Artist To Artist: Tim Sweeney & Alison Swing
This month will see Beats In Space celebrate twenty years with a party in Berlin. The longstanding radio show and record label run by Tim Sweeney has become a staple of leftfield electronic music and has helped form the basis of many a developing career with big names and small all having graced the radio studio in NYC across the decades. The show has evolved drastically, acting as platform for dj's to showcase their ability in the booth and demonstrate their musical repertoire in a fresh no holds barred scenario.
The label on the other hand has been responsible for the distribution and release of music by the likes of Gonno, Powder, Tornado Wallace, Jaakko Eino Kalevi, Secret Circuit and many more. It's become a dedicated outlet for the strange and left of centre, championing fresh musical talent and innovation.
In celebration of the party, which will take place at Else on the 30th of June, we invited Alison Swing and Tim Sweeney to talk about the legacy behind his imprint and what it means moving forwards…
Alison asks Tim…
What are some of your favourite memories from the studio from across the past 20 years?
Honestly, they all start blurring together after this long. Election night specials have always been pretty entertaining though. The results always come in on Tuesday nights when the radio show happens. It’s a live recording of happiness and hell.
What are some things you wish you’d known before starting Beats in Space?
It’s a dog eat dog world. You’ll never make it. You’ll never be happy. Do something else with your life, Tim!
How do you prepare for a club set opposed to your own radio sets?
With the club sets I just have to think about what city and space I’m going to, what time I’m playing and what would work for that situation. Sometimes it means playing disco and sometimes it means being prepared with techno or house. There are always new songs I want to test out and I think the first 30 minutes of a set I’m usually feeling around with what works that night. Ideally you have a crowd that’s up for anything, but most of the time it’s not that easy. With the radio show I start out focusing on all the new music I’ve heard that week and see if I can find any connections between things and then going searching through my older records to see if there’s anything that would work together. There’s usually some kind of theme going on that connects everything.
It’s been so nice watching some of your regular guests evolve over the years – since you’ve been doing the show for 20 years how have you seen radio evolve with it’s role in dance music?
Traditional radio has become less and less important and there’s really an opportunity for anyone to do their own podcast now. The issue is how to have your show get through the noise with the thousands of others happening. It’s the same as finding new music. You used to have the filter of people working at record stores telling you what to check out and knowing your tastes. It can be overwhelming now with all the music available.
I’m such a fan of Powder and love the project you’ve done with her on her compilation – how did that come about?
The mix CD idea I’ve been going back and forth on for years. I seem to specialize in getting into things once they’ve died (see: radio, vinyl records, disco)… so I thought it was finally time to dip my toe in this world. I’ve been a fan of Powder’s productions and DJ sets for years. I knew she would put a lot of thought and love into this and I was really excited to hear what kind of productions she would do for us. When she asked her friends AC-bu to create the video for “New Tribe” it really set the whole project over the top. I can’t be happier with how it all turned out.
What else do you see in the future for Beats in Space?
I’d love to curate more parties like the 20th Anniversary in Berlin. Maybe a regular Beats In Space Festival somewhere beautiful? That would be a dream. Anyone out there who wants to help, please get in touch!
Not a question but I can’t wait to play together at Else and congrats on hitting 20!!
Thanks Alison!! I’m looking forward to it too. See you in Berlin! Let’s party!
Tim asks Alison…
Okay, to start with: how do you find life in Berlin compared to Los Angeles? Can you find good Mexican food in Berlin? If you’re feeling like you need some sun or the beach, where do you go now?
I love it here! My life was really crazy working full time, throwing Dig Deeper and gigging on the weekends. But it's so much cheaper in Berlin so I don't have to work so much and can focus more on music. I've given up on Mexican food here because I really just miss the truck experience! I try not to think about it haha. I gotta say – a good lake day beats the beach any day!
Can you describe a summer Sunday in Berlin versus a Sunday in Los Angeles? And how much does that routine change in the winter?
I mean in Berlin I usually don't go out until Sunday and it's a super funny mix of crazy kids on benders and fresh party people – I love it. In LA it's all about those fancy rooftop parties on Sundays while fighting last night's hangover haha. Winter just sucks. But the clubs are at their best since the sun never comes out and it's freezing haha.
How did you become a resident DJ at Wilde Renate?
Paramida booked me at Renate for the first time the week I moved to Berlin. We all clicked instantly and it just happened really naturally not long after!
Where do you see yourself in 20 years? If you weren’t DJing, what do you think you would be doing?
Oh man 20 years is hard to think about! But I'll still be in music in some capacity! Before I was DJing I was a graphic designer (and still am) so something I've always been working towards is finding ways to mesh my passions for design and music together so I'd definitely be in design if it weren't for DJing!
See you at Else!! Can’t wait.
Yes! See you soon can't wait for this!
More details of the party HERE.