What’s the best way to do an album release party for a producer? Does it take the typical pop/rock/hip-hop format, involving the album’s music played in the background for listening? Or, does the producer DJ it as a set to show just how well it works in a club setting? With BT, the event introducing his ninth studio album A Song Across Wires to a crowd involved him behind the deck.
Yet, although the release dropped the day before, there’s a good change trance listeners – and fans of EDM in general – already know the hits (“Surrounded,” “Skylarking,” “Must Be The Love.”). The album release party, then, became not so much a matter of hearing entirely brand new material, but instead getting acquainted with the mixes of the new, stuff that hasn’t been heard before, and how it fits in with older tracks (like BT’s Tiesto collaboration “Love Comes Again”).
A few hours before BT stepped in the booth with a laptop and controller at Marquee New York, I stopped by the club for an interview with the producer. Although Pacha NYC and Cielo have been the go-to Manhattan venues for top-tier DJing talent, Marquee’s starting to rise up past its pop culture distinction as the place Justin Bieber went clubbing underage by attracting well-known producers like BT.
In one sense, BT’s answers served as a sort-of precursor to what audiences would hear a few hours later. In others, the set had a few surprises.
Even though he’s nine studio albums (plus soundtracks) into his career, BT had yet to make a truly “club” album until A Song Across Wires. “It was what was inspiring me at this moment,” he explained. “You know, stepping back to an album like This Binary Universe, what was inspiring me at the time was this idea of combining these jazz ideologies I studied at school and asymmetrical meter, and these things from jazz with things that I love about classical music, with things that I love about computer programming, so that was the thing that was deeply, passionately forming my work at the time.”
He went onto say, “This is the first time in my entire career I was inspired by club music culture – it really is. And, it’s funny because I participated in it for 20 years, but it’s the first time where I have heard my peer group and thought, ‘Wow, that is really interesting. Holy crap, what is that?’ Finding things that are authentically inspiring and exciting.”
In line with the festival concept, a list of collaborators reads like a who’s who of trance: singer Nadia Ali, JES, TyDi, Arty, Tritonal, and others appear over the course of 12 tracks. “You know, all of them are friends or friends of friends, and so, I have a pretty strict policy of working with people who I enjoy as people first, and secondly, people whose work that I enjoy and do something different from what I do,” he explained. “There may be commonalities, but there’s difference, you know, and so, somebody like Tritonal I met playing at EDC, and said ‘I love what they’re doing and it’s different and kind of very big, loud, you know, but still very musical.’ And so, both of us said, ‘Wow, we gotta do some music together.’”
However, he went onto say, “Sometimes I found singers – Nadia