Pete Tong on that famous phrase and packing arenas ahead of Newmarket show
PUBLISHED: 14:23 29 July 2019 | UPDATED: 14:40 29 July 2019
Get your glow sticks at the ready as one of the world’s best known DJs is bringing the party to Newmarket Racecourse this summer.
Pete Tong, who has worked as a DJ for over 30 years, is bringing his Ibiza Classics show to the racecourse on Friday, August 2 as part of the Newmarket Nights season.
He will perform with The Heritage Orchestra, who are a 65-piece band conducted by Jules Buckley, and the show will feature impressive visuals and a mix of brand-new songs and White Isle classics.
The Ibiza Classic album was released in 2017, as the follow up to Classic House, and in 2019 the show will feature new re-imagined tracks which will soon feature on their third record.
Ahead of the show, Pete Tong spoke about what fans can expect from the show, performing with an orchestra and why radio is still as relevant as ever.
When you first started out did you ever envision that you'd be performing these classic DJ songs at arenas, festivals and massive outdoor events around the world?
Not really, no. It started off as an invitation to curate and perform at the Proms, it was a great honour.
I jumped at it but I had no idea what I was jumping into, I had never worked with an orchestra like that before.
We did The Royal Albert Hall which was filmed amazingly by the BBC, fortunately the show went viral, creating an incredible roused opinion all over the world as well for us to go out and do it again.
It took six months from the summer of 2015, which coincided with the 20th anniversary of Radio 1 going to Ibiza, to work out how we were going to do it again and we eventually announced the show for December 16 2016 at The O2,
Thee show would only work if it was really, really big and we didn't know what level of demand there was, it was a really expensive show to do.
When I announced it in the March of 2016, I went up to Manchester on breakfast television and announced it and by the time I got back to London we sold out the entire O2. There was this mad scramble to try and get another arena.
We managed to get Manchester, Birmingham and three days in a row in London and we sold them all out and it was an amazing reaction to the shows and that started the ball rolling really and we made the album as well and that went to Number 1.
The shows have evolved and taken on a whole new life of its own and its one of the best things I've ever been involved in my career.
You continue to do so much radio and you're recognized as one of the most influential radio personalities in the UK still today. Do you feel like radio is competing with streaming sites like Spotify?
I've been doing radio my whole life, I was always a club DJ at heart, but I found a way of expressing myself on the radio that I really enjoy.
When I was a kid my first experiences of underground music really came by listening to the radio and it always resonated with me and was something I wanted to do.
When I started, Radio 1 was really the one dominant radio station because it was national and there wasn't anything like it.
I think to be honest the radio and streaming sites compliment each other, I think radio is still really unique because it's personable, it's a relationship with a presenter, it's storytelling and a completely different thing.
You'll be headlining Newmarket Racecourses on August 2 - how would you describe the show?
I just think it's a very unique different way of presenting, as a DJ I was never a DJ that went on and played a lot of old records - I've always been quite forward-thinking.
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Obviously we all play the occasional classic tune but I've never been one of those that specialized in going backwards.
I think doing it with an orchestra is a really unique and energizing way of doing it, I'm also not DJing now I'm actually playing along with the orchestra.
The tracks you play, is it the same set list for each show, or do you mix it up?
Every show is different, I've got a big repertoire now, every year we add tracks and by going in and recording the albums we're writing tracks, so every show gets a little tweak, every one is unique.
You said about guests there, are you bringing guests out for Newmarket, will there be any surprises in store for these shows?
Becky Hill is back on the road with us for this and there's always a chance of a last minute person that wants to jump up and perform with us, so we'll see.
Are you like a racing fan? Do you ever put a bet on while you're there?
My dad was a bookie! I grew up around bookmakers, so at a very young age, I knew about the Darby and the Gold Cup, and the Grand National.
I'll bet on the Grand National if I'm tuned in and I did actually backed the winner this year.
They wouldn't let me have my money since I was overseas, I never got my winnings.
You've mentioned a few things you've done in your career so far, what would you say is the highlight?
Every day is a highlight really that I'm still involved in the way that I am. I just think having the career is the biggest blessing.
Having the consistency over that length of time, I can always say, "oh that show was great" or " that show was great", but I've been around long enough where I can say that it's a blessing to be able to make music and actually make a living off of it.
You've got your club night, "It's all gone Pete Tong". What do you think of that phrase? It's such a recognisable motto and phrase now, do you still find it bizarre to be the identity behind what is such an iconic term?
Not really now, it started as a joke with a bunch of friends and people teasing me, but it turned into this whole other thing so I'm used to it now. It took me a long time to decide to do parties under that name though and I went and actually did it and it worked really well.
You've got such a busy year ahead of you, have you been working on any new material?
Well, this Classics album, it will be the third album with new material on it and is coming out in November or December and we're actually going to introduce a few originals.
I've got another collaboration with John Monkman and I just had a record out a few months ago with Emanuel Satie.
You can purchase tickets to Pete Tong and The Heritage Orchestra at thejockeyclub.co.uk
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