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Interview: Pete Tong @ Club Museum, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Author: Ryan Gawn
Thursday, May 5, 2005
Despite last minute venue changes, technical upsets and a fraught few months in the Buenos Aires scene, Pete Tong recently played his first club night in Argentina before heading off to 60,000 fans at Brazil's Skolbeats Festival. In an exclusive interview, Ryan Gawn managed to speak to him about Miami, South America and his future plans.

Pete Tong, this is your third time here in Buenos Aires - you've been here for Creamfields and the South American Music Conference. Can you tell me a little bit about those events and Argentina-

I think Argentina is one of the main destinations in South America. A load of my friends were coming down here and just raving about Pachá in particular. I felt I knew a lot about here before I ever came here and it's quite ironic that I've never got to play the club that everyone's talked about, but that's just the way it's been so far - I've never played Pachá Buenos Aires. I also think that I knew about it through my experiences in Ibiza, as there are a lot of people from South America there and just getting to know different characters helped me get to know the place. I kind of felt that I already knew what I was getting into when I first arrived in Argentina. Creamfields was great, I got looked after really well and played before Hernan Cattaneo.

Was it what you expected-

Pretty much, yeah. I think out of all the places in the world I've played, the Argentinean crowd is the closest to the Spanish / Ibiza crowd. And then when I played South American Music Conference it was great. It was well attended, and I thought that in their first year it was great. I had a few issues with the technical way it was set up - for some reason, even though I was top of the bill, I ended up playing the side room instead of the main room, I don't know why that was, but other than that I thought the event was good.

What do you think about the South American music industry- What are they contributing to the international scene-

I think at the moment it's still quite limited. I think that events like the South American Music Conference give more exposure to what's going on down here, and the first successes are obviously Marky from Brazil and Hernan from Argentina. They have definitely been contributing and providing more talent to the world stage, given the size of the market. It's early days, it's a positive start. It's an amazing destination, I love Argentina and fell in love Brazil as well. They really are great places to play.

Why do you think Radio 1 chose Skolbeats and Brazil for their first live Essential Mix from South America, instead of perhaps the South American Music Conference in Argentina-

I think it's a very expensive thing to do when you take the radio station abroad like that and I think, first and foremost, that it's a public service radio station funded by the public and every time we go abroad we have to feel that it can really be justified. I think it's simply a thing of merit and the right time in the market for Skolbeats. It's been running for six years, and so it has the right to be covered in the same way as Sonar was in Spain. I think English listeners want the kind of romance and journey of going to exotic places and I think it takes time. The South American Music Conference was the first one and it's currently in its formative years, so who knows what the future holds.

You are aware of the nightclub fire here in Buenos Aires in December and the subsequent clamp-down by the authorities on venues - can you see how that has affected the industry here-

Yeah, massively. I think it's devastating. Obviously there are issues that needed to be tackled out here. It's not that Buenos Aires has been singled out or victimized, I think that any city in the world that had to encounter that kind of incident, would respond the same. It doesn't really matter whether one person dies or it's as horrific as it was here where 200 people died, b