Pete Tong :: Interview and Upcoming Tour Dates
A bit of propaganda for the essential DJ.
Q: Your radio show celebrated 15 years of broadcasting this year? How do you keep the show fresh and exciting every week?
The hunger and the constant quest for new music that is the biggest thing that keeps it fresh. Every year the show always evolves and I have always believed in evolution rather than revolution. If you look at what she show sounded 15 years ago to today it has changed completely. There are more changes this year that are more obvious with the new timeslot of 7pm which has condensed the Friday night show, but I have a new show on a Thursday night as well and I still oversee the Essential mix on Saturday night. Change keeps you hungry, keeps you fresh and the camaraderie within the community with the internet as you are speaking to everyone all the time from all around the world.
Q: Is it still a buzz being there with millions of listeners as they start their weekend?
Yes of course there is, I wouldnít do it to be honest. It is the biggest fun about doing the R1 show particularly compared to any other kind of radio show youíve got one of the biggest network and online listeners which has always been really important to me.
Q: You broadcast to around 2 million people in the uk and worldwide. How does it feel to have achieved such a global following?
I have been very lucky that I have been left alone for so long being pretty much kept in the same time slot for since I first started in 1991. Itís always been about Friday nights and itís always been about starting the weekend. I canít believe itís been 15 years to be honest, but I think itís a huge pay off that I have always held down that slot and it has certainly enhanced its reputation worldwide. I am also proud of it and enjoy it.
Q: Youíve started a new show on Thursday nights as Part of R1ís in music we trust programming. Tell us more about it.
The BBC have got a general remit to get more involved in new platforms and to get the younger audience to enjoy the output of the BBC in a more modern way. Itís getting harder as there is more choice and there is more and more competition and more fractions in terms of the audience and how they enjoy their media. Radio 1 is at the forefront of the BBC and is getting out there and getting amongst it. These shows, of which there are 4 of them and I am doing one are meant to be gateways I suppose, or a one stop shop for all things that are happening in the world of electronic music and dance music. It is a great opportunity for me as they are really getting behind them, they have started really well and I think they will start pushing them more next year once all the legalities have been sorted out about podcasting as the new shows are designed to work first and foremost as a radio show, but they are designed to be enjoyed as shows that can be downloaded to your phone or iPod or MP3 player or to listen to online.
Q: You do outside broadcasts in the UK and internationally. Where have you broadcasted from this year and are their any more to look forward too?
I always want to do more but it all depends on budgets. Things are a lot more streamlined now since when I first started, we used to all go off in different directions doing different shows in different places. Now when we do something especially if it is in a different country it tends to be the whole station. This year we have done broadcasts from Dundee and Ibiza and we are going to Amsterdam in October. Itís great getting out in the regions, but it tends to happen when the station does something and not just when itís Pete Tong on the move.
Q: You do a night called Pure Pacha in Ibiza and this will be your 4th consecutive year. How have the parties gone this year and what have been the highlights?
The highlight for me this year is that is wasnít just about one night and it was about every night. It was about the residency as opposed to the djís. When I started it I was taking over from Ministry which was a high pressure night we had all the biggest names in the world on the night so you tended to look back on the season and you could say that was a good night and that was a good night. After 4 years, itís really the party that is bigger than any one DJ. I had a really great opening few weeks with Laurent Garnier doing the opening party, but itís been really consistent throughout the season and we had a really good ending with Bob Sinclair.
Q: You also started ĎPure Pete Tongí at the Ministry of Sound this year. Tell us more about it?
I wanted to do a residency in London and I thought it was less confusing this year to use that name. Itís been a phenomenal residency and probably been one of the best things Iíve done this year and weíre definitely going to do it again next year, though we might change the name and we are just discussing it now. I think Ministry is an underrated venue believe it or notÖand I want somewhere where we could stage some shows and show off a bit, I wanted somewhere with a decent sized second room and also needed a place where I can get down and dirty and the main floor is still in my humble opinion one of the best in the world with an awesome sound and dj booth.
Q: You also recently launched your own compilation series with Universal. What is the idea behind the series and will there be another volume coming soon?
Iíd like to think that I can do 2 CDís every year, one that reflects the more cuttings edge nature and what I do in the club and another one that used my reputation and goes on television and sells as many copies as a possible which is good for all the producers and musicians. Itís all very well being uber cool but then you only sell a couple of thousand copies. My current album is called the Essential Dance Hits, which is basically the biggest records Iíve played throughout the summer over the past six months hopefully put together quote tastefully.
Q: You are always at the forefront of technology and have taken the world of podcasting by storm. Tell us more about the ĎTongcastí
Itís been great fun especially being there at the start of things last year when it all blew up. I think the nature of what podcasts are is changing as we speak and I am er thinking it about right now. The last one I did was in conjuction with the album as a freebie and Iíd like to think it could be an extension to my radio show and maybe a place that you hear more of the leftfield tracks that donít make the radio show. I think the way big media organisations have jumped on it now has made it harder for the solo operators to get heard which I feel is an issue.
Q: How did you feel when you reached #1 in the music podcast download chart?
It was a good achievement but it harder and harder now as you have the BBC, Channel 4 the Guardian using them as a marketing tool for their other businesses.
Q: What other new technology have you been involved with recently?
Getting into djing off my laptop this year, itís a monumental change in what we do and a much bigger leap from playing Vinyl to CDís. But itís very exciting, itís very creative, itís going to take some time to get totally on top of it and not overcook it when youíve got all these extra options at your disposal. Itís been really enjoyable though, I started off using Serato then I used Ableton with Serato and now I just use Ableton with CDís as a back up.
Q: Last year you produced some of your own material under varies guises. Will you be making more of your own music this year and will you be doing any interesting collaborations?
I recently did a track with Paul Harris and Jay P which should come out before the end of the year and I want to do more, but time is the biggest problem in the equation is time. I get asked all the time to do collaborations, but itís something Iíve got to get more of a discipline in and force it into my agenda.
Q: The scene has changed a lot since you started out. How have you been able to stay at the top of your profession?
Plastic surgery! No seriously, I think enthusiasm as if youíve got enthusiasm it keeps you going. I sometimes think you can be stuck is the addiction of djing as it is an instant gratification thing but I try and set new challenges every year and do different things so it doesnít get stale as that is really, really important. A couple of years ago we did the movie, this year was doing my own club night in London, but hopefully in the next couple of years Iíll be doing even bigger leaps.
Q: What else can we expect from Pete Tong in the future?
Youíll have to wait and see.
November Tour Dates
13th November - Garfunkels, Whistler, Canada
14th November - Sonar, Vancouver, Canada
15th November - Tantra Nightclub, Calgary, Canada
16th November - Jet Nightclub, Las Vegas, USA
17th November - Ruby Skye, San Francisco, USA
18th November - Avalon, Hollywood, USA
22nd November - The San Diego, Miami, USA
24th November - Crobar, New York, USA
25th November - The Guvernment, Toronto, USA
· Pete Tong Releases Essential Dance Hits Mix Album