One of NYC nightlife’s most hip (and adorbs!) pop DJs–and the gurl behind the immensely popular “Heaven on Earth” monthly diva worshipfest in Chinatown–Ty Sunderland has become a vital thread of the city’s tapestry. And Thursday night, Ty and a roomful of legends will be bringing us another epic night… this time for a very worthy cause.
Thotyssey: Hi, Ty! How was Halloween?
Ty Sunderland: So much! It felt like a solid month of events. I’m glad it’s over!
It did seem neverending. So you certainly play a lot of gigs throughout the week… do you generally have full creative control of your sets, or do venues want you to focus on specific things?
I usually work with a venue on the vibe they want to create, so we’re all on the same page about music. ‘Heaven on Earth” is an exception because i’m only working with myself.
How long have you been in the biz now?
Full time? A bit over two years. But I’ve been DJing in the city since I moved here 5 years ago. And interned for Roxy Cottontail while in college before that.
“Bounce Little Kitty!” You must’ve learned a lot from her.
It definitely set me up for my future in nightlife.
Where’s your hometown, and what was the earliest music that you were into?
I’m originally from Miami! My first CD was “MMMBop” by Hanson.
A classic! So it was always pop music for you?
It was always pop music, and I remember listening to 93.1 back in Miami, which was a dance music station. Then I had a little emo moment in high school, but who didn’t? College was bloghouse / EDM, which I still try to sneak into pop sets!
What kind of venues and parties did you DJ when you got here?
I started out at Bedlam and Sway, and my first residency was Fridays at Lit Lounge until they closed.
Do you consider yourself a “gay party DJ,” or are you everyone’s DJ?
I think I would say I’m more everyone’s DJ than a gay DJ! Bi-curious, even.
I regret to say I haven’t been to ”Heaven On Earth” yet, your monthly party at the China Chalet that’s an ode to a different pop diva each time. But I’ve seen the pics.. it looks like a very eclectic and sexy crowd! How on “Earth” did this come about?
Well, it was supposed to be a one-off to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of Blackout, my favorite Britney album. Then after the first one, everyone was sort of like,”So what’s the theme next month?“ And I’m like, “Umm, IDK! Good question!” I love it, though. It’s my dream party. I wish I could attend, honestly.
What diva moments are you cooking up for future Heavens?
I have a Gwen Sefani vs Fergie moment in the works… a Moulin Rouge night… an Ariana vs Nicki night in the horizon. I sat down and made the 2019 calendar a couple of nights ago.
This Saturday, Heaven On Earth returns to China Chalet with a Beyoncé night! Is there a Best Bey Bop for you?
“End of Time” is by far my favorite Bey track.
Yessssss! Right before that, though…on Thursday, you’ll be spinning a benefit at Better Days for club kid Linux”s legal expenses after a recent, tragic incident in their life. Linux has worked a lot of Heavens… how long have you two been Judys?
Over a year at this point. She came to my party at Paul’s Baby Grand years ago,
and I introduced myself when she came to my table. And she was like, “I’m Linux,” and I responded, “Oh, I’ve seen that name on flyers.” And she was like “I know! I’m major!” She doesn’t remember this story.
Lol! Well she was right. And I hope this benefit will go a long way to helping her situation, and be an amazing ki in the process. Susanne Bartsch will be there, how can it not be?
Icons. I know we’re bringing out all the headliners for this in hopes to raise money for her cause.
And you are also spinning at The Moxy NYC Times Square every Wednesday.
I am. It’s fun! It’s like an early kiki moment, like a pre-game.
Anything else coming up for you?
I’m starting something new at 3 Dollar Bill on December 15th, that I’ll be announcing next week. And I’m working on a new weekly at a new venue that’s opening in early spring.
Exciting, the children will keep up with your social! Okay last question: Robyn’s new album: “Heaven on Earth-worthy,” or “next?”
i love it! I’m so tempted to have a Heaven on Earth: Robyn the same night as her Madison Square Garden night. But we’ll just have to see.
That would be amazing! Thanks, Ty!
DJ Ty Sunderland currently spins “Heaven on Earth” monthly (usually first Saturdays, 10pm) at China Chalet, and “Hey Moxy” weekly Wednesdays (6-9pm) at The Moxy NYC Times Square. Check Thotyssey’s calendar for his full list of upcoming gigs, and follow Ty on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.