International tastemaker Pete Tong has residencies across the country, radio shows in both Europe and the U.S., and recently helmed his own dedicated festival stage at the TomorrowWorld festival in Atlanta. Despite that fame and influence, Tong’s down-to-earth demeanor is disarming, charming even. With a new monthly residency at Life Nightclub in SLS Las Vegas, Tong is being given the opportunity to lend his musical expertise to the Las Vegas nightclub circuit. The All Gone Pete Tong series begins October 5 with special guest Cirez D (a.k.a. Eric Prydz), and continues October 26 with Seth Troxler and November 23 with Sasha.
What will your Life residency bring to the scene?
It’s kind of an evolution of what’s been going on in Vegas and the way Vegas has really gotten behind electronic music over the last four or five years. The amount of money that is rolling around—in terms of the success and the appeal of all of the DJs who have taken residencies—has just been unbelievable. It’s almost single-handedly changed the way DJ culture has been viewed in America, apart from big festivals such as EDC and Ultra. The story of the success of the DJ has really come through what’s gone on in Vegas.
Why launch your residency now, and why Life?
[That success] has made the [music] offering very narrow. It’s the most commercial end of what DJs offer that’s been successful. The musical environment should be a little bit more varied. We’ve waited for the right environment for that to happen; it feels like the right time. It would be hard to go into established venues and change the atmosphere in those rooms because people are so used to going into—you know the clubs I’m talking about—where people expect the explosions, the confetti, the Champagne corks. To go into those clubs, as good as they are, and do a night where the music would be different would be quite a challenge. It’s an opportunity to bring other music to Vegas.
Would you call it mainstream? Underground?
I’m careful about the use of the word “underground.” There’s a lot of music that’s also very popular and very successful in other parts of the world, but it’s not necessarily “EDM.” I’m talking about everything from Disclosure and Duke Dumont to Route 94 and Klangkarussel. The artists who have had huge hits in Europe, for instance, haven’t necessarily found a home in Vegas. I want to bring [in] some of the most special DJs in the world who are considered underground: Seth Troxler, Jamie Jones. It’s about creating an environment where everything other than EDM can flourish. That’s not knocking what’s going on in EDM; it’s just making a clear definition. That’s what we’re hoping to achieve with the night, and the theme of the night.
Who is this night really for?
It’s really welcoming for a younger crowd. I don’t want a club full of tourists. I want half weekenders and half locals. Vegas is big enough, now; that generation of people must exist out there. If you’re making electronic music, if you want to be in the game, this is the place to come and hang out. I want that industry kind of vibe. If you’re making music, if you’re fans of any of the guests and want to get to them, this is the way to do it. Bring [your music] on a USB stick or whatever. I encourage that kind of creativity.
You’re asking aspiring DJs to just walk up, say hi and give you their music?
I want to make that happen. And I’m sure the DJs who come play for me will agree. I want to find the amazing producers and DJs who come from Las Vegas. Let’s bring them on. Let’s have them supporting me in the club in a year’s time, in six months’ time.