Oct 24th 2016 by ____BT • 30 Questions • 461 Points
Hi, we are candidates of the Icelandic Pirate party and we have an election coming up on the 29th of October. These are exciting times in Icelandic politics because we are dealing with a post recession economy and the aftermath of the Panama papers leak where the Prime minister had to resign due to his connection with offshore accounts.
The Icelandic Pirate party got 5% in the last congressional election and are currently polling as the largest party at just over 20%. The amazing thing about that is not only that the Pirate party is the largest political party (by a slim margin) but also that the Independence party which has historically been the largest party by far is only polling at around 20%. The political landscape in Iceland has rarely been as exciting and the possibility for change is real.
We have MPs Birgitta Jónsdóttir and Ásta Guðrún Helgadóttir and candidate Smári McCarthy here to answer your questions.
UPDATE: Thanks for all the questions so far! We're signing out for the evening, but we'll monitor the thread tomorrow at least and respond to any new questions. There are a few questions that haven't been responded to yet ─ don't worry, we'll get to them! Thanks again, and more fun soon! - Smári, Ásta and Birgitta.
You have an extensive library of music and you keep churning out more and more. How do you accomplish so much in the same 24 hour period that everyone has?
Hi Michael, thank you for doing this !
I am a huge fan of The Shield, must of watched the whole series 4 times so far, def my favourite Cop Show, if not Tv show period.
I just wanted your take on what happens to Vic after the show ends ? Does he turn around in the elevator and think Nah man, 3 years desk job is better than Prison, or does he think Fuck it and go full Punisher ? Edit : or any other scenario of course !
Thanks again !
Many say that you score so high in the polls because of young people say that they will vote you because it seems "cool". Then the majority of young voters won't show up for the election day. Any thoughts about that?
I love this question. Basically I'm a huge proponent of scheduling small tasks and having a finite goal. Check out my Facebook post on (personal) creation process. That will give you some ideas of how regimented I am. I even schedule for example "play" time on the modular.
Here's a post I made the other on FB:
Someone just asked how to start a new project and feelings of self doubt. Here's what I wrote to him. I can't wait to hear what he creates. This is a simplified version of my workflow. I hope this helps some of my fellow artists out there! //// //// Kevin Rix wow that's awesome first of all. Yes I do have advice! Set yourself time limits and a goal and finish everything you start. Like : I'm going to make an EP. It's going to have 4 songs each with 4 sections each and tracks will range from 3:30 to 5min. Then drill down from there. What do you want to say? Discover? Emotional content you wish to touch on? Thematic ideas? Idiomatic directions? Get specific! Make yourself a map. Set a distinct goal for every part of everything. I.e Track 1. 117 bpm 6/4 F# mixolydian. Make an "inspiration" folder for this one track. Things like what you want to make you love. Set time goals. I WILL finish track 1 in 5 days. If I have to pull 3 all nighters, so be it. Do it like the universe depends on it being accomplished. It well may! Set phone reminders, make an iCal. Email yourself encouragement or TED talks you want to watch when you're writing. Stay OFF social media and email while you compose. And most importantly. Every living person that has ever made anything great has felt like or chronically feels like they suck! It's breaking through our flaws and self doubt that makes creating so beautiful and rewarding. You can do it. Watch the TED talk on Imposter Syndrome it'll blow your effing mind. Can't wait to hear what you create.
I wouldn't say because the possibility still remains to do more with Vic.
Ásta: Maybe. But we actually have good support in all age groups according to polls. Just that we are polling with around 40% support in the youngest age group, 18-29 years old. And it is true that it's a generation that's unlikely to go and vote. And I think that's concerning that young people are not showing up on election day.
Hi fellow pirates!
My name is Martin van Vuuren from the netherlands Candidate House of Representatives for Pirate Party Netherlands electoral list number 34.
How is it going over there? Are you all excited for being the biggest pirate party to date? I am excited to see how it unfolds that this party knows how to change the future for the best. I will be following the election through social media but i do wish you all the best since we are one big party worldwide.
Martin van Vuuren
That's awesome, thanks so much for sharing that. That was a wonderful night.
That's a great question about Richard. Firstly some of my most formative memories are to Mirror Moves. What an album. I still listen to it every couple months in it's entirety. I got a thumbs up from Richard who is a hero of mine so that felt wonderful.
You're right that I was heavily influenced by 80's synth music. It's crazy some kid in Rockville, MD was practicing Debussy while listening to Depeche, but hey.
If I had to pick, I'd say (albums not classical music which is a super different ball of wax) Dark Side of the Moon, The White Album, Low Life, Construction Time again...it's nearly impossible to answer but those have had an indelible impact.
How did you enjoy burning man this year? Was it your first time going? I didn't make it this year but I went for the first time last year and had an amazing time. Any memorable stories you can share? Thank for the ama and love your music especially ESCM.
I feel a little concerned that, in all this discussion, nobody's mentioning the original anti-intellectual-property stance that was sort of the core of the Pirate philosophy.
I've often heard that many of the awkward parts of intellectual property law are locked in via treaty. In the US, for example, we can't go back to "registration required" copyright, or a 14-year term, for example, without breaking treaties.
How can you handle that issue in a nation like Iceland, that can't just say "we're the biggest/richest/strongest, screw your treaty?"
Also, if you're Icelandic and Pirates, did anyone suggest branding as Vikings? My apologies for the horrible stereotype joke.
Thanks so much for the nice comment and question. Burning Man was a stunning experience. I'll be back next year for sure. It was challenging and wonderful in equal measure.
My most memorable story is we got actually stuck in a dust devil for about 30 full minutes. It was terrifying. The best part was the temple. Stunning experience, reminded me how much love there still is in the world.
I'm sure I will do more dance music, in fact I already have. Bunch of releases in the pipeline as we speak. I can't wait to finish my new studio and make a new "BT" album and new All Hail the Silence material and score some new films!
Have you moved to Cubase as your main DAW, and if so, what do you think of it?
Now that it’s been a few years since your portrayal of The Thing, how would you critique your performance as this fan-favorite character?
Hi there! As a citizen of Iceland in my twenties I have a few questions for you. I'd like to start by stating that I like most of what you are doing and what you have stood for so far. I will be voting for you in the coming election, unless something huge happens to sway my opinion.
Now. You guys have a huge following with the young people in Iceland. I'm wondering what you are thinking about doing for us. Life for students has, I think, never been harder than it is right now. The student loan situation is horrible and the Renting Market is in the gutter.
Do you guys have any plans to fix this? What are your thoughts on the renters market and what can be done to make things easier? Is the only option for students in Iceland to flee the country, just to be able to study what they want?
I would love a bit of insight :)
Yes I have. Cubase absolutely is miles ahead of any other DAW for film composition. I love it. I must say there are so many sequencers and DAW's I love and use dating all the way back to an IBM 5150 with Voyetra+ Sequencer Gold. I did my first two albums on that!
What are your points of universal basic income and what would be needed to make it fair ?
I personally do not think Logic is a professionally geared product anymore. An interesting behind the scenes fact is the code base for Logic 9 is now defunct. Logic X is Garage Band and they comment out things for the actual Garage Band build.
The peak of Logic is 6.43 in OS9 which I still use all the time.
I think something very naturalistic. A very human story/character.
Smári: We see basic income as an interesting prospect to look towards long term, and have proposed a government working group to investigate which options there are for implementation and adoption. Short term, it's difficult to implement, simply because it costs so much, but there are some possibilities for moving in that direction alongside simplifications to the welfare system that would guarantee more people better coverage and fewer people falling between the cracks.
Hello, sir! Two questions:
1) Your sound and your style has changed radically over the years. When you look back at Ima (which I'll still listen to every now and again) and look at what you're doing now, do you see a continuous throughline through your work?
2) During your N'SYNC-producing, Emotional Technology era, you made a concerted play for pop success (at a time when "electronica" almost broke through). Afterwards, it seems like you pivoted to movie scoring and exploring longer-form electronic composition. Was that a reaction to what had happened with "Pop" and ET, or was this more of a natural pivot?
I got pranked once walking home alone through a park at night. Three guys with knives took all my stuff. Classic.
does the pirateparty have any policy regarding taking harder action against parents that alienate their children from one parent ?
Yes absolutely. My love of modal interchange and fondness for inversions has certainly stayed the same. Joking aside, there's a strong compositional thru-line in my catalogue for sure. I can hear shades of Nocturnal Transmission in Le Nocturne de Lumiere for example and Solar Plexus in my Dark Places score. It's everywhere when I really think about it.
There was no "concerted play" or "pivot" just where my head and heart were at at that time. I've always just made music I wanted to make, often much at the chagrin of my management and agents.
Yes absolutely. That's what I was recording at Abbey Road last month a full orchestral. I love writing for orchestra. Expect much much more of this from me over the years.
Have you seen the work of Android Jones? His visual art is completely stunning and he does visuals for many electronic performers. I feel like your musical aesthetic would match up so well with his visual aesthetic! I would absolutely die to see a collaboration between the two of you geniuses- do you plan on doing any future collaborations with visual artists?
That being said-
I just want to tell you that I am pretty sure you are a god of music blessing us mere mortals with your heavenly sound. I listened to your new album and I cannot express to you what I felt- it was beyond words. You are, as far as I'm concerned, the most talented producer I have ever heard, and I thank you for sharing your gifts with the world.
Hi Michael, how did you feel about your role in American Horror Story?
Ásta: Well, words only have the meaning we give to them. It hasn't been a problem so far.
What are your personal positions on the Icelandic Krona? Should it be swapped in near-future for a steadier currency (e.g. USD or Euro), should it be pegged to another currency or should we continue to use it?
1- WELL DONE. I was going to post something about that this week. That is a HRTF (or head related transfer function) I did in Csound. 2- Absolutely but imho never ever ever for subtractive. There is nothing like a P5, Jupiter 8, Minimoog, you get the idea. For additive, granular and new things like wave terrain etc, absolutely. 3- I think good labels are great and bad labels are worse than ever. It's all about working with people you want to eat dinner with. That's kind of how I do everything honestly. 4- I think where there is reverence and or a point it's great. I've been sampled and it was reverent and I said nothing. Other times people have ripped an entire beat or top line and that's not cool. It's about balance. 5- To mean it. Ask yourself that in everything. Literally everything. Do I mean these eggs I just scrambled? Do I mean it when I say "how are you?" do I mean it when I put a snare on the 2 and 4? Do you ACTUALLY mean it? If not, throw it out the world is too overcrowded for bs. Mean it always. 6- Lol, nothing other than I guess I love Nick Rhodes.
What fantastic questions. Thank you for these.
Having watched CPG Grey's videos on the pros(?) and cons of commonly used voting systems I am very interested in what your views are on the current voting system in Iceland, and more generally the model it is based on. Also, your views on voting single-person instead of parties! (persónukjör? veit ekki alveg enska orðið)
I personally think it's unrealistic to have a single person vote but I hear people mention it as a solution to the current system.
1- Totally different and both have incredible strengths. Little known fact the masters of Suddenly on These Hopeful Machines the verses are digital masters and the chorus is printed to 499 +9 at 15ips. I love both. 2- See above 3- Theres a bunch more on this above :)
Thanks for the questions.
At the moment, no. It is so much content and I am really excited for it to be released in this way! But who knows what we may do with it in the future.
Possibly, but no plans for that currently. Vinyl is pretty magical and these tracks sound amazing in this format. And it's making a huge comeback which is exciting as well.
Brian, I've got no question for you, but I do want to say thank you. For the past 10 years, in various forms, I've been producing music on and off, with poor discipline and practice. My own lack of improvement and ability frustrated the hell out of me, and there was a day where I was watching a live stream of a performance you were doing, must have been around 2010, and I just was overwhelmingly despondent. "I'll never be as good as him," I said to myself. You were already my biggest musical idol at the time, This Binary Universe was and remains one of my top 5 albums of all time. My girlfriend at the time, also a huge fan of yours said, "Don't feel bad that you can't do what he does yet. Be grateful that he can create his work, and do what you can do." After a long battle with depression I've come out the other side a (slowly-improving) better artist and a happier person. I do hope I get the chance to converse with you one day, because you've been a tremendous inspiration to me. Today, I simply want to say thank you for the beautiful work you create, and for being the person you are.
Automod requires me to ask a question, so I'll ask one: Was the array of technology and instruments on _ as wide and varied as it was on TBU? Were you still using CSound for _?
Vegas was one of my favorite shows when it was on. What was working with Dennis Quaid like?
Does CCP makers of Eve Online play any part in Icelandic politics?
Man I honestly read this with a heavy heart. I hope you read what I write here and really take it to heart.
No one is supposed to be anything other than the best "them" they can be. You can (anyone reading this) do something significantly better than I can, and honestly it's not how well you can do something but your intent and the purity of why you're doing it.
You're way better at something than I am and maybe it's not music! Maybe it's painting or building houses. I've never built a house (although I really want to go on a mission and do that someday!)
Find what you're here for. Pray about it, search, uncover every stone until you find it. There's a purpose for you and everyone else reading this.
(Your music question, everything under the sun was used on this record)
Hi, BT. When you did Never Gonna Come Back Down, was DJ Rap just free styling at the end? Judging by your laughter after the track ends, I always assumed that to be the case. How much fun was it to do that in the studio?
Do you know things?
I'm really interested in Iceland, but I'm unfamiliar with your political landscape. For starters, why are you called the Pirate Party, and why do you think you are currently favored in the polls?
That's actually Mike Doughty from Soul Coughing. Yes we were actually having that much fun in the studio. That was him on a one take rant, if you can believe it.
Have you thought about doing a more traditional live show w/ instruments with the BT catalog (vs. AHTS) ? Would love to see something like that!
If you had to endure juvenile name calling, would you prefer Michael Chiclets or Michael Dickless? Is there an even better one I'm missing?
No those are the two that I've been hearing since kindergarten.
Ásta: Lol. Yes.
Have you considered pirating Donald Trump's words and ideas? I hear they are the best words.
I haven't made anything on it yet but rest assured, like I literally promise, some of the best music I've ever made will happen on there. It's the mainframe used for sound design on Tron and Stewart Copelands Monitor. It took 3 full years to hand restore, it's absolutely amazing. Labor of love. I wanted one since I was a kid.
It's literally my model T Ford :)
On your own personal albums with visuals (this binary and new album) did you ever watch visual first or was visual created after while listening to the music?
Did you keep in touch with Theresa Saldana? She kind of semi-retired after The Commish it looks like, and died far too young. What was she up to the last couple decades?
I have a chunk of pork in my mouth and I'm not planning on chewing it or swallowing it. Do you have any idea if it's possible for my saliva to dissolve the chunk and, if it is possible, can you say how long it will take for my saliva to dissolve the piece of pork?
Setting it up in a secondary room :)
Love DJ! He did a number of Shield eps and then he hired me to do Eagle Eye and I just think he is a top shelf director.
Birgitta: One person's Utopia could be another person's hell or at least that is the conclusion I reached after reading the The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin. My personal utopia could only become real if I could dream it up with others. :) But I guess the poem Imagine is a good start.
Neither cats or dogs: I love wombats.
Huge fan, any chance that you'll ever release Somnambulist, Suddenly, and Lifeline acapellas and instrumentals? I know a lot of people would love to hear them! You should sing more often, you have a great voice! Any chance for new music videos?
Do you have any directorial advice?
Birgitta. Every time a foreign media outlet interviews you, you are portrayed as potentially being the next PM of Iceland. Last time this happened was on Friday, when the Washington Post named you "possibly the country’s next leader". When you are asked by the Icelandic media if you want to be the next PM, you always say no. Why is that? Are the foreign reporters misunderstanding the situation? Have you ever tried to correct them?
Thats a nice thing to say. I will some on my next album. Idk maybe I will release them someday and for _ there are 2 1/2 hours of new videos.
Which song of yours required the most cuts in editing/post production?
Where does This Binary Universe rank in your archive?
Would you consider yourself a cat or dog or catdog person?
On a lighter note, what are you going to do for the puffins? The world needs to know your stance.
last question first, TBU is insanity the depth. It's way way up there interms of editing.
I couldn't answer this. They are all so much work most people would literally want to die doing all that work. I absolutely love it.
Congrats on the album release! I helped you briefly when you were looking for some software for syncing tempos and video frame rates a number of years ago. I don't have any important questions, but I do want to share a story with you that I've been meaning to share for a while now(and a question at the bottom). I promise it'll get to something having to do with you and your music and hopefully it'll get a laugh out of you.
Just prior to the release of Morceau Subrosa and If the Stars Are Eternal So Are You and I(2012), I had the engine blow in my little convertible. It was tragic! After a few weeks of going back and forth with a repair shop, the little car received a new engine and lived once again. As with these sorts of projects, things can go wrong(there were countless coolant leaks and check engine lights), but we had finally gotten it to a good place where I was comfortable traveling more than 15 minutes from the shop and my house. At this point, your two albums were released, so that process took some time.
Anyways! I'm cruising down the expressway one day. Beautiful day. Top down. Listening to music(with earplugs, because I want to hear when I grow old). I'm an album type of person, so hit play on an album and let it go to completion. So yeah. Cruising. Suddenly. I hear this massive gnarly noise and I start completely freaking out. I'm doing like 70mph at that point, and hear all these nasty noises and am thinking...oh no. What did I do to my poor car now! I disengage the clutch and let off the gas to try and figure out if it's something in the engine or the transmission or something else. Noise is still there. I start running all of the possibilities of what could be making all of these crazy sounds I am hearing. And then I realize. Oh. One album ended. There was a period of silence between that album and the next album had started. And the noises I was hearing were a very very loud intro to 13 Angles on My Broken Windowsill that was initially hard to identify with crappy speakers, wind noise, car noise, and ear plugs. Huge sigh of relief once I realized it was just your music and not my car trying to murder itself for a second time.
Thank you for the scare! Thank you for all of the noise you make. And thank you for the incredible music you've made over the years. My only request would be that one day, before you leave this realm, to share the intricacies that have gone in to the creation of your music over the years. I would love to know if that's a soup can with a ball bearing in it being used for convolution or something crafty in csound or something else entirely. Any chance we'll be able to get something like that someday? Either via a book or production notes or something like that?
When you did the English dub for Spirited Away, did you work with Hayao Miyazaki at all? :~)
How do yiu typically handle people who assume your party is a joke?
How do you go about explaining what the Pirate Party really stands for?
What an awesome post. Thank you so much. Love this and am seriously glad I didn't wreck your speakers or car!
Some day I would love to write a book and also I'm planing on starting to do some web casting of my creation process in the new room. That's if I can get the internet here to be a little faster!
Heyo! I'm an anthropologist and filmmaker in Iceland and have talked with Ásta about this before (sup Ásta) but would love to know what inspired each of you to join the Pirate Party and what you want to see for the future of Iceland. Also, based on my interviews with Icelanders all over the country the last year the consensus is that the next economic crisis is around the corner (folks say to count the construction cranes in the sky) - Do you think the next crisis in inevitable and what will the Pirates do to address the problem at the root? (I'm giving a paper on the Panama Papers, Pirates and Utopic narratives in Iceland on Friday at the University of Iceland so this is for SCIENCE!)
Yes there are quantifiable connections between rhythm, math, frequency and how we perceive them.
Start with this : The forward masking principle. As with film, music plays with the refresh rate of your brain. There really is absolutely no difference between pitch and rhythm other than frequency. Your brain can't perceive a paradiddle a 22hz so it perceives it as a pitch (a low one at that!). I could go on and on about this subject for hours. I invite you to Google case studies about perception as it relates to music. I've read countless hours about this and there is fascinating things to discover.
As it relates to creating things with a computer, this is why I like to play physical instruments and manipulate the performance to make something that has an organic and human component to it but is new.
I love being outside with my family, that's the best :)
Thanks for the great questions!
Well I was playing a person trapped in a body he didn't want to be in and I just happened to be trapped in that suit to do it so the mindset came quite naturally!
Ásta: Sup Jen! Wanna hang out tonight? What inspired me to join the Pirate Party and actively do politics is after my stay in Iran in 2011. Iran being an authoritarian theocracy made me realize how privileged I am. Participating in a democratic society is not a right, it is a privilege and being a young woman, being able to participate in my democratic society and influence it.
On the construction cranes, the difference between this boom is that it is actually better financed than the previous construction crane invasion in Reykjavík. So hopefully this will not go bad. I believe another global crisis is inevitable, but I don't think it's going to hit Iceland as hard as the 2008 one.
Will you come play a show in Charlotte, NC? Love your stuff!
Do everyone's parents love "The Commish"?
What's your opinion of the British and Norwegian fishing industry near Iceland and do you plan on raiding it?
I hope so. I love the carolinas!
hi BT. I have no idea what your music is or what your place in the world is. if you could write a song right now about the first thought in your mind, what is it and why is it about toilet paper? k thanks good luck shout me out at your fuckin show aye m8
You've had quite a few roles in comic and other superhero settings (No Ordinary Family and such). Is this personally motivated or do they come find you?
Why are you doing this AMA in English? Aren't Icelandic speaking redditors your potential voters?
This is why I'm on the fence about cannabis legalization.
Hey guys, if you get to form a left-wing government, will you launch a new referendum on continuing European Union accession talks? If yes, will you recommend to continue or stop talks? Best of luck next Saturday!
This is a wonderful question (and thanks for all the kind words). I just find myself asking if it "needs to exist" and "I'll enjoy making it".
If you had to pick one Icelandic town you'd have to give back to Denmark, which one would you pick?
Thanks so much for all this!
No discipline does not come naturally to me at all. It is through sheer will and practice I've become so regimented. When I was about 20 I found my power bill behind the refrigerator (true story). It sounds weird but it was a lightbulb moment for me where I realized "how can I make things of lasting impact if I am this disorganized." It's been a creative imperative ever since!
1) I'd love to work with Mike again. Love that guy. He's lovely and as gifted as they come. 2) I hope we bring EO to UK!
Could you talk a little bit about your low end management? Do you include subsonic frequencies in things like kicks and bass? If so, how do you deal with the amount of headroom subsonic frequencies eat up? Do you hi-pass basses, kicks, and/or entire mixes? Thanks a lot, huge fan, and your new stuff sounds massive.
Hey Michael!!! from that breath taking season 1 finale of shield, I was hooked right in!! Fav cop show ever and your my fav character.
I'm wondering who was your favorite cast member to work with?? And if you had a favorite season to work on?? Was there any improv on set?? Between you and the crew??
Also a movie would be AMAZING!!
Thanks, me and my best friend, are both Shield/Vic/Michael Chiklis fans for life.
What's your policy on renewable energy - how does it distinguish you from other parties, and what do you think other European nations should be doing with renewable energy that they are not?
Thanks, and good luck!
Thanks so much, thats a great question.
We'll to start I mix without bus compression and it forces you to fit everything into a good spot tonally to begin with. Also I leave an insane amount of headroom in most stuff so the loud stuff is loud and the PPP stuff is soft. Dynamics are awesome in music.
First of all, thank you very much. I don't like to choose favorites and happily with The Shield I was surrounded by monster talents. I will take this opportunity to give some love to Jay Karnes aka Dutch-boy as he was, in my humble estimation, the unsung hero of the show. Just a phenomenal talent and person. Love him. Of course Walton, KJ and I remain very close. Strike Team forever. Again, I loved every season but if I had to choose it would be 5 with Whitaker. Yes there was always some improv.
Smári: Right now, Iceland's energy for electricity production and heating is almost entirely renewable. There are a few places where emergency generators are still used on occasion, but that'll presumably go away with improvements to the power grid in those parts of the country that have that problem. The remainder of non-renewable energy is fossil fuels used for cars, ships, planes and the like.
Current projections (PDF) suggest that with increased use of electric cars, we can reduce our use of fossil fuels substantially. The Pirate Party therefore has a policy to try to build out the infrastructure for EV's quite fast, so that by 2025 we can stop importing new non-electric cars.
What distinguishes us from other parties here is mostly the speed at which we wish to achieve the Paris agreement goals, but to be fair, there are other parties that have quite radical environmental policies too.
As for Europe, my personal (if heretical) opinion is stop shutting down nuclear in favour of natural gas. Nuclear is problematic in various ways as everybody knows, but right now natural gas (not to mention coal) is a much bigger problem that needs to be addressed immediately. Eventually nuclear should also go away in favour of renewables, in particular solar power and grid stabilization of various kinds ─ probably some mixture of batteries, molten salt, and other solutions.
How much music do you have recorded around that's not slated for public release? Annnd, since it's an AMA... Any chance we could get one of those songs?
I remember you surprise releasing a few tracks, like Lemon, Balm & Chamomile. You've always been great at engaging with fans online — from surprise release and sneak-peek listening parties to all you're doing on social, it's a really cool way to stay connected with an artist whose work we enjoy
Hey Michael, just wanted to ask you if you sit or stand in order to wipe yourself? I have gotten into many debates with my friends on the proper technique and would like some insight
Thousands and thousands of hours of music. Literally over 10,000 pieces of music that will never come out.
There's 2 1/2 hours of new music to enjoy here! Oh an AHTS album to come too :)
What head-space do you need to be in to compose the darker scores for some of the films you do?
I love things that teeter on the feeling of fear and awe. A lot of the feeling of awe has fear mixed into it. Like being with 150 black fin reef sharks the first time is the perfect example of fear/awe balance.
The more emotional states you can save in your brain the better composer you'll be. Therefore, living life is even more important than studying music.
Been listening to the song Nectar basically on a loop for the past 5 years or so. How did you arrive at the title "Nectar?" What is your usual process for naming songs?
Often, songs I like to name more the feeling and in an almost surreal or oblique fashion. I usually write a list of hundreds of song titles for something until I find something I love that sticks.
That's where it began! http://tamw.atari-users.net/cubase.htm Also, the atari's have incredible timing for MIDI. So many of the best records in the 90's and 2000's we're made on that system. Almost all Drum and Bass and Breakbeats.
Big fan since the mid 2000s! Any interesting or creative pieces of gear/plugins that you have come across in the past while?
My favorites over the last 3 years that have completely changed how I work are the release version of BreakTweaker, RX and Cubase 8.5 + VEPro.
Hey BT! How is your writing process and workflow different in your film/TV work to your artist material? Any advice for aspiring film composers on writing great material on tight deadlines? Thanks! Love the new album :)
It's super different and yes here's my advice. Avoid the temp. Like listen once if possible and use as a "hits" map never to be listened to again.
Go 1000% on instinct. It's always rushed. Stick to your guns when you know it's right and aids the final vision of the film.
Hiya BT!!! You are absolutely amazing and I love the variety of equipment you use. I saw you have picked a kiwi modded JX-3P and wanted to know what is your opinion of it? and what kind of sounds do you like to make with it?
Man that thing is like "insta" 80's electro (think Shannon). It's great for bass and brassish pads. The Kiwi mod for it is stunning. My fav Kiwi mod is for the Juno 106. Wait until I post pictures of my final Juno mods. It's insane. Went with metal endcaps like the Jupiter 8.
The Kiwi mod guys are killing it!
Yay! Glad you're doing an ama. I've loved your music for a very long time.
I make music too, it's my passion, so it's always nice to ask the pros some questions :).
1) at what point did you realize you were getting good at what you do and you should release your music?
2) who are, in your opinion, some of the most creative and talented producers out there today?
3) what's your favorite synthesizer (bonus points if it's not something like massive or serum)
4) what's your most memorable performance?
5) what gives you the most enjoyment with music?
6) are you a full-time musician, or do you do other things on the side?
7) what are your favorite genres of music? Of electronic music?
1) Probably around the age of 16 I started to think I could actually make music my living.
2) James Blake is stunning. It's hard to impress me honestly and usually when I am, it's like "wow that guy know's how to figure 8 mic a piano" or sweet compression on the overheads. Mic'ing and engineering dynamic music are becoming like the dark arts.
3) A revision 2 Prophet 5. Hands down. I can make an album with that instrument drums included. It's what all other synthesizers want to be. Dave Smith is an immortal genius. He changed the face of music single handedly. Bonus for inventing MIDI.
4) Probably in Australia when the power went out and I played Flaming June on the piano for 20 min. EDC in Vegas with my wife and daughter was pretty special too.
5) Making sounds I've never heard before and combining things in a way I've never heard that results in an unusual emotional impact.
6) Full time. I'd say making electronic things is a close second.
7) I like very treated live music (live drums) with synths. Like LCD sound system, Mute Math are my favorite sounding records.
Thanks for the great questions!
They'd take years honestly but I am going to do some live streaming of composition when the new studio done.
Hey Brian, in 2003 some of your commercial music was featured in a game I'm a huge fan of; XGRA. I'm curious to know if you were personally contacted by the developers to have your music featured in that game or if they simply (or legally) had to contact the record label(s) those tracks were released under. Typically speaking when you're signed to a label, do they own the distribution rights to any music released under their label or is that something that is discussed/negotiated on a case-by-case basis?
I'm aware you also did some original scores for other games. How do you feel when being approached by game studios to score original music for their games? Is it something that you're more than happy to do or is it just a job like any other to you? Are you an avid gamer yourself?
I was contacted yes and asked to see the game. I love video games but don't have a ton of time to play them. I keep up with lots of the new stuff but am for sure a Galaga/Tempest/Mrs. Pac Man kind of guy.
how do you make those atmospheric tunes? what synth are you using?
Every synth on earth. Kinda serious.
Hi Brian, amazing work with the new album as always. My question was regarding minimalism. I create similar tracks that rely on complex sound design and micro-edits. Sometimes I end up going overboard with it and end up losing the essence of the song. How do you strike this balance and not over process your songs?
That's an awesome question. I really am trying to zoom in an out (so to speak not literally) constantly after I reach a point in the composition.
I ask myself often "am I showing off or does this aid the composition" a lot.
First off, you're the man. You've brought electronic music to a whole new level throughout your career and constantly reinvent the genre. It's obvious you love to explore new areas of creativity and I give you mad recognition for that.
But, I also noticed you like a good remix here and there. When I saw you many moons ago, you played a remix of "Smells Like Teen Spirit". Is remixing something you still do for fun? Besides remixing your own work, that is. Any other "classics" that you've remixed that we may have not heard?
Thanks for doing all that you do and inspiring so much life in your fans.
Thanks so much Jarrett. Well honestly quite a long time ago I realized (other than mashups live) remixing takes the same amount of time as writing a new piece of music. I just would rather make new things.
Thank you for the kind words, really appreciate it.
THM and ASAW are the most moving, timeless, beautiful compositions i have ever heard. my god, the arrangement on Every Other Way.... those albums were able to bump Dream Theater's Scenes from a Memory from ten years at the top of my all time greatest albums.
how do you feel you have evolved as an artist since these came out? does the meaning you take away from your own music change with you?
i buy a hard copy of THM at least twice a year so i can give it away. your music has made my life better. THANK YOU
This is awesome thanks so much. What wonderful stuff you've written here. Thank you.
I've evolved and deepened both as an artist and person since yesterday! I'm in a constant state of growth and always trying to find ways to translate that to music. It's one of my constant life goals
You are my favorite musician I have ever seen live and I love how much passion you put into your music. You are a great dude! You ever plan on collaborating with tiesto in the future? I loved your classic tracks together. Rock on!
I hope yes. Love Tijs.
BT — Thanks for sharing your music and work with us.
Talk with me a bit about touring... Do you have plans to tour more? Do you enjoy touring? What the right balance for you?
I FINALLY got to see you in Austin two or so years ago, and I'd love to see you make another stop around here
I love touring but not all the time. We are currently planing some All Hail the Silence stuff that will be a blast!
1.) Has recent events of certain new up and comers soured your taste for trying to cultivate a protege or are you still always on the lookout for the next young one that aligns with your style?
2.) Any future plans to release BT specific albums (not AHTS) in vinyl; upcoming or past? Would love to get my hands on a vinyl version of These Humble Machines.
1- No not at all. I love sharing insights and knowledge with people coming up. I think unfortunately there is a generational entitlement culture thing that tells young people that they deserve success and accolades without effort or knowledge. This one I can't fix unfortunately. I can however mentor to well raised, head square on their shoulders, people coming up and I love doing this.
- I love this idea and am looking at ways to do just this
Hey BT! Huge fan. Last time I managed to see you was at Def Con...
As I recall, the guy who opened up for you got engaged in the beginning of your set. Great moment, and thanks for playing a free show to a small passionate crowd.
I wanted to ask generally about your setup and workflow for live shows. As a (very) amateur DJ/producer I find myself drawn to guys who aren't just beat-matching records together but are doing more in terms of live composition. Do you have any general tips for that kind of performance?
Yes for sure. There are so many great ways to do this now but I'd say check out Ableton Live and the plethora of controllers out there. It's a great start. Start building a template with everything you can think of to control! Reverb density, eq's, flange speed...Stutter Edits you name it.
That was a blast at DefCon. Mad respect for the hacking community.