BT is a legend. It’s that simple. Anyone that knows anything about electronic dance music has heard his name, and knows his work. He has a new single coming out next week and is ready to release a new album called A Song Across Wires, a healthy follow up to his killer These Humble Machines release from 2011. I have been listening to him for a long time, and finally got the chance to interview him last week. He was in the airport, but we talked about his new single, his influence on Twitter, and his collaboration with Aqualung.
It was so much fun chatting with him. Just hearing the passion he has for music is obvious when talking with him. He also told some stories about Twitter and how he can basically make someone’s day one tweet at a time. This interview was a long time coming, but I am truly honored to introduce you to BT.
“Skylarking” is hot right now. The original cut is incredible, but there have been some pretty impressive remixes, too. Talk about your goals with that single, and do you have a favorite remix of that song?
The thing that is so exciting about that track, out of everything off the record, it is one of the few tracks that wouldn’t colloquially be called a “big drop.” It’s just this soaring feeling, the whole track. There isn’t a big drop.
When I wrote that song for this album, I thought it was going to be a track my loyal fans would really love. It wasn’t something that anyone would play out. Then I gave the album to Armin. He listened to it and said, “Dude, this track is one of my favorite tracks you have ever done.”
I was really surprised that he said that. He used it, but I wasn’t sure it was going to fit. I was really surprised by that, and the fan reaction to it has been monumental. I realized how special that song was when I played it in Russia. I was with Above & Beyond, and we played in Moscow. I played that song to start, and people were literally throwing crying. It was utter chaos. I love songs with a huge drop, but I also love the feeling of euphoria. It seems people still love that, too.
In regards to remixes, I really like the Ilan Bluestone and Maor Levi mixes. I asked those guys to remix the single because I love their work. It wasn’t something my label did. Ilan was like, “I don’t know if I cam remix this one. What am I supposed to do with it?”
It was a really positive experience, and those guys killed it.
You are one of the most influential users on Twitter. I would consider you a power user, for sure. You have been on the service for a long time and have been quite successful there. Did you expect, when you created an account, to see as much success as you have had? What do you attribute all of your success to?
I love talking about Twitter. I know the founders, and a lot of the guys and girls that were early settlers in that company. I have a long history with them and with people in technology in general. I have a weird portion of fans in that sphere. They are fellow creators, although what they work on is something different.
I'm feeling positive and focused. First up this morning 5 interviews. Next Houston here I come:) Morning!
— BT (@BT) July 5, 2013
I remember when I had it shown to me. At first I didn’t really understand. Is this a chat room? Is it a micro blog? I didn’t really get it. It was right when we were shifting from the web 1.0 to web 2.0. It was an interesting way to have a conversation with people. It was all I had ever wanted. This was it.
— BT (@BT) July 7, 2013
Some kid was on Twitter a few minutes ago… I will tell you two things that just happened. Some kid was talking about going to one of my shows. He wasn’t fishing for tickets. I saw the tweet, and told him he won the, “fan that wants to come to the show but can’t afford it award; DM me.” The kid is not OK right now. He sent me like 30 direct messages.
— BT (@BT) July 2, 2013
While this was happening, I was going through TSA. The girl at TSA was like, “Holy shit, are you BT?” Wait for it… she hugs me, and tells me to go through the line. She didn’t want to check my stuff. (Laughs.)
Twitter is an amazing environment for interacting with your base and your friends. I love it. I absolutely love it. There’s another thing that I love almost as much called Path. It’s social media but for your close friends and family. I love it. I don’t share personal pictures online. I share them with my close friends and family. We do it over text, but it’s terrible. Now I have Path. We use it like someone would use Facebook, but for the closest people in our lives.
I recently interviewed Richard Bedford and he said you two were collaborating on a track together. Can you talk more about what you guys are working on?
What a humble gracious guy, and what a voice he has. I have been a fan of his work since before Above & Beyond. We met through Above & Beyond, through the whole Anjuna family. We decided we wanted to write something together. He sent me a short part of a vocal, and it was literally stunning. It’s hard to talk about it was so beautiful. Then I started adding stuff to it from my crazy instrument collection. I pick stuff up from all over the world. I added some gut-string guitars, and some Turkish instruments. Then I started writing music for the vocals he sent over.
The track is absolutely beautiful. There are no beats in it now, but it’s this big huge anthem. The vocals are ridiculous. I am writing all of the music over it before I add beats. I want to honor the integrity of his voice. He is an amazing gracious human being. I look forward to hanging out with him. He’s a good guy.
You have a new album coming up. Tell me more about A Song Across Wires, your follow up to These Hopeful Machines.
This is my 9th artist album, which is crazy. In the span of the last 3 years, I have recoded 3 records that will have been released and a 4th that won’t have been. It’s been a crazy period of my life. This record really picks up where These Hopeful Machines left off. It’s me thinking about these OCD electronic music production techniques refining my skill set and finding new modalities.
This is the first time in my career I wanted to make a record that was all dance music. I have been so inspired by dance music over the last 2 or 3 years. There are some exciting things happening. This record is one a lot of my fans have wanted me to make that I wasn’t ready to make. This time I was inspired and motivated to make it. I can’t wait for this to be released.
There are some powerful collaborations on it with names like Tritonal, Arty, Adam K, JES, Nadia Ali and this Korean pop singer that I just love. Au5 and Fractal are new guys on the release, too. There are some progressive tracks and some huge trance tracks. Some will say it is dubstep, but it’s not. It really is this big euphoric feeling record.
A buddy of mine over at Wired listening to it and said, “It feels like you’re standing outside on a starry night with your closest friends with your arms up in the sky for an hour.”
He was saying this is the first time I had produced a record with one feeling. My records will go in a lot of directions and are stylistically varied. This one isn’t boring, but it’s the same feeling. I have never done that before on an album, and I am excited for people to receive that. I am enjoying listening to it myself.
This is big news right now. “Surrounded,” a collaboration with Aqualung, was just released. The original track and several remixes were released. Tell me what it was like working with Aqualung.
It was amazing. Want to hear something crazy? Matt and I have never met. It is the only collaboration that I have done where this has happened. Matt is insular. He keeps to himself. We talked through people, and a vocal showed up.
We never really talked, which is so weird. We wrote this really beautiful piece of music together, but have never met.
I love Aqualung. His voice is amazing. The track has some incredible remixed. The Au5 and Fractal mix is great. The Super8 & Tab mix, too. I expect to hear this all over the place this summer. I am really excited about it. That’s our next single. The fan reaction to these songs has been pretty monumental. I get more and more excited about this as we get closet to the release date.