Interviews



Interview with Charles Deenen

Published in Domination #11
Performed by Jazzcat


We have always been proud to present you the best interviews possible in the Domination magazine. Over the years I have had the pleasure to interview very famous and very interesting people. Some of you may have remembers our exclusive interview with Jeroen Tel from Maniacs of Noise - which was published in edition one. This time we are very proud to present you again another interview with a MON member. A famous musician, who has given many musicians their inspiration to reach their goals and someone who has also pleased the ears of many game players on C64, Amiga and Atari St.



J)
Welcome to the Domination magazine. I am quite sure most people would have heard of you, but in the interest of those who don't, could you please introduce yourself to the audience.

C)
My name is Charles Deenen, born in January 1970. I was born in Holland, but since 1991 I live in the USA. I'm married, have 2 cutesy dogs, and work full-time as audio director at Interplay. Between 1985 and 1991, I had a company named Maniacs of Noise with Jeroen Tel. We did (together with several other people that worked for Maniacs of Noise) audio for over 200 C64, Amiga and Atari St games.
 

J)
That is quite a lot of games, more than I originally thought. How many commercial released games have featured tracks you've composed? Is it possible to name them?

C)
It's so long ago, no clue. Jeroen Tel was trying to get this answer from me as well, but I simply can't remember, and I can't trace it because I have no C64 anymore :) I'm sure there are some hackers out there that have the complete collection.



J)
I would love to own all of your pieces and Jeroen's - unfortunately I don't have a vast collection. The most popular musicians seemed to have developed and used their own editors. JCH, JT, Geir Tjelta, etc. Did you code your own editor? and have you used others?

C)
Jeroen Tel used the Maniacs Of Noise driver that I wrote for several years. He only started to write his own after I left to the states. The editor for both of us was easy: Turbo Assembler :) I've coded my own driver for several platforms: C64, Amiga, Atari St, Nes, Snes (called "Super Famicom" in England. I helped out designing the drivers for the Playstation and PC over here at Interplay.


J)
You have been on several platforms for quite a few years now. Please give the readers a history on when you first started and what has happened up until the present day...

C)
I started coding basic (who hasn't??) on CBM pet in 1982 when I was 12 years old. From there I quit school when I was 16, started doing audio full-time on a freelance basis for the C64, Amiga and Atari. This continued until I was 20 when I did a freelance piece for Dragon Wars for Interplay. They liked it so much that they asked me to work for them full-time. Not really thinking about this, I said yes, so 9 months later I landed in the USA, and never left since that time. I now have 10 people working for me full-time here in the audio dept. and I started to do sound design for the feature films as well.


J)
Maybe we will see your name in the credits of some award winning title in the future?! What are your all time favourites?

Food: Spicy chicken pasta
Drink: Diet coke and coffee
Movie: Rocky series
C64 game: That karate game done by Melbourne House (can't remember the name). Funny enough, the programmer from that game (Neil) is working with us doing a football game now for the Playstation.
Console game: Rock+Roll racing on the SNES
PC game: Descent and Doom (series)
Demo group: -
C64 musician: Rob + Martin
C64 graphician: Bob Stevenson (who's funny enough doing graphics for a game for us called Giants)
C64 programmer: Mario van Zeist



J)
Now that the Domination readers know some of your favourites, could you please tell us the musical and computer equipment you own?

C)
I've sold most of my own stuff, but I currently own at home a protools 32-track system, Yahama o2r, a rack of FX units, etc. I have a lot of synths too, but they're just collecting dust since I don't do any music anymore. I primarily do sound design work. At work, I have a DVD 5.1 mixing stage with a euphonix Cs2000, 6 racks of outboard gear (gml EQ's, focusrite, manley, Eventide DSP4000, Aphex rack, Picmix, spatializer, dolby decoder/encode etc). There are also some of my synths here (Korg A/D, EPS 16, ASR-10, Roland Super IX, M1 etc), but I don't use them anymore.
 

J)
Which musicians do you respect and for what reasons?

C)
Teddy Reily. He always adds something new to the flavour of his songs.



J)
On C64 how much time did you spend on an average SID? What was your longest tune and which was your personal favourite?

C)
Time: 2 days
Longest tune: 7 minutes
Personal favourite: none


J)
Which skills have you improved most over the years? improvisation? music theory? techniques?

C)
Well, since I haven't done any music for 2 years, it's hard to judge :) I've done an awful lot of sound design in which I've become (may I say) pretty good and I've done mixing for a lot of films in our games, recording artists and other film related material.


J)
Do you like conversions of music? How should it be done to be better accepted by the public?

C)
I like remixes of music (turn an R+B song into house etc), not conversion. No need to do conversions anymore these days. :)
 

J)
What style of music do you think a musician should study to best improve his abilities in composing? Classical, Jazz, Blues, or does it change per individual?

C)
Jazz will always be the hardest. BUT, some people have a really hard time getting the feel of a dance tune down, so that might also be a good thing to study.


J)
On C64, did you get paid much per game? What benefited the most in?
A) Satisfaction
B) Money

C)
We got paid between 100 to 1000 pounds. B) Benefited the most (since I had to live on it).


J)
Have you ever had any serious disagreements with the production team or the distributing label before?
 
C)
No, they more or less accepted our work as is...


J)
What projects are you currently working on and which company are you working for these days?

C)
I'm working for Interplay for the last 7 years already as their audio director. I'm currently working on VR Baseball (mixing music), Descent 3 (doing sound design) and a couple of medieval games that we have.


J)
Have you ever had an urge to do some work on the C64 again, the scene is still alive, even just as a nostalgic experience?

C)
Nope :)



J)
Do you think when a musician or talented person gets famous, that it interferes with their work? or does it make it better? Any examples?

C)
For some people it becomes a huge ego-boost and their work fails under it. If they can't see the difference anymore between their work and good music/FX for example, it's a problem. For example, I'll never say that my music is good, because it simply isn’t. If somebody can keep that kind of control over it's ego I believe one can only grow from the experience.


J)
What are your goals in real life and musically? Tell us what you hope to achieve.

C)
Goals in real life: being a supervising sound editor on a motion picture. Musically, not really anything.


J)
Here is some room for you to say hello to any of your friends and acquaintances.

C)
Hello to Tjarda, Jeroen, Johannes, Oistein and the many others I might have forgotten!


J)
Well thanks for your time; do you have any last comments to leave a final impression on the audience?

C)
Have fun in your life. It's too short as is...

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