Ahead of Pete Tong’s double South African New Years Eve performance, I was lucky enough to catch up with the dance legend and ask him a couple of questions about life and being one of the best dj’s in the World. Man… what a legend!
MCBN: First off- thanks so much for chatting to us… It’s not often that we get to interview a dance music legend like yourself!
Do you remember the first record that you ever bought? What was it?
Pete Tong: YES – My parents would buy me singles or I’d borrow my cousins but the first I bought was Slider by T.Rex
MCBN: The art of djing from old school vinyl has pretty much been replaced by dj controllers and other electronic wizardry. Do you feel like this has been a good move for the dj industry?
Pete Tong: YES because you can’t stop progress. I’ll always love the romance of vinyl, the smell , the sleeves the different shades amongst the grooves and the sound but the advances in technology have heralded some amazing things too. I am fascinated by Native Instruments Traktor Pro. I have tried all the other methods but for me this system is in a different league. I have been using for about 5 years now and still learning and improving.
MCBN: You’ve been to and played at some of the best parties of all time- is there one particular event that still stands out in your mind as the craziest?
Pete Tong: The first ever (and last) Manumission in Paris was insane , live sex on stage all the worlds top supermodels and a young David Guetta warming up for me. Closing parties at DC10 Ibiza are always pretty inspiring too.
MCBN: Who was the person who originally coined the phrase- It’s all gone Pete Tong?
Pete Tong: Its was Boys Own magazine – an inspired acid house fanzine from back in the day – I think Terry Farley (of Farley & Heller fame) wrote the article. It all went a bit mad when it got picked up by the Penguin Official Cockney Rhyming Slang Dictionary.
MCBN: What is your favourite tune right now?
Pete Tong: Listening to the forthcoming HOT NATURED album. I have just started working with them and signed them to FFRR/Warners
MCBN: You’ve just started Pete Tong’s Young Stars on your Radio 1 Essential Selection show- who are the young artists we should be paying attention to?
Pete Tong: Disclosure for sure , I love these guys so soulful and so young. I tried to sign them to FFRR. Julio Bashmore is a bit special too. His discography is 100% quality so far…. I have alot of time for Madeon I think he is very bright and cares alot about making great records.
MCBN: You’ve been the “Pied Piper of Dance Music” for a good number of decades- what was your earliest memory of djing?
Pete Tong: My first school disco – 2 standard garrard belt drive turntables strung together with a home amplifier and a pair of big speakers. All very low fi but very cool I was in heaven !!
MCBN: What can’t you live without when you you’re traveling?
Pete Tong: MacBook Pro with Retina Display and a decent pair of headphones. Always making of listening to tunes.
MCBN: There have been a couple of Essential Mixes down the years- do you have a favourite?
Pete Tong: David Holmes mixes were always exceptional, There was an Ame one about 7 years ago that blew my mind and had a profound effect on my dj-ing and recently this years (award winning) Nicolas Jaar Mix was out the box !
MCBN: Do you follow any South Africa producers and artists like Pascal & Pearce, Goldfish or Goodluck? You may have even heard our very own Tasha Baxter laying down some vocals for FeedMe.
Pete Tong: Goldfish are friends of mine and I have long admired what they have been doing. Tasha has a fantastic voice I’d love to do a tune with her ! Maybe I have something on the go on the plane ride down !
MCBN: Who is the most insane dj you’ve ever shared a lineup with?
Pete Tong: There was a night in Moscow many years ago when I shared the stage with The Audio Bullies. They got so blasted that they completely forgot who I was and booted me off stage. I actually thought it was quite funny… eventually ! hahaha
Brandon Block & Alex P was always an experience too !!
MCBN: There have been tons of dance music producers that have worked with more “mainstream” artists- do you feel that this has been a positive move for EDM or a bit of a dilution of the culture and music of “dance”?
Pete Tong: Again I think its progress and you can’t stop it…. David Guetta , Calvin Harris & The SHM have taken the game to a whole new level, the scale of the gigs the production the fee’s!. Its predictable that now some people will say thats all too commercial but the greatest side effect is that all of a sudden the underground becomes more important again its a merry go round…..
MCBN: Now for our famous Would you rather question:
Would you rather remix the theme song for Neighbours
Play a 6 hour marathon set in Ibiza in a speedo?
Pete Tong: 6 hour set in speedo’s no question
MCBN: Thanks again for chatting to us- can’t wait to see you down in Cape Town on New Years Eve!
Pete Tong: Bring it on !!!