I think one of the most valuable lessons anyone’s ever taught me is that money isn’t necessarily the prize of hard work or the definition of success. Success, in the end, is the result of sticking to something you’re passionate about year after year and creating something that people will remember and appreciate forever. And while his Beats In Space radio show still broadcasts weekly in an NYU dorm basement just as it started 13 years ago, Tim Sweeney seems to be quite satisfied. For those unaware, the show has over 600 (and counting) recorded episodes to download and has featured pretty much anyone you can name; ranging from Aeroplane to Nicky Siano. Has he gotten a single penny from the show? Nope. Would he like that, though? Of course! But that’s not a huge concern after all, since his legendary status allows him to travel the world as a DJ, along with throwing events with the most forward-thinking lineups around. As someone who I respect and admire very much, I was excited with the opportunity to interview Tim about the 13th anniversary of Beats In Space and the two-night celebration in Brooklyn this weekend at Cameo Gallery.
13 years. First of all I want to say congrats! Looking back to the beginnings of Beats In Space, what would you say you’re most proud of up to this point If you could go back in time to when you first started out, what would you tell the younger amateur Tim as advice?
Thank you! I’m just happy I’m not sick of the show after doing it every week for 13 years! I still get a kick out of it every week. If I could go back in time, I would tell young Tim to stop being a nerd, take drugs, and change the name of the show to something cooler.
Haha, when did you start doing anniversary parties for BIS? Who played the first one?
I started doing these last year. The lineup for the first one was Matthew Dear, Juan Maclean, Rub N Tug, Kim Ann Foxman, DJ Nature, and myself. While I was stressed putting on a party, I still had a great time seeing everyone there. I did 10th Anniversary parties too, but it was just me playing at those around the world.
The idea behind throwing parties each year to celebrate the show is obvious, but what do you think makes your lineups unique? The events seem to feature DJs that don’t come out very often, and sometimes have never played in the US before. Do you feel that giving something for the listeners to actually attend is an important aspect of keeping your show alive and trusted?
I’m just trying to put on a good party that keeps things with the BIS vibe. That means having DJ’s I trust and respect to play and hopefully having a crowd of dancing, open minded people who are ready to get on the party train.
Last year the 12th anniversary party was originally scheduled to take place outside in Williamsburg, and was moved to a loft space last minute due to the weather. How was the party saved and was it close to being cancelled? Did it work out for the better in a more intimate setting?
It definitely worked out for the better with the party moving to this huge loft space in Soho last year. The loft was exactly what I imagined David Mancuso’s original Loft parties might have looked like. I don’t know how we ended up finding the space on one days notice, but I was really happy with how it all turned out.
Tell us a little about this year’s edition of the party and who you have booked. It’s taking place over the course of two nights rather than one and the lineup is very special considering the international guests that rarely play in the USA.
I worked with Jify Shah from Cameo Gallery on last year’s party, so we teamed up again for this year’s event. I wanted to do something big again, but Cameo is a much more intimate space, so it just felt right to do two nights there so everyone can get in and party if they want to. Pachanga Boys (Superpitcher and Rebolledo), Matias Aguayo, Andrés, and Ivan Smagghe are all playing. They’re all people who I really respect with DJing and love their music, so it just seemed to makesense. They’ve all been guests on the radio show before and I know they’ll be able to make this party something people will be talking about for the rest of the year.
I’ve always been a fan of the Cameo Gallery crew myself, good choice in venue…
Jify helped me with last years party, so it just made sense to do it at Cameo this year with him. I’ve always had a good time DJing there and know it can be something special in that place.
Judging by the looks of last year’s event, it seemed to be more of a house party vibe where the focus was just about dancing all night and enjoying whatever’s being played…which oddly enough is hard to come by these days. How do you plan on maintaining that? Do you think that doing it only once each year keeps it special?
I try not to over think it too much. I just want to bring good music to the right space and hopefully some magic happens! I would like to throw more parties in New York, but it also stresses me out doing these things. I’m always worried if people will show up, if I’ll lose money, if the DJ’s will enjoy it, if the people who come will enjoy it. It makes it hard for me to relax and have a good time.
What are some of the biggest mistakes DJs and promoters make when throwing an annual party? What are some of the most important elements of a successful all night event in your opinion?
Music, sound, lights, and people are all the most important things for me. As long as a good group of people are there and enjoying themselves, then you can have a party anywhere.
Are there any acts in particular this year that you’re most excited to have? Who should we be studying before hitting up the party?
I’m excited about all of them! They’re all amazing. Listen to the radio show mixes they’ve done if you want to study up on anything. They’re all superstars in my opinion!
Even though Beats In Space has dedicated listeners across the globe, do you still think of it as a New York City show? Do you think of broadcasting it any differently knowing that not just your local fan-base is tuning in?
Yes, for sure it is a New York City show. My first thoughts are always about broadcasting on the FM radio here in New York and those listeners. I think people around the world tune in to hear a bit of what it might be like here.
Why is NY your favorite place to throw parties, DJ and run a radio show? Besides from it simply being home to you, that is…
It’s the huge mix of people and ideas here that make it exciting. It’s hard to get bored in New York.
Are you already thinking about which records you’d like to bring out for the two night event? Or are you going to randomly pick stuff you want to play immediately before walking out your door? If some fans are attending both nights, will they be in for something totally different each time?
On the day of the event I’ll spend about 4 or 5 hours going through my records and picking out things to play. I’m always picking things and listening to them to remember what’s actually on them. And yes, it will not be the same set each night. I’m going to open things up each night, which I always enjoy doing because I can play some of the weirder records I have and watch the party slowly take shape as the night moves along.
Alright, before we wrap this up how about a little update on the label? I’ve had the Paradis and Lauer records on steady rotation over here, excited to hear what’s next…
More from Secret Circuit is next! That’s all I can say right now, but it’s going to be great. Really looking forward to more releases next year.
Any last words / bits of info / shout outs regarding the upcoming anniversary weekend? Hopefully Victor’s already got his tickets!
I heard Victor From Washington Heights might be there!
RSVP for the two-night event on Facebook here. And if you're in New York this weekend, click here for a chance to win a pair of tickets to this weekend's party! Tickets are still on sale now via Cameo.