radio 1 Ibiza Weekend. Then of course there’s Pete’s Friday night residency at Pure Pacha running throughout the summer until the 1st October. With minimum downtime, Pete engages in a daily business of producing radio shows, club tracks, film soundtracks, DJing and travelling. He was, of course, an inspiration to ‘It’s All Gone Pete Tong’ and is cast again as himself in the new movie, ‘Hey DJ’.. Don’t forget either that if you possess a 3 Mobile phone then you can even view Tong’s novel video show called Fast Trax

Well, Ibiza-Voice managed to briefly catch up with Pete following his London to Ibiza Bull Run held to raise money for Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy. He set off with numerous cars from London’s Marble Arch in an Xbox Jaguar with David Guetta, but had to leave the wacky race early to complete a radio broadcast and Pacha night. You can read all about it at Pete’s new portal (, opened in August, where he keeps an impressive diary considering the lifestyle. Thankfully Pete managed to squeeze The Voice into this packed schedule, providing a window for a quick summer round up and answers to our enquiries…


Pete, as the sun sets on your Pure Pacha residency what lasting feelings has this summer left?
PT: “Great hope and prosperity for the scene we live and breathe. Based on Ibiza this year, dance music and clubbing can look forward to a very positive future. It ain’t over baby!”

Your Essential Selection also ran 10 radio shows live from Cafe Mambo, has anything particular prompted thoughts on change or will the formula simply return with added vigour in 2005?
“It would be my desire to do it again, and my ambition is always to make it bigger and better than before, but it is not just my decision so we’ll have to wait and see.”

You first DJ’d on the isle back in 1986 with Nicky Holloway, that’s nearly 20 years ago! Will you have an epic anniversary perhaps?
“I am not really one for personal celebration, but I might have a sneaky bottle of champers.”

With a debut Radio 1 broadcast from Ibiza in 1995, what do you remember most from those early years?
“I remember breaking the windows at Cafe Del Mar. There were so many people in the bar that they were leaning on the windows and made them crack.”

The mid-90s were golden years for dance music, in the UK anyway, as sales were buoyant. In your mind, at what point should the industry have anticipated digital developments and embraced the future?
“Evolution of technology caught the whole music industry off-guard, as it is a far wider issue than just dance music. However, dance music is embracing the technology far quicker than other genres of music with DJs playing from CDRs or MP3s; so we are way ahead of the game.”

It’s All Gone Pete TongAs an inspiration to the film ‘It’s All Gone Pete Tong’, do you personally use any Cockney rhyming slang in everyday life and if so what’s your favourite?
Leo Sayer  - All dayer.”

How was your DC10 gig this year, a highlight we heard?
“Phenomenal! DC10 is one of the most inspiring places to play in the world, and if it wasn’t for the licensing issues then I might have played there more than once.”

You hosted P Diddy on your 2003 Ibiza show, becoming somewhat familiar with him, so what do you think about the heckling he received this year?
“I wasn’t aware of any heckling as when he went on stage the crowd went wild… Maybe it was because he was on for too long, as after 20-30 minutes the crowd has usually had enough.”

Pacha has been the place for a celebrity set this summer, P Diddy and Tommy Lee among them. You remark upon Lee’s visit in both the Pacha magazine and on your own site saying, “The night was a major success and it proves that Ibiza really craves a return of some ‘theatre’ and ‘performance’”. Do you think that Ibiza is the place for such drama, or is it perhaps more suited to the USA stage? 
“People are on holiday and spend a lot of money getting into the clubs, so I think they deserve to be entertained. Manumission has shown us that for years, as their club night is all about the performance and not the big name DJs. Ibiza is the perfect place for showing off!”

Do plenty of people stream you Stateside, as you help awaken their sleeping giant of dance radio?
“Yes, the show has a large following in the US.”

Going back to Ibiza, what are your thoughts on the conservative measures recently implemented regarding a more corporate clubbing climate, and also on industry development?
“I think it would be tragic to loose DC10 or Bora Bora… There should be a way forward for these venues.”

House music has always been about ‘the struggle’, but despite a creative wealth the underground, by nature, cannot always afford such legislation, licenses etc; what do you see as a solution?
“Keep moving, keep fresh, until you can make it happen...”

Some Ibiza clubs socially gate-keep to exclude undesirables, but are maybe too expensive and elitist as a consequence; how do you see this matter?
“Well, market conditions should decide the fate of all the clubs, if they are too expensive people won’t come.”

People hang on your every word, but do you personally have a favourite quote of note that relates to music or the industry to share?
Do It Yourself...”

As a Mixmag columnist, do you have a message generally on how dance music is represented in the media, for example the redundant ‘dance music is dead’ allegations?
“It isn’t, as Ibiza proves and the charts this year in the UK.”

Clubbing is one form of escapism and as such cannot be held accountable, but what about dance music and politics; do you have a manifesto to grab the youth’s conscious?
“Dance music and politics are not the best mix, but if the right opportunity comes along there is always scope... Regarding Ibiza, we should continue to strive to make it a safer place to party.”

What are your favourite Ibiza memories?
“Joining the Pacha family, buying a house, and taking a boat ride to Formentera!”

Over the next few months, what are you looking forward to?
“Making some new music, watching Arsenal, and spending some ‘quite time’ in Ibiza…”

Would you like say anything else?
“See you in the winter. I love winters on the island too!”

Pete’s October DJ diary…
1st October - Pure Pacha, Pacha, Ibiza
8th October - Essential Selection After Party, Club Air, Birmingham, UK
15th October – ‘Pure Pacha’ CD Launch Party, Pacha, London, UK
16th October - Club Kristal, Bucharest, Romania
23rd October - Shindig, Foundation, Newcastle, UK


Words by Lisa Loco