Interviews



Interview with PRI

Published in Vandalism News #32
Performed by DJB





D)
Hello to you PRI, it's nice to be able to catch up with you after being away from the C64 for so long. First of all, please tell our readers a little background info about yourself.

P)
Well - my name is Volker Meitz, I'm 26 years of age, I was born in a city by the name of Pinneberg, near Hamburg, Germany, and since over four years I live in Berlin, also Germany. As a kid I took five years of classical piano lessons, as well as two or three years of jazz piano lessons, until I joined my first band in '92. After moving to Berlin I found out I have professional ambitions about music, so I've been working towards that ever since. - I guess that were the most important things...


D)
What are you doing these days as far as work and hobbies are concerned?

P)
I make music and study - that is, I play in some bands and produce music in my studio at home; my study programs are called communication and electronics, but the way I choose my classes it comes pretty close to sound engineering. - As for hobbies, well, I like to cook (which has quite some parallels to making music, by the way) and to travel, especially taking trips into nature. I would love to have more time for things like reading, hanging out with friends and stuff, but I guess I'm making too much music for that =o) =o(...


D)
Your scene career (from what I remember) was fairly short, but by the end of your career you had dominated the C64 music scene.

P)
Thanks for the compliment, but do you really think I dominated?


D)
Please tell us as much as you can remember about your scene career, especially about how you joined TIA and Oxyron. When you left the c64, what do you end up doing with the time you'd usually compose?

P)
Tell you as much as I can remember - well, I'm not gonna tell you about every disk note I wrote now will I (harhar)... anyway, in 1988 I started a lamie group by the name of Touch together with my friend Zaphod (who later on got quite well-known on Amiga). We'd freeze games, link intros in front and spread them as cracks =o). Somebody in Duplex obviously was impressed by this =o)=o), because he asked us to join them - that was back in '89. Soon the more cracking-oriented Duplex started their cooperation with the more demo/design-oriented guys in Oracle; the whole thing got going but went downhill again over one year later after many decent people had left. So I decided to accept the offer of joining the Depredators, a pure cracking group. By that time, the people who had originally started the group were gone elsewhere, and some new ones (such as Blockbuster) had taken over. Up to then I had only been a medium active swapper, sometimes doing some logos or intros. All the music routines I had come across by that time I didn't like too much, so I never actually did a tune - until at the end of '91 I got my hands on an early version of Grafitty's DMC. I quite liked it and made some tunes, one of which was spread quite a bit because Sodapop/Fairlight used it in his report of some party I don't remember (spring '92). Meanwhile the Depredators had died, but due to the afore mentioned publicity I got some offers to join - that way I came to Oxyron, who I stayed with until I quit. Later in '92, after the release of one or two Demos (of the legendary Coma Light series :]), The Syndrom recognized my qualities as a composer and offered me to join his music group The Imperium Arts (TIA). We released many tune compilations there, also better music routines were around. I mostly did tunes for Oxyron demos, which alone was close to a challenge because especially TTS and Axis (two of our coders) had an enormous output - all in all we released over 14 or 15 demos in our Coma Light series. Later on, when it got fashionable to do all sorts of reviews, I also was a music "critic" =o) for the Relax magazine. In late '95 I moved to Berlin - the actual reason was that I wanted to study traffic engineering, can you imagine that! However, after one semester I found out that this was not what I really wanted to do with my life anyway, but what is more, I met and got to play with lots of different musicians who gave me very positive feedback - so I thought wow, you seem to be much better than you always thought, so why not simply just make music? On the other hand, I neither considered myself good enough to be accepted at a music college, nor did I want to go through all this standard Jazz stuff too much. Then I finally came across the programs I already mentioned. They're rather scientific, but the practical and musical training I did for myself over the years. Anyway, as you can imagine, all this took up much time! So after moving to Berlin I didn't get to do a single tune anymore. A year later I even stopped writing music reviews. I thought about doing some stuff on PC, but didn't really take time for that either - so you can say I quit in late '96.



D)
What made you decide to compose on c64, and what music-routines have you used?

P)
Generally speaking, composing music is one of the greatest things there is! Besides just playing keyboards, the C64 offered me a new means of expressing myself musically. Anyway, it wasn't long after entering the scene that I got the feeling I could at least do just as well as most composers around if only I could get a decent routine and some practice. All the routines I used were versions of Grafitty's DMC. (by the way, no offence, but I say it once again: everybody except those Hungarian guys knows that the correct spelling is GRAFITTI :]) First I used v1.2, then 4.0, after that 5.0, 5.1, sometimes 6.0 (for tunes with very litter raster time). Later, The Syndrom sent me v7.0, on which he had worked quite a lot, but that was just before I quit, so I never got to use it... I never got to use stuff like JCH player, either. I did get it from someone eventually, but I was too lazy to make myself familiar with it.



D)
I know this could be a tough question, but how many tunes have you written on c64?

P)
It could be, but it isn't, because I kept a little list =o). It's not even a hundred tunes, 95 to be exact. Not really much for three and a half years of composing, compared to other people. But, like I use to say - quality before quantity!


D)
What style of music did you like to compose most of all on c64?

P)
I mostly included jazzy of funky elements in my tunes, because that's were I came from musically. Sometimes trippy, trancy or techno-like stuff, but not too often.


D)
How many c64 scene parties did you attend and/or compete in, and what was your placing?

P)
Not many really. I went to Aars at XMas '91 and '92, TCC in summer '93 and Herning at XMas '93. I think that's it. I competed at all parties except Aars '91, but my placing were never really good. I always was quite pissed about it, because I thought I was rated way too low, since I put a lot of effort especially into my competition tunes. But I guess that had several reasons; one - people never take their time to really listen to a tune at a party, because there's so much action all around, so they rather vote for familiar names; two - tunes were always faded out after one minute, which kinda sucks - you don't look at only one half of a picture either, but at the whole one; three - the voting often was badly organized, for example, numbers instead of names, so you can be sure you mix something up. This seems to have happened especially at Herning, were my tune got played right before a fake bullshit tune - guess what happened, the weird organizers obviously shifted all the entry's numbers by one (accidentally, or...?), and there I was, with zero points, which should actually have been for the fake tune... well, never mind, this reduced the fun I had at those parties not more than a little.



D)
Do you play any musical instruments? If so, which ones?

P)
As you may guess, I play keyboard instruments - piano, synth, organ and stuff (but no foot keyboard there). I can play the drums a little, but not really worth mentioning.


D)
What demos/games/diskmags have you written music for?

P)
Demos which contained my tunes were Oxyron’s Coma Light #6 to #13, I also made some exclusive ones for other groups, but not much, and I don't remember who it was anyway. I did tunes for the mags Jamaica, Relax, I guess Vandalism News (or was it for a demo part??), and there I reached again the limitations of my memory! Of course my tunes were also used in Oxyron Diskmags like Scene Observer, Addybook and Skyhigh. I never got to do music for games, because nobody I knew was really doing one. At least not up to the state that it was really getting serious. But I guess in the middle of the 90s you wouldn't have made much money with c64 games anymore anyway.


D)
Who most inspired your music on c64 (both c64 musician(s) and non-c64 musician(s) if that is possible)?

P)
On c64, the most influential composer for me was Drax - perfectly my taste. Other people who inspired me were JCH, Zardax, MSK, and other's I can't remember right now. Off the c64 I can't really say, I think it was rather styles than people. I was listening to a lot of Jazzfunk and Soul at the time, and I was also making this kind of music with my band.



D)
I've heard that you also started a real-life band. Can you please tell us everything you can about this (when the group formed, your released albums, and anything else)

P)
If you mean the band I was just telling you about - we split up two years ago. It was formed when all members still lived near Hamburg, but we moved to different cities. Right now I'm playing with different bands, with some I'm even involved to the extent that I produce some of their songs. One project you could call Space Jazz (Saxophone with Wah & FX, Didgeridoo, Bass with FX, Drums, Keyboards with a lot of FX :]), another one is Trip Pop with German vocals (more studio-oriented at the time), I'm also playing in a jazz/soul cover band which is sometimes cool for earning good money real quick if you get the right gigs - companies, political parties and stuff. Apart from that, I do my solo project, which is called like my last name (MEITZ). With this project, I have an EP out, released only on vinyl, summer '99. Hard to describe style-wise, basically it's warm-vibe stuff, electronically produced, but organic/real sounding, sometimes with vocals and instruments, club music, always with a lick of Jazz to it. Got very good feedback, the title tune even got licensed to some samplers. Right now I'm working on my second EP. Sometimes I do exclusive tracks or remixes for other people, too.


D)
How would it be possible to order your albums, especially on an international basis?

P)
Well, I've only got this one EP out up to now, right. I don't know if it even made it over there to Australia. Maybe there are some samplers available, where one of my tracks is on. They're called "Tribes of da Underground Vol.5" (Infracom, Germany) and "Nova Power Play" (France). Anyway, for any further questions just email me!


D)
Okay, time for some brainstorming, remember to say what comes to your mind first:

C64: good old "breadbin", teenage times
Sid-Chip: the first analogue synth I worked with, without even knowing it
Favourite c64 Composer: Drax
Favourite c64 Artist: oh damn, I never really had a favourite
Favourite c64 Diskmag: depends on the time... I guess Pulse or Relax
Favourite c64 Demo: Tower Power / Camelot
Alchohol: anything in cocktails
Food: anything healthy and organically grown
Band Managers: what do you mean? maybe rather producers? There I'd say Trevor Horn (Seal etc.)
Dance/Techno: I don't like the "typical" Dance or Techno stuff, I prefer stuff like Latin/House/Soul/Boogie/Two Step/Drum&Bass... but it's hard to give names because there are so many people doing interesting stuff.
PC: sometimes a pain in the ass, but pretty useful.
This Interview: I never got interviewed when I was still active, but now that it finally happened I can die in peace =o)...



D)
Alright, we are nearly done now. What are your goals for music, as a musician myself I am interested to know what you plan to do with the rest of your life as far as music goes.

P)
All I'm asking is to make a living from music. I don't have to get well-known, I don't have to get rich, and I just want to get along well with it. I don't care if it's live or studio stuff, my own projects or somebody else's, as long as it's fun. Which I guess it'll always be.


D)
Would you like to say hello to any of your c64 friends/comrades that might be reading this?

P)
I would definitely like to say hi to everyone who feels addressed! Mentioning people in particular would mean excluding all others, so here's a general HELLO, hope you're all doing fine - if anyone really still remembers me =o) he's welcome to leave me e-mail!


D)
Okay, Thank you very much for the interview Volker, It's nice to hear from a true c64 legend, regardless if he's still composing on c64 or not :)

P)
Thank you thank you, stop it stop it, I mean, am I a true legend?? You think? I wasn't active that long, nor was I any kind of pioneer in any way, I haven't even done a hundred tunes, etc. etc. Also, if you look at all the c64 websites, nowhere am I listed under "legends"... but anyway, I still think I added some valuable stuff to the scene, and the fact that I was on top of the charts in some mags for quite some time (even if it was AFTER I quit) probably proves that I was one of the better ones in that time. (I wonder when people stopped voting for me? maybe '97? :])


D)
Anyway, I hope you've had fun. Just before we go, any last words?

P)
I wonder what the c64 scene is like nowadays. Maybe you get a chance to tell me once in a while. Oh, and I'd like to ask you to include my email-address in this interview. Maybe right here?

Well nothing special, I think you all do great stuff and your effort is priceless. But of course thanks to all who have supported and encouraged me to come along into this fine community :) Keep up the good work and I hope to meet you at some party etc :)

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