If trance music had a mafia, then BT is as close to the Godfather as they come. The Maryland native producer, composer, musician, singer, songwriter, stutter edit innovator and film composer has watched the dance music revolution grow in the states and all over the world since the early 1990s. Born Brian Wayne Transeau, BT released his ninth full studio album last Friday on the world renowned Armada Music label reaching number one in the iTunes dance chart in less than 24 hours alongside EDM super stars like Calvin Harris, Zedd and Kaskade and the number one album release on Beatport. Currently on tour to support the album, we spoke to the Grammy Award winner before his gig at the SBE Hollywood hot spot Create to chat about how dance music has changed over the years, his favorite festival and the inspiration behind A Song Across Wires.
After studying music at the Washington Conservatory of Music as a child, BT attended the Berklee College of Music in Boston. His involvement in music production, composing and pioneering production technologies garnered him a seat on the board of governors for The Recording Academy in the early 2000s. He spent almost three years pushing a 30- page perspective on dance music and what it's exponential growth meant fiscally. “Everybody was just like 'oh my God dude with the ridiculous hair-cut shut up please',” says Transeau. Soon, he rallied guys like Jason Bentley and Paul Oakenfold behind him until the Academy finally added a “Best Electronic/Dance Album” category – which he was later nominated for in 2011 for his studio album These Hopeful Machines.
Jump forward ten years later and now he's playing at Electric Daisy Carnival in front of 40,000 EDM fans. “My favorite festival for sure is EDC,” says Transeau. “Their events are so well put together from the distinct stages with different genres of music, the production to the safety.” Comparing dance music to hip-hop culture because of it's development in the underground Brian says, “They only had three to five years to make hip-hop in private before it became a public phenomenon and corporate America got involved. We on the other hand have curated this music for 25 years in isolation. The producers, artists, fans, promoters and everyone involved built this.” Thanks to visionaries like BT they have paved the way for the EDM explosion in America today with venues to enjoy the music, ways to share it electronically and even to what you do when you listen to it.
"What we are seeing in mainstream culture is literally the tip of the ice berg and I'm so excited to be alive and to be participating,” says Transeau. Inspired by the dance music scene today–particularly bass music–BT set out to create his first all EDM album with A Song Across Wires. Usually inspired by classical music, indie rock and even nature as he scores music for films and now a hit ABC TV show in the fall; this was the first time that Brian looked at his peers and thought "wow this is really cool what you guys are doing.” The colliding worlds from house and trance heads with bass music lovers and the incredibly creative things coming from it is what inspired BT the most. "It has so much to do with that feeling of going to a festival and the music being so broad,” says Brian.
Long gone are the rave days out in the middle of the desert with map points and generators that look like they are about to blow out on a single stage. A Song Across Wires is his interpretation of the sounds he hears played throughout the festival culture, through podcasts and by the younger generation of dance music fans. Putting his own voice on electro and dubstep infused tracks like "Letting Go” with the vocals and melodies of songs like "Calling Your Name” featuring Emma Hewitt and Tritonal, BT has created a cohesive piece of work that impersonates what a real festival like experience would be today. "It's like the feeling of being at a festival with 10,000 of your closest friends and then lying and looking at the stars afterward,” says Transeau. "That is actually the one feeling of the record.” Ironically this is the feeling which over 300,000 EDM fans chase at events like EDC and Ultra Music Festival.