Toyah does her best to transcribe a really grainy phone call from Pete Tong in Ibiza
When I got told I was about to receive a phone call from one of the most well known DJ’s on the planet, and that I needed to probe him about his upcoming tour in Australia, I’ll admit, I raised my clutched fists in front of me for a moment shaking them rapidly and gave a little squeal of delight. I’d heard from so many others that have crossed his path before that Pete Tong was an effortlessly cool dude. I feared I’d be star struck and clam up, but as the call came through and we were connected and introduced I felt a big sense of relief to discover in a few short seconds that Pete Tong is a really chilled down to earth guy. His reputation
precedes him indeed.
There was a bit of fuzz and few call and responses of “Can you hear me?”/“Yeah can you hear me, yeah sorta….umm what did you say?” but we laughed and made it work. Once we’d made the intercontinental telephone connection stick, Pete opened with a big bright “Good morning from Ibiza!” Icy cold me in Melbourne was super jelly! Luckily summer isn’t too far away and neither is Pete Tong with a full orchestra to perform Ibiza Classics with the Heritage Orchestra.
I highly recommend you read Pete’s responses to yourself in an English accent. Trust me.
Stoney Roads: Hi Pete, thanks so much for talking to Stoney Roads today. We’re really excited to hear you’re coming to Australia later in the year. Do you want to tell us what you’ll be getting up to?
Pete Tong: It’s a pleasure. I’m really excited to be coming down bringing the Ibiza Classics concept outside of the UK properly for the first time to another continent. We started this show in 2015 but it’s time to come to Australia. We probably would have performed a version of this show a dozen times so it’s all still relatively new.
SR: I hear you’re also doing another Ibiza Classics album is that correct?
PT: Yeah, we’re in the thick of that now. The first album was very much a kind of memento and a studio recording of the show that we did for the first time at the Royal Albert Hall in 2015, whereas the second album is twenty to twenty two tracks brand new to our performance but still the Ibiza ‘classic tracks’. It’s really exciting to be doing it again and we’re trying to learn from everything we’ve done so far and do it better than we’ve done it before. There are some original tracks in the works with the orchestra but I don’t know if they will be part of this project yet or not. It will be classic, classic dance and electronic music. Tracks that are from the spectrum of the last thirty odd years.
SR: You’re touring quite a bit between now and when you get to Australia in November. Where else will you be heading?
PT: Well with the orchestra we will be in the UK and playing two shows at the Common People Festival and going back there next month to play as the headliner across the V Festival weekend which is a very big festival in the UK. We’re also going out to Dublin to a pretty famous festival called The Electric Picnic and we’re bringing it out to Ibiza before then on the 5th of August, then we’ll be finishing off the album. Amongst all the other things I’m plate spinning and DJing on BBC Radio1.
SR: So talking about DJing, you’ve been doing that for an incredibly long time. What is it that drives you to keep going back for more?
PT: I guess it’s what I’ve always done. It’s what turned me on in the very beginning as a teenager, the skill and the game, it’s like a Rubik’s cube to me, its the pure joy and the art of playing the right records in the right order and seeing the crowd react, and playing new music and enjoying seeing the new music being played out; thats the core addiction for me thats what keeps me going back.
SR: Speaking of new music is there an artist or artists that you’re really getting into at the moment?
PT: Well the Disciples are the big priority for me this year. They are working towards their first album that has had a pretty consistent start, so thats more from me behind the scenes. They’re having a really good run and working really hard. Obviously I’m involved in the label with acts like Icarus and Thomas Jack who are working hard on getting music out, and Thomas being a fellow Australian of yours.
SR: How do you go with the touring lifestyle, does it ever take its toll?
PT: Y’know you won’t get many complaints from me. I love seeing new places. DJing has taken me all around the world. I think the thing thats frustrating sometimes is when the only part of those places you see is on the journey from the airport and back again and so you get to go to some incredible places but you don’t really get to be on the ground or be able to explore those cities or the people or the culture so thats a bit of a downside and I don’t really like airports or the hassle of going through airports and all that has to happen in terms of security these days that we need to protect us. When you have to travel as much as I do that does become a pain and that lack of sleep and time away from family.
SR: You mention missing your family, you’ve got kids. Do they ever come on tour with you?
PT: Sometimes yes, I’ve got the family with me right now. Sometimes when we can kind of camp out like in Ibiza it works really well but in general no they’re not with me. I do miss them while I’m away though.
SR: Pete, you’ve been living in LA for a bit over a year now and it seems to be the place to move to for a lot of the big DJ’s. Has that effected your music, tastes or styles since you’ve been there.
PT: Yes and no. Core DJing-wise not really because the way we are connected in the world now; it doesn’t really matter where you live in terms of the way we seek out music or get turned on to music that I want to play. Music discovery I guess is a little bit different from living in a city like London. In general I’d say it’s more just the environment, the way we receive music, like driving in your car in America, y’know we speak the same language but its a radically different culture living in America than living in the UK, so that has an influence for sure and the way the micro trends of UK and Europe are viewed from America are so bizarre. Things just work differently there in comparison to a huge market like America.
SR: Thank you so much Pete, we’re really looking forward to you coming here with your full orchestra for the Ibiza Classics tour. Stoney roads wishes you all the best and we can’t wait to see the show.
PT: Thanks so much we’re really looking forward to being there.
Pete Tong and the Heritage Orchestra play the Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney on nov 1 followed by the Sidney Myer Music Bowl in Melbourne on November 3rd. Get your tickets ASAP so you don’t miss out. It is essssential viewing.