The Interview

Spinning the Globe with Purple Disco Machine

by California Chaney
DJ Purple Disco Machine at Nikki Beach in Saint Barths. All photos courtesy of Nikki Beach Global.

Grammy-winning DJ and producer Tino Piontek, best know as Purple Disco Machine, is having a great 2024. He started the year on the decks at Nikki Beach Saint Barth, where the chic beach club meets the Caribbean Sea. Now he's about to take the Sahara tent at Coachella, spinning selections that draw a packed house. Over the years, Piontek has produced remixes with Madonna, Dua Lipa, Lady Gaga, and Lizzo; his SiriusXM show, Purple Disco Tales dives into the early days of disco at New York's Studio 54. As a DJ myself, I was especially excited to speak with Tino in between stops on his global tour. Read on and check out his playlist below.

You kicked off the year DJing New Year's Eve at the legendary Nikki Beach in St. Barts. What stood out to you?

It’s the definition of an island paradise. Everything stood out: The landscape, climate, and beach club — of course. It was a very cool place to have a party with some very cool people and as someone who has been to a lot of parties, I like to think I know what I’m talking about!

Nikki Beach’s motto is “Celebrate Life.” If you had a motto for your music, what would it be?

Upbeat, melodic fun. It’s a serious world, but I think there’s always going to be a place for dancing your cares away and I aim to be the provider of that soundtrack.

How does travel inspire your music? Are there certain destinations or genres of global music that move you?

Disco was forged in the underground clubs of New York, Chicago, and San Francisco and then traveled the world, inspiring people of all cultures. Some of my favorite disco records were made in Africa, for example.

What does travel mean to you?

Travel plays a huge role in my life, as I travel continually for work. I’ve been in over 25 different countries; I've taken 200 flights in one year. But travel also means expanding my horizons by being exposed to different cultures and experiences. And quite often also relaxing and having fun.

Live music was shut down for nearly three years. How is it performing for a live crowd again?

As a professional musician, playing your own music live is hugely important, not only to your career, but also as part of the validation of what you are creating. Not doing it was tough, and I’m very happy that it's back, that’s for sure.

Tell us about your favorite place to play music.

Nikki Beach Saint Barth! It was a great night, and I’d love to be invited back. I’m lucky I get to play a lot of great venues, clubs, and festivals, but I’m always drawn back to Ibiza. It’s such an important destination for dance music culture. My shows in the U.S. and Mexico have been so good that I have to mention them, too.

Speed Round of Favorites:

Dying to visit: Vietnam. I love the food and I hear so much about the beautiful landscape and people. I feel I’ve not spent enough time exploring Asia in general.

In-flight relaxation regime: Producing records and DJ mixes I didn’t do in the studio.

Always in carry-on: Laptop and headphones.

Concierge or DIY: Both, to be honest. For years it was DIY, as there was no other choice, but I’m definitely enjoying the concierge these days. But I still go camping — not glamping — with the family at least a couple of times a year.

See it all or take it easy? Take it easy. My tour manager would laugh so hard if I said anything else.

Drive or be driven? Driven. Laptop, headphones on.

I dream about my meal at the last obscure burger joint we scouted in America. Me and my touring crew are quite nerdy about burgers, especially in the USA.

Best hotel amenity: Room service. I keep weird hours a lot of the time.

Everywhere I go, I check out the... it's impossible to answer honestly as sometimes I’m in a place for less than twelve hours. Maybe: the shower in my room.

When I arrive in a new place, I learn the lay of the land by asking my tour manager what’s happening next.

Get in the Groove

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