Interviews



Interview with GRG

Published in Domination #18
Performed by Jazzcat

Most people in "scene-town" have been blessed with the sounds coming from the Norwegian SID composer GRG (formerly Shark). Not only is he a talented musician and coder, he has also shown high quality ability in the art of cracking.

With pleasure I introduce to you one of my favourite musicians on C64. (make sure to listen fully to Glenn's exclusive 4x speed+digi composition in this edition's intro sequence).



J)
Welcome to the magazine Glenn, you have been helping this zine for quite sometime now, as a special issue on C64 music it is also a pleasure to conduct this interview. As per normal, please introduce yourself to the readers...

G)
Good evening Jazzcat! Well, I'm GRG and I live in Norway. And I like to listen to SID music. :)


J)
Heh. We may not all live in Norway, but I'm sure all of us like the SID. :) Which groups are you currently in and what jobs do you perform for each?

G)
1) SHAPE & Blues Muz' - Right now I am a member for nostalgic reasons, my old computer friends are here.
2) Onslaught - Music support.
3) Protovision - Music support.
4) Nostalgia - Releasing old games.


J)
We all have a history in the scene - when we first started, groups we joined and left, even disagreements and wars. Tell us when you first joined the scene and what has happened from that moment up until present day...

G)
I got my computer for Christmas 1985. I knew this fellow who was into the scene, and I bought disks from him with all the latest games for a reasonable price. I also got a hold of a tape-copy unit so I easily could copy tape originals.
 
Around 1987/1988 I started swapping under the handle Eddie and I quickly got many contacts and more games. I got contacted by Ambre (aka Duke) and I teamed up with his group and we released the first 3 issues of The Pulse under some obscure group name (It was either The Freaks, Collision or Foxbat). (ED: Collision) This happened around 1989/1990 and at this point I had learned ML, changed my nick to Shark and I was linking our intros in front of games. The following year I joined a group called Digital Designs, and I stayed with them until Duke re-opened The Pulse files again. I think that was in 1993, the same year I joined Blues Muz', and suddenly I was in Shape. A couple of years later I joined Fairlight to help them with music for Scene+ and demos that were under construction. When Scene+ was no more I got an offer from you Dave, so I joined Onslaught and then later on I squeezed myself into Nostalgia.



J)
Your responsible, together with Geir Tjelta, for the current version of SID DUZZ IT. Please describe the music editor's capabilities compared to other editors, what can we expect in future updates and where is it currently available from?

G)
I have only worked with Digitalizer, DMC, Voicetracker, Future Composer, Sid-systems and JCH. Editing in SDI is a mixture of using Digitalizer and JCH's editor - but its better as we added a lot of different edit functions. But its the capabilities of the player that really count, we can do a lot of sound stuff that JCH's player isn't capable of. But that’s only natural, JCH's player was made in 1991 while SDI had its last update this Autumn passed.

New versions of the music editor might happen, I have been asked several times to make the editor support more SID chips. But they are hard to get, I will do it if I get my hands on some extra chips.

The latest version of SDI is available from:

http://home.eunet.no/~ggallefo/sdi/


J)
When did Blues Muz' start and who are the current and also founding members?

G)
Blues Muz' was founded in 1991 by Kristian and Eivind. Current members are Kjell, Kristian, Eivind, Dwayne and myself.


J)
And how do you see Blues Muz' compared to the other music labels such as Vibrants, Side-B, Mon, MSL and Oxsid Planetary etc.?

G)
Blues Muz’ was built on friendship, all members used to live in the same city (Bergen) and that made it easy for us to work together. Many of our tunes was made at Kristian's place where we usually had our meetings.



J)
Do you play any musical instruments? If so, what do you play?

G)
I have a guitar and a Yamaha synth, but I rarely use them.


J)
Is there any 64 musicians that you idolise? If so, who are they and why?

G)
I would like a signed autograph of Johannes Bjerregaard on my t-shirt,  this guy really knew how to make c64 music sound good. It blew my mind.


J)
What disadvantages and advantages, musically has the C64? Have we really pushed it to it's limits?

G)
You can make anything on a sid chip, there's no limits! Technically, regarding our own music players, I would say we have pushed the sid chip to its limits. The only thing left is optimizing, making the player use as little rastertime as possible.


J)
Have you listened to the Back in Time CD series and Nexus 6581 CD containing C64 based renditions? What do you think of them? Ever thought of doing your own?

G)
Yes I have heard some of the tunes from the first Back In Time CD. These tunes are nicely arranged but I didn't like the fact that they used real c64 sounds and c64 look-a-like instruments. The Nexus CD I bought was much better. High quality sound and superb remixes from Ouwehand. I just adore Norman's Aztec Challenge, Jozz's DMC IV and Daglish's Deflektor.

I have made a few remixes on the PC but I don't think I will make a CD.





GRG's all-time favourites.

Coders: Crossbow, AEG, Mr.Sex, Scroll, Omega Supreme
Musicians: Johannes Bjerregaard, Jeroen Tel
Demo Groups: Reflex, Smash, Byterapers, Crest, Megastyle
Crackers: Antitrack, Powerplant, Mr. Zeropage, JJ the Breaker, Pudwerx
Cracker Groups: Legend, Fairlight, Triad
Games: Jumpman Junior
Disk Magazines: Pulse, Domination, Scene+, Propaganda


J)
You have branched off your usual job on C64 composing music to also perform wonderful cracks under the Nostalgia label, which surprised many people. What brought this around and what are the cracks you have done you are most proud of?

G)
I made a few tool disks for me and my group mates around 1988/89 where I removed the intros from the tools and re-crunched it, I wanted as many tools possible on a single disk. Some tools were password protected so I removed them as well. And that lead to do the same things on a few games. Well, I lost interest in this and found music and programming more pleasant. Around 1998 I saw some oldie cracks and I did some games for Shape just for fun. I must have showed these to Nostalgia, and then I asked if I could join them. Fungus, Qed and Sorex inspired me after some chats on #c-64 and that’s it.

The Double Dragon cartridge version I did must be my proudest game, as it was a something never released before – a first release. I encountered the same problem as Legend had on Toki, there was no room for both sprites and music in memory. The game was reading the sprites for the cartridge real time. That was solved by re-writing the scroll routine (Lasse Oorni helped me with that) and the sprite routine and loading certain sprite data from disk during the game play.


J)
Is there any game cracks by other people or groups that have impressed or inspired you?

G)
The crackers from the old days 1982-1985 that managed to break the EA protection with a MC-monitor only. (no cartridge attacheJ) Legend's cartridge cracks. Especially Toki, as they had to recode stuff to have all sprite animations in memory. I like Sorex way of cracking, he does it real old style, no cartridge only the monitor.



J)
Focusing on their original meaning. What is your definition of "lame" and "elite"? examples?

G)
This was something the cracker/BBS scene invented for self-idolising or to rag on someone. According to my English dictionary LAME is someone 'unable to walk normally because of an injury or a defect' not? :)

Okay, but seriously: Elite was someone famous and Lamers was someone the Elite people didn't like. Back in the day this mattered a lot, no one wanted to be the lamer and a lot of scene wars were fought around this subject.

Being Elite makes people behave strange:

At the Tribute party in Sweden I was talking with Deff/AVT about some game music and stuff, suddenly this Elite-person came over to us and said "Hey, you can't talk to him (Deff). He is elite!" He was dead serious, and Deff had to calm him down.


J)
A lot of old sceners return from the 16 and 32 bit machines to the 8 bit machine. Why do you think people keep paying attention to the C64?

G)
I'm not sure. Maybe it has to do with that the C64 is THE scene, and that people are pushing the C64 to it's limits all the time. You can make anything on PC, but making it on a C64 is somewhat of a challenge.



J)
What are you doing in your spare time apart from C64?

G)
I play soccer and keep in shape.


J)
Feel free to send some greetings...

G)
Greetings to my group-mates and all who knows me, you know who you are!


J)
Thanks for your time Glenn. Enjoy this issue of Domination! :)

G)
Thanks for the interview!

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