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The Philippines and suburban Maryland aren’t exactly R&B or dance music hot beds, but they didn’t need to be for Antonio Cuna aka Sweater Beats to ingest both genres and spit out an exciting hybrid, melding the sensuality of contemporary R&B with the immediacy of dance music. Born in the Philippines, Cuna moved to Maryland, adapting to his new environment by engaging with music and skate culture. But it wasn’t long before R&B entered the picture, first as an obsession and later, while Cuna was at university in New York, as a creative outlet. Growing up in the 2000s, it’s no surprise that Cuna’s heroes include R&B producer mavens like Pharrell and Timbaland, as well as French dance music behemoths Daft Punk, but it’s how he’s filtered those influences into the ingenious sonic aesthetic, a sound equally fitting both the festival stage and bedroom play, that makes Sweater Beats such an unavoidably intriguing project.
Since bubbling up in the dance world with the premiere of his debut single “Mlln Dllr” on Annie Mac’s Radio1 show, Sweater Beats has constantly pushed the limits of his own sound. With support from the likes of Diplo, Omarion, and JoJo, plus tours with artists like Chance the Rapper, Flume and Chet Faker, the producer has clearly caught the eye some of a wide variety of tastemakers. Featured by the likes of Billboard, Entertainment Weekly, Boiler Room and The FADER, Cuna has also received admiration from music journalists the world over, drawing almost universal praise from disparate outlets. With countless collaborations, mixes, and remixes, on top of a constant touring schedule, Cuna has garnered a reputation for his incessant work rate and willingness to push his sound into new and uncharted territory. And that’s part of the reason why Cuna connects with his fan base on such a visceral level, eschewing traditional industry methods for his own unique, intimate manner of going about business.