How do you take a synthesizer and cello, completely different instruments, and get them to co-inhabit the same sonic space? Can analog and digital both effectively transcend one another until they’re flowing interchangeably? These are just a few of the questions multi-platinum recording artist and self proclaimed technologist, BT is trying to provide answers to with his Electronic Opus.
“Honestly, it can get really boring playing electronic music in a club environment,” says BT describing his desire to continually try something new. So paired with an orchestra in Miami on March 29th 2015, BT will finally bring his EDM (electronic dance music) songs to life in a new way he’s mostly just imagined up until now–melding his most popular songs with the warmth and emotional heft of a real live symphony in one performance and album.
“I’ve proposed this idea for years to record executives, club promoters, and festival promoters, and quite literally had people laugh in my face and say ‘people who like dance music will never like orchestral music and vice versa,'” BT says. “And I passionately believe they’re wrong.”
From the genesis of the modern crowdfunding movement, BT has had the idea that direct fan support might be the way to finally bring this type of musical experience to life. And so he set, and has now met, a goal of $200,000 to cover all the costs–all of which are itemized on the project’s Kickstarter page. A lofty sum, but one he says is necessary to work with a full symphony orchestra and put on the kind of performance he’s seeking. The project has managed six $10,000 backers, a record in the music category.
“My fans have been so incredibly charitable in donating and believing in what we set out to do that it excites me in a way that’s hard to articulate,” BT explains. “People have quite literally put their money where their mouth is. I mean, you can put out a record and people will say how much they love a song, but this is people saying they love this concept as want to see it happen as much as I do.”
To fully get the project off the ground, BT collaborated with video game sound designer, Tommy Tallarico and the entertainment company, Tanz Group. Both bring experience of crafting one-of-a-kind performances into reality. As you might imagine, transforming music and having it performed by hundreds of musicians live in front of thousands of people is a huge undertaking. Tallarico is one of the creators of Video Games Live–a concert series that performs game scores live with an orchestra.
“We found that using low brass with analog bass sounded really unique and captures a sound that you don’t typically hear in music,” mentions Tallarico, describing the process of mixing electronic and analog instruments. “The symphonic percussion is constantly weaving in and out of the music, sometimes to build drama (timpani rolls going into drops) or more simplistic instruments working together to form complex patterns.”
It’s not just taking old electronic songs and re-doing them with an orchestra, however, the Electronic Opus was a catalyst to create new songs and sounds with a familiar baseline. “There will be parts of the original songs, plus orchestra, plus new instruments, sounds (and some vocals) all mixed together as new arrangements that will live and breathe on their own as new pieces,” explains Tallarico.
BT is hardly a stranger to trying new things and has long used odd sounds and instruments to craft his message in music form. He’s used all types of hardware and software including OS X’s terminal command line. The Electronic Opus is just the next step in attempting to create something that fills a void for people.
“We’ve done some pretty incredible arrangements of these songs and some of them some of them have quite literally been emotionally moving, nearly to the point of tears,” says BT. “We were working on the theme I wrote for the movie 2003 Monster with Charlize Theron and the orchestral interpretation of it is staggering.”
Even though there will be a recording done of the new song arrangements, it’s being done separately. So those unable to attend this March event will get an idea of the one-of-a-kind experience, but won’t get the same live feel. Still, even though the Kickstarter campaign is over, there are options to get the album and hear the wild new music.