DFA House DJ Tim Sweeney Talks 10 Years of Beats in Space


DJ Tim Sweeney has plenty to be happy about these days, not the least of which is that his long-running radio show Beats in Space turns ten this year. In addition to featuring his own eclectic selections, BiS has hosted a who’s who of dance music’s finest as guests on the show, with the likes of Hercules & Love Affair’s Andy Butler, Carl Craig, Lindstrøm and many others either sending in mixes or dropping by WNYU’s studio on a Tuesday night to play their favorite records. We caught up with the DFA house DJ, recent producer, and inveterate music lover while he was making a pit stop in New York in between headlining BiS ten year anniversary shows around the globe.

Flavorpill: Congratulations on ten years of Beats in Space. Did you ever think, when you were just starting out, that the show would go for this long?

Tim Sweeney: Thanks. No, when I started out I thought I would get kicked off the radio soon after I graduated [from NYU]. I didn’t know it would go this long, but I think I started out just loving doing the show and that has been what’s kept me going.

FP: You’ve had such an impressive roster of guests on the show – everyone from up and coming DJs and producers to total legends like Nicky Siano or DJ Harvey. Are there any moments or particular sets that stand out to you?

TS: Well, I mean everyone is my favorite [laughs]. But, whenever I’ve had a legend on the show, that’s always something special. There have been times when I’ve asked other DJs who are older, more established, or bigger names and they don’t want to do it because radio isn’t really their thing. So I appreciate whoever does come on. When Harvey came on the show that was great. You get to hear from the people as well, not just the music they play. Harvey was talking the whole time — you get a sense of the kind of person they are. Something I haven’t done with the show yet that I’d like to get into is doing phone interviews. When someone gives me a mix and they aren’t there in the New York studio, it would be cool to be able to talk with them.

FP: One thing I really like about the show is that even though most guests are spinning dance music of some variety, it’s not just about that. There is a more relaxed vibe of people also playing stuff that wouldn’t normally work in the club. TS: That’s what I like too. Having this outlet is really nice since you don’t have to worry about the dance floor crowd. What I’ve always said with the show is that it has one foot in the club but there’s also one foot that’s people listening elsewhere — in the car, at the gym, at home, or at work. Either way is fine. For DJs it’s a nice chance to go and bring out those tracks that you really love and really want people to hear but you would know would clear a dance floor or are too scared to play on a dance floor (laughs).

FP: You’ve started doing some production work, right?

TS: Well, I’m starting a new label [also called Beats in Space], and I don’t want to jinx things, but one of the ideas is for me to do production work on each of the singles. We don’t have everything done yet, so it’s not 100% set but that’s what I would like to see happen.

FP: What’s been catching your ear lately?

TS: I’ve been loving everything from Tensnake and the Azari & III guys, and those are two groups I’ve been working with for the label. I also really like that new TBD remix of Permanent Vacation’s “Zuckerhut.” And the new Yura Tura Teikoku re-release on DFA is great.

FP: Obviously, you own a lot of records, but if you could raid another DJs collection, whose would you choose?

TS: Well, I’ve seen Keith/Twitch from Optimo’s collection and it was amazing. I’d love to look through Mike Simonetti‘s huge collection, which he has out in New Jersey. Or David Mancuso‘s here in New York. There are just so many guys whose collections I’d love to look at. It’s funny, the DFA guys always make fun of me this, saying that I have guys on the show just so I can steal their records. But you know, I’m just trying to learn. And I go to the record stores every week; I’m not just sitting around waiting to see what everyone else if playing (laughs).

Visit the Beats in Space website, subscribe to the Beats in Space radio podcast, and check out Sweeney’s playlists.