Behind the Beat: Sweater Beats
Antonio Cuna aka Sweater Beats has created a unique sound by blending contemporary R&B with dance music. The Filipino DJ/producer that grew up in Maryland has been challenging the status quo with live performance sets and has seen support from artists like Diplo, Omarion, and JoJo.
While in the midst of his “For the Cold” live tour, Sweater Beats sat down with Only The Beat before a set close to home at U Street Music Hall.
Only The Beat: You are from the Philippines, but grew up just outside of D.C. in Maryland. Are you excited to be playing so close to home?
Sweater Beats: This show is such a homecoming for me. My parents are actually in the crowd. This is the first time my parents will be seeing the full Sweater Beats show live. It is really special for me.
OTB: When did you start DJing and producing? Where was your first official gig?
SB: I started during my senior year of high school in the transition phase of first year of college. I started making beats because all of my friends started going off to school out of state and I stayed in Maryland. I wanted something to jam to, so I started making my own beats and it grew to what I do now. I would say that my first official gig as Sweater Beats was at some seedy bar in New York. That’s all that I can remember.
OTB: Do you have any mentors in the industry? If so, how have they helped you in your career?
SB: Not really any real mentors. I learned a lot from YouTube honestly. That is how I learned to produce. YouTube has all these different channels and I watched all the greats like Pharrell and learned from them.
OTB: If you had to pick another career, what would it be?
SB: I have no idea. I guess it would have to be what I went to school for, web design. I would be a web designer or a graphic designer.
OTB: You just released your single “Did You Wrong”. How has the track been received? Can you tell us a little bit more about it?
SB: I hope it is being received well. Play count wise it is. I love the song and MAX. Other than that I don’t know what to say. I hope it does even better and gets better and better. I will always listen to it.
Did You Wrong ft. MAX by Sweater Beats
OTB: How is the “For The Cold” tour going?
SB: Exciting. Tiring. We are all friends and buddies. We are bonding in the van and traveling around. It is very tiring though.
OTB: What is your favorite track that you produced and one that you did not produce?
SB: Oh man. That is a tough one. For my favorite track that I produced it would probably be “Do It for Me“. It is an old cut, but it is on Spotify. For one that I did not produce, it would be “Bohemian Rhapsody“. I love the guitars on that track and Freddie Mercury.
OTB: What advice do you have for an aspiring DJ or producer trying to get a shot in the industry?
SB: One main thing is to be yourself. Make the music that you want to make. Be original. Stick to your guns. Put yourself out there on the Internet and show everyone your music. At some point after you keep putting yourself out there, you will eventually meet the right people. Grow your network.
OTB: Where do you see the music industry going in the next five years?
SB: I think there is a bubble in the DJ world. People are going to want to see something different. That is why I am doing this live tour. Electronic music is here to stay, no doubt about it. Bands are going to make a comeback. Electronic bands that is with cooler things and cooler visuals.
OTB: Outside of DJing and producing, what are your other interests and hobbies?
SB: I like to skateboard. I have been skateboarding all tour. I like playing video games. I like playing Pokemon. Music is everything to me though.
OTB: What can we expect from you for the rest of this year as it winds down?
SB: We are putting out a new single at the top of next year. We are finishing up the tour. Music video and an new EP after that. Lot of stuff coming up.