Iconic DJ Pete Tong says old clubbers don’t party until 6am anymore… but dance music is still really important to them

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AS a superstar DJ and dance music legend, Pete Tong has travelled the world bringing dancefloor classics to the world’s ravers.

And for the first time in his 30-year career, when we met last month he was playing the world famous Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles.

Peerless Tong has released his second album

Photo Dan Medhurst 16 Peerless Tong has released his second album

“Playing the Bowl is something I’m immensely proud of,” he says backstage at the iconic outdoor venue.

“These songs matter to so many people. So bringing these songs — our heritage — 30 years of dancing all around the world to LA for the first time. It’s still a buzz.”

It’s a big night for Tong, 57, and when we meet a few hours before show time, he’s still adding names to his guest list.

Having lived in the city for the past four years it’s a homecoming show for him.

Ibiza Classics is Tong’s second album with conductor Jules Buckley and the Heritage Orchestra

Photo Dan Medhurst 16 Ibiza Classics is his second album with conductor Jules Buckley and the Heritage Orchestra

He says: “I’m just really proud. I’ve come here a few times to see Drake, Kanye West, Depeche Mode and Ed Sheeran play.

“I saw Ed play to a packed house here, coming out on his own with his loop pedal, holding the crowd for two hours.”

Earlier Moby, who is in tonight’s live show, was giving me the history of this place.

He is super cool and a walking talking historian, telling me people did seances here in the late 1890s. It’s a historical place to play.

“It’s mind blowing to think The Beatles famously played here in 1964 and 1965. Then The Doors, Pink Floyd and The Rolling Stones.

Ibiza Classics is Tong’s second album with conductor Jules Buckley and the Heritage Orchestra

Getty Images – Getty 16 His first album became one of the biggest selling debuts of 2016

“Fred Astaire has even danced on the stage. If you look there are classic photos from shows on the walls backstage. It’s a huge deal for me.”

Ibiza Classics is Tong’s second album with celebrated conductor Jules Buckley and the Heritage Orchestra following last year’s Classic House.

Last year, speaking to Tong about his debut album, he said: “My mission was to create a legacy for dance music for future generations.”

The album achieved more than Tong anticipated, becoming one of the biggest selling debuts of 2016.

Tong says 'my mission was to create a legacy for dance music for future generations'

PA:Press Association 16 Tong says ‘my mission was to create a legacy for dance music for future generations’

“My team and I all sat down in January and there was an air of disbelief in a positive way about how well it had done,” he says.

“The project had evolved through natural momentum.

“It had started with an invite to create a BBC prom show and the result of that was we got back together to do three arena shows at the end of last year. Then we got a record deal and that’s when this started.”

For Tong the record deal was a chance to experience being the focus rather than just a DJ.

The first album sold 240,000 copies

16 The first album sold 240,000 copies

“I didn’t just want a compilation record deal, I wanted it to be an artist deal which would give us the budget to record properly.

“The first album came out then we played the arena shows, then we went on Graham Norton’s chatshow, then we had a number one album and now it’s (not far off) platinum, having sold 240,000 copies.”

For album No2 with the Heritage Orchestra, Tong wanted to do things differently.

“This album grew organically like we were in a band,” he says. “A third of the album came out of performing.

He is remastering old school rave classics

Michael Schofield – The Sun Glasgow 16 He is remastering old school rave classics

“We also made some decisions about which road to go down and the hardest thing was not repeating ourselves. As much as I love the first album, I think this sounds even bigger and even more like a band.

“There was time during the promotional cycle where people would say they didn’t know if they were listening to the original version. We did such a good job.

“Like Lola’s Theme on the first album, people couldn’t tell the difference between our version and the original. That is a nice flattering thing, but that is exactly what we had to change.

“We’ve got to do them in a way that they are different. I’ve got big names Craig David and Seal on there but new people too. You Don’t Know Me was a song that I signed with Armand Van Helden. It was a number one in 1999.

Pete Tong is, unbelievably, nearly 60

Getty – Contributor 16 Pete Tong is, unbelievably, nearly 60

“We could only do this track if we found a singer who could really do it and I thought about Craig David who could give it a different flavour, a classic UK urban sound. He’s the real deal and a total pro. His instrument is his voice.

“Then with Seal I’ve got to know him over the years.

“The song Killer became one of the album’s biggest challenges. How do we change it?

“We tried to do it acoustically at the start but we’ve come up with a version that’s probably more honourable to the original. Seal reminded us that the album version had an ambient beginning. So on the album we’ve got this beautiful classical string piece at the start. Then it burst into life.

Tong has followed in the footsteps of The Beatles by performing at the Hollywood Bowl

This content is subject to copyright. 16 Tong has followed in the footsteps of The Beatles by performing at the Hollywood Bowl

“It’s stunning and I wish he could perform tonight but he’s promoting his own record in Europe at the moment.”

One of the new names on Ibiza Classics is former The Voice contestant Becky Hill.

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