Adventurer #15
31 июля 2004

Interface - Gasman interview.

When and why did you start to make spectrum music?

I'm  sure  every  Speccy  user has played around with BEEPs and
DATA lines at some stage, and I'm no exception... I learned the
piano  when I was younger, so I had a bit of musical background
from   there.   My  first  experience  of  tracking  was  quite
straightforward  really  -  when  my  first  demo  was  nearing
completion, I decided it needed some music, because every other
demo  in  the  world  had  some.  So,  I  loaded up the copy of
Soundtracker  that  came  on  a  Your  Sinclair  covertape, and
started  composing  - the end result was a bit lame, but so was
the demo, so that's okay :-)

I  suppose, the first technical experience you gained exploring
someone's  tunes  for  samples, ornaments and other tricks. Who
was  that  spectrum musician who influenced your music and whom
you can call your teacher?

LA,  definitely. In fact, the only tracks I've ever 'dissected'
for learning were LA's work and the Soundtracker example track.

What was the first music editor that you used?

Soundtracker  is  the  first,  and  the last - it's what I know
best,  and  it  still achieves everything I want. When I'm near
the  end  of  a composition, and I'm running out of samples and
ornaments,  I  often  think  "OK, this is it - I've reached the
limit  of  Soundtracker."  And  then  I always manage something
bigger and better for the next composition...

What  do you think about your past as a spectrum musician, what
important moments in your progression can you note?

It's  hard  to  point  to any specific moments, because I think
I've  slowly  progressed over time - but my track 'Lucid' was a
turning  point,  I reckon. Usually when I write music I have an
idea for a short phrase or a riff and work from there, but this
was the first time a whole track leaped into my head, perfectly
formed...  Listening  to  it  now  I can hear some obvious weak
points  (the  drums are pretty bad, and it doesn't develop very
much)  but  many  of my works since then have taken inspiration
from that track.

How  do  you think, do you have any fans, and what do you think
they  particularly  like  in  your music? Would you like to say
some words for them?

Primarily  I make the sort of music that I would want to listen
to, so if other people are fans of it too, then that's cool :-)
I  think  my  main  strengths are in melodies and themes rather
than  sounds and samples - I try to keep my compositions varied
and  unpredictable,  which probably helps when you're listening
to 20 tracks end-to-end in a music compo...

What  musical  instruments do you use (if you ever used) during
composing prosess? Do you have any experience of musicmaking on
other platforms? What do you think about it?

Occasionally  I  try  things out on a piano when I need to work
out a complicated chord sequence, but most of the time when I'm
composing I don't have a convenient piano nearby :-) On the PC,
I've  had  some success with Buzztracker - I decided I wouldn't
waste  time  learning other trackers, so I went straight to the
top. I haven't really completed much on the PC, though - all my
best  ideas  tend  to go into my Spectrum tracks, because I can
get  them  up and running quickly, sounding close to how I want

Do  you like to criticize yourself? What is the weakest spot in
your techniques (rythm, melody, arrangement or something else)?

My  biggest  weakness  is  probably in the low-level sounds - I
tend  to stick to a basic set of samples and don't explore much
beyond those. Also, sometimes I wonder whether my music's a bit
too hyperactive - I can keep a track varied and interesting for
two  or  three  minutes,  but  I  find  myself  floundering for
inspiration  after that. I'm amazed at how Yerzmyey managed the
9-minute finale of the first AY Riders album with just a single
Soundtracker module :-)

What  kind  of  music do you listen, what bands/projects affect
you,  what  moods  and  feelings  you  try  to  put in your own
compositions? Remixes: what do you think of this?

My  music  takes inspiration from all over the place, but never
the  same artist twice :-) OK, there are the obvious influences
from  the  world  of  electronica  (Jarre,  Robert  Miles,  Tim
Follin...)  but the only one I'd class as a long-time influence
is  Purple  Motion.  Whenever  I  reach  a  tricky  part  in my
compositions  and  I'm not sure where to go next, I often think
"what   would  Purple  Motion  do"...  Looking  through  my  CD
collection,  I've  got lots of Mike Oldfield, Divine Comedy and
They  Might Be Giants - all very diverse, but I'm sure it's all
played a part in defining my style.

I  have mixed feelings about remixes - I used to think it was a
bit  pointless  to take a perfectly good tune and throw half of
it   away  to  fit  it  into  three  channels,  and  I'm  often
disappointed  when  I  discover that one of my favourite Speccy
tracks  is  actually  ripped  from somewhere else. But now I've
tried  a  couple  of  cover  versions for myself, I can see the
attraction  of  making  them  as  'sketches' for practicing new
techniques,  investigating  chord  sequences  and  that sort of
thing.  I  think  remixes  in  compos are a bit of a silly idea
though  -  the ones that win will always be the ones which have
the  best  or most recognisable tunes to begin with, regardless
of how good the remixer is.

What  music compos did you participate in, what was the highest
rate and what do you think about your achievements?

I  try  to enter as many compos as I can (provided I hear about
them  early  enough, and they aren't one of those parties which
"mysteriously"   lose   my   submissions   year  after  year...
mentioning  no  names  ;-) ), and I've reached first place in a
few,  most  recently CAFe'03. There have been so many occasions
when  the  real  results  are  completely  different  to what I
expected (for better, or for worse...) that I can't really take
compo  results  too seriously - I think they say more about the
musical  tastes  of  the audience than the quality of the music
:-) But good compo results still play a big part in encouraging
me  to  carry on - I say to myself "I must be doing *something*

What do you feel when your track is playing on a party? Are you
concerned  with sound equipment, people that vote or it doesn't
bother you much?

Mostly  I just try to enjoy my three minutes of 'fame' :-) It's
not  something  I  get  to experience very often - maybe two or
three times a year - so it's worth enjoying while it lasts.

Do  you have any interesting ideas about the future of spectrum
music?  Maybe  there  are some hardware or software innovations
that you would like to have?

I'm  very  impressed with Poke's work with the SidSound engine,
and  I  hope  that it will encourage more demo makers to "break
the  50Hz  barrier"  -  there's  a  lot of unexplored territory

What is the most interesting aspect in spectrum music composing
for  you  -  to  perfect  your  skills within the bounds of one
'style'   or  'genre',  or  to  continue  the  thorny  path  of
experiments with sound and techniques?

To  be  honest,  I  don't really start my compositions with any
direction  in  mind.  Usually  when I make a decision like "OK,
I'll  try  something in a jazz style" or "I'll make sure to put
all my trademark sounds in this one" it ends up going somewhere
totally different.

Can  you  tell  us  some  your  original ideas that you want to
realize  in your music, maybe you want to make a demo or a game
soundtrack,  maybe  just  to try what you have never tried yet,
the new field of applying your talent?

I'd   be  interested  in  working  on  a  longer,  album-length
composition  -  something  where  I  can take a small number of
themes  and really explore them. Most of the music I write (and
most  of  the music on the scene, in fact) doesn't really stand
up  as a work of art by itself, because it's either intended as
a  soundtrack  to  accompany  some  visuals, or condensed in an
effort  to impress as many people as possible in three minutes.
Perhaps  it  wouldn't be a Spectrum project, though - maybe I'd
be inclined to move on to a 'bigger' platform.

What   do   you  think  about  co-operative  composing,  is  it
interesting  for  you,  whom would you like to make music with?
Please name 3 authors among the contemporary spectrum musicians
that you like most.

I suspect that co-operative composing can't be done effectively
unless  you  have both people sitting in front of one keyboard,
which means there are real geographical problems in my case :-)
(Hmm,  maybe  I  should  grab somebody at the next demo party I

Favourite  three  authors  - that's a tricky one. The AY Riders
project  has  managed  to  unite  many of my absolute favourite
musicians,  and I'm proud to be part of it. I couldn't possibly
pick  out three, though... so, I'll just mention Megus, for his
ability  to pick up any style and come up with something really

I  like  Siril's  style  a  lot  -  the way it sounds like he's
grabbing notes out of the air and weaving them into a melody...
and Sergant too. I'm not a great fan of techno, but Serg really
has  the right idea about it - putting that little bit extra in
his tracks, more than just heavy drums and a rumbling bassline.

Can  you  say  some words of advise for those musicians who are
just starting out?

Keep composing every minute of the day, not just when you're in
front  of  the  computer  (and  if  people laugh at you because
you're humming to yourself all the time, remember that THEY are
the  foolish ones!). Always be prepared when inspiration strikes
you  - grab a piece of paper and write that melody down, before
it disappears forever! 

Темы: Игры, Программное обеспечение, Пресса, Аппаратное обеспечение, Сеть, Демосцена, Люди, Программирование

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