Sandance NYE: Pete Tong interview

Legendary Radio 1 DJ behind the decks in Dubai on December 31

Interview
Interview
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Here’s a man who really needs no introduction, but here goes anyway. In today’s world of jet-setting ‘rock star’ DJs playing arena gigs around the world, Mr Pete Tong can look back and safely say ‘I was there first’. He might not get paid what Tiësto and co demand, but there are few DJs in the world who haven’t taken something from Tong – especially in the UK, where his Radio 1 Essential shows helped introduce a generation to dance music. He’s been on the airwaves since the late ’70s but it’s his 15 years with the BBC from 1991 to 2006 which shaped music and morphed minds. He’s no slouch between the decks either, a regular at Ibiza for the past decade, including four years at trendsetting Pacha. Oh, and let’s not forget the way his cult status was secured with mockumentry style flick It’s All Gone Pete Tong, named after a phrase buddy Paul Oakenfold supposedly coined more than 25 years ago. We grabbed five with a living legend.

So, how has 2013 been for Pete Tong?
Pretty special! Some amazing highlights for me were Coachella, featuring on the last Swedish House Mafia last tour, playing Coachella and Electric Daisy Carnival Las Vegas, Radio 1 in Ibiza. Then there was launching Le Gran Bazaar in Ibiza, International Music Summit Ibiza and LA, and releasing The Pete Tong Collection CD…

Nice one! So, ofall the places you could celebrate NYE, why did you choose to spend it in Dubai?
Well I was invited… that helps! It’s nice to have guaranteed sunshine and clear skies, and I’ve heard Sandance is a pretty unique set-up that people get very excited for.

It is! And you’re also on a bill with your old pal Oaky. Are two still good mates?
Very much so. Especially as we now both live in the same city (LA).

What do you make of your other co-headliners, Axwell, Emile Sande and Charli XCX?
I've know Ax for a long time and he's been a fantastic supporter of my radio show. The Swedish House Mafia took the whole live DJ game to another level and they deserve a lot of respect for that. Charlie XCX sang on my 20-year show for Radio 1 live from Maida Vale, and I think Emilie is a pretty serious singer and songwriter!

What do you think of the state of dance music today? We guess you’re not a fan of the term ‘EMD’?
Not really. I’ve never been a fan of genre names to be honest. It was a way for the US media to describe the new wave of popularity for dance music in America, but it rapidly morphed in a name for a very commercial sound.

Ibiza has changed rather a lot over the years. Has some of the magic been lost?
I’m not really one to say things used to be better in the old days because if you’re 18 now, and go to DC10 for the first time, it will probably blow your mind.

Throughout the course of an average week, how often do you hear the ‘It’s all gone a bit...’ catchphrase?
At least seven!

Tell us one thing we won’t know about you.

I’m mad about road bikes and riding.

You’re 53 now, did reaching your sixth decade change your outlook on life or music at all?
Just to make the most of every day because it is a gift.

If you had a time machine and could go back to any time and place for one night only, where and when would you choose?
Studio 54 New York City, opening night, 1977. It would have been special to find out how it was really done!

Any New Year’s resolutions?
Make more music and learn to speak Portuguese.

Who’s going to be hot in 2014?

Kolsch is going to blow up and The Martinez Brothers. MK returns!

Read our interview with Paul Oakenfold on Sandance NYE
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