LMan / Remix64.com,
Maniacs of Noise,
Tristar & Red Sector Incorporated
Added on May 30th, 2023 (518 views)
Hi and welcome to the interview Markus! It's a pleasure interviewing you. Please tell us a little bit about yourself e.g. full name, age, place and/or date of birth, where you live, current job and interests.
Hey Andreas, thanks for having me, pleasure is all mine! My real name is Markus Klein. I was born in the mid 70's and raised in the outskirts of Cologne, Germany. I'm a Senior Executive at an IT system house, responsible for software and database architecture and development. My interests are widespread. I think it would be easier to list what I'm not interested in, heh, but here are some of my favourite things: spending time with my family and friends, laughing, demosceneing, listening to music, taking walks, creating music and artwork, reading, gardening, coding, gaming... The list could go on forever.
Most people know you from the remix scene and the current demo scene, but you also did a bunch of SID's in the beginning of the 90's so let's start there. Was it in the beginning of the 90's when you got your C64? Did you focus on playing games on it the first couple of years?
During the first decade of my life, computers were a distant technical dream they would sometimes mention on the telly. However, my older brother had a friend who had a C64, and he got his own for Xmas in 1985, so things quite suddenly got very tangible. I guess most C64 sceners share a similar story having an instant fascination with this piece of awesome brand new technology. At age 10, my parents decided that I was too young to spend so much time alone with this expensive toy, so I resorted to studying the manual and writing down small programs as well as drawing sprites and calculating the binary values, on paper. Eventually I was allowed to type them in and try them out! I also pooled my hard-earned pocket money with a friend and together we bought a used C16. Programming BASIC on that machine was fun since it had inbuilt commands for graphics and sound, but eventually I had built up enough "tech cred" at home to be allowed to work and play with my brother's C64 at home.
I did some simple musical experiments in BASIC, which as we all know isn't very suitable for that job. Living out in the country, I had no connections whatsoever to like-minded individuals, no access to proper music editor software or any musical education beyond the basics of the basics they taught at school. Closest I got was Gary Kitchen's Game Maker, which had a sheet music editor.
To come back to your question, the machine for me was a creative playground with endless possibilities. But of course, I also liked the games as most kids did.
In 1990, you started to compose SID tunes like I mentioned, mostly covers, in a music program called The Advanced Music Programmer (AMP). How did that come about? How did you find AMP? On a swap disk, disk magazine or did you perhaps buy it in-store?
I discovered the music tool AMP, by Markus Müller, in a disk magazine called "Magic Disk 64" and it was a revelation. With features like a tracker-like interface, wave, filter, and pulse tables, as well as vibrato and arpeggio effects, I was finally able to make SID sounds like a pro.
Since there were no tutorials available at the time, I learned by imitating popular tunes such as Rob Hubbard's "Commando" and the obvious ones like "Axel F". Looking back, you can say that my beginnings as a composer were quite humble compared to some of my contemporaries who were musical prodigies.
However, even back then I had started developing techniques to create the impression of more than three channels, without relying on arpeggios but using psychoacoustic tricks instead, which has kind of become my specialty as a composer today. This is most apparent in my cover tune of "Who Do You Think You Are" which at the same time was my last SID in that period, remaining unfinished. A bigger machine from the Commodore brand came into my possession at that time. Cough, cough... AAAAMIIGAAAAH... Ahem.
How did you go about composing those SID's; in AMP directly or were you figuring out the melodies on a keyboard first?
I did own and play a keyboard at the time, but I didn't find it necessary to use it alongside working in AMP.
I'm a fan of Phoneophobia! When I started looking at your past work many years ago, that one stood out right away. How did you go on and write the three original tunes you did back then: Phoneophobia, Dimensions and Overdrive?
I think that Phoneophobia came about because the iconic line signals and ringtones were easy to replicate. While line signals differ from country to country, German 80's kids should have no trouble recognizing them. With that in mind, I decided to recreate the sounds and add a beat and some chords to create my own unique twist on these familiar tones. Dimensions is a simple ballad, reflecting my more sentimental side. Overdrive was supposed to be a rock tune, and I swear the guitar riff sounded close to a real distorted guitar on our 6581! At the time, I was still oblivious to the fact that no two old SID's sound the same.
Were you in the scene at this point or where were your tunes released?
Nah, as you can probably discern from my previous answers, I was pretty much isolated with my hobby. My friends would listen to my stuff but I had no way of exchanging creative ideas or knowledge in that regard, and connecting with the scene was logistically impossible. It got better after 1992 when I became friends with a guy who was doing Amiga music too.
So, the next sign from you came in 2000 when your first (according to RKO) remix came out. It's a remix of Turrican II and it's a stompy one! How come you started to do remixes and how did you find the remix scene?
The 90's were our clubbing days, we went to techno clubs almost every weekend. Now we know how nastily Dave Whittaker got ripped off by Zombie Nation with their Kernkraft 400 track but before I knew the story, the track got played in the club, and I was like "WTF!". They also played another track that incorporated the theme from "Merry Christmas, Mr Lawrence" by the late Ryūichi Sakamoto, which was of course also famously used in "International Karate". Our first dial-up modem had just ended my digital life of a hermit, so I googled (or rather AltaVista'ed) remixes of C64 music.
Finally connecting with many like-minded nutters, I thus entered the magical world of Chris Abbott's c64audio.com, Jan Lund Thomsen's brand new beta of Remix.Kwed.Org, and the c64rmx mailing list. Inspired by it all, I ended my music making hiatus and I produced the Turrican II remix using FruityLoops. This was the predecessor to FL Studio, and at the time not more than a sample based beat sequencer, with rudimentary support for a piano roll.
What did you do between 1992-2000?
Between 1992 and 1995, a friend and I made lots of Amiga mods in Protracker; some covers, some originals, mostly dancefloor, rave and house oriented. We released them as bootleg music cassettes and sold them within our social circles. We then moved on to sequencing on the PC using bleeding edge wave-table sound cards (Turtle Beach MAUI, Terratec EWS64), producing more original house tracks and selling them on CD and tape. At one time we came close to striking a recording deal, but the draft agreements seemed pretty adhesive and fishy to us. When we started asking too many questions about it, the manager called it off. :-D Anyhoo, that went on until about 1997 after which I entered the aforementioned hiatus. I eventually re-released some of my old 90's tracks on my 2011 album "Mindless Time Travelling" to a larger audience.
In 2002, you released Follow Me Back in Time (Progressive Sample III) together with your wife Sunflower. The remix is based on Rob Hubbard's original tune from Commodore 64 Music Examples (aka Synth Sample III), and it became a huge hit. I remember hearing it and playing it myself on my SLAY Radio show and of course at Back in Time Live. Please tell us how the track came to be.
The super catchy melody was etched into my synapses from way back in the day. Its simplicity made it an excellent choice for a dance-type tune while also leaving lots of room for additional melodies and vocals. Having vocals in a C64 remix was a novelty at that time so I was over the moon when Natascha (Sunflower) agreed to record them. We had crazy fun and lots of laughs doing the recordings on the most crappy recording equipment you can imagine. It turned out nicely though, and I'm still totally happy with the result.
What I really like about your remixes, apart from the fact that they all sound amazing, is that you're not only remixing tunes from the big names like Hubbard, Whittaker and Hülsbeck. You're doing tunes from games like Rampage and demo tracks from Yip and Johannes Bjerregaard as well. How do you go on about selecting a tune you want to remix?
I usually had C64 tunes playing in my head over and over, and over several days I would mentally develop the style I deemed suitable for a remix. If it stuck, I had most of the ideas worked out before I sat down to arrange, even down to specific sounds. Bjerregaard's "Shape" was another of those tunes that were so catchy you would never ever forget them. Yip's "Scroll Machine" on the other hand was an exception. It was the only remix I ever did without knowing the original beforehand. It was done in response to a request on the Remix64 forum.
So at this point in time, you start to publish pencil drawings you've done. You mostly draw celebrities but other odd pictures here and there as well (you know what I'm getting at, don't you? :)). Have you always been drawing or was that something you picked up at this point? Have you drawn anything C64 related?
I was always interested in pencil drawings but lacked the patience required to do intricate photorealistic renderings in my younger years. I did a handful of pieces in the 90's but gave up on it after that. Eventually around 2010/11 I stumbled upon some drawing tutorial books in a store and figured I should open the pencil box again. Further encouraged by Natascha, I started out with graphite work, then monochrome, and finally full colour portraiture. In the subsequent years I had gained some recognition in international coloured pencil societies, magazines, art books and communities. Together, Natascha and I organised exhibitions, got endorsements from celebrities and other artists, had interviews printed in newspapers and so on. And yes, to pick up on your hint, indeed I drew a coloured pencil portrait based on a photograph you took. :-)
My pencils phase went on until about the end of 2014, and eventually I grew tired of portraiture and was hungry for new creative endeavours. Luckily the demoscene was always lurking in the background waiting to swallow me whole, so I made my entrance in early 2015 with new SID music. I also did a couple of digital artworks for the demoscene including some C64 pixels. I haven't picked up the pencils again, with the exception of a portrait of Natascha I did in 2019, and some commissions.
In 2008, the Syntax Era CD was released. It was a CD with C64 remixes done in the flavour of old 80's hits done by the greats of the remix scene. BMX Kidz was mixed with recognisable parts from 19 by Paul Hardcastle, Ghouls N Ghosts with Billie Jean by Michael Jackson, Formula One Simulator with Two Tribes by Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Arkanoid with The Message from Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five, and so on. This was your brainchild, right? Tell us about the creation of it.
Inspired by what Chris Abbott did with his "Back in Time" series, Neil Carr and I figured it would be cool to release a Remix64 CD in 2001. So for that first volume, we threw together our ideas, and while we already had wanted to do the 80's thing, we weren't really enforcing it during production and were cramming in too many unbridled ideas. The album turned out okay, but it didn't live up to what either Neil or I had wanted to achieve. However we've both learned a lot and gained experience on how to pull such projects off. So in 2003, Neil went on to produce "Remix64 Volume 2 – Into Eternity", realising his vision of an epic symphonic soundscape in contrasts of light and dark.
In return, I kicked off my Volume 3 project codenamed "Summer of SID Love" in August 2006. Chris was backing it as publisher. I revisited the 80's idea but this time wanting to get it right and nail that authentic 80's sound. I sent invites exclusively to musicians active in the Remix64 community. Back then, it was still pretty cool to have your stuff released on a printed CD, so I wanted to give them that opportunity. At the same time I drafted a set of "Terms and Conditions for participating arrangers" that you had to agree on to take part. Along with the obvious "time travel feeling" and an extensive style guide, I was asking for people to take part out of pure enthusiasm. To quote from the document: "...because everyone involved should do it for the love of it. Love for music, love for the SID, love for the scene, love for the 80's, love for being part of this project. No profit is to be expected." Apart from strictly staying true to authentic 80's soundscapes, and the time restrictions of a CD, the artists were supposed to enjoy and express maximum creative freedom. This approach turned out to be a good one and we had some outstanding contributions and a wholesome final product called "Syntax Era".
In 2011, we saw the release of your first CD, Mindless Time Travelling and then your second, Reality Shift, in 2015. What can you tell us about the music on these CD's? Are they all originals? Did you publish them through a company or are they self-published?
"Mindless Time Travelling" is a selection of my favourite original tracks spanning from 1995 to 2011, remastered or remade. "Reality Shift" is more consistent and incorporates a story and mystic space voyage. In retrospect, I like the former more. Both are originals only and self-published. It's roughly house and ambient music, but some of the tracks are rather genre-defying.
Did you ever try composing and producing music for other artists outside the C64 community?
Yeah well, the short answer is no.
The long answer: As mentioned above, I tried to probe into commercial music territory in the 90's and early 00's through remix contests, building connections etc, but whenever I got too close I realised I don't mix well with the music industry. Let me rant a little about the reasons.
The way that business tries to own and copyright everything, while at the same time ripping off small artists wholesale? I just find this highly unfair and repulsive. For centuries, music and musicians learned from and built upon each other's work, even freely quoted the other's composition as homage. Eventually money got involved and all of a sudden first melodies, then longer samples, then even very short samples received "protection". And since the "Blurred Lines" verdict, even the mood of a song may be locked and secured. Good luck applying that last one to techno music, hehe.
Don't think that the protection goes both ways, though: The music industry itself has no problem whatsoever exploiting newcomers or plainly stealing from you if you're unknown. And they will absolutely threaten you with their powerful legal department if you speak up. I think this is just wrong! Every song and every artist and every soundscape massively owes to those that came before, to the inventors and builders of instruments, and the teachers of music and musical theory. We're lucky there's no copyright on that yet.
Don't get me wrong. I think that there must be some degree of protection against people just ripping off full songs. But the way it is now, it's just oppressive, one-sided, and it's getting worse. Record labels are amassing back-catalogues from successful artists of the past century, and will soon own every bit of melody, chord progression and mood you can imagine. Artistic ideas behind bars.
In 2020, you ran a Kickstarter to be able to do the SID Chip Club project. The SID's were released on both cartridge and LP and the whole packaging was very professional. Please tell us all about SCC from idea to finished product. And don't kill me! I have the LP but I still haven't put the needle on it yet. I've heard the tunes on Spotify of course.
Haha! :D Don't worry. I absolutely know the joy of just owning a record without having spun it yet. In 2018, Christian Zauner (aka SID Spieler), reached out to me to contribute a SID tune to the "C64 Vinyl Tribute" compilation that he was putting together. The record featured renowned SID musicians such as Jammer, Linus, c0zmo, Taxim, Toggle, Anthony W, and others. I enthusiastically agreed and submitted my latest techno track, "Mo's Techno Logy".
The success of the compilation inspired me to create a full record on my own, which had been a long-held dream of mine since my clubbing days in the 90's. I decided to release it on vinyl, cartridge and a free D64 version for people to download. I assembled a small team consisting of Uwe Anfang (THCM), who coded the whole thing, SID Spieler for his expertise in recording from real hardware and vinyl pressing, James Monkman of RGCD to assemble and flash the cartridges, and Thomas Detert for mastering.
After extensive planning and preparations, I took the project to Kickstarter. Although there were suggestions to release a CD version and more perks, I realised that overwhelming myself with such sideshows could delay or even kill the project. Therefore, I decided to stick with the vinyl and the cartridge. The latter is a cool and unique medium to release music for retro computers. It provides a decorative physical product, virtually kills loading times, and does not require extra peripherals. You just plug it directly into any C64 with a 8580.
In 2015, your first two
Hahaha, yeah! As mentioned above, I was onto something cool when doing SID's 23 years earlier, and I had unfinished business with that beast of a sound chip. During my inactive years, I kept mentally returning to the SID chip and turned over ideas in my head about what crazy sounds could be possible within its limitations. I also admired the works by contemporary demoscene musicians who kept reinventing the SID sound. When I finally started, I was armed to the teeth with fresh ideas. It turned out to be so much fun!
Did you teach yourself CheeseCutter really well before you released your first tune?
I chose CheeseCutter over the more popular GoatTracker at that time because Scarzix had posted several tutorial videos on YouTube for it. This helped me get to grips with all the logics, registers and values. Otherwise it was learning by doing; the "Confusion" cover was the result.
Most of those first tunes in 2015 are quad speed SID's. What does that mean exactly and what are the advantages?
Sound on the C64 is generated by setting registers on the SID chip, basically POKEing values into it. The registers tell the SID what soundwave, envelope, filter, and frequency it is supposed to play. Now in games or demos, those registers are normally updated once per video frame, that is 50Hz. In each update (aka player call), you can completely change all of the above values. This is what makes chiptunes sound so distinctive and different from normal synthesiser sounds.
A multispeed SID does the player call more often, in the case of quad speed that's 200 times per second. This enables the composer to shape the sounds with more detail, which is what I was aiming for. The downside is that it will consume four times the CPU power which is why that technique is normally not used in games.
Because of the complexity and the vibe in your tunes, I would imagine you're using modern tools like Cubase, Renoise, Reason, and other plugins. And I imagine you're composing the tunes first in those tools first, then translate them to SID's. Correct? Please walk us through how you work.
Most of the time I compose directly on the SID, I actually find that easier to do. Especially if you wish to establish a complex soundscape, it is sometimes necessary to take that into account even during composition. If for instance a particular sound occupies all three channels, you have to let the melody have a tiny break at that split second. Only sometimes I experiment with melodies and harmonies in the DAW beforehand, but never the full song. When I'm creating songs with samples, I use Reason Studio to prepare and synthesise the sounds.
Some of the tunes I love from you are Vortex, Hi Fi Sky and Rastaline Dub. It's pretty darn amazing that these tunes are tunes made to be run – and can be run – on a standard C64! For all three tracks, you're using THCM's 8Bit digi player. Now, you must give us all the details about this player! So the quality of the samples are 8Bit, right? How many channels can you work with including the standard three in the SID? How the hell do you get the samples to sound so good? Can a tune be double or quad speed as well? Are the tunes done in this player eating all the raster time or would you be able to use them in a demo and put some demo effects on the screen?
Essentially, THCMod is a tool that can fuse a SID with a stripped down Amiga MOD and spit out a C64 executable. It operates in many different modes. Depending on which features you use, you either have raster time enough to use in a demo (Fantasmolytic for instance), or not even enough to keep the screen on (basically every THCMod tune that shows raster bars only). You can combine it with a double speed SID, but I never found a use for this. If you have samples, shaping the sound happens there, mostly.
The samples can be played in 8-bit, yes, but the weak spot regarding sample quality is rather the limitation of a 7khz sample resolution, which is comparable to the quality you had in your landline phone in the 80's. You cannot tell an "s" from an "f" since both get reduced to an identical noisy mess.
Now to achieve a sound fidelity as observed in the tunes you mentioned, I use the filter to mask those deficiencies, and mix in SID synthesis on top to reshape the combined audio into a hybrid soundscape resembling the original sounds. This process is tedious, and involves a lot of trial and error but also rewarding if it eventually works out.
What prompted you to cover Romeo Knight's Amiga monster hit Cream of the Earth?
The guys in Performers are huge fans, and so am I. When they asked me if I could pull it off, I said: "Hell yeah, this is gonna be fun!"
In 2018, we both worked on The Star Wars Demo which won the demo competition at X2018. I remember asking you to do Leia's Theme as I love the original tune so much. When you later sent it to me, I was blown away! You not only nailed the melody and chose the perfect sounds for it, but you caught all the emotions of the original song and I might be so bold to say that this is the best cover ever made on the C64. Too bad we couldn't use it with a proper Star Wars scroller, haha! Anyway, how did you approach the four covers you did for the demo?
Thanks for those kind words! It certainly helped to know the tunes by heart, but in order to nail it you have to go deeper and listen more closely. There is nothing special about my approach; I load the original into Audacity and listen to all the details closely and repeatedly. Leia's Theme was the hardest because it involved capturing the orchestral instrumentation, the timing and the dynamics. At the same time it was easiest for I was "in the zone" when doing it and progress went fast.
On the flip side, Laxity pointed out some inaccuracies in my rendition of the Cantina Theme, and yeah, of course he was right! Taught me to listen even more closely next time, heh.
Also, I must mention that it was such a super great thing to win the demo competition at X2018. You spend a lot of time working on a demo, and you do it for fun and you hope that people will like it. To win a compo, to be walking towards the stage to pick up your prize while being backed up by applause and high fives from your peers... It's the greatest feeling! What do you remember from this evening? Is winning competitions important for you?
Yeah that was definitely magical... Winning is the cherry on top and I love the thrill of a prize-giving ceremony. However, my personal drug that got me hooked in the demoscene is what I would call the "collective creative buzz"! This feeling, and the friendships, and the fun, are more important than winning.
And many artists these days feel the same way. Luckily it's no longer taboo to be in multiple groups and people love doing coops or guest work. Still, it is good to have a home base, a main demo group to be in, which is Censor Design for me (also mentioning MultiStyle Labs here, as a pure music group). The competition between groups is fun, and it's even more fun to compete against your friends and pull each other's legs. :-D
So Markus, you're doing great SID's, great remixes, great original tunes and you can draw like a god. Oh, I almost forgot: You do pixel art too. The obvious question is of course: What do you suck at?
Catching a ball. Drawing a straight line. Remembering faces. The latter leads to rather awkward situations at demoparties. Change your hairstyle? Get new glasses? Might be I won't recognise you next time we meet. ;-D
By the way, where did you get your handle from? Have you had others?
It began with a practical joke that a new classmate pulled on me in 5th grade art class. The nickname started as an insult that I jokingly threw at him, it evolved into something completely nonsensical, and finally was abbreviated to LMan. Needless to say we became besties for life and he ended up with the nickname BMan by the way. So while it had a hilarious origin, today the meaning of the L has become ambiguous, with whatever I want it to mean at the instant. So yeah, LMan has been my one and only handle since childhood days.
Please tell us about all the groups you were/are in. Include full names and the order in which you joined them. And by all means, write a little about each group, why you joined them, etc.
Remix64.com: Rather a project than a group. A community portal with webzine I co-founded with Neil Carr around the turn of the millennium to support the C64 and Amiga remixing scene. It is roughly comparable it to CSDb, just for that sub-scene. I coded the whole thing and devised its mechanisms. I keep improving it and make sure it runs smoothly and others take care of the content. Currently that's Neil and LaLa.
MultiStyle Labs: I was invited to join by Jammer (whose works I absolutely adore) in February 2015 after releasing my first SIDs. Incredibly great musicians and friends, and a great privilege to be in the group.
Oxyron: Joined at Nordlicht 2015 after working with THCM on their Fantasmolytic demo. This was a co-op with Censor, so it was also where I met Bob for the first time. Unfortunately, not long after I joined, Oxyron became pretty much inactive due to personal circumstances of some of the groupmates. Several of the remaining members then regrouped in Performers. I later left Oxyron on friendly terms because of the hiatus and my commitments in the other groups.
Performers: Also based on the earlier "The Noisy Bunch" project (Mahoney, THCM and others), just in time for X'2016 it evolved around the idea of giving the "performing" members of Oxyron a place to do demos for while their main group was in hibernation. Today however, Performers has grown into a standalone powerhouse of a demo group with many talents, originating from various other groups.
Maniacs of Noise: Invited by Jeroen Tel, I joined after some hesitation (due to being stricken by acute impostor syndrome). However, those legendary musicians welcomed me into their legendary group as a peer and I appreciate the amazing company.
Censor Design: Don't ask me why but I felt from the start that I just had to be in this particular group, so Censor is actually the only group I have proactively asked to join. It turned out they had also wanted me in the group but didn't ask out of respect for me being in Oxyron at that time. I fulfill several roles in the team and we've built great friendships.
Tristar & Red Sector Inc.: I frequently spent time with some of their core members at Evoke in Cologne, enjoying each other's company with plenty of geek talk and laughter. So during one beer-fueled night, some of the guys talked me into joining. I accepted the honour but under the condition that I wouldn't have to contribute because of all other scene obligations I have. As such, my membership is mostly ceremonial. (Groupmate with Romeo Knight, yay!)
What is the current scene all about in your opinion?
You know how I mentioned before that the demoscene is all about creativity, friendship, fun, and competition? Demoparties are where it's at if you want to get the full experience. You can meet up with other folks who are just as passionate as you are about this cool and kind of underground hobby, and spend all day geeking out without anyone giving you the side-eye or changing the subject. A demo party venue is basically a dark, computer-filled utopia for us geeks. So go there! :)
So you go to scene parties! Tell us about the ones you've been to.
Certainly! First scene party-esque event I've been to was Chris Abbott's BiTLive aka "Back in Time Live" event in Birmingham in 2001. It didn't have the computers but a nightclub blasting C64 music, plus a VIP lounge filled to the brim with legendary C64 composers, demosceners and Commodore music fans. I think I first met you at BiTLive 3 in London, didn't I?
Next up was Evoke in Cologne. That must have been sometime around 2012. I wasn't planning to attend at first, but I live pretty close by and Ziphoid, who was covering the event for SceneSat, invited me to drop by and say hi. Little did I know that this decision would be a game-changer. As soon as I walked into the hall, I felt this electric, nerdy, all-encompassing creative energy, engulfing me and firing up my imagination. I knew I had to become an active part of the wider scene. Back then my partner in crime was our dear friend Erwin "Tron" Beekveld whom Ziphoid had also invited to drop in. Great times! Sadly, as many of you know, Erwin passed away last year. Evoke won't quite be the same again.
While Evoke is cool, it's very focussed on new school productions. So in 2015 when I entered the C64 scene for real, I went on to visit Nordlicht in Bremen, which is a medium sized, mixed platform party.
Then I went to several Revision parties in Saarbrücken, which is the largest stand-alone demoscene party of the world; stand-alone in that it's not connected to a larger event, just like Assembly in Finland. Revision has a great atmosphere and a mixed focus on oldschool and newschool releases.
And of course I made sure to hit up the X-parties in the Netherlands. If you're a "generation C64" scener, this event is an absolute must-see. The entire focus is on our favourite platform, the Commodore 64, which makes the competitions all the more intriguing since all the productions can be compared apples to apples. The audience is for the most part intimately familiar with the machine's limitations, so if you manage to do something that pushes the boundaries, you can make everyone's jaw drop. In comparison for instance, it might happen that you create something truly epic on the C64 and present it to a largely unimpressed crowd at parties like Revision.
I was there in 2001 as well, but you're right. We talked for the first time in London. Changing forcus here a little bit: What is the coolest routine someone invented?
SounDemon's sample playback routine paired with THCM's MOD player (the predecessor of THCMod). Still in the process of picking up my jaw off the floor from back when "Fanta in Space" was released with this tech in 2008.
Which are your favourite C64 demos and games from say the last 10-15 years?
Too many to mention, so much good stuff!
And what about from the 80's/90's? Who are your favourite composers from back then?
The following lists are doubtless incomplete and surely I have left out some important mentions, unintentionally. My favourites of the 80's, quite unsurprisingly, were Tim Follin, Martin Galway, Rob Hubbard, Jeroen Tel, Chris Hülsbeck, Mark Cooksey, Richard Joseph, Johannes Bjerregaard, etc. In the 90's it was Stefan Hartwig, Ramiro Vaca, Thomas Detert, Markus Schneider, Drax, AMJ, Jeff and TBB. After the turn of the millennium, I'd mention Jammer, Linus, Hein Holt, Aleksi Eeben, Deetsay, GRG, Hermit, Intensity, Reyn Ouwehand, Randall, Mahoney, and many more I got exposed to after joining the circus, of course, like my pals from MultiStyle Labs and Maniacs of Noise.
What does the future hold for you? What's planned for 2023 and onwards?
My immediate plans are going to X'23 and having a blast. And I need to finish stuff for the compos... After X, who knows? I might begin working on SID Chip Club Vol. 2.
Yeah, I think that's about it. Thank you so much for answering all the questions! Before we end, do you have a message for your group pals, friends or anyone else reading this?
Love goes out to Sunflower, my family, my friends inside and outside the scene. You guys make life just so much more interesting. Thank you!
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