DJ Times Interviews BT
Brian Transeau talks about Blue Skies and Tori Amos
posted to torinews by Violet (firstname.lastname@example.org) (thank you for typing it in on your birthday Violet!) Here is the Tori portion of the interview:
DJ Times: Tori Amos -- how did you two meet, and what led up to you two collaborating on a single?
BT: Tori and I have a lot of mutual friends, and everybody has been like, "you two get on my nerves" and "you two have to hook up" because we remind the mutual friends of each other. Finally, we were introduced by those mutual friends, and it was freaky for me. It was like meeting my lost soul sister. We have so much in common, it's frightening. She and I both moved to L.A. when we were 18 for five years, nobody paid attention to us, she went to England, I did the exact same thing, and signed with the same record label, the only person who would listen to us. Both of our moms are from Chattanooga, Tennessee. We both have tornado fetishes, on and on. She went to my rival high school in Maryland, she's from here -- it's just bugged out! I visualize music, she visualizes music. Anyway, we met, and we did remixes to "Talula" and "Putting the Damage On" and she was like, "Brian, these pieces of music mean so much to me, I want to sing on one of your songs." She was like, "I love the last song on your album ['Divinity']." And I went through a whole thing with her about "Divinity" and that it was originally named "The Yoga of Divine Action," which was a writing by Deepak Chopra -- I explained to her the essence of this writing, and she totally connected with it, and also, too, we were both in this period of entrapment, in need of self liberation, if you know what I mean? We both were feeling trapped and needed a catalyst for transcendence, just a vehicle to get out of ourselves, and talking about this writing of Deepak's and talking about how we were feeling, is what inspired the lyrics to "Blue Skies." Whenever I listen to it, it's like this little girl, it's like somebody in their own kind of personal hell wishing for their personal nirvana.
DJ Times: When she was recording the lyrics over "Divinity" was it intended as being a vocal version of that particular song?
BT: No, it wasn't like Tori saying, "I wanna sing over this, and let me see what I can come up with," and I was like, "I'll take the music out and we'll make something new out of it." That is a cool way of doing things. There's all sorts of different ways of doing things when making music. Like for this one song I did for the new record, we went over to the lake across the street from my house and all the frogs and bullfrogs had a tonal area, something that makes you unconsciously sane in that key. My friend Shane and I went over there and we started with our guitars, and we're playing acoustic guitar and we wrote a whole song, but we didn't realize we wrote it in F-sharp because of the frogs, and we came back and listened to it, and we were like, "something's missing," and then I said, "I got it!" And I went into the closet and grabbed my microphone and portable DAT, and went back to the lake to record the frogs and put it in the track -- just different ways of making music. Doing "Blue Skies," I was like, "give her something that's pre-existing, let her vibe on it, and have her get out what we had talked about, and then me come in and put my feeling in again." Had I written the music for the song before she sung the lyrics, I would have never written the same thing, but she wouldn't have written the same thing either if the two of us just sat down in a room.
DJ Times: How did she go about writing the lyrics?
BT: Tori put the CD on, and sang for 15 minutes over an unreleased version of "Divinity" at a soundcheck for a show, and sent me the DAT without ever even listening to it. There was a note attached that said, "Brian, listen to this," and I took it and took literally every phrase and every breath and cut it into pieces to make a song out of it. She sang the words "blue" and "sky" next to each other one time in the whole thing, and I cut, glued, pasted, and made this thing that ebbed and flowed like a song.
DJ Times: Was the end product anything that Tori had imagined it would be?
BT: I think it was absolutely nothing that she'd expected. In fact, when I sent her the DAT, she called me immediately and was like, "Did I sing this sh*t?" Then she hung up and called back five minutes later saying, "This sh*t is bad-ass!" She was tripping out, because [her voice] was so edited up. That's what I'm talking about -- that was a dope-ass performance, but taking technology and manipulating it like clay.