• BT – “I wish more people would ask me about the process”

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    BT is a GRAMMY-Nominated film composer, technologist, multi-instrumentalist, and songwriter. He is credited as a pioneer of the Trance and IDM genres.

    BT has written, produced for Death Cab for Cutie, Peter Gabriel, Howard Jones, Tiesto. Depeche Mode, Armin Van Buuren, Sting, NSYNC, Blake Lewis, The Roots, Madonna, Britney Spears, and more.

    He has created a slew of widely adopted plugins that are heard on the radio and in films every day. Stutter Edit has been used in Star Wars, Stranger Things, and #1 Country records. His latest plugins Phobos and BreakTweaker can be heard in innumerable feature films and productions.

    BT is a classically trained symphonic composer, arranger, and orchestrator. He has composed full score for films such as the Oscar-winning Monster starring Charlize Theron, The Fast and the Furious, Solace starring Anthony Hopkins and the critically acclaimed Amazon television show Electric Dreams.

    Q&A with S&S 

    S&S: What’s your style of music? How do you describe it? Hey! Thanks for the interview – this is a great (and hard) question, to answer. Since I work on a lot of different types of projects, there is a pretty wide net of variety to my musical output. For electronic music, I’m known for trance and breakbeat music. For more experimental music (in the style of This Binary Universe) that ranges from contemporary and experimental classical music to more IDM/electro-acoustic experimentalism. Finally for more score driven projects, It’s really a combination of traditional orchestral writing, blended with electronics. I hear people call this style of scoring “hybrid” score. 

    S&S: Who or what was most instrumental to you when it came to music? The music that has inspired me the most is equally diverse. Classical music as a kid for sure (from Bach to Bartok), early 80’s new wave and breakdance music (from ManParish to Depeche Mode), and Jazz at Berklee (Davis to Thelonius Monk). Music has been my greatest life long passion and I can find something to learn and get excited about it just about every kind of music I’ve ever heard. 

    S&S: What drives you creatively? A perpetual spirit of learning, my family, friends, and my faith.

    S&S: Can you explain stutter editing? Absolutely – my easy explanation is it’s the rhythmic repetition of audio material with multiple levels of time-based, rhythmic digital signal processing operations applied. It comes from learning to splice tape as a kid.

    S&S: How much does your audience influence you and your music selection? They inspire me endlessly. If we are talking about performance, they completely and totally drive what I’m doing in that domain. As a side note, man I miss performing.

    S&S: What artists or genres do you listen to when you’re not working? Everything from Prince to New Order to Stravinsky to Tribe Called Quest. I get on kicks and have to listen to certain artists’ full catalogues. A recent such kick was Stevie Wonder. Songs in the Key of Life has to be one of the greatest records ever made.

    S&S: Do you have any favorite memories of growing up with your family? I had a big glass water jug I saved money for synthesizers and drum machines in. I mowed lawns, shoveled driveways, and delivered papers. This is so much a memory as something I found out recently. My mom told me that my dad would every once in a while put a couple of dollars in there because he saw how hard I worked for my first instruments. As an adult that really meant a lot to me.


    S&S: Is there anything you would like people to know about you? It’s my great belief that people are inherently good and music is an important language for communication. The time we are living through right now makes music even more important for connecting people and communicating than it’s ever been.

    S&S: Are there any charities you are working with or excited to tell us about? My wife and I are divers and have been involved for years in shark conservation. We love nature and particularly the sea. With everything happening it’s been a long time since we’ve been in the ocean but it’s comforting to think it’s always there.

    S&S: Are there any questions that you wish people would ask you? That is a great question. I wish more people would ask me about the process. I love talking about and helping people that are interested in making music.

    S&S: And on the flip side of that, are there any questions or references you wish people would stop asking or using? At first, I thought no and then thought for a second, yes! I get confused with the UK company British Telecom all the time.

    S&S: What artist(s) have you been the most excited to work with? Peter Gabriel, Guru, David Bowie, Howard Jones, and the Roots are some highlights. I’m so blessed to work with an amazing group of talented and cool people.

    S&S: Are there any artists that you dream of working with on a collaboration? Kronos String Quartet, Missy Elliot, and The Human League.

    S&S What advice would you give to an aspiring artist? Learning music is a long process. If you love it, don’t expect overnight success or mastery and fall in love with the process of learning and discovering. The greatest thing in the world is to suck at something because it means you can grow. Lean into being uncomfortable and learning outside your skillset and celebrate even the smallest of milestones. Lastly (but importantly) – finish things. It’s the greatest reward in the creation process.

    S&S: What can we look forward to next from you? Some amazing software coming out early next year (11 applications in development). In 2022 the score I’m working on will be coming out (it’s a 3-year project) – and lots and lots of new music.

    Thanks for these great questions. Really enjoyed this.

    S&S Records, Inc. (and S&S Chicago, Inc.) was established in 2005 by 4-time GRAMMY® nominated producer Steve “Silk” Hurley and global DJ/Producer Shannon “DJ Skip” Syas. Merging Hurley’s worldwide commercial success and Syas’ strong global following, the dance label has become home to numerous musical greats and one of the most respected blogs on the internet.

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