BT (musician)

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BT (musician) performing at GearFest 2011.jpg
BT performing in June 2011
Background information
Birth name Brian Wayne Transeau
Born (1971-10-04) October 4, 1971 (age 42)
Rockville, Maryland, U.S.
Genres Electronica, trance, IDM, trip hop, ambient, breakbeat, big beat, glitch, orchestral
Occupations Producer, composer, singer
Instruments Computer, piano, bass, guitar
Years active 1993–present
Labels Perfecto Records, Vandit, Reprise Records, Headspace Recordings, Nettwerk, DTS Entertainment, 405 Recordings, Black Hole Recordings, New State Recordings, Armada Music, Enhanced Music, Binary Acoustics
Associated acts Tori Amos, Paul van Dyk, Jan Johnston, The Roots, Kirsty Hawkshaw, Tiësto, Armin van Buuren, JES, Christian Burns, Celldweller, Super8 & Tab, Savant

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 and Monster.[1]

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).[2] 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".[3]

Early life and education[edit]

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.[4] He went on to attend the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts.[5][6]


In the early 1990s, BT moved back to Maryland and began collaborating with friends Ali "Dubfire" and Sharam of Deep Dish.[7] 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.[8] He was soon signed to Oakenfold's record label, a subsidiary of Warner Brothers.[9] 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.[9]

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.[10] 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."[8]

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 (今)", 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.[11] 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.[citation needed]

The biggest hit from ESCM was "Flaming June,"[11] 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[edit]

BT playing an acoustic version of "Satellite" from his 1999 album, Movement in Still Life, in 2006

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,"[12] in collaboration with Tsunami One aka Adam Freeland & Kevin Beber.[13] 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.

Emotional Technology[edit]

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 most 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.[14]

This Binary Universe[edit]

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.[15] 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.”[16]

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.[17][18]

These Hopeful Machines[edit]

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.[3] 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[edit]

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.[19][20][21] It was announced through Twitter[22] 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.[23]

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[edit]

It has been announced that BT's ninth studio album, an electronic music album entitled A Song Across Wires,[24] has been signed to Dutch record label Armada Music and released worldwide on August 16, 2013, following up These Hopeful Machines.[25] 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.[26] 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.[27] 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.[28][29][30] 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.[31]

During this time, he released his Laptop Symphony radio episodes, and after the 100th episode, he started a new radio program, entitled Skylarking.[32]

"All Hail the Silence" and other future projects[edit]

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 released their first single "Looking Glass" online, and is expected to release their debut album in 2014.[33] "All Hail the Silence" and the subsequent album are notable in that they were created using analog synthesizers without the aid of a computer.[34] On July 21, 2014, Transeau and Burns announced that their band would be touring with Erasure in the fall of 2014 for the album The Violet Flame.[35]

Collaborations with Aleksander Vinter and Super8 & Tab have also been mentioned.[36][37]


Personal life[edit]

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.[41] The mother was arrested, but charges were withdrawn and the matter was settled in family court.[42][43]

BT is also an avid scuba diver, and supports the preservation of sharks.[44]

In June 2014, BT reported his annoyance at the large number of misdirected tweets he was receiving on his Twitter account (@BT). These tweets were often complaints intended for BT Group, a British ISP.[45]


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.[46]

In 2009, he launched his software company Sonik Architects with Sonifi, the company's first product for iPhone and iPod Touch.[47]

In December 2010, Sonik Architects was acquired by software and music production company iZotope,[48] 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,[49] was released by iZotope and BT.[50]

Transeau is also a user of FL Studio and he was included in the Power Users section on Image-Line's site in 2013.[51][52]

While hosting the NAMM Foundation’s 29th Annual TEC Awards with Jes Brieden on January 24, 2014,[53] BT announced and released the drum synthesizer and beat machine BreakTweaker with iZotope.[54]

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.[55][56][57][58]

BT performing "Flaming June" at Ultra Music Festival '08


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.[59] He also produced the score for the 2003 film Monster, earning him particular acclaim.[16]

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.[10]

BT also composed music for the Pixar animated short film Partysaurus Rex, released on September 14, 2012 alongside the 3D release of Finding Nemo.[60] He made the official second-long alert tone for the Circa News app as well.[61]

BT is also scoring the upcoming film Solace.[62][63]

Film and television scores[edit]

Songs appearing in films and television[edit]

Video game appearances and scores[edit]


Main article: BT discography


Singles and EPs[edit]

  • "Anomaly" (1995) (as Libra, in collaboration with DJ Taylor)
  • "The Moment of Truth" (1995) (As Brian Transeau)
  • "Relativity" (1995) (As Brian Transeau)
  • "Embracing the Sunshine" #34 UK (1995)
  • "Loving You More" #14 UK (1996) (vocals by Vincent Covello)
  • "Blue Skies" #26 UK (1996) (vocals by Tori Amos)
  • "Flaming June" #19 UK (1997)
  • "Love, Peace and Grease" #41 UK (1997)
  • "Remember" #27 UK (1998) (vocals by Jan Johnston)
  • "Godspeed" #54 UK (1998)
  • "Mercury and Solace" #38 UK (1999) (vocals by Jan Johnston)
  • "Dreaming" #38 UK (2000) (vocals by Kirsty Hawkshaw)
  • "Smartbomb" (2000) (vocals by Rasco)
  • "Never Gonna Come Back Down" #51 UK (2000) (vocals by Mike Doughty)
  • "Flesh" (2001) (vocals by Jan Johnston)
  • "Shame" (2001) (vocals by BT)
  • "Somnambulist (Simply Being Loved)" (2003) (vocals by BT and JC Chasez)
  • The Technology EP (2004)
  • Human Technology EP (2005)
  • "Force of Gravity" (2005) (vocals by BT and JC Chasez)
  • "The Rose of Jericho" (2009)
  • "Every Other Way" (2009) (vocals by JES and BT)
  • "Suddenly" (2010) (vocals by BT and Christian Burns)
  • "Forget Me" (2010) (vocals by BT and Christian Burns)
  • "The Emergency" (2010)
  • "Le Nocturne de Lumière" (2010)
  • "Always" (2011)
  • "A Million Stars" (2011) (vocals by Kirsty Hawkshaw)
  • "In the Air" (2011) (with Morgan Page & Sultan & Ned Shepard; vocals by Angela McCluskey)
  • "Tomahawk" (2011) (with Adam K)
  • "Looking Glass" (2012) (vocals by Christian Burns)
  • "Must Be the Love" (2012) (with Arty and Nadia Ali)
  • "Partysaurus Overflow" (2012) (with Au5)
  • "Vervoeren" (2012)
  • "Skylarking" (2013)
  • "Surrounded" (2013) (vocals by Aqualung)
  • "Letting Go" (2014) (with Fractal and JES)
  • "Theme for an Untitled Film" (2014)
  • "Paralyzed" (2014) (with Christian Burns and Tritonal)


  • R&R (Rare & Remixed) (2001) - A two disc mix album showcasing BT's remix work, rare songs from his early career and previously unreleased tracks, most notably "Sunblind".
  • Still Life in Motion (2001) - A collection of remixes and edits of songs off of Movement in Still Life.
  • 10 Years in the Life (2002) - Disc 1 is a collection of rare songs, remixes and edits of Transeau's songs, showcasing Transeau's progression as an artist over the span of a decade. It notably includes his first recorded track, "The Moment of Truth". Disc 2 is a mix album and features remixes and rare tracks done by BT, including remixes of Madonna, DJ Rap, The Crystal Method and Deep Dish. Most of the rare tracks by BT are under the names of his many aliases. The booklet that comes with the CD features stories by BT about the making of each track on both discs, as well as a series of comments about his early career, remixing, scoring films and producing music in general.
  • These Humble Machines (2011) (Radio-Edits of These Hopeful Machines on 1 Disc)
  • These Re-Imagined Machines (2011) - A 2-disc set containing 17 remixes of These Hopeful Machines.
  • These Re-Imagined Machines (Complete Limited Edition Signed Box Set) (2011) - A 4-disc box set personally autographed and serial-numbered by BT containing 3 CD's of 24 remixes, 1 DVD of all 59 remixes and 3 music videos, a 2.32-page, 12” hard bound book, a 3.12” × 72” poster and a BT logo sticker.[66]
  • Laptop Symphony (2012) - A 2-disc mix set by BT himself (Black Hole Recordings).


Sample CDs[edit]

Aliases and pseudonyms[edit]

Awards and nominations[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ David Battino, Kelli Richards, The Art Of Digital Music, Backbeat Books, 2005, p. 10
  2. ^ BIAS Artist Profiles: BT
  3. ^ a b c "The Official Site of Music's Biggest Night". Retrieved 2013-02-20. 
  4. ^ Small, Mark. "BERKLEE | Berklee Today". Retrieved 2012-05-02. 
  5. ^ [1][dead link]
  6. ^ "BT Wears His Lab Coat for These Hopeful Machines", Keyboard Magazine, Feb 2010
  7. ^ "". 
  8. ^ a b Chris Gill, "BT's New Skool Breakbeat Science", Remix, Mar 2000
  9. ^ a b c "Twenty-First-Century Prototype". 
  10. ^ a b Muther, Christopher (2004-10-02). "The world at his fingertips". The Boston Globe. 
  11. ^ a b c d e f g "Miami New Times". 
  12. ^ "Lunar Magazine interview". 
  13. ^ "BT - Movement In Still Life (CD, Album) at Discogs". Discogs. 2011. Retrieved 2011-01-09. 
  14. ^ Somnambulist
  15. ^ "BTs' Last FM site". 
  16. ^ a b Stephen Fortner, "The Mind Of BT", Keyboard Magazine, Dec 2005
  17. ^ "DeviantArt Presents BT and Thomas Dolby". 
  18. ^ Images and accounts from the tour to date can be seen at dA Presents. dAPresents on deviantART
  19. ^ "Update on New Musical Releases (Part 1 of 2),". 
  20. ^ "Update on New Musical Releases (Part 2 of 2),". 
  21. ^ "Hello to All! Some...". Facebook. Retrieved 2013-02-20. 
  22. ^ "@BT". Retrieved 2013-02-20. 
  23. ^ "If the Stars are eternal so are You and I & Morceau Subrosa released,". 
  24. ^ "Armada Music Website: Armada 10 Years". Armada Music. Retrieved 2013-05-17. 
  25. ^ "New Album: "A Song Across Wires". Retrieved June 1, 2013. 
  26. ^ "Good summer for music fans". Retrieved May 1, 2013. 
  27. ^ BT and Arty feat. Nadia Ali-Must Be The Love
  28. ^ "BT - Live at Electric Daisy Carnival (Las Vegas)". 06-10-2012. Retrieved 2013-02-20. 
  29. ^ BT - Live @ A State of Trance 600 Guatemala City - 27.03.2013
  30. ^ BT to work with Tritonal
  31. ^ "BT "SKYLARKING" OUT ON ARMADA MUSIC". Retrieved March 11, 2013. 
  32. ^ "PREMIERE OF SKYLARKING RADIO". Retrieved September 7, 2013. 
  33. ^ "BT & Christian Burns announced their new band All Hail The Silence". Retrieved January 24, 2014. 
  34. ^ Burns, Christian. "Christian Burns Homepage". Retrieved 11 June 2012. 
  35. ^ "All Hail the Silence Debut Tour with Erasure This Fall". Retrieved July 22, 2014. 
  36. ^ "Facebook: BT". 
  37. ^ "Interview preview (1/4): Super8 & Tab recounted their marathon 18 hour studio session with BT". Retrieved November 27, 2013. 
  38. ^
  39. ^ "BT: 'King Of Dirty Pop'". MTV News. 2001-06-22. 
  40. ^ "Millennium Dome". 
  41. ^ Schoetz, David (January 2008). "His Daughter Gone, Artist Asks for Help". ABC News. 
  42. ^ Montes, Sebastian (January 2008). "3-year-old Boyds Girl Back With Her Father". 
  43. ^ Schoetz, David (January 2008). "With Child Safe, Custody Battle Begins Anew". ABC News. 
  45. ^ O'Malley, James. "Here's why you should be thankful that you don't share a name with a major company". Retrieved 11 June 2014. 
  46. ^ "Progressive Sounds". 
  47. ^ BT’s Sonifi For The iPhone
  48. ^ "iZotope, Inc - Audio Processing Technology and Plug-Ins for Pro Tools, VST, MAS, Audio Unit, and DirectX". Retrieved 2013-02-20. 
  49. ^ "Realtime editing and Performance of Digital Audio Tracks". 
  50. ^ "NAMM 2011: iZotope Stutter Edit". 2011-01-14. Retrieved 2013-02-20. 
  51. ^ "BT (Brian Transeau)". Retrieved 2013-09-04. 
  52. ^ "BT (Brian Transeau)". Image-Line. 
  53. ^ "BT Tapped to Emcee the NAMM Foundation’s 29th Annual Technical Excellence & Creativity Awards". Retrieved January 16, 2014. 
  54. ^ "BREAKTWEAKER: FUTURE BEAT MACHINE". Retrieved January 24, 2013. 
  55. ^ "Leap Motion Airspace App Store: Muse". 
  56. ^ "BT on New Production Tech: 'Holy S**t!'". Retrieved January 7, 2014. 
  57. ^ "Muse". 
  58. ^ "BT and the Search for New Sound". 
  59. ^ "List of films scored by BT". 
  60. ^ Graff, Gary (March 1, 2012). "BT's Busy 2012: Mix Set, 'Quiet' EP & a Follow-Up to 'Machines'". Retrieved April 11, 2012. 
  62. ^ "BT to Score ‘Solace’". Retrieved January 8, 2014. 
  63. ^ "LA ENTRANCED, BI-COASTAL GIGS & A WORD WITH BT". Retrieved June 8, 2013. 
  64. ^ The Coke Zero & Mentos Rocket Car
  65. ^ "Soundtracks for The Sorcerer's Apprentice". IMDb.vom. Retrieved January 14, 2011. 
  66. ^ "2011 - These Re-Imagined Machines (Complete Limited Edition Signed Box Set)". 2011-11-30. Retrieved 2012-05-02. 
  67. ^ "Beatport Awards". 

External links[edit]