BT on an Enduring Dance Music Career: "My Motivation Is to Have a Very Tangible Emotional Impact"
Your production sounds super clear, and you're also involved in creating a lot of software. It seems you're really into sound. Do you have a background in engineering, or where does that part of your career come from?
To an extent, yes. I was the sort of geeky kid studying classical music and building computers. I studied computer programming languages on my own. Subsequently, I taught myself some c++ and languages that we use now. But I studied all those things myself. The only two things I was ever particularly good at in school was mathematics and music.
Frequently, I will want to do things compositionally that can't be done with commercially available software, so I'll just build whatever I need to do it, and sometimes that takes months or years. When I made This Binary Universe that record took an extra year and a half. I also started my software company around that album. It was me and three guys that I hired and it took us the better part of three and a half years to build a working prototype so that I could do all the rhythmic figures on that record. Everything on that album is done in this molecular, granular surround sound drum machine that I made. And I couldn't have made that record if I didn't have it. There's absolutely nothing that does all of those very esoteric kind of techniques available commercially. That happens to me a lot, where I want to do something and there's nothing available to do it. It's kind of like, you want to build a house but you have to actually bake the bricks yourself. I find myself in that situation quite a bit.
That gives you so much freedom and so much creativity than other people.
Yeah, I mean, there's definitely an upside and a downside. One of the things that I find funny, these days, music is made so quickly. Even some of the producers coming up, ones that I'll meet or even ones that I mentor too, they'll say "oh god, I love that song, what sample loop library is that metalaphone from?" I'll drag them by the ear into my music room and be like "do you see that right there on the floor? That's an actual metalaphone. I played it. It's not a sample."
There's this kind of disconnect of understanding. That says a lot about how ephemeral the consumption of music is. Things are made so quickly, there's not a lot of depth or thought put into them. I mean, there is some with a tremendous amount of thought and depth, but there are people where you hear their work and you just say "wow, that really does sound like it took 15 minutes." It's cringe-y. I wouldn't put our family pet's name on that.
The stuff that I do, for better or for worse, it takes a tremendous amount of thought and detail and time to bake and I guess all of that leads to what our end goal is. If you're trying to have songs that chart on Beatport and play the main stage at all the festivals, trying to get a good two year run out of it, then that's cool. But that's just never what I set out to do. I've been trying to make records that are impactful and musical and mean something to people, that are transformative and make sense twenty, thirty, fifty, a hundred, two hundred years from now.