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MusicI am composer and technologist BT. My new album is _ AMA

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.

Proof: https://twitter.com/PiratePartyIS/status/789495086170140673

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.

Q:

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?

A:

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 !


Q:

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?

A:

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.


Q:

I wouldn't say because the possibility still remains to do more with Vic.

A:

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.


Q:

Hey BT, longtime fan. Congrats on the amazing new album and thanks for doing this AMA and all the Facebook live videos. The first time I met you was at EDC a couple years ago, you were with your girlfriend at the time and Kaia and you were both pleasant and graciously answered my questions about ITSAESAYAI and Morceau Subrosa while walking to the ASOT stage. It was so refreshing to be able to speak to someone who loves interacting with fans, addressing questions, and truly expresses joy for what they do.

Question time: I’ve already asked this question in a former Q&A but never got to hear the answer, but what did Richard Butler of The Psychedelic Furs think of your cover of “The Ghost In You” off These Hopeful Machines? It’s a beautiful, yet haunting closer to the album which fits perfectly, and covering Butler is no easy job, so kudos for that.

Also, you are heavily influenced by many forms of music, especially new wave and synth pop I’ve noticed (received my vinyl of AHTS-I and it sounds amazing), so what would you say are your top 3 most influential albums that either inspire you as an artist or get you through life?

Thanks again, I’ll see you at Ruby Skye in December!

A:

Michael, now that you are starting to turn into a metahuman on Gotham, when can we expect you to yell ITS CLOBBERIN TIME!?


Q:

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.

Sincerely,

Martin van Vuuren

A:

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.


Q:

Not going to happen... but I will have another iconic catch phrase to say and it's so much fun to have helped invent and introduce a new character into the DC pantheon that you will all soon meet! BOOM!

A:

Ásta: Hi Martin! Ancilla will be here on Friday I think! It'll be hell of a party ;) Everything is going very well - unbelievably. Much work, talking to all the people, and handing out too many brochures. I think some of the Swedish volunteers will try to stream the election night party so you can watch it unfold live!


Q:

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.

A:

hype intensifies


Q:

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.

A:

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.


Q:

So I want you all to know that I will be appearing on Harry (Harry Connick Jr.'s new show) on Monday 10/24 on Fox! I sing one of the songs from my new album INFLUENCE with his incredible band! Check it out!!!

A:

Ásta: On the Viking, that came up. On the IP law, it's complicated. We are working with Julia Reda Member of European Parliament on the IP issue. But the problem is that we are bound by treaties and respecting those treaties is actually necessary to be part of stuff like, the UN and stuff. No country is an island in a globalized world, not even Iceland which is really an Island. The problem is that IP law is so twisted and that's the reason why we were formed in the first place, to fix it. But as many other IP specialists (Lawrence Lessig) we are moving towards tackling corruption and digital rights, because this is all intertwined. Copyright reform was just the starting point, but from there we have grown and it's awesome!


Q:

Hi BT. Do you feel inspired to put out another dance-oriented EDM album or do you feel you have moved on from that genre?

A:

Do you think we'll ever see Vic Mackey again?


Q:

What is your position on climate change?

A:

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!


Q:

The single most asked question I get and the answer is still... I don't know. If it were up to me we would make a great film about Vic but alas it is not. For now it's in the lap of the Gods!

A:

Smári: We'd like to stop it from happening. A stable climate is even more important than a stable economy! In short, we'd like to fulfil our obligations under the Paris convention and then go even further than that. According to loftslag.is, an Icelandic website about climate change, the Pirate Party has the best environmental policy of all parties at the moment.


Q:

Have you moved to Cubase as your main DAW, and if so, what do you think of it?

A:

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?


Q:

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 :)

A:

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!


Q:

I'm very proud of the F4 films that we made. It's true they skew a little younger but they are well made and in keeping with the spirit of the F4. I'm particularly happy that I was able to impart the emotions necessary through all that latex rubber! Not easy at all!

A:

Ásta: Hi Snojo and thanks for your questions! I agree with you that life for the young has become worse, or at least, it hasn't gotten any better compare to other generations. I was a poor student very recently so I am familiar with the situation. It is necessary to fix some of the problems that we know of in the student loan system, and make part of it into a grant. Also - monthly payments of student loans would make students so much more aware on how much they're spending. AND that income roof that's put on students is absurdly low, it's so easy to just raise that. And just fix the whole attitude in this LÍN institution. I could go on and on and on on that.

We need more rental apartments, and we need the airbnb apartments that are basically just run as a hotel, we need those apartments back on the long term renting market. It's probably around 1000-2000 apartments that are on the airbnb market and noone keeps a home there. Also, we need relax a bit on the building regulations. Not everyone needs to have a car, thus, having a car cellar in every new building should not be a requirement.

Currently, in my opinion, the best bet is to leave Iceland. The only reason I'm in Iceland is because of this amazing opportunity that the Pirate Party has created. We have a chance of fixing so many things that are wrong and make Iceland into the country we want it to be, that I believe we can turn it into. There is hope - the grass is not always greener on the other side - but I seriously feel you and have been there myself!


Q:

Are you still using Logic, or are you moving solely onto Cubase?

A:

What genre would you prefer working in next once Gotham is done?


Q:

What are your points of universal basic income and what would be needed to make it fair ?

A:

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.


Q:

I think something very naturalistic. A very human story/character.

A:

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.


Q:

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?

A:

I got pranked once walking home alone through a park at night. Three guys with knives took all my stuff. Classic.


Q:

does the pirateparty have any policy regarding taking harder action against parents that alienate their children from one parent ?

A:
  1. 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.

  2. 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.


Q:

No... it was a prank. You need to know these guys.

A:

Birgitta: We don't have a policy on this issue yet, it is however clearly not in the interest of the child if either parent or their families are alienated from them. We as parliamentarians have always supported all reforms in this regard. The current framework around these violations against the rights of children is too weak and needs to be amended asap.


Q:

Hi BT, huge long time fan,

Do you have plans to do some more live acoustic/orchestral work?

A:

Hey, Michael! I'm a huge fan of your work, especially on The Shield (one of the greatest shows of all time).

How did you manage to convey intensity of Vic Mackey on screen, while simultaneously illustrating the character as a relatable human figure? To me, that is one of the best things about Vic Mackey: he is so morally flawed and does much evil, yet at the same time, I can't help but root for him. How does an actor balance that in a character?


Q:

What does your party have to do with pirates?

A:

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.


Q:

Very long answer required for this question but the short version is this; He believed that what he was doing was for the greater good. That was enough for most to look the other way or except what he was doing.

A:

Ásta: Long story short: Once upon a time in the Kingdom of Sweden there was a bureau, the Anti-Pirate Bureau that was supposed to make sure noone was copying on the World Wide Web and the Internet. Because of ironic seriousness, some people started the Pirate Bureau and from there, someone had the splendid idea to start the Pirate Party. So yes, we have something to do with Pirates, in a digital sense of the word. But since then we have evolved into being a pro-democracy, reformist movement that supports civil and digital rights in any form.


Q:

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?

http://androidjones.com/

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.

A:

Hi Michael, how did you feel about your role in American Horror Story?


Q:

Do you think you get negative light because of the name? Because it feels like the older generation see it like Illegal Download = Pirate Party

A:

What an incredible post. Thank you so much and for sure I will check out Android Jones. Truly thank you.


Q:

Very dark and difficult to live in from day to day.

A:

Ásta: Well, words only have the meaning we give to them. It hasn't been a problem so far.


Q:
  1. I was delighted to hear you finally employ what appeared to be 3D binaural sound in “Ω” (the bits that seemed to swirl around the head). What did you use to achieve this, and would you suggest any tools for this in particular?
  2. Are hardware VA synths ever worth it compared to real analogue?
  3. In the light of the comments you’ve made about the state of the industry in the digital age: Do you think labels still have any great relevance, and if so how should creators approach them? I’m personally very wary of doing so, as nearly everything I’ve read about the industry describes exploitative business models that hoard the lion’s share of profits at the expense of creators (and some have argued that this may be at the root of the streaming revenue problem). So from one with a quarter-century of experience working with them, what say you?
  4. What are your thoughts on sampling? Count me among those who managed to pick out the Blade Runner excerpt in “Satellite”, so I know you’ve gone there ;) I think it’s a vital outlet of human creativity that shouldn’t be ignored or made inaccessible (but then again, I’ll never be able to pay the approx. $30,000 necessary to clear the four year-old pop hook I’m using for my latest trance tune, which I don’t intend to profit from). What say you?
  5. How do I come to the place of musical freedom you so beautifully occupy? Probably the most inspiring thing about you for me is how you can do just about anything with music, while still staying true to a sound and personality that’s distinctly yours. Everything from trance to dubstep to chillout to indie rock to breaks to classical to film score to microrhythmic ambient neoclassical (catches breath) – what drives all this flexibility? Pure experience? Classical education in youth and later? Pure perseverance? The attitude of saying “fuck it” to expectation and doing whatever brings you joy in the moment? What is the single most important thing to achieve this?
  6. And most importantly: Is there a story behind the haircut?

I hope we can take a selfie the next time ur in Calgary meet one day Brian, and maybe even work together. For now, thanks for just everything – the music, the performances, the software tools, but most importantly how much of yourself you freely give to us all in everything you do. I only hope you know what that means <3

A:

Did you always want to be a musician? What led you to making music?


Q:

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?

A:

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.


Q:

I always have been a musician I just didn't pursue it professionally since just after college because between my acting career and my family, music had to take a back seat and the good news was, I could still play at home and with friends. So I never stopped playing. Now I have more time since my kids are all grown up and I'm loving it! In fact, I have my first live show on 11/19 at The Canyon Club in Agora! You can also see me this coming Monday on Harry Connick Jr.'s show playing one of my songs with his incredible band!

A:

Ásta: My personal opinion is that it's not a sustainable future currency as is, that is, we would have to have capital controls in order to keep the króna working as it has the past few years. The króna has always been the black sheep of iceland, yes it helped with recovering from the crisis but it is really expensive to keep. The Króna is the main reason why we have index linked loans with high interest rates and unforeseeable payments, and it's really expensive for the normla Icelander. I don't have much faith in Krónan, but I am willing to work with it since we are a strange country. I think pegging it would be an interesting option, or something similar.

Aesthetically I find the Icelandic króna kinda hillarious. It has fish on it. FISH. That's ridiculous, but quiet ironic as well. The fishing industry is the 'gold' of Iceland, the main export and money making machine. So that's something.


Q:
  1. Analog or digital?
  2. What music is inspiring you right now? I remember you feeling pretty jaded with the scene in general. Have your thoughts changed at all?
  3. I loved your Facebook posts on overcoming self doubt and starting a new project. Any other tips on keeping focused and being prolific? What's your workflow?
A:

What was your favorite project to work on?


Q:

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.

A:

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 :)


Q:

Whatever I'm working on at the time. ;)

A:

Smári here! There are both pros and cons in the current system, which is very similar to the Swedish and Norwegian systems: d'Hondt's method used to allocate within each constituency, and then a biproportional allocation used to allocate adjustment seats on a national level. The biggest single problem is that d'Hondt's method is less proportionate than, say, the Sainte-Lague method (well, a variant thereof) used in the other Nordic countries. If we could switch to Sainte-Lague, it would be a massive improvement.

By the way, I've written some software that simulates some of these systems, here: https://github.com/smari/voting

That said, there are some bigger things that can and should be done, and one of them is being able to select candidates directly rather than voting for a party list. There are a lot of different ways of doing this, from the (quite odd) Australian method of voting "above the line" (party) or "below the line" (people), to the method used in Finland, which allows for ranking within a party list. I honestly don't favour any specific method above others for use in Iceland (I have a number of ideas though). As long as we can even out the value of the votes between constituencies and increase the ability of people to choose their representatives more directly than they currently can, it's an improvement.


Q:

Hey Brian, thanks for doing the AMA! Two questions:

1) Loving the new album -- right up there with TBU in my mind. Will there be a way for fans to own it in lossless format other than the USB drive? The TBU DVD with 5.1 DTS audio was fantastic; something similar for _ would be amazing!

2) I understand the reasoning for wanting people to hear the AHTS EP on a turntable, but... as much as I loved "The Mirror", I don't see myself picking up new hardware to listen to a four-track EP. Is there any plan to eventually release it in other formats so folks like me can enjoy it?

A:

First off: love you!! Second: what's the big hurdle you had to overcome on your way to success?


Q:

Will whaling still continue to be legal if you win ?

A:

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.


Q:

Getting out of my own way. Luck is definitely when preparation meets opportunity. I just needed to believe that I was ready when opportunity knocked.

A:

Smári: To be honest, we don't have a policy on it either way. Personally, I'm definitely in favour of protecting ecosystems and the species in it. I'd happily get behind a whaling ban if the data suggested that it'd help the ecosystem, but I've seen data that suggests that the whale population might be threatening other populations in the sea... so I'm totally torn. Ultimately we need to do whatever is best for the environment. In the meantime, I do like a good minke steak, even if I wouldn't be too sad to not be able to have it again.


Q:

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 _?

A:

Vegas was one of my favorite shows when it was on. What was working with Dennis Quaid like?


Q:

Does CCP makers of Eve Online play any part in Icelandic politics?

A:

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)


Q:

Dennis is a gentleman and a pro as well as a very funny and personable guy. Although I'm bummed Vegas didn't continue, I'm so happy to have become his friend.

A:

Smári: Nope. They are fairly busy running a galaxy, and have no time for our pithy local affairs. :-)


Q:

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?

A:

Do you know things?


Q:

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?

A:

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.


Q:

No not really. I was just kidding.

A:

Smári: In short, there are 12 parties running in the current elections, polling from virtually nothing to around 22%. We're called the Pirate Party in reference to a global movement of Pirate Parties that popped up over the last decade. Despite our name, we're taken fairly seriously in Iceland, in particular because of our very aggressive anti-corruption stance, our pro-transparency work, and our general push in the direction of a more information-driven society with strong civil liberties.


Q:

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!

A:

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?


Q:

Yeah, so if you pass a law, it's got to be called the Buccaneer Bill right?

A:

Yes I have, Electronic Opus kind of was that but with an orchestra. I'm sure we will do more live band shows, they are a blast.


Q:

No those are the two that I've been hearing since kindergarten.

A:

Ásta: Lol. Yes.


Q:

I followed with interest your restoration of the Fairlight. Is there anything we can hear that you have made on it?

A:

How badly do you wish Wired was a more straightforward biopic without the angels? I read the book, would love to see the film, very hard to find. What was your opinion of Belushi's living fast when you were young, and has it changed as you have aged and enjoyed a much longer life than he did?


Q:

Have you considered pirating Donald Trump's words and ideas? I hear they are the best words.

A:

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 :)


Q:

Pretty badly... Of course you can't go back but at the time it was such a huge break for me, even though I could see that the conceit wouldn't work, I had to do my best to try. The biggest problem though was all of the anger leveled against the film. There were so many lawsuits pending against it before it went in to the editing room that vast swaths of it were cut, forcing the director to use skits and songs that we shot as filler, instead of as quick flashbacks sequences as they were initially intended.

A:

Ásta: I will tell you at the time. I’ll keep you in suspense, OK?


Q:

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?

A:

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?


Q:

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?

A:

After


Q:

Theresa and I fell out of touch unfortunately. That's what often happens in the life of an actor. I ran into her about seven years ago and we had a great reconnect conversation but hadn't heard from her since and was so sad to hear of her passing. She was wonderful.

A:

Smári: It is very hard to say. There are various important factors. Is it smoked or cured, cooked, or what?


Q:

Are there any software synths or effects that you love to death but haven't heard of anyone else using? Any gear in general that you think is criminally underrated?

A:

Why didn't Vegas go gangbusters? It was a neat premise, fantastic cast - if it had been cable would it have had a different life?


Q:

That is an excellent question, and one which none of the people I have put this particular question to have bothered to ask. I suppose, for the sake of this question, we should assume that the chunk of pork is uncooked but nonetheless free of parasites.

I am from the United States of America, and this is a question that is traditionally asked of our leaders at the highest levels. I would not assume that the same is necessarily true of Icelandic politicians, but I think that it is at least possible that the voters in your country would be interested in hearing your response as well.

A:

Not really software synths but hardware yes. It's crazy to me people will spend 1000$ on a soft synth plus libraries instead of buying a Pro-1 (but I digress). There's a ton of hardware that's deeply underrated but softsynts, not really (imho) and that is also why everything sounds the same.

Massive, Nexus, Sylenth, Vengeance = everything you've heard for 3-5 years.


Q:

Yes I think so. We couldn't be what that show demanded it should be on network tv.

A:

Uncooked, hm. I simply do not know. But as a Pirate, and having an endless thirst for knowledge, I suggest that we conduct some scientific research into this and get to the bottom of it.

In Iceland, the questions traditionally asked of politicians are, "would you like beer to be sold in grocery stores?" and "what do you think about the airport in Reykjavík?"


Q:

Just wondering what happened to ypur gorgeous custom-made wooden desk?

A:

Hi Mr. Chiklis! I'm a huge fan of yours! Can I ask; what is the best thing a director can do for you on set? Thanks :~)


Q:

Will your party work to grant asylum to Edward Snowden?

A:

Setting it up in a secondary room :)


Q:

The director is our guide if you will. He or she can be extremely helpful in shaping the arc of an actors performance by discussing the choices and emotional state of the character at any given time. There's a lot more to it obviously but the director is the filter through which everything must pass on a film. The number one trait of a great director is to delegate responsibility to great talents, let those talented people do what they do and guide them in the right direction when they stray.

A:

Ásta: The first bill we put forward in 2013 was on granting Snowden asylum: http://www.althingi.is/altext/142/s/0078.html But he technically needs to apply for it first though. So, it's up to him.


Q:

BT! Fan since I first saw you on the bill with Thomas Dolby in Houston. I'm really enjoying the new album, but why did you choose to make a title that's so hard to search for??? When I first saw it announced on your Facebook feed, trying to find it on Amazon and iTunes was a bit of a challenge…

A:

What was it like working with D.J Caruso?


Q:

Will your party work to grant asylum to Edward Snowden?

A:

I've heard that a bunch of times! Honestly I wanted it to be blank but none of the online music portals would allow that!


Q:

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.

A:

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.


Q:

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?

A:

Do you have any directorial advice?


Q:

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?

A:

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.


Q:

See above answer...

A:

Birgitta: I tell them this is not what I am seeking and that we have horizontal structure. They want juicy headlines. Just like the Icelandic media play it out as if Katrin Jakobsdóttir will be the next PM, even if she has never said she wants it. You can have a look at my faq at my web page if you dont believe me :) http://birgitta.is/92-2/


Q:

Which song of yours required the most cuts in editing/post production?

Where does This Binary Universe rank in your archive?

A:

Would you consider yourself a cat or dog or catdog person?


Q:

On a lighter note, what are you going to do for the puffins? The world needs to know your stance.

A:

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.


Q:

Definitely a dog person!

A:

Ásta: I bet Smári wants to eat all the puffins since he was brought up in Vestmannaeyjar. I just want to cuddle them and make sure they are happy.


Q:

A few weeks ago, I saw artist Devin Townsend create a new song essentially from scratch on Twitch over the course of 2 hours, to show fans what his process of music creation is like. (See here: http://www.toontrack.com/metal-month-live-stream/)

Have you ever thought about doing something similar so your fans can get insight into your creative process?

A:

What is the best thing a director can do to retain set control?


Q:

I took a picture of these puffins, and they say thank you.

A:

I can't create a kick drum in 2 hours and I am serious. Some of the tracks on the Silence album I stood infront of a bank of system-100's with patch cables around my neck for 8 hours before there was a beat!


Q:

Well, trust, collaboration and mutual respect are wonderful and positive ways to get the best out of a cast and crew.

A:

Smári: I don't want to eat all the puffins. Just a few. Sustainability in puffin hunting is important too!


Q:

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?

A:

When you did the English dub for Spirited Away, did you work with Hayao Miyazaki at all? :~)


Q:

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?

A:

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!


Q:

No but I did get to work with John Lasseter who I think... no... I know is a genius.

A:

Birgitta: We don't come across many people that assume that we are a joke, it might have been an issue when we were being formed, but it is not really something we experience now.

We are a party that focuses on human rights in the digital era, with special focus on direct democracy. You can read more about our core policy, all our policy had to be based on the principles found there. http://piratar.is/en/core-policy/

You can also find more info here: https://newint.org/features/2015/01/01/democracy-digital-era-keynote/ and here: http://grapevine.is/mag/feature/2015/11/19/hacking-politics/


Q:

BT, you have been a favorite musician of mine for a long time! I saw you live at paradiso earlier this year and had a great time. Onto questions...

Do you think there is a connection between numbers, nature, musical frequency and a human's ability to perceive them? Do you think that there is a fundamental relation between these things that control our reaction to it?

You seem to be immensely talented at creating sounds with a computer, but how do you balance keeping "normal" sounds and notes in your songs with effects and filters that are more "noisy"?

Who are some artists that inspire you? currently or in the past

What are some fun things that you like to do with your family?

Ok ill stop :) but i think i will be seeing you again soon :D

A:

What mindset were you in when playing such a complex, abstract character as The Thing?


Q:

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!)

A:

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!


Q:

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!

A:

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.


Q:

Will you come play a show in Charlotte, NC? Love your stuff!

A:

Do everyone's parents love "The Commish"?


Q:

What's your opinion of the British and Norwegian fishing industry near Iceland and do you plan on raiding it?

A:

I hope so. I love the carolinas!


Q:

Haha! He was a very lovable character because he was a good guy and he was very compassionate.

A:

Smári: We've won three cod wars against Britain. They had warships, we had awesome fishermen. Nuff' said. :-)


Q:

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

A:

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?


Q:

Why are you doing this AMA in English? Aren't Icelandic speaking redditors your potential voters?

A:

This is why I'm on the fence about cannabis legalization.


Q:

A little of both but I'm glad to be in that universe for sure!

A:

Smári: Just for fun. The idea came up because we were getting a lot of attention from foreign media, and thought there might be more interest among people who don't speak Icelandic. Also, virtually everybody in Iceland speaks really good English.


Q:

Hey BT. First, I want to tell you that you are a huge inspiration to me for many reasons. The first time I heard Flaming June it felt like it lifted me off the floor. I still smile every time I listen to it. Another "Wow" moment was when I bought TBU. I worked at a music store selling pro audio and DJ gear, and I remember going in and telling the guys "This album totally redefines electronic music!" Well it did for me, anyway. Ha ha! Some of the moments on that album really choke me up (of course Good Morning Kaia is one of them!) Anyway my question is this: When you are at the initial stage of writing and you come up with an idea, how do you evaluate if it's worth developing? What I'm getting at here is that so much of the movement, tension, and release in electronic music (dance oriented stuff, anyway) relies on FX builds and editing techniques that get developed after the fact. How do you weigh what you have in front of you against the potential of what it could be later? I hope that makes sense! Anyway, thanks for reading and thanks for doing this AMA. Such a cool idea! I wish you all the best.

A:

How is it being on Gotham? Did you know the role you were auditioning for before you got it?


Q:

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!

A:

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".


Q:

Yes, I helped to create it. Well, what he's becoming at least!

A:

Ásta:

Pirate Party is not a left wing party, and it doesn't exactly fit on the traditional scale of left and right. Even though we are exploring the possibility on working with some parties that are on the traditional left, I'd not say that it'd be a left wing government, rather a reformist government focusing on systemic changes and anti-corruption measures.

We want to have a referrendum on whether we should continue the accession process with the EU. We don't have any specific stance on if they should continue or not, but personally I'm a EuroPhile. I like the EU, but that's my personal stance.

Thanks!


Q:

Hey Brian.

Congrats on the new album. You're clearly the hardest working man in electronic music.

Someone asked a question similar but not quite what I really want to know...I'm really interested in what makes people tick.

For you, with a seemingly steady academic path and good home foundation, all those years ago when you decided to jack in college what made you believe that what you was going to do was going to work? Did you have any plan or idea it would pan out this way?

You mention that you're pretty regimented, was that something that came naturally to you? I find your work rate pretty impressive. The detail, quality and the motivation to keep going. What was a point of adversity and what methods/things did you do to overcome it?

Congrats on '_' btw. It really is a gem. I'm hoping for more like Artifracture. The pacing and soundscape on that is amazing.

Some simple bonus questions for you...

Is the stuff you was working on in London on '_' or is that for a future project?

Any chance you would collab with Hybrid again? (Might make them bring their fifth album out a little quicker!)

Is Electronic Opus likely to ever come to London?

A:

Your Fantastic Four movies are some of my favorites!! "Uh, don't do drugs, kids." Do you like being a superhero? Did you enjoy playing The Thing, and did you read the comics when you were younger? Thanks!!!


Q:

If you had to pick one Icelandic town you'd have to give back to Denmark, which one would you pick?

A:

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!


Q:

Yes, yes and yes! I'm glad I did those film mainly because they've made a lot of people happy.

A:

Birgitta: That would be the notorious town of Fosshöfn, who is to blame for the gigantic sinkhole east east west of nowhere.


Q:

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.

A:

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.


Q:

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!

A:

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.


Q:

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.

A:

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.


Q:

Mr. BT - any thoughts on the intersection of spirituality and music?

A:

[deleted]


Q:

They are the same to me. Music is obviously of divine origin, it even contains mathematical puns we find consonant!

What is to reach the heart must come from above; if it does not come from thence, it will be nothing but notes, body without spirit. Ludwig van Beethoven

A:

Haha! My wife and daughters certainly seem to think so!


Q:

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

A:

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


Q:

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 :)

A:

Dude...


Q:

What head-space do you need to be in to compose the darker scores for some of the films you do?

A:

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.


Q:

BT, been listening to you for years. Love all your work, met you in Orlando, FL way back. Would like to know if you plan on doing anymore East coast touring? Also do you think you will ever do anything similar to your old works again? Such as IMA/ESCM?

A:

I definitely will do more east coast touring for sure:) I wrote a big post on FB about just that. Read here : Thought I'd share my response to a thread as a new post. Can not wait to share this new album with you all. Expect the unexpected. Big ❤️❤️to you guys. (In response to the question, is this like IMA, ESCM and others make it like _____) "Well to speak frankly and directly, honestly no, I don't share the nostalgia many people have for that time period or wish to return to it. It would be inauthentic for me to embrace such a journey and I'd like to think I've made a life and career rich with authenticity and musical altruism. I love that I was blessed enough to participate in that amazing time period Kristian Pattison but my goal was then and will always be to make music that connects, inspires, awes, breaks through technical and emotional boundaries and speaks directly to the hearts and minds of the listener; because they can hear some small modicum of my actual person, my humanity and the sum total of all my life experiences on this ball of dirt spinning in infinite space, between the notes. Repetition is for people (imho) capitalizing on a moment that resonated for (fill in the blank) group of people to make money. Music never has been or never will be a product for me. To a fault. At many times in my career, had I stayed on a certain track and caned (as the English say) an idea to death, it could have been a tremendous commercials win. Which to me would have been a form of artistic suicide. I've chosen to traverse as Frost said the "road less traveled". I'm called to blaze new paths, find new and intermediate emotional states, notes between notes, rhythms between rhythms (no wonder some of my best rhythmic figures function where rhythm ends but pitch has technically yet to begin or 8-15hz area ala BreakTweaker) and other new forms. I love so much that albums like Ima and Escm mean so much to so many people. It's a joy and a great blessing to have birthed them. I will however for the rest of the breaths I've got, be out foraging to discover new trails. Maybe people that ask artists to repeat works of theirs in the distant past should be asking themselves what it was about that time in their life they miss and maybe it's a wonderful calling to some long forgotten thing, place, relationship, ideology or way of seeing the world. As for my cross to bear, blazing a new path it will be. I'll leave you with the full and beautiful words of Robert Frost. If I was a tattoo guy I'd have this covering me. Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both And be one traveler, long I stood And looked down one as far as I could To where it bent in the undergrowth; Then took the other, as just as fair, And having perhaps the better claim, Because it was grassy and wanted wear; Though as for that the passing there Had worn them really about the same, And both that morning equally lay In leaves no step had trodden black. Oh, I kept the first for another day! Yet knowing how way leads on to way, I doubted if I should ever come back. I shall be telling this with a sigh Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference. -Robert Frost"

https://www.facebook.com/bt/posts/10153925316465095:0


Q:

Hi Brian,

  1. What is your favorite movie that you scored, as far as the movie itself is concerned?
  2. Which movie was the most challenging to score?
  3. What is the latest on the Ima / ESCM remasters?
  4. What's the latest book you read that you would recommend everyone read?

Thanks, and congratulations on the new album! It's an incredible piece of music and I consider it to be your best work from the last 10 years.

A:

1- Monster. Adore this film and what it says. 2- Hmmm, actually that's easy: Zoolander. I quit that one because Ben Stiller is such an egotistical asshole. 3- I'm about 75-80% there. It's a monumental project. Thanks for being patient. 4- 1 Second After. Be forewarned, it's heavy (but a great thriller)


Q:

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?

A:

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.


Q:

Satellite is one of my all time fav songs.

What's the story behind the intro to 'Movement in Still Life' ? Did you actually get with the guy to make some beats?

A:

No, I'd love to find out who that was. He left a six digit phone number, true story. It was a voicemail left on my phone.


Q:

I just wanted to say thank you for all the wonderful music you have created, you are without a doubt my favorite artist. When I think back to the various times in my life, I think of them in relation to which one your albums I was playing on repeat during that era. Your music has seriously had a extreme impact on my life, and in a lot of ways has helped shaped it. Your music is the only music I get emotional over when listening to it.

I saw you once in Scottsdale AZ at your tour for ASAW, you took a photo with my cousin after the show, but I was too shy to shake your hand and thank you in person like he did - I hope I have that opportunity again in the future. Thank you for all your music, and I will forever wait to hear what you come up with next.

I suppose a need an actual question for this AMA - I'm a big fan of classical music as well, - what artists do you look to for inspiration, and who are your favorites? Any album recommendations?

A:

Man what a nice post, thank you so much for the kind words. Next time I'll find you somehow!

Classical music is just such a beautiful quilt of extraordinary beauty. The early 20th century stuff is my favorite. I'd check out Mahler, Debussy for a start.


Q:

How the heck does one make Cubase work on an Atari computer?

A:

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.


Q:

Big fan since the mid 2000s! Any interesting or creative pieces of gear/plugins that you have come across in the past while?

A:

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.


Q:

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 :)

A:

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.


Q:

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?

Thanks!

A:

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!


Q:

How do you think you've evolved from Ima, ESCM, Fast and the Furious, etc?

A:

I've learned double what I know about music since IMA. Maybe triple!


Q:

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?

A:

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!


Q:

Hi Brian, over the years you’ve amassed an incredible amount of hardware, software and library of audio samples. You’re in the process of finishing your new studio. How do you handle being overwhelmed by choice of tools when approaching tracks? Do you have rules you set for yourself to avoid being overwhelmed?

A:

YES! Great great question.

I say. Today you get "Voyetra an jupiter 8 and RX" That's it. Go. For every small goal, I band delimit what I'm allowed to use. Always


Q:

can do you some tutorials for you tracks?

A:

They'd take years honestly but I am going to do some live streaming of composition when the new studio done.


Q:

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?

A:

Great questions!

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.


Q:

how do you make those atmospheric tunes? what synth are you using?

A:

Every synth on earth. Kinda serious.


Q:

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?

A:

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.

Great question!


Q:

Hey BT, long time fan since coming across ESCM in high school. I have two questions:

  1. You've been in the electronic music scene for quite a while now. What are the things that have changed the most?

  2. If you could have a day with any living or deceased composer that you haven't already spent a day with, who would it be?

A:

1- How music is disseminated. By far this is the biggest change. Also ITB as opposed to in the studio!

2- Debussy


Q:

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.

A:

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.


Q:

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

-alex

A:

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


Q:

Hi BT,

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!

A:

I hope yes. Love Tijs.


Q:

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

A:

I love touring but not all the time. We are currently planing some All Hail the Silence stuff that will be a blast!


Q:

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.

A:

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.

  1. I love this idea and am looking at ways to do just this

Q:

Hey BT! Huge fan. Last time I managed to see you was at Def Con...

http://imgur.com/a/DJmX2

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?

A:

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.


Q:

Hi BT. My question is with regard to workflow. Mine is basically "Oh look a squirrel" and then I never finish it.
Any tips to get me out of being stuck in the death spiral of creating a master loop and never doing anything with it? Apart from making some of my favourite inspirational music, you're also really prolific. P.S. Any plans on coming to South Africa some time? You'll be surprised at how much of scene there is down here. Thanks!

A:

I want to come there for sure :)

So, I'd say, unplug everything except what you're working on and force yourself to pay attention. Reward yourself when you do. It works...try it!