It seems like every artist is coming out with an iPhone app these days. But only a select few are taking the format to new levels-using the device as a means of creative expression rather than just a new distribution channel.

One of these is trance pioneer Brian "BT" Transeau, who last week launched Sonifi, an iPhone app that lets fans remix the song "The Rose of Jericho" from his upcoming album. But it only starts there. In a recent interview, BT tells that soon other artists will release music using the Sonifi remix technology and that he will release his entire back catalog available for remixing as well, as part of an effort to merge remix and mobile cultures.

In addition to his work as an electronica artist and his various film score efforts, BT is also a programmer, having invented the "stutter edit" technology used widely in techno music today. His software company, Sonik Architects, created and released the new Sonifi app based on his original specs. Which make BT one of the few who can speak about the iPhone from both the perspective of an artist and a developer with equal ease.

Why do the app?
My background is classical music and programming. I used to tutor my father's students in computers and programming. I used to experiment with building music applications as a teenager as I was falling in love with electronic music, using a bunch of the modalities I learned in the classical area. So it's been something I've been interested in for 20-plus years. I'm a Mac head, and I've been endorsed by Apple for years and I love the iPhone. This is a crazy freaking device. You have something that has a multi-point touch surface, accelerometers, so I though why not make something for this.

Was it the capabilities of the device or the popularity of the device that made you want to put out an app for it?
Computers are like a mortar and pestle at this point. An iPhone is a 657 MHz full-functioning computer. It doesn't' have a GPU, which bummed me out, but it's a banging little CPU on a portable device, and most importantly the accelerometers know the positional and vectoral axis of what you're doing with it. So a year ago I started working on it.

What were you hoping to accomplish?
For literally 10 years, I've been saying to people [that] we need to make a standardized remix file format. Artists cross genres all over the place, have their work remixed all the time -- and it's a pain in the ass. For people in the electronic music community, there's all these crazy deliverable requirements. Why not just four tracks? Give me the beats, give me the bass, give me the vocals and give me the guitars... that's all I need and I can do anything that needs to be done.

Why focus on the remix element for the app? Why lead with that?
Well this idea of standardizing the deliverables for a remix so that anyone can do it. Did you know one of the most popularly torrented things are ProTools sessions? I'll admit I collect them. The record labels need to seriously wake the fuck up and see there's an inherent value in non two-track masters of songs. This is a proof of concept that proves that. Kids want to get their hands dirty with technology now. You have a different type of consumer... it's like a pro-sumer. He's a little bit interested in media, graphic arts, he's a videogamer, and he loves music and wants to do mashups. He wants to take Beyonce's voice and put it up against a Killers' track. That's the audience this is targeted to support, and I'm a part of it. I made this as much for me as I did for everybody else. The big punchline is that this is a proof of concept that there's an inherent value in the end user being able to experiment and play around with music in a meaningful way that's fun and easy but incorporates some really heave stuff under the hood in terms of technology.

Why apply this first on a mobile phone, rather than a computer?
Because everybody has a phone. People take public transportation, or they're at Starbucks waiting for coffee. If I'm just noodling, I don't want to surf the Web or play Tetris -- I want to do something fun that I can use later. This is a perfect platform because it's a computer that's sitting in someone's pocket. The possibilities of this excite me immensely. We're going to release other artists' material and my back catalog in this thing, as a Sonifi media pack where you'll have the song as a 4x4 matrix of mixes, the visual assets specific to each artist, and then stutter gestures and fills, and an artist's links page.

So you're going to offer more versions of the app for other artists?
Sonifi is going to be the portable remix engine where you can directly buy content from a plethora of different artists, not just me or dance music. It's a completely different and interactive way to enjoy music. I can't say too much about it, but it's going to take people's heads off. This is going somewhere really specific and very cool. We're already in talks with several media partners who control a lot of content about using their artists' work in this application. It's a really special thing.

You wore two hats going into this, one as an artists and one as a programmer. How does the way you approach this differ based on which hat you have on?
At the core of my creation process is an idea, and I write what you call a thesis. I've written one before every single one of my artist albums, every film I've ever scored. I sit down and write this long document about what I'm setting out to accomplish emotionally, or a production level, who the end-user is. And I follow that as a map. I really am that much of a geek.

So what do you think of some of the other artist iTunes apps out there?
I want to say something positive, so I'll say that one of the iPhone music app that was one of the homeruns is Bloom, Brian Eno's thing. That is a gorgeous piece of artistic work and follows philosophically what his work is and what it stands for. I'd like to think mine is the same. This is really a representation of my belief system. I really want people to experience my music not just by listening, but I want them to be involved in it. I feel this is a really amazing forum for artists who choose to express themselves genuinely, with integrity, to make something that's unique and fits in someone's pocket. This is the sort of thing people will be willing to pay for because there's value there. It's something that ultimately protects the integrity of the artist's work and it provides inherent value for the end-user in a way that is meaningful, enriching and fun.

Has making this app for the iPhone changed your perception of mobile?
Absolutely. We're just on the cusp of some incredible new modalities for the way people enjoy and experience music. Wireless is a large part of the consciousness shift in what we're capable of in terms of media and how we interface with it. We're going to watch the most incredible things happen with music and art in the next three to five years, ever. We're going to see some incredible shit happen, and I'm excited to be alive and making music as part of this whole thing.