Updated: Jun 16, 2020
A true pioneer of the house movement over the last four decades, Pete Tong is a man that needs little introduction. The driving force behind the hallowed IMS conference and discoverer of the worlds best DJ’s, few people are as well positioned to introduce new ideas to the island.
His idea of Le Grand Bazaar is more than just a club night. It aims to bring back daytime clubbing to the island with global headliners who possess the finest underground talent such as Hot Natured, Carl Cox, Luciano & Paul Kalkbrenner to name few.
Before I sat down with Pete, I was extremely nervous as this was my first ever artist interview I conducted during a music journalism internship for the Ibiza Paper in 2013.
Deep end or what?!
We ended up having a great chat over a green juice on the sands of Playa D'en Bossa to talk about his vision for the season ahead in 2013.
1) Tell us about your creative vision for this season and how this idea came about.
PT: I’ve been in Ibiza for a long time, seen the way it’s evolved and still in love with the island. I’m not one of these people who is against progress just because Ibiza has gotten bigger and bigger over the past few years. Each year you think how are you going to change it up, give yourself a challenge and offer something new and creative.
The move from Pacha wasn’t forced on me but there was management change and that gave me an opportunity to reflect and review the strategy. Ushuaia is an inspiration to me because when I first came to Ibiza all those years ago it was about dancing outside during normal hours and until Ushuaia came along that vibe had kind of disappeared from the island. However up until this point, people come to Ushuaia around 8PM and they only catch the last couple of hours of the sun before it sets.
This is why we wanted to develop more of a flow that works for people so they can jam on the beach, then head to the main festival stage and perhaps the tower afterwards. The idea really came from wanting to try and bring a bit of the Miami daytime vibe to Ibiza & the name 'Le Grand Bazaar' came to me a long time ago when I was in a souk in Morocco.
Damian Hirst has been selected to design the unique vibrant and bold colorful palettes of illustration for the event and each week a special version of the internationally acclaimed ‘It’s All Gone Pete Tong’ radio show will be broadcasted live on Ibiza Sonica as well as various other global digital radio platforms. Traktor will also be curating a cookery school on the beach alongside the hippy market.
2) You’ve been here pretty much since the beginning, so tell me about your relationship with Ibiza and what you foresee the future as for this island, especially with sustaining the whole luxury brand image happening at the moment.
PT: It’s funny because every year this island changes. Even though we were here since the 80s, when you’re living through it you can’t possibly imagine it being any better or different than it is. Then in 2003, the St Tropez type of crowd started to really discover Ibiza and from then on it went up another level, and another level and the last few years have just exploded. The island went through regeneration, new investments, and new business opportunities and in some ways I feel the business ideas are ahead of the people and the time. But what I love about this island is that during the season everything sorts itself out and finds its own level. We’ll see what happens this year because the Spanish economy is still quite flat, but I don’t think the underground essence will ever lose its touch, it's kind of like a rubix cube!
3) Favorite thing to do on the island to escape?
PT: I actually love cycling around the north of the island. It has very dramatic scenery and is a really great place to get away and be inspired. The good thing about Ibiza is that it really isn’t that difficult to escape the madness due to the size of the land and the concentration of the population.
4) What DJ’s do you think we should be keeping an eye out for this summer?
PT: Hot Since 82, Eats Everything, Dyed Soundorom & of course the Hot Natured boys!
5) We heard Tiesto got paid £20 million to stay away from the island this summer and retain exclusivity in Vegas. What’s your opinion on this and essentially on big name DJ’s potentially selling out to capture the mass American market?
PT: That’s a good spin but he definitely didn’t get paid to stay away! He received a very good offer from MGM to be a resident DJ there and I think that with all the changes in Pacha he felt like he already found his own niche in Vegas, especially as he has focused on America a lot in the last few years. I don’t think it’s a bad thing, I’ve been there a lot and people automatically assume that EDM is the lowest common denominator out there but that really isn’t the case! Obviously Europe has the culture and the history of dance music but Vegas is coming as a strong force and there are enough people out there who connect with the music enough to sustain it. Week by week there’s a bigger amount of people who also want a different element and demand the underground!
6) Ok fair enough. So how does one even get to that level? Any tips for success?
PT: Well first and foremost it’s a much more crowded space than what it used to be. Everyone wants to be a DJ now and 99% of those people will start off making a track. Whereas in the 70s when I started, no one made tracks because you couldn’t unless you had large enough pockets to get in the studio! I think you need to be very entrepreneurial, very connected and very focused on your art but most importantly, like with anything, you have to love what you do primarily and the rest will come.
7) What’s been the most memorable moment of your career?
PT: Hmm, I don’t really think like that! I always think it’s yet to come. Let's see where this season goes!
*This interview was conducted in 2013 for The Ibiza Paper.
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Farah is a journalist, music producer, DJ and mentor. She has been at the forefront of the dance music industry for over a decade and loves to write about thought provoking musings from the underground world.