Sweeney still sweet on radio and vinyl 

click to enlarge Out of this world: New York DJ Tim Sweeney hosts “Beats in Space,” a Tuesday night radio show that hasn’t missed a beat in 12 years. - COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy photo
  • Out of this world: New York DJ Tim Sweeney hosts “Beats in Space,” a Tuesday night radio show that hasn’t missed a beat in 12 years.

Video didn’t kill the radio star, and neither will the Internet.

In an age when digital dominates the music world, Tim Sweeney holds a stake in the physical: He has a radio show going on its 13th year, and a new record label that holds vinyl and album art in the highest esteem.

For 12 years, Sweeney — who appears tonight in San Francisco — has hosted “Beats in Space,” a program now airing at 10:30 p.m. Tuesdays on New York City’s WNYU (89.1 FM).

Having dabbled on the airwaves in high school and taken a fancy to it, Sweeney was fast-tracked into starting a show at New York University’s college radio station.

“I could get guests on the show, saying it was New York radio,” Sweeney says. “There are not that many options for people that I want on the show, radiowise.”

His diverse knowledge and far-reaching platform attract heavy-hitting company — from techno titan Carl Craig to James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem to modern soul musician Dâm-Funk.

Although the advent of the Internet has led to more people listening to “Beats in Space” online through podcasts, Sweeney continues to identify his format as that of a real-time radio show.

“There’s still something exciting about playing live on the radio,”  Sweeney says.

With his air of “anything goes,” Sweeney has become one of New York’s most sought-after DJs. His reputation for showcasing dance music — be it disco, new wave, house, techno, funk, soul or punk rock — spans the continents and decades.

Appropriately, the Beats in Space record label is an extension of his radio show.

“We have all kinds of guests and DJs on the show,” Sweeney says. “It’s [the label] about putting something interesting out there — it can really be anything.”

Boasting a discography of two 12-inch vinyl singles so far — first with French group Paradis’ “La Ballade de Jim” and second release “Nebulon Sphynx” with Los Angeles’ Secret Circuit — Sweeney emphasizes the album cover art as much as the music.

“I’m tired of all the releases now where if it’s a digital release, you get no artwork,” Sweeney says. “I identify with the artwork so much when DJing.”

Sweeney, who appreciates firsthand how much art comes into play when a person flips through a bag full of records, wants his label to reflect the importance of the visual aspect of a release.

“For most vinyl, it’s cost-prohibitive to have artwork,” Sweeney says, “but it’s worth it to have.”

Playing live and loud tonight in The City, Sweeney will provide support for Mexican artist Rebolledo at Monarch in the South of Market district.

“I’m a huge fan of Rebolledo,” Sweeney says, “and it’s kind of been a dream to meet him in person.”


Rebolledo + Tim Sweeney

Where: Monarch, 101 Sixth St., San Francisco
When: 10 p.m. today
Tickets: $10-$15
Note: Ages 21+

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