The Tim Sweeney Interview
We had a chance to sit down with Tim Sweeney from the legendary radio program Beats In Space during VIA. The write-up on VIA’s site is the only thing that can do Tim Sweeney proper justice:
â€œToday, tens of thousands of listeners tune in to the Beats in Space broadcast in the Tri-State area, with thousands more all over the world listening in via live online streams, every Tuesday from 10:30pm to 1am. Fans download 175,000 archived shows from the BIS website every month. Beats in Space remains the only dance-music radio show of its kind in New York, and one of the most instantly recognized in the world.â€
While doing my research on Sweeney, I discovered an interesting character referred to as “Victor from Washington Heights”. This Victor fella is quite infamous in the BIS world, though he probably has no clue, due to the fact he likely listens to the program on an actual radio. I became intrigued with this character, whose weekly calls reminded me of the movie “Big Fan” starring Patton Oswalt. His tormented character’s only joy was calling into a radio program every week to talk about his beloved NY Giants. Each week, Sweeney posts a message from Victor on Soundcloud. Here’s one of my personal favorites:
BIS Hotline message… BIS is Un-American!! by timsweeney
I talked with Sweeney about Victor and his thoughts on preparing sets for radio versus performing in front of an audience. Here’s what happened:
Kymbo Slice: I’m genuinely scared for your life. Aren’t you concerned that Victor is going to do something crazy? Not even with regards to you, like some 9/11 shit.
Tim Sweeney: He is very crazy. People don’t believe me that he’s real. They think it’s a joke. I have hundreds of messages from him. This past week he called twice. The week before, 3 times. He loves talking about sending me to North Korea, Iran and Libya.
KS: And you’re gay too, you love the dick.
TS: He’s so homophobic, but the music he wants to hear is all by gay people.
KS: What’s the context? It seems to me he doesn’t understand the movement you’re behind (that’s an iconic statement). You’re perpetuating this whole dance culture and making it popular through your radio show. Not everyone can say that â€“ radio is dead and you’re reviving it. Why does he keep tuning into your show? He could be listening to Nickelback on the top 40 station but instead he’s listening to you and calling in.
TS: I’ve done that before with other callers. People will call in who have no friends, and they hear your voice. In the beginning, Victor was actually nicer. He would call in on occasion and say some really nice things. I put those things online because they’re so frightening and crazy that I need other people to hear it so that it’s not just me.
KS: Does he realize that you’ve kind of made a joke out of him at this point? Does he realize he’s just as iconic and integral to that show as you are?
TS: A couple of times I’ve acknowledged him on-air, but I won’t do that anymore. I don’t think it’s good. I’ll still put them online, but I don’t think he’s going online. He’s for sure listening on the radio.
KS: Have you thought about pressing a clip of Victor on every BIS release? Jerky Boys style.
TS: I might do it. I have so many messages from him, but I’d be afraid he’d find out about it and definitely kill me.
KS: You need a personal bodyguard.
TS: I need to do some serious training so that I can defend myself since he’s always threatening to beat me up. The last time he was talking about how he and his son were in the military. That one really scared me. I actually started the BIS hotline b/c I wanted people to call in and leave me messages. I wanted to hear their voices. But it ended up just being Victor that calls.
KS: It’s important to interact with people when you’re on radio.
TS: It is fun to hear people calling in and interacting. I want to hear more than just my voice all the time. I would like to play other people’s messages on the show.
KS: What do you think about being on the radio vs. deejay sets at venues?
TS: It’s very different.
KS: How do you prepare differently? How do you contextualize it?
TS: They each have their plusses and minuses. Playing at a club can be super exciting and exhilarating. Hot and sweaty when you get that feeling with the people dancing, it’s craziness. But with the radio show, there’s no one else there.
KS: There’s no one else there but you have a community of listeners. It’s different.
TS: I know there are people listening, but there’s not a worry for me about it. There’s not a dance floor I’m looking at that might clear. For the radio show, I’m more relaxed. I stress out beforehand trying to figure out what to play, but once I get into the radio show, as long as I have new stuff to play, I get really happy playing it.
And there you have it, our little convo with Tim Sweeney. He will surely need a bodyguard at this point. I’m available. It’s interesting to note that Victor from Washington Heights loved Sweeney’s recent BIS guests, Junior Boys. We coincidentally have an interview with them tonight. I’m curious to know what it was about this show in particular that turned Victor on so much. Perhaps I will know after my interview. Until then, let’s take a listen to a less psychotic version of the fella:
Victor From Washington Heights reviews Junior Boys BIS show (he likes it!) by timsweeney