Former American trance golden boy BT (Brian Transeau) and ‘NSync may seem like odd bedfellows but according to BT, it was all very natural for the two seemingly divergent acts to work together on “Pop,” the first track on ‘NSync’s most recent album, Celebrity (Jive). In fact the love fest was so mutual between the teensters and the Los Angeles based dance producer that BT is now working with Justin Timberlake’s girlfriend, Britney Spears, to help produce her new album – better watch out Justin, BT’s a charmer.
If you’ve heard BT’s version of “Pop” you know it sounds a lot like Michael Jackson from the Thriller era. But once you get past the scratches and voice that let’s you know the remix is by BT (and yes, it does say his name in the track) it’s pure Orlando teen pop.
BT explains how this unlikely pairing came to be, “Well basically the guys in ‘NSync were coming out to watch a bunch of shows and stuff when I was out on tour last year. In the fall, JC came to the first show in Orlando. I kept getting phone calls from them (saying), ‘Hey dude, you made our favorite record last year (Movement In Still Life)’ I was like what? This boy band calling me up is really f**king weird actually. Then I got to know JC and Justin and they’re really cool guys. We were hanging out a lot in LA with JC and his girlfriend and Justin and Britney. I like them. I think they’re cool people.”
Then Justin called BT and said “Dude I want to do a track like ‘Hip Hop Phenomenon'” (from Movement in Still Life). Continues BT, “I was like get the f**k out of here! You’ve got to be kidding me. I said ‘If you guys want to do something crazy, I’m totally down to do it.'” So they got together and listened to some tracks ‘NSync had written for their new album and BT was attracted to “Pop” because Justin’s ethos reminded him of a young Michael Jackson. “I think Michael Jackson’s the sh**. So I did some crazy stutter edits to it with 40 different vocal treatments … I actually did a mix with the beat boxing at the end of it for Justin’s car, because he wanted to play it for all his friends … he was freaking out so hard over the edits. Then I went to Thailand on vacation and when I got back it was the version that was on the album. I didn’t even know it was going to be the single.”
So does all this teen action mean that BT has turned his back on the underground dance culture that made him so popular? “I’m by no means abandoning dance music, it’s where my heart is, but having said that I love experimenting,” he explains from his LA studio where he is scoring the music for Ben Stiller’s new film, Zoolander). “I need to keep challenging myself as a musician and I think that I’m not worried about the creditability issue because I’m just experimenting and having fun doing it.”
The one genre BT hasn’t explored as much as he would like to is hip hop. “I’d love to do something with Missy Elliot … Maxwell … Timbaland. That’s what I’ve been listening too recently. Those guys in the hip hop community are doing stuff so much doper then what’s happening in for example house music or trance right now. I just don’t listen to any of that sh** anymore. The techy sort of progressive stuff that Timo and Sasha and John (Digweed) play I listen to but I’ve completely gone off the stuff Judge Jewels and Paul Oakenfold play – it’s just f**king diabolically bad.”