Pete Tong + Friends: Ibiza Classics

Pete Tong

Pete Tong + Friends: Ibiza Classics

The name Pete Tong has been synonymous with the dancefloor hedonism of Ibiza ever since he became the first BBC Radio 1 DJ to host his show live from the White Isle in 1995. Since 2015, Tong has celebrated this special relationship, alongside conductor Jules Buckley and his Heritage Orchestra, with a series of live shows and albums reimagining house classics made famous in Ibiza super-clubs. The resulting three albums, sold out shows and a BBC Prom have revitalized everything from Inner City’s “Good Life”, to Moloko’s “Sing It Back”. Spurred on by a pandemic-induced global club shutdown, here Tong presents a self-described “maxi EP/mini album”, centering on the theme of Ibiza Classics in collaboration. “I wanted these projects to be more than just cover versions–they’re adaptations,” Tong tells Apple Music. “We’re being creative with the production and each track on this record has a collaborator with a personal connection to the original.”
The resulting eight tracks span everything from the majestic orchestrations of Hans Zimmer’s “Time”, taken from his score for Inception, to the raucous trance energy of System F’s “Out Of The Blue”, and an original composition with Danish producer Kölsch , “When We Move”. Read on for Tong’s thoughts on the record, track by track.
“Hideaway” (with Eats Everything & Vula, feat. Jules Buckley) “This is a track from our live show that we never got around to recording, but it’s really taken on a life of its own over the few years we’ve been playing it. The De’Lacy original was never a commercial hit and we’ve made the chorus more of a singalong moment now. Eats Everything has been to many of our shows and he’s always texting me that he wants to do a track with us. He’s well versed in house music history and this was one that he really wanted to get involved in. Vula is also the lead singer of the Heritage Orchestra and has organized all our vocalists since day one. It felt only right to make her the lead vocalist for this.”
“Ghosts” (with Kölsch, feat. Jules Buckley) “I’ve worked many times with Kölsch while DJing and we’re good friends. He suggested that we work on a Thomas Newman string movement called ‘Ghosts’, which was used in an old trance classic by Reflekt called ‘Need to Feel Loved’, as well as a Joe T Vannelli tune called ‘The End’. The Reflekt version has been on my list of tracks to do from 2015 and we started playing around with it and came up with our own adaptation—we called it ‘Ghosts’ because it’s a lot closer to the original.”
“Time” (with Tale Of Us, feat. Jules Buckley) “I’m a massive Christopher Nolan fan and Inception is a cult movie amongst the DJ community. Tale of Us had made their own DJ version of the song “Time” from its soundtrack a couple of years ago but they couldn’t clear the sample. I loved it and asked them if they wanted to record it properly with the orchestra, as I could get to Hans Zimmer, who wrote it. He gave us his blessing, as well as all the score for Inception, and then we had a lockdown session where Jules was in Berlin, conducting an orchestra virtually in Prague with me engineering in London. I then gave it back to Tale Of Us who were back in Milan and they finished it off. I finally got to play it with them in Ibiza this year which was fantastic.”
“Out of the Blue” (with Franky Wah, feat. Jules Buckley) “I have a strong history with this track. The original record is by System F, aka the trance DJ Ferry Corsten, which I signed in the ’90s to my label FFRR and it was a massive hit. We hadn’t added any new trance bangers to the show and this was the perfect track to do. I had to find a collaborator who is a fan of System F and it turns out Franky Wah was. I didn’t even have to give him a sketch, he started it and came up with the whole arrangement from the beginning. It has this disguised intro which is very much Franky’s sound and then suddenly it drops into the mad, recognizably trance bit from the original. It’s going to be a lot of fun to play this in the show.”
“Love Can’t Turn Around” (with Riton & Vula, feat. Jules Buckley & The Heritage Orchestra) “This is one of the first house records I ever signed, back in 1986. I went over to the US and put together a compilation of house music called The House Sound of Chicago Volume One. The album has become an iconic piece of house history and this Farley Jackmaster Funk track features on it in its original form. When Farley went to The Warehouse in Chicago, he heard Frankie Knuckles play a Ron Hardy bootleg of an Isaac Hayes track called ‘I Can’t Turn Around’, and that is what he adapted for this tune. Riton is an aficionado of house history and when I played him that Ron Hardy version, he was really into it. He took it from there.”
“When We Move” (with Kölsch& Elderbrook, feat. Jules Buckley) “I’d been playing around with a very famous house and techno monster for a couple of years, which I wrote some new chords over and then sent to Jules and Vula, who added words and melody. I then sent it to Kölsch and he took the top line off, but really elaborated on what I did musically. He also took the sample away and convinced me to make it an original composition. We kept working on it and got Elderbrook in to come up with a few more ideas and ultimately it became entirely its own track.”
“Age Of Love” (with ARTBAT, feat. Jules Buckley) “This track has been remixed a lot—Solomun released a version a couple of years ago and Charlotte de Witte did it this year too. I reached out to ARTBAT, who are two DJs and producers from Kiev, and they were in love with the original part, so I got hold of the label that owns the rights and then they sketched out an idea really quickly, within 48 hours. They immediately started playing it themselves but I told them to hold on for the orchestra. Little did we know that it would take 18 months to record them. Eventually, this summer, we had one big session where we recorded the orchestra in Prague. We then gave it back to ARTBAT and they did their thing to take it to the master level. It was a long journey but it was worth it.”
“You Got The Love [Live]” (with Becky Hill, feat. The Heritage Orchestra & Jules Buckley) “When we first started performing this live, it was on our 2017 tour where we managed to get the original singer Candi Staton out. She was quite frail though, so we knew she wouldn’t always be singing it with us. On ensuing shows, we began performing it with Becky Hill and she then made the song her own. If you were in a real band in the old days, you’d play your songs 100 times before you ever went in and recorded them. With this song, I feel like we’re a proper band since we’ve played it so many times live. This recording is from The O2 in 2019 and is 100 percent live. It crucially gets the audience on the record, since they’re our heroes and the reason we’re still here.”

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