Brian Wayne Transeau
(born October 4, 1971), better known by his stage name, BT
, is an American music producer, composer, audio technician, multi-instrumentalist, singer, and songwriter. He is an artist in the electronica genre – most often considered a composer of trance music, but known to work within several other styles. BT has also produced and written for artists such as Paul van Dyk, Peter Gabriel, 'N Sync, Sting, Blake Lewis, Tori Amos, and Tiësto. As a film composer, he has worked on films such as The Fast and the Furious
.BT is known for pioneering a production technique he calls the stutter edit. This technique consists of taking a small fragment (or fragments) of sound and then repeating it rhythmically. BT was entered into the Guinness Book of World Records
for his song "Somnambulist (Simply Being Loved)". This song was recognized as using the largest number of vocal edits in a song (6,178 edits). BT's work with stutter edit techniques led to the formation of software development company, Sonik Architects, and the development of the sound-processing software plug-in Stutter Edit. The company also released a music remix app for the iPhone called Sonifi.In 2010, BT was nominated for a Grammy Award for his studio album These Hopeful Machines
under the category "Best Electronic/Dance Album".
Early life and education
BT was born in Rockville, Maryland on October 4, 1971. At an early age, he studied music and the Suzuki method at the Washington Conservatory of Music. He went on to attend the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts.
In the early 1990s, BT moved back to Maryland and began collaborating with friends Ali "Dubfire" and Sharam of Deep Dish. BT's productions were not yet popular in the US, and he had no idea that he had become popular across the Atlantic, where UK DJs like Sasha and Paul Oakenfold were regularly spinning his music for crowds. Sasha bought BT a ticket to London, where BT witnessed his own success—several thousand clubbers responded enthusiastically when Sasha played his song. He was soon signed to Oakenfold's record label, a subsidiary of Warner Brothers. BT's songs "A Moment of Truth" and "Relativity" became hits in the UK, and it was during this time in which BT met Tori Amos.In the early years of BT's career (roughly 1995–2000), he became a pioneering artist in the trance genre, despite the fact that he is not truly a DJ, and does not claim to be one. BT has said of his musical background, "I'm not the traditional type of dance music artist. I'm not a DJ. I come from a classical music background. I attended the Berklee College of Music, and I played in punk bands."In February 2014, BT partnered with EDM lifestyle brand Electric Family to produce a collaboration bracelet for which 100% of the proceeds are donated to the Shark Trust.
BT's 1995 debut album Ima
was a progressive house effort featuring collaborations with Vincent Covello & Tori Amos, as well as the opening track, "Nocturnal Transmission", being featured in The Fast and the Furious
. The title, "Ima (?)", is the Japanese word for "now". However, BT also stated that it means many other things and that the intention of the album is to have a different effect for everyone.
BT's second album ESCM
(Electric Sky Church Music) released in 1997, features more complex melodies and more traditional harmonies along with a heavier use of vocals. The tone of the album is darker and less whimsical than Ima
. The album, as a whole, is much more diverse than BT's debut album.The biggest hit from ESCM
was "Flaming June," a collaboration with German trance meister Paul van Dyk. Van Dyk and BT would collaborate on a number of works including "Namistai" (found on the later album Movement in Still Life
) as well as van Dyk's remix of BT's "Blue Skies" and "Remember". "Remember" featured Jan Johnston on vocals. BT and van Dyk also remixed the van Dyk classic "Forbidden Fruit" as well as Dina Carroll's "Run to You".
Movement in Still Life
BT released his third album in the UK in 1999 (US Version 2000) Movement in Still Life
and continued his previous experimentation outside of the trance genre. The album features a strong element of nu skool breaks, a genre he helped define with the popular "Hip-Hop Phenomenon," in collaboration with Tsunami One aka Adam Freeland & Kevin Beber. The album hits a spectrum of genre-work. "Smartbomb" is a mix of funky, heavy riffs from both synthesizers and guitars woven over a hip-hop break and includes a lyric sample from "Love on Haight Street". "Shame" and "Satellite" lean toward an alt-rock sound, while "Godspeed" and "Dreaming" fall into classic trance ranks. "Running Down the Way Up", a collaboration with fellow electronic act Hybrid, features sultry vocals and acoustic guitars heavily edited into a progressive breakbeat track.
BT's fourth studio album, released on August 5, 2003, featured more vocal tracks than BT's previous fare, including six with vocals by BT himself. Emotional Technology
was BT's least experimental album to date, and many consider it the "poppiest" of all of his work. The biggest single from the album, "Somnambulist", draws heavily from the breakbeats and new wave dance of New Order and Depeche Mode, whom BT has cited as major influences. The rest of the album fairly escapes genre labeling, from the dark guitar work of "Circles", to "The Only Constant is Change" which is reminiscent of "Satellite", the album blends genres and changes genres in mid-track. The single "Somnambulist" holds the Guinness World Record for most vocal edits in a single track, with 6,178 in the album version.
This Binary Universe
BT's fifth studio album, This Binary Universe
, released on August 29, 2006, is his second album released in 5.1 surround sound, the first being the soundtrack to the 2003 film Monster
.The album features a mix of many genres, including jazz, breakbeats, and classical music. Three songs feature a full 110-piece orchestra. Animated videos were created to accompany each song. The videos are included in a DVD packaged along with the CD.Keyboard Magazine declared of the album, “In a hundred years, it could well be studied as the first major electronic work of the new millennium.”Unlike his previous two albums, which featured vocals on almost every track, this album contains none. The tracks also change genres constantly throughout. A good example is "The Antikythera Mechanism", which starts off almost lullaby-like, complete with a piano, acoustic guitars and reversed beats. Halfway through the track, the song explodes with a 110-piece orchestra, followed by a section of breakbeats and ending with the de-construction of the orchestra.During November and December 2006, BT toured the album with Thomas Dolby opening. The concert featured a live slideshow of images from the online website DeviantArt as a backdrop.
These Hopeful Machines
BT's sixth studio album, These Hopeful Machines
, was released on February 2, 2010. The album featured guest vocalists/collaborators Kirsty Hawkshaw, JES, Rob Dickinson of Catherine Wheel and Christian Burns. The album also features collaborations with Andrew Bayer ("The Emergency") and Ulrich Schnauss ("A Million Stars"). To date, this album contains the most singles released from any BT album, with 8 of the 12 tracks released as singles. Early official remixes were made by Armin van Buuren and Chicane. These Hopeful Machines was nominated for a 2011 Grammy Award in the Best Electronic/Dance Album genre. A remix album, titled These Re-Imagined Machines
was released in 2011. These Humble Machines
, an un-mixed album featuring shorter "radio edit" versions of the tracks (similar to the U.S. version of Movement in Still Life
) was also released in 2011.
If the Stars are Eternal So are You and I and Morceau Subrosa
BT announced plans to release two solo albums, If the Stars are Eternal So are You and I
, his seventh album, and Morceau Subrosa
, his eighth album. It was announced through Twitter that If the Stars are Eternal So are You and I
would be released on June 12, 2012 and has been described by BT as a follow up to This Binary Universe
. The album was finally released on June 19, along with Morceau Subrosa
.If the Stars are Eternal So are You and I
, like This Binary Universe
before it, is an about-face from BT's previous album These Hopeful Machines
, utilizing minimal beats, ambient soundscapes, and glitch music, as opposed to the electronic music style of These Hopeful Machines
. Morceau Subrosa
is very different in style compared to most of BT's previous works, favoring ambient soundscapes and minimal beats.
A Song Across Wires
It has been announced that BT's ninth studio album, an electronic music album entitled A Song Across Wires
, has been signed to Dutch record label Armada Music and released worldwide on August 16, 2013, following up These Hopeful Machines
. On the album, BT collaborates with Arty, Senadee, Andrew Bayer, Tania Zygar, Nadia Ali, Aqualung, Adam K, Fractal, tyDi, K-pop singer Bada and more. The first single, "Tomahawk", was released on October 31, 2011. The second single off the album, "Must Be the Love", has showed up on BT's SoundCloud on September 8, 2012 and was released on September 17. Two more songs for this album, "Tonight" (featuring tyDi and JES) and "Letting Go" (featuring JES and Fractal), were revealed during his sets at Electric Daisy Carnival Las Vegas and A State of Trance 600 in Guatemala City. There were also several new songs were revealed by BT through his Twitter page, his Facebook page, live shows on Stickam and DJ sets. The third single from the album, "Skylarking", was released by Armada Music on February 18, 2013.During this time, he released his Laptop Symphony
radio episodes, and after the 100th episode, he started a new radio program, entitled Skylarking
"All Hail the Silence" and Other Future Projects
On March 7, 2012, it was announced that BT and Christian Burns have collaborated to form a band called "All Hail the Silence", with help from Vince Clarke. The band is expected to release their debut album in 2014, and have already released their first single "Looking Glass" online. Collaborations with Aleksander Vinter and Super8 & Tab have also been mentioned.
- Paul van Dyk - "Namistai" and "Flaming June"
- GTB (Guy Oldhams, Taylor, & Brian Transeau)
- Vincent Covello - "Loving You More"
- Sasha - "Sasha's Voyage of Ima" and "Ride"
- Jan Johnston - "Lullaby for Gaia", "Remember", "Sunblind", "Mercury and Solace", "Dreaming", "Flesh" & "Communicate"
- Simon Hale - "Firewater", "The Road to Lostwithiel" and "Remember"
- Kirsty Hawkshaw - "Dreaming", "Running Down the Way Up", and "A Million Stars"
- Tori Amos - "Blue Skies" on Ima (#1 on Billboard Dance Chart)
- Tsunami One (Adam Freeland and Kevin Beber) - "Hip Hop Phenomenon" (1999)
- Mike Doughty - "Never Gonna Come Back Down" on Movement in Still Life
- Rasco - "Madskillz-Mic Chekka", "Smartbomb" and "Love on Haight Street" on Movement in Still Life
- Planet Asia - "Madskillz-Mic Chekka" on Movement in Still Life
- DJ Rap - "Giving Up the Ghost" on Movement in Still Life
- Guru - "Knowledge of Self" on Emotional Technology
- Wildchild - "Kimosabe" on Emotional Technology
- Tamra Keenan - "Love in the Time of Thieves" on Emotional Technology
- Richard Butler - "Shineaway" on The Jackal and 10 Years in the Life
- NSync - co-wrote and produced "Pop", the first single from NSync's album Celebrity
- Britney Spears - "Before the Goodbye" and "I Run Away" on the international version of her album Britney
- JC Chasez - "Somnambulist" and "Force of Gravity" on Emotional Technology
- Rose McGowan - "Superfabulous" on Emotional Technology and the unreleased song "Lemon Balm and Chamomile"
- Blake Lewis - co-produced "She's Makin' Me Lose It" for A.D.D. (Audio Day Dream) and "She Loves the Way"
- David Bowie - "(She Can) Do That" on Stealth
- The Roots - "Tao of the Machine" on Blade II as well as on Need for Speed: Most Wanted
- Tommy Stinson - Bass on "Superfabulous", "Circles", "Animals", The Only Constant is Change" & "Kimosabe" on Emotional Technology, co-composer of original score for Catch and Release
- Peter Gabriel - music for the Millennium Dome New Year's Eve project in 1999, released as OVO
- Billie Ray Martin - produced several tracks and remixes for Deadline for My Memories
- Tiësto - "Love Comes Again" and "Break My Fall", in exchange Tiësto remixed "Force of Gravity"
- Armin van Buuren - "These Silent Hearts" for his album Mirage, in exchange Armin van Buuren remixed "Every Other Way"
- Bassnectar - "Blackwire" on These Re-Imagined Machines (Complete Limited Edition Signed Box Set)
- Charlotte Martin - "Feed the Monster" (mixed by Blue Stahli)
- Christian Burns - "Suddenly", "The Emergency", & "Forget Me" on These Hopeful Machines; "Love Divine" on A Song Across Wires, "Paralyzed" (played only in live DJ sets), "The Enemy" on Simple Modern Answers
- Andrew Bayer - "The Emergency" on These Hopeful Machines
- JES - "Every Other Way" and "The Light in Things" on These Hopeful Machines, "Tonight" and "Letting Go" on A Song Across Wires
- Rob Dickinson - "Always" and "The Unbreakable" on These Hopeful Machines
- Ulrich Schnauss - "A Million Stars" on These Hopeful Machines
- Adam K - "Tomahawk" on A Song Across Wires
- Morgan Page - "In the Air"
- Nadia Ali - "Must Be the Love" on A Song Across Wires
- Arty - "Must Be the Love" on A Song Across Wires
- Fractal - "Letting Go" and "City Life" on A Song Across Wires
- Au5 - "City Life" and "Surrounded" on A Song Across Wires
- tyDi - "Tonight" and "Stem the Tides" on A Song Across Wires
- Bada - "City Life" on A Song Across Wires
- Tritonal - "Paralyzed" (played only in live DJ sets) and "Calling Your Name" on A Song Across Wires
- Emma Hewitt - "Calling Your Name" on A Song Across Wires
- Aqualung - "Surrounded" on A Song Across Wires
- Senadee - "Lifeline" on A Song Across Wires
BT has a daughter, Kaia Nui Transeau. On January 11, 2008, ABC News reported that BT's daughter had been abducted by her mother, Ashley Duffy, during a planned visit. The mother was arrested, but charges were withdrawn and the matter was settled in family court.BT is also an avid scuba diver, and supports the preservation of sharks.
During the production of This Binary Universe
, Transeau wanted to program drums in surround sound, and found that software tools to accomplish this weren't readily available. He decided to develop his own, and formed his own software company, Sonik Architects, and his own drum surround software called BreakTweaker. BreakTweaker was originally intended for release in 2007, with later plans to release additional tools and plugins specifically aimed at musicians and DJs, including his signature stutter edit.In 2009, he launched his software company Sonik Architects with Sonifi, the company's first product for iPhone and iPod Touch.In December 2010, Sonik Architects was acquired by software and music production company iZotope, and at the Winter NAMM Show in January 2011, the "Stutter Edit" plug-in, based on BT's patented technique of realtime manipulation of digital audio, was released by iZotope and BT.Transeau is also a user of FL Studio and he was included in the Power Users section on Image-Line's site in 2013.While hosting the NAMM Foundation’s 29th Annual TEC Awards with Jes Brieden on January 24, 2014, BT announced and released the drum synthesizer and beat machine BreakTweaker with iZotope.On March 15, 2014, BT collaborated with Boulanger Labs in creating the Leap Motion app Muse, a device that allows users to compose their own ambient sounds.
BT began scoring films in 1999 with Go
. Since then he has scored a dozen films, including Stealth
and The Fast and the Furious
. In addition, he produced the score for the 2001 film Zoolander
, but had his name removed from the project. His tracks for the film were finished by composer David Arnold. He also produced the score for the 2003 film Monster
, earning him particular acclaim.Transeau has scored the video games Die Hard Trilogy 2: Viva Las Vegas
(2000), Wreckless: The Yakuza Missions
(2002) and Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2005
(2004).BT has ventured into television for Tommy Lee Goes To College
for NBC in 2005. He executive-produced the Tommy Lee series, the idea for which he developed and sold to NBC.BT also composed music for the Pixar animated short film Partysaurus Rex
, released on September 14, 2012 alongside the 3D release of Finding Nemo
. He made the official second-long alert tone for the Circa News app as well.BT is also scoring the upcoming film Solace
Film and television scores
- Go (1999)
- Better Living Through Circuitry (1999)
- Under Suspicion (2000)
- Driven (2001)
- The Fast and the Furious (2001)
- Zoolander (2001) - (removed his name, uncredited)
- Monster (2004)
- Underclassman (2005)
- Stealth (2005)
- Harnessing Speed (2005)
- Look (2006)
- Catch and Release (with Tommy Stinson) (2007)
- Pixar presents Cars: Tokyo Mater (2008)
- The Coke Zero & Mentos Rocket Car (by Rob Cohen) - The Wobble (Rocket Car) (2010)
- Partysaurus Rex (2012)
- Betrayal (2013)
- Reach Me (2014)
- Solace (2014)
Songs appearing in films and television
- Hackers (1995) - "Remember" and "Godspeed (BT Edit Mix)"
- Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1997) - "Anomaly - Calling Your Name" (under the pseudonym Libra Presents Taylor)
- The Jackal (1997) - "Shineaway" (with Richard Butler)
- Permanent Midnight (1998) - "Godspeed"
- American Pie (1999) - "Anomaly - Calling Your Name" again
- Gone In 60 Seconds (2000) - "Never Gonna Come Back Down"
- Bounce (2000) - "Never Gonna Come Back Down"
- Miss Congeniality (2000) - "She's A Lady"
- Driven (2001) - "Satellite"
- Double Take (2001) - "Movement In Still Life"
- Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001) - "The Revolution"
- The Fast and the Furious (2001) - "Nocturnal Transmission"
- 3000 Miles to Graceland (2001) - "Smartbomb"
- Zoolander (2001) - "Madskillz-Mic Chekka (Remix)"
- Sweet November (2001) - "Shame (Ben Grosse Remix)"
- Valentine (2001) - "Smartbomb (BT Mix)"
- Highway (2002) - Madskillz-Mic Chekka"
- Half Past Dead (2002) - "Smartbomb"
- Blade II (2002) - "Tao of the Machine" (with The Roots)
- Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever (2002) - "Smartbomb (Plump DJs Remix)"
- The Truth About Charlie (2002) - "Stealth and Rhythm"
- Extreme Ops (2002) - "Revolution"
- Smallville (2003) - "Never Gonna Come Back Down"
- The Core (2003) - "Sunblind"
- NCIS (2004) - "Somnambulist (Simply Being Loved)"
- Raising Helen (2004) - "Superfabulous"
- Six Feet Under (2004) - "Somnambulist (Simply Being Loved)"
- Win a Date with Tad Hamilton! (2004) - "Superfabulous (Scott Humphrey Radio Mix)"
- Let the Love Begin (2005) - "Somnambulist (Simply Being Loved)"
- Stealth (2005) - "She Can (Do That)" (with David Bowie)
- Domino (2005) - "P A R I S"
- Into the Blue 2: The Reef (2009) - "Blue Skies"
- The Sorcerer's Apprentice (2010) - "Le Nocturne de Lumière"
Video game appearances and scores
- Die Hard Trilogy 2: Viva Las Vegas (1999) - Complete score
- ESPN Winter X Games Snowboarding (2000) - "Smartbomb"
- FreQuency (2001) - "Smartbomb"
- SSX Tricky (2001) - "Smartbomb (Plump's Vocal Mix)" and "Hip Hop Phenomenon" (with Tsunami One)
- Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec (2001) - "Madskillz-Mic Chekka"
- FIFA 2002 (2001) - "Never Gonna Come Back Down (Hybrids Echoplex Dub Mix)"
- Wipeout Fusion (2002) - "Smartbomb (Plump DJs Remix)"
- ATV Offroad Fury 2 (2002) - "The Revolution"
- Wreckless: The Yakuza Missions (2002) - Complete score
- Need for Speed: Underground (2003) - "Kimosabe" (with Wildchild)
- Amplitude (2003) - "Kimosabe" (with Wildchild)
- XGRA: Extreme-G Racing Association (2003) - "Dreaming", "Godspeed", "Never Gonna Come Back Down", "Mercury & Solace", "Running Down the Way Up", "Smartbomb", and "Madskillz"
- Dance Dance Revolution Extreme (2004) - "Simply Being Loved (Somnambulist)"
- Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2005 (2004) - Complete score (Now available on iTunes)
- Need for Speed: Most Wanted (2005) - "Tao of the Machine (Scott Humphrey's Remix)" (with The Roots)
- Burnout Revenge (2005) - The Doors - "Break On Through (BT Mix)" (Credited as BT vs. The Doors)
- Alpha Protocol (2010) - Theme song (featuring Jason Graves)
- EA Sports Active 2 (2010) - Complete Score
- NBA Jam: On Fire Edition (2011) - "Moon Safari"
- Lumines Electronic Symphony (2012) - "Embracing the Future"