Interview with Pete Tong (2009)

Mathias Haegglund sat down and talked to Pete Tong about the International Music Summit which is held in Ibiza on the 27th of May 2009. Read all about the details.

Interview with Pete Tong (2009) Photo by International Music Summit

For those who do not know about it, tell us about the International Music Summit?
The International Music Summit is an intimate high-quality conference set in Ibiza – the spiritual home of dance music - focused on getting the biggest and brightest players in electronic music together for 3 days of debate and networking. A chance to exchange ideas and work on strategies that will make the business stronger and more competitive in the future.

How did all this come about?
The partners all have a passion for our business and a long-standing appreciation of Ibiza. We felt that there was an opportunity to create a new type of conference at the start of the Ibiza season. We wanted to create an event that was good for the business and good for Ibiza. We appreciate Miami and Amsterdam but felt Ibiza deserved its own conference as it plays such a major role in what we all do.

You are holding it at the Ibiza Gran this year, why the change?
I think it’s a natural evolution after the success and feedback from last year. The Gran is a major new addition to the island in terms of facilities and gives us many more outlets to stage satellite events around the conference. Ibiza town is a fantastic location.

Why did you feel the need to be involved in a conference like this?
I have been in the business all my working life, I feel this is a great opportunity to put all that experience to positive use.

The IMS is teaming up with the Hepatitis C trust – how did that come about?
They saw what we achieved last year and approached us to be involved and support what they were doing – I think it’s a very positive move for both organizations.

Last year was a huge success, with lots of delegates saying they did more business in those 3 days than they had done in years of going to other conferences. How did that make you feel?
Very proud and very happy for Ibiza. It was very rewarding to be able to run such a high-quality conference on the island that sometimes suffers from being seen as just the ultimate party place.

Can you tell us anything about the panels this year? How are they relevant to what is going on in our industry at the moment?
We think we put together a very unique and thought-provoking selection of panels last year and aim to do the same again for 09 and push the boat out even further! There will panels that address the issues of the day and those that will make people think outside the ‘box’ to use a well-worn conference saying!

Can you tell me about the Grand Finale? I hear it’s going to be huge.
We have worked hard to improve our ties with the Ibizan Government during the last year and we are very happy that they have given us access to the fort in the old town, a world heritage site.

I hear the IMS has backing from the Ibiza Government this year which is a massive achievement, tell me more about it...
As I mentioned in the previous question, we wanted them involved last year, they came and participated, they were very impressed with what they saw so this year they have agreed to support us in a more formal way. Hopefully, the relationship and can build from here. We want the IMS to become a very important event for the island.

You had 300 delegates last year, and this year has 400 – is this the shape of things to come?
We want the conference to remain intimate that was its strength from the outset but we want the events around the conference to become our interface with a bigger consumer market. Sonar is a great role model.

What was the most inspiring thing that happened at the IMS last year?
Seeing 300 of my colleagues and piers sit through every panel side by side for the whole three days. That was absolutely amazing!

Tom Middleton & Soul Avengerz famously made a track live at last year’s conference, is anyone going to top that this year?
This year Dirty Vegas will be writing the IMS anthem in front of the crowd. Followed by Above & Beyond delivering the remix. It speaks for itself!

Do you think there is a need for another music conference?
I think there is a need for a unique conference in a place that does so much for the scene, the artists the DJ's, the producers, the writers, the promoters. Ibiza inspires us all and rewards us all and I think it deserves this conference and I think the electronic community can take great benefit from it.

Will you be djing?
Yes, I’m playing before Basement Jaxx who unveil their new live show at the incredible venue awarded to us by the Ibiza Consell, which is a World Heritage site in Dalt Vila. Also playing live are Filthy Dukes, and I will be DJ-ing with Rob da Bank.

What are you looking forward to most about this years IMS?
Getting it started on Wednesday morning!

Can you tell me anything about the evening’s showcases?
We decided to invite a handful of labels. So on Wednesday at Grial we have Rekids and Barraca from Spain. And on Thursday, Cr2 join Toolroom and Pacha Recordings. This brings in DJ sets from the likes of Radio Slave, Adam Grant, Mark Knight, Funkagenda, the return of MYNC and Sarah Main. The Danish music industry also rolls into a town with Kenneth Beger and a host of others at a special Danish showcase at El Hotel. And each night, Pioneer will host sunset drinks with Sander Kleinenberg, Tom Middleton and Sarah Main already confirmed.

Mathias Haegglund Code Collector, Globetrotter, and Occasional Gamer.