A Taste of Wonderland

Tracks-talking with DJ/producer Pete Tong

Pete Tong is one of the most influential figures in electronic music. A world-renowned DJ and producer. Elite party promoter. Record label entrepreneur. And host and producer of one of the most innovative electronic music radio programs in existence, Essential Mix. That’s someone we’ve just got to talk to, especially since he’s in town for Labor Day weekend. Vegas Seven recently caught up with Tong to discuss parties, collaborations and compilations.

How did the concept for your Wonderland party in Ibiza come about?

I wanted to start a new party in London inspired by the best bits of Ibiza. … I wanted to start a party where I could book an eclectic mix of DJs that reflects the music I champion on my radio show. This led to Wonderland.

You’re doing a small run of shows around Labor Day weekend, including a stop at Encore Beach Club. What can we expect?

Well, I have never played Labor Day weekend and people keep telling me it’s one of the best weekends in America, so here I am. …. Three cities in 24 hours will be mad. I’ve got so much great music from the summer in Ibiza. I’ll be giving people a little taste of the island: New York, Miami, Vegas, then back to Ibiza. … It’s not a bad life, is it?

How do you go about picking tracks?

I really like to dig deep and call my favorite DJs and producers and see if they will make something special for the occasion. It’s about creating a mood, it’s about surprising people and picking tunes that are timeless, that won’t sound annoying after a couple of months, … and trying to do something original. So many dance compilations revolve around the same few “hits.”

How has the experience of hosting Essential Mix on BBC Radio 1 helped shape your career?

It’s hard to think of it as groundbreaking in 2010 now that dance music is more prevalent, but in the early ’90s it really was. DJs still get really inspired when we ask them to do it. It’s still something that the scene holds great value in. I’m thrilled about that. We will continue to innovate with the show and hopefully it will be around for a bit longer! BBC Radio 1 is an amazing radio station, a national treasure.

How does Vegas compare with other nightlife meccas, such as Miami and Ibiza?

The scene in Vegas is going from strength to strength, and electronic music has got a real grip on the city, finally winning over the hip-hop dominance. It’s a crazy place to be. Everyone is on a holiday, so the mindset is the same as Ibiza and Miami—it just looks completely different!

What’s on your plate for the rest of 2010?

Another Tong & Rogers EP for Toolroom. I want to follow up the “Muchness” release I did with Dave Spoon for Size Records as well. I also have a track in development with Chris Lake, and I want to try out some more experimental stuff, too, with vocals. Another soundtrack soon, I hope. … Keeping busy!