“When I was younger, I used to think of it as just a party,” says Pete Tong. The year is 2016, and the city is Los Angeles. The British BBC 1 radio DJ has come a long way from London in the ’80s, where electronic dance music first surfaced and he became a commanding force on the radio waves. Today, his taste in music is at such a royal state-of-the-art level that he has been recognized as a member of the British Empire, a couple notches below knighthood. But his clairvoyant finger is still on the pulse, and it has recently started pulling him west.
While Pete Tong’s Wikipedia entry is correct—he is the ambassador of electronic music—there is one thing that needs to be updated about his page: he is now based in LA. Head of the electronic division at WME and the founder of the International Music Summit (the premiere conference for dance music), he’s still managed to keep his voice at BBC 1. Now that radio shows are heard more over Wi-Fi than through FM, Pete saw this as an opportunity for flexibility. So instead of broadcasting his curated playlist at the studio in London, he now speaks to all his listeners in the comfort of his home in sunny Southern California.
Pete hosted the first-ever live recording of his show in LA on the rooftop of E.P. & L.P. restaurant, overlooking the Hollywood Hills and against a vista of palm trees and sky. “To prove that I am in LA,” says Pete, “and I’m not faking it.” It’s music fixtures and masterminds like Tong moving across the pond that give us an excitement for what’s to come in the creative industries of our city.
Learn more about Pete Tong and future shows here.