Trying to itemize English DJ and producer Pete Tong’s legacy is no easy task. Tong is a polymath; his career spans more than three decades, and he has had his hands in every facet of the music industry. Whether you start at his beginnings as a DJ in England, his regular visits to the club circuit in Ibiza, or the fact that millions of people around the globe listen to his show Essential Mix on BBC’s Radio 1, the impact of Pete Tong’s work is widely felt.
In an interview with Purple Sneakers, Tong spoke of his humble beginnings and eventual stardom: “I joined a magazine and started writing about the scene before joining a record company and rose through the ranks there, and then ended up having my own label,” Tong explains. “It was just whatever it took to make a living being in music. I mean, for a long time, DJ’ing was effectively a hobby of mine, and I became well known being a DJ publicly, but I actually had a day job running a label, and it wasn’t until the early 2000s when I stopped doing the label — much later in life — that I could effectively call myself a full-time DJ.”
Tong is heading back to Miami, a city that’s felt his influence acutely, this Saturday, January 25. He’s set to play at Club Space, and it’ll be the first time he has performed at the venue since it came under the new ownership of Link Miami Rebels. In recent years, Tong has grown accustomed to playing at Story in Miami Beach, as well as his handcrafted All Gone Pete Tong parties during Winter Music Conference. Over the past four years, All Gone Pete Tong has brought the best acts to Surfcomber Hotel and continues to book some legendary back-to-backs with the likes of Honey Dijon b2b the Black Madonna, Idris Elba b2b Virgil Abloh, and performances from the man himself along with Hot Since 82. All Gone Pete Tong has also hosted the series in collaboration with festivals such as Creamfiields and SW4. He’ll surely play a lengthy set at Space, so attendees can expect a dynamic style that will transition from tech house to techno and everything in between.
Tong remains a talented producer in his own right, having released his works on labels such as Pets Recording, Toolroom Records, Suara, and Ministry of Sound. It’s often understood you haven’t so-called made it as a DJ until you have been featured on Pete Tong’s Essential Mix. The segment has been on the radio for more than two decades, and the legendary intros are in every electronic aficionado’s head: Nina Kraviz kicks off the intro with a drawn-out “Essenitalllll,” and Tong, with his colorful demeanor, chimes in, “Let’s get a mike check! Make some noise!” Tong kicked off 2020 with a special mix from Skream. The way Essential Mix has reached a wider audience and propped the underground sound cannot be understated; the mixes span all realms of electronic music, such as the 2012 mix from Avicii during the height of EDM and the stunning 1998 Deep Dish mix.
Joining Tong that evening and morning at Space will be Yotto. The Finish DJ and producer plays a musical style of deep and progressive house that will entrance the Miami audience.
Whether Tong is helming his All Gone Pete Tong parties or headlining a club, his steadfast loyalty and visceral dedication over the past 30 years is something not many others can touch. Go check out Tong for a solid night out on the town, but stay for the history.
Pete Tong and Yotto. With Ms. Mada and Thunderpony. 11 p.m. Saturday, January 25, at Club Space, 40 NE 11th St., Miami; 786-357-6456; clubspace.com. Tickets cost $11.25 to $22.50 via residentadvisor.net.