October 3, 2019
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Without a doubt, Ty Sunderland has become one of nightlife's hottest DJs. With stints all across New York City, from The Moxy to his own monthly celebration, Heaven on Earth, you can catch Sunderland partying it up nearly every night with some of the scene's biggest names.
In his latest chat with Gotham, Sunderland dishes on the nightlife names you need to know and what to expect from his newly launched Love Prism party.
What was the first party that exposed you to the NYC nightlife scene?
TY SUNDERLAND: My very first night out in NYC was at an 18+ gay bar called "Heaven"... I think it was called that. It's a ramen shop now. But my first nightlife scene night out was at Zigzag at Le Bain. My friend introduced me to Sophia Lamar and I was like, "What does she do?" and he was like, "Oh, she throws parties." and 21-year-old me was like that's a job? I saw Greg K DJing and it inspired me to learn how to DJ.
What's a regular week look like for you?
TY: On Monday, I'm sending invoices, taking meetings and booking hosts for events; on Tuesdays, I'm at The Blond; Wednesdays, I'm at Moxy Chelsea; Thursdays, I'm taking more meetings and telling myself I'm going to the gym; Friday, I might actually go to the gym, then I'll go to a friend's party, if I don't have one. I usually have some sort of gig on Saturday, followed by an afterparty. And finally, on Sunday, I let myself sleep in, watch SNL, and I may order seamless twice, but I'm not keeping track.
So when do you get to sleep?
TY: From 4 a.m. to 11 a.m. every day.
You've built quite a following for your Heaven on Earth party, so tell us about what makes it so much fun. And, of course, tell us about the newly launched Love Prism party.
TY: Heaven On Earth was only supposed to be a one-time party that now is a monthly party with a boat series in the summer. It's my pop-rave dream party. Love Prism is the opposite of Heaven On Earth. I get to display my disco-house side. And the vibe really is about positivity. I'm trying to create an environment that is a break from the darkness of contemporary life.
Is Brooklyn the new party central or has Manhattan maintained its status on top?
TY: Manhattan is always going to be a hub for nightlife. I'm working on a new project that will start with World Pride in June that will prove that. Brooklyn is great especially the East Williamsburg/Bushwick scene. There are proper spaces to have great sound and lighting systems, but I don't think all of nightlife is going to be in Brooklyn in the future. It's just fostering a completely different scene that shifted over from Williamsburg.
I imagine you've been to some great parties, but what's the best one you've been to in the past year?
TY: That I didn't throw? Ladyfag's revival of Holy Mountain was a lot of fun. If I'm allowed to say my own parties, it would be the "It's Britney, Boat" party this past summer.
Are there any nightlife names we need know?
TY: Linux is the only name you need to know—she's the future.
When you're not DJing, where can we catch you?
TY: I love live comedy. So at any of my friend's shows.
Photography by Kenny Chen