Pete Tong’s Ibiza round up
It’s been a year of landmarks for one of the dance music scene’s hardest working and most widely-recognisable faces, Pete Tong. 2011 has seen Pete celebrate 20 years as electronic music’s ambassador on Radio 1, he has launched a Las Vegas residency at Encore Beach Club, assembled Luciano, Richie Hawtin, Joris Voorn and more for his annual pool party in Miami, headlined Glastonbury’s dance tent and curated his own tent at the world-famous Bestival. He also re-launched his iconic FFRR record label at Warner Music, released 2 compilations (mixed by Pete himself) and launched the All Gone App. Somehow, with all that going on, he managed to hold down a weekly residency at Pacha in Ibiza for his It’s All Gone Pete Tong night. I managed to pin Pete down and get his round up on the ins and outs of Ibiza this season…
How long have you been going to Ibiza now?
20 years without a break. But I first went in ’86. But I might have also gone in ‘87 or ‘88, I can’t remember…
Can you remember your very first of experience of the white island?
Me and Nicky Holloway running around together. We were actually gatecrashing clubs – it was a holiday he’d organised and we brought about 40 or 50 of our mates with us. We’d pre-arranged to play in these clubs and the first experience was getting thrown off after ten minutes. It was a different world – it’s funny saying it now because the world’s got a lot smaller, so going to Ibiza is not quite as wide-eyed as it was in the mid-80s. It was much more of an adventure in 1986 as a teenager.
Can you summarise the 2011 season in Ibiza for me? Who/what has really made an impact on the island this year?
It’s like someone pressed the loudness button, it was the biggest season that I can ever remember. Lots of new places to go, a phenomenal amount of people on the island from all over the world and there was one major, major new club on the circuit – a day club called Ushuaia. It was jam-packed every single week and that was probably my favourite place to go when I wasn’t working. I did the Radio 1 Weekend there, and went back and did another show with Usher and David Guetta. They’ve got a stage that wouldn’t look out of place at the Hollywood Bowl – it’s just phenomenal. There’s no one in the world that couldn’t play on that stage, U2 could play on that stage, Coldplay could play on that stage… and maybe one day they will.
The mainstream acts all did really well, Swedish had a great run, David Guetta was a massive success again. But the underground was still so feverishly strong with Cocoon [at Amnesia] having another great season and DC10 really having a solid season. The sound emanating out of DC10 is once again shifting the plates to where things are headed. Gone is the minimalism of four/five years ago. Jamie Jones, Seth Troxler, all that crew, they’re playing a lot of vocals, they’re all playing songs. They’re not major chord songs like David Guetta plays but there are vocals and lyrics and people are lapping it up. When I was at the closing there were as many as girls as boys, it’s not like it’s a musclefest. The new wave of the underground is so dominated by the English, there’s a major contribution from the UK again which is the way DC10 started. It was a join thing between the Italians and the English. And, after years of the Germans leading the way on the underground, it was good to see the English coming back.
Each season has its high points, can you tell me about some of yours in 2011?
Being back at Pacha… Laurent Garnier when he did his live performance in the booth for four hours non-stop. I think everyone looked around that night and went ‘We’re back’. He came with two guys and set up all his equipment in the booth and played live, with his two mates playing along and it was stupendously good. That was, musically, one of my finest nights at Pure Pacha this year.
The Radio 1 weekend as well… I was so proud that, on my show, I had David Guetta, Tiesto, Erick Morillo – we had the large stuff but then I was also able to put on Jamie Jones, Azari & III, for the first time live, and Carl Cox back to back at the end. So it was spot on as to where my show should be: one foot in the overground, one foot in the underground.
Luciano at Ushuaia too. Every time I was in Ibiza on a Thursday I’d get down there. I’ve been going to Ibiza that long that you get to realise many of the great things happen between 5 and 8 in the morning, so it was refreshing that you could have a blinding time between at 8 and 12 at night.
Can you name your top Ibiza anthems for 2011?…
Azari & III – Hungry For The Power (Jamie Jones Remix)
Eats Everything – Entrance Song
OSUNLADE – Envision (Ame remix)
Alan Fitpzatrick – Moon Palace
Joe Goddard feat. Valentina – Gabriel
With over 20 years on the island under your belt, you must be aware of a few hidden gems. Any you’d care to share?
I talk to people that live on the island that have never been to Formentera, I talk to people that have lived there 10 years and not been. So Formentera for me is very important – you’ve got the hedonism and the clubs, but you’ve also got this beautiful island that can be a great place to restore yourself and get some peace and quiet.
The after-parties as well, the ‘Cave’ in the north, I can’t say where it is or whose house it was at, but that was the spot this summer for Cocoon after-parties.
What is it about Ibiza that keeps people coming back time and again?
There’s definitely something a bit mystical and a bit magical about it, going right back to Nostradamus mentioning that it was going to be the safest place to be at the end of the world. You’ve got the wealthy end of Ibiza and the gypsy spirit of Ibiza that gladly sit side-by-side and create this very unique vibe. It’s a beautiful place. Since the 70s it has invested in its nightclubs. It’ll take a lot for the rest of the world to catch up with Ibiza.
Any predictions for Ibiza 2012?
There might be a festival next year, which would be amazing. Every city in the world has got a major music festival except for the most famous place in the world for music, which is Ibiza. A proper 3-day festival, a la Creamfields or Glastonbury, if that comes off that’ll be the biggest news for next year.
Pete Tong embarks on a US tour later this month. He releases his new single, Wardance, this week on Toolroom.Tagged in: Cocoon, DC10, Ibiza, Jamie, Miami, music, Pacha, Pete, pete tong, radio 1, swedish house mafia, Tiesto, Troxler, Ushuaia
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