Now on to your personal side;

Birth place and date: January 3 1966, Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Reside in: Austin, Texas, USA.

Interests: Movies, Music, Driving, Nature, Outdoor activities.

Music taste: Hmm.... pretty diverse after all these years. I "don't say no to" jazz, classical (inc. movie soundtracks), acoustic guitar, Floyd-style rock, some techno as long as it has a melody and is danceable... plus the usual - Jarre, Thomas Dolby, Cocteau Twins, anything by Trevor Horn, etc.

What makes Martin happy: Entertaining others, raising children (have only managed the former so far).

Goal in life: Raise children! Have a mega-empire-family and be at the top of it all, Godfather style (without da gunz).

You were born in Belfast/North Ireland and moved to Manchester/England at the age of five. What was the reason for that move?
The IRA, man!

If you would have stayed in Belfast, do you think that your future would have looked the same, I mean career wise?
No, it wouldn't. I have no idea what would have become of me if I was still in Belfast now. Probably would not have been in computers. I originally wanted to be an engineer in a recording studio (uncannily close to what I do now) OR a pilot in the RAF.

Living in Austin today must be very different compared to Manchester. If you would say something positive about the city, what would that be?
It's a great place. Come and see it!

Any parts of the town you should avoid?
7th Street, two blocks west of IH35.

How often do you visit your family in England?

Once a year usually. I'm going back to Britain next summer I think.

Have you thought of doing some music and put it out on CD? It would help to reach a whole new audience.

Yes, I will get around to that. I am planning to pick up an 88-note K2500 some time, to play about on. I will connect it up to my computer & do MIDI composition.

Looking back on the tunes you did in the old days, do you feel total satisfactory yourself?
Can't change history, but if I were to change one thing, I would take out all the versions of other people's music that I often did, primarily Mr. Jarre, and replace them with more original tunes.

Fill in the following;

The first composition: It was before I worked at Ocean, in summer 1983 I did the title screen music for Kevin Edward's BBC game "Atomic Protector" at Optima Software. I have NO IDEA whether this game was actually sold or not, or what the sales figures were. It was only about 10 seconds long! "Atomic Protector" was basically Pac Man in reverse, you laid down the dots instead of eating them up. Kind of fun.

Rambo - First Blood Part IIThe best one: (Impossible Question) Taking everything into consideration, "Rambo - First Blood Part 2".

The worst one: "The Great Escape" - no WAIT - "Top Gun" C64.

The best arcade conversion: "Arkanoid".

The most complicated one: "Short Circuit" - no - WAIT - "Times of Lore".

The hardest one to compose: Well, a tune could only be hard to compose if I was hard-up for ideas at the time - if it was a conversion/arrangement of someone else's music it wouldn't be composition, right? "Microprose Soccer" and "Insects In Space" were the toughest, by that definition.

The one that took a lot of time to compose: Compositionally, I suppose the "Parallax" main theme took the longest individually at about 2 weeks, but the "Short Circuit" main theme took 4 weeks, though that's really an arrangement of music that already existed.

The one that was done really fast: "Highlander" - two days (not bad!).

The one that drove you insane: "Athena", because after some years of increasing sound quality in the music, I finally had to come down... I only had 4K in which to fit the code and music. When I quit and Jonathan Dunn started, coincidentally the era of cassette multi-load games began, so Jonathan had it easy in that regard.

Your favourite programmer, artist, musician and game from the old days are?
I don't want to single anyone out that way - I would like to say that I had my problems & gripes with some folks and then later I would enjoy working with them, so there's no particular favourites. I played a lot of "Pitstop 2" and "Uridium", I must say...

Let's get more in-depth and discuss some of your compositions before we round up. What first comes to mind, is the music for Kong Strikes Back. I love the tune because it's so damn happy! Does the mood in the songs some what reflect your personal mood at the time of making?
Absolutely. That's not to say I was "sad" or "happy" and at that moment tunes popped out in their entirety. Some of the larger tunes took weeks to enter the data so I never knew what would be at the end of them when I started! So one of the things that characterized my tunes was "sections" that lasted a minute or two then changed completely in character. The title screen music for "Wizball" is the perfect example. I was working at the Sensible Software office at the time of the major music creation, but the title screen music never got finished. When I returned to Ocean I got on with some other things, all the time worrying about this unfinished tune. Finally I slapped something on the end of it. I knew I could never top the first part, that's what the problem was. In my mind the second part of the tune is pretty lame compared with the first part. But for some people it represents the mysterious, magical, unconventional aspect of "Wizball" so it fits in some ways. But you can tell it's not really like the other music in the game, which was primarily developed when I was with the Sensi boys, basking in that Sensi VIBE.

The Wizball soundtrack sets you into a special mode, and in fact, I think that those tunes you made for the Sensible boys have a whole new style and feel than the previous work. They're more personal.
Yes, I really worked on the sound design of the voices a lot. The music seems to "flow" and "breathe" unlike anything before it.

Insects in Space must be the oddest title you've ever done.
Well by the time I got to that game (1988) I was a bit hard up for ideas. I didn't know what to do with so few notes available! I wanted my tunes to build up into much larger entities but I always hit this limit. Plus the time at which that game was developed was a pretty rough time for Sensi, none of us were too happy at the time. Insects In Space was a victim of this. True though, it certainly has character, but it just doesn't go on long enough, don't you agree?

Green BeretI have just had the opportunity to listen to the arcade music for Green Beret. OK, the original is the original, but it's scary how much better the music sounds the Martin Galway way!
I am glad you were able to compare the two... Sometimes I wondered if anyone would ever find these obscure games that Ocean were licensing in order to realize how hard I tried to convert them. (Have you ever seen the "Mikie" game for example?) Most of the arcade games we worked on has simpler sound chips than the C64's, so I was able to "beef up the music". By the time I got to "Rastan Saga" things were different - it was really hard to fit all that stuff on the C64, particularly since the dynamic range of arcade game music was starting to rise at last, something which the C64 doesn't have much of. (I always had that problem with movie conversions of course.)

It's really hard to mention one favourite of the music you've done. Comic Bakery is one title I really enjoy. The game itself is really fun to play, and with the (yes again) happy music, the game feeling increases a lot.
The only thing I have to say about it is that the title tune started off as a cover of "Hot Water" by Level 42 (oh yeah add them to my favourite music list). It went badly awry by the end of the 1st 10 seconds though and I decided to change it to something else!

Apart from Comic, Roland's Rat Race is the ultimate classic from the early days. The sounds are a bit poor, but really charming.
Yes the sounds are a bit poor. I didn't develop pulse-width modulation until the next project, which at the time was called "Cyclone". It later came out as "Helicopter Jagd". On "Roland's Rat Race" I guess you could say I was still mastering the C64. It was January/February 1985, my first project on staff at Ocean (I had done quite a few before that as a freelancer but they weren't comfortable employing someone SOLELY TO DO MUSIC. Those were the days!).

I bought the soundtrack for Miami Vice just to see how close you were to the original. The result is astonishing! How long did it take to convert those tracks?
The Miami Vice game was a very quick job. I had been handed "Miami Vice" and "Highlander" because the outside development team working on it hadn't worked out who was going to do the sound (notice those games have little or no sound-effects), so I did my best in a very short time. I played the same album you have (which was brand new in the shops at the time), and picked "The Chase" and the "Main Theme" as the two tunes I would do. We had settled on two modes for the game - in your car and out of it I think. (Or maybe it was in the game and out of it, I can't remember.) I started on "The Chase" and if you listen to the first few seconds of that you can hear the basis of that super-filter-echo tune that is so cool. I recall David Collier was sitting in the office with me while I was working on it. But while messing with it while everyone else was at lunch, I came across this cool sound. I added to it and added to it, and when we applied the non-sync'd filter sweep we both flipped out! I decided to abandon the conversion of that tune and simply go with the cool sounds I had stumbled upon. When the guys came back from lunch and listened to it they swore that there was a cassette deck connected somewhere and it wasn't the C64 playing it! Such a sound had not been heard before by any of us out of the C64. So I extended it and turned it into this tripping-out 11-minute piece. The main theme itself... I simply did my best with no drums (Rob Hubbard's strength). I think my strength with guitar solos helped pull it off. Both of those problematic games benefited from my music, actually, and the Ocean management were very relieved (understatement).

ArkanoidWhen the Arkanoid music came out, I think a lot of people were stunned of what they heard, because those drumsamples built up a whole new dimension. How did the idea with the samples come about?
I figured out how samples were played by hacking into someone else's code... OK, I admit it... It was a drum synthesizer package called Digidrums, actually, so you could still say I was the first to include samples in a piece of music. I had no equipment for editing samples though, so my program synthesized the drums as a series of farts and burps! Later I was able to acquire some proper drum samples and by "Game Over" it got quite sophisticated.

What were the thoughts when creating Terra Cresta?
I tried to create this feeling of a massive behemoth robot monster on its way to destroy you. Thus the marching beat and the minor chords and stark tones. I had to stick in the inevitable jamming solo towards the end of course. I was starting to face the glass ceiling imposed by the filter on the C64. While my particular SID sounded great, others were not like it at all and the solos were almost inaudible! At the other extreme the new C64C's were coming out and this filter unreliability had been fixed as part of a silicon revision. BUT the filters were way too open all the time and you could hardly hear any filtering! This caused the filtered note to come out a lot louder than it should have and "stick out" rather unattractively. So I developed a "filter adjustment" parameter for my music program which would allow the customer to control this filter unreliability and get their particular machine to sound cool. But David Collier never put it in the options screen. (DOH!) There's always something wrong, eh?

The fade-up in the Yie Ar Kung-Fu 2 title track is just so weird and wonderful!! What is that anyway?
I just tried to come up with a crazy way of settling on a beginning note (my favourite beginning note of course, G - almost everything I do is in G). So I plugged in this echoing waveform thing and let it rip. The tune isn't particularly Chinese sounding, but I was working on producing that 'perfect melody', the one you'd be humming all day, you know. That was a phase I went through. Remember what I said about converting from older arcade games that had simpler sound chips than the C64? Well, Ocean's licensing team really pulled this one out of the hat - they didn't have an arcade cabinet for us to convert from, we converted Konami's MSX cartridge version! So the sound I was converting from was itself a conversion of the arcade cabinet, which I have NEVER SEEN. It sounded like it was a lame conversion too, so I easily did a better sounding version. (The MSX's music only used two notes at once, for example.)

Short CircuitShort Circuit is just wonderful. Those melodies drives me nuts!! I can listen to them for hours, and still they sound exciting and interesting! Tell us about it.
Thank you, at last, some accolades - I worked on that title screen tune for four weeks! I believe it to be my most elaborate, complete and successful conversion of a "digital audio sourced" tune. ZZAP! 64 only gave the music 79%, my worst score since "Roland's Rat Race", so you can imagine my disappointment. One of the other tunes was easy, that's the simple ballad melody "come and follow me", which I was able to arrange quite successfully. The other one was a nightmare since it's the tune right from the beginning of the movie with all the robotic short notes & arpeggios. The tune just built up so massive that the poor C64 was short of notes by about 30 seconds into it, so I had to fudge the end a bit and make it repeat, basically.

Do you have the C64 lying around somewhere?
YES, the whole development kit.

Any plans of composing on it again?
Perhaps, I am very busy with other things these days. If I got ALL those out of the way, I would do it. Very unlikely.

As a final word, do you have anything to say to the people out there?
Glad to be alive! Glad to be in an industry that's changing so fast. Who knows what I will be doing in 2030 and what shape computer gaming will be in by then ????????????!!!!!!!!???????????

» Go back to the first part of the interview

» Get his music - from C64 to BBC to Nintendo and more!

Softography - not only the C64 stuff.

» Back in Time - pictures of Martin from this event.

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