Interview with cTrix/Disaster Area

Published in Vandalism News 60 – Diamond Edition
Performed by Jazzcat

In the magazine business, one of the tough choices in each issue is who to interview. I have been meaning to interrogate Chris (cTrix) for quite some time and through some emails, Facebook messages and the like, whilst he is traveling from country to country, I have finally managed it!


A prolific character who is a pillar in the Australian scene as well as a force in chip music scene, Chris has been a centre piece for the internationally recognised “Syntax Party” held in his hometown of Melbourne. It seems fitting that we publish this discussion live at Syntax 2013 (with luck), so without further delay, please welcome to the pages of Vandalism News, cTrix/Disaster Area…



Hello Chris! Please tell us a little about yourself.

Hey!  Well, I make music from orchestral, to metal, to funky groovy stuff and techno as well.  I've always loved music (“music” was my first word as a kid) and I've always been around computers.  I've been tracking Amiga MODs since 1992 but also learnt drums, guitar and keys by ear.  I mainly keep music as a passion (except for a few projects I've been asked to work on) but these days I also mix commercially for TV / Doco work.  Audio and visual activity is my life, it always has been, and hence demos are too.

I started Syntax Demo Party in the mid 2000's with Scotty to see if anyone local would rock up. We had been around Europe checking out the demo scene there... so we took the advice from XXX^Hajobb that “if you organise a Party, the people will come”.  And peeps did rock up!  So we've now got a party in Melbourne and it's been a hoot.  I've also done a bit on the chip music front, but more on that later.

How did it all start?

I pretty much have my Father to thank for my interest in computers.  Around the time I was born he was coding ASM on a Commodore PET in the manufacturing industry.  I guess he could see where computers were headed (having programmed with punched cards in the early 70's) so he made sure we had a family computer.  We picked up a Commodore 64 in 1984 (I was 3!) and I still remember when we first set it up and powered it on.  My folks had bought a load of education software, but somewhere early on we got CBM Music Composer and I used to spend hours hammering away with the joystick making tunes.  Then we had a multi-layer one with better waveform control.  Somewhere along the lines we'd got some cracked software that had great “bouncing graphics” on the front of the games and I remember seeing the fonts and logos thinking they were amazing.  We lived in the UK so it meant I also got to visit Commodore Expo in the 80's and we'd come home with hardware like the Covox Voice Master “speech and music processor” or a freeze cart.  We also had a Compaq Portable 3 / HP plotter combo that would arrive home every now and then so I used to play with graphics software on that too.

We moved to AU when I was 8, straight to semi-regional Victoria.  Half the mo-fos in our lil city had never even seen a computer!  Luckily we'd got a 286 w/ VGA by then and because I had zero interest in footy, I spent my weekends learning to code QBASIC.  While I found games mildly interesting (especially flight sims) I was more interested in the graphics than anything else and would code horrendous routines with 20 or 30 loops in loops doing iterative graphics.  Interestingly I still used the C64 at the same time, switching between the two BASICs.  Audio was better on the C64 but complex to code, where I only had a PC speaker... but could easily code background music.  We also had a black-and-white PAL frame grabber and with R,G,B filters you could capture 3 B&W images and combine them to create “full colour” GIF files.  I used to go to the computer swap-meets on weekends and spend my pocket money on floppy disks full of code snippets and utils. They also had an under-the-counter service I could get updates of BASIC and other aps from.

I first watched Unreal by Future Crew in 1991.  A friend of our family had an older son who ran a small BBS.  I was there the week he got his Soundblaster and we were looking for things to run on it.  I think we were dialling though Hawaii so it took a lifetime to download!  Another friend from school had an Amiga 500 and his brother showed me a tracker running on that too, but didn't know how to use it. The quality of the demo tunes was boggling though.  By my next birthday I was wielding a Soundblaster and had convinced my folks we needed a new computer.  Further to this I'd started getting into electronics and ended up building a power amp with my dad and had mounted some old hifi speakers to our study rear wall. So our lil computer room with its 486, SVGA and surround sound became my demo watching pad.  As long as it fit onto less than 2 floppies which is all I could afford from the “shareware shop” (basically a dude who would download whatever software you wanted)  By this point I'd collected a number of floppies with MODs and editors on them and set about tracking in the Amiga based formats, but on the PC. 


I could also sample with the SB-Pro and would lug the ghettoblaster into the computer room and sample drum hits or sequences from the radio to use.  I used to take blank cassettes to my music lessons as a kid because my teacher had an Ensonic arranger station.  I'd sample all sorts from that unit then spend hours tracking with the samples as a kid.  I think between age 11 and 15 it's the main thing I did!

With our 486 we had got a video capture card so I'd film little sequences and make low-frame-rate FLI loops and render 3D ray-traced images out of POV ray.  I could also get Fractint to export images that I could colour cycle, etc.  I'd make my own terrible demos cobbled together from utils that only ran on my computer.  I had to delete almost all of them because they took too much drive space!!  By a stroke of luck, my cousin had also become interested in coding games so we would spend 4 weeks a year over Xmas coding on his 386.  He really wanted to make games while I was into graphics so we used QB in shifts to knock up numerous games.  We built level editors and a graphics paint program.  I'd even got fast palette swapping and fast screen drawing in VGA modes through assembly calls, although we stuck mainly to the EGA mode which we could easily page flip and ran at a good frame rate.  We made platforms, forced-perspective adventure games, and a minigolf game, even a space flight shoot-em-up but ultimately everything around us was VGA and ran 50 times faster than our dodgy code!!

It was about 1993 when I met a couple of other guys at school who were also into computers.  We'd watch demos and try and make code but ultimately none of us knew Pascal or C so couldn't speed things up enough to run.  The computers at school were a joke – they only had EGA monitors but had a 386DX in the so I wrote a text mode video playback routine.  I was able to use the school video cameras to film sequences, capture them at low res, and then create videos at 10fps in mode 80.  I was also playing back MOD files though the PC speaker at the same time.  It was only black and white and looked like shit but that was our thing – we were rocking schoolyard video on the crappy computers with PC speaker digital audio on rainy days.  And loving it.  We called ourselves ESY crew – and in retrospect it was like being in a demo crew – but it was just us.

So that was our “scene”.  A bunch of mates at school just managing around with BASIC code with myself creating MOD files on the weekends.  One friend occasionally leant me his A500 and another friends dad ran a BBS and sent me demos by request, and I would give him MOD files disk to put on his server.  People supposedly downloaded them but I've only once seen an old track surface.  It was 1995 and into the dialup Internet phase by the time I got online and being “bush” meant we were at 14.4kbps.  First stop was to download 64k demos! (which of course meant another computer upgrade)   But by then I had gotten into multitracking with real instruments, joined 5 bands and was into live recording plus playing shows.  I was in bars drinking and supporting my favourite artists by 16 which kinda put the tracking thing on hold.

Little did I realise there was a whole demoscene in Australia.  I'd only gotten EU productions and mainly for PC.  I had no idea we had parties here because no one had ever mentioned it.  I'd read transcripts of IRC conversations from EU parties (they oft came on demo disks) so I was super observational to what was going on but I couldn't afford to get there.  I had my sights on getting the fuck out of regional Victoria and to Melbourne, where demos would fall from the sky.  Surely.

The scene, you are in it, on C64, Amiga, chip-scene etc... Tell us your history!

I was at Uni in Melbourne and had honestly expected to walk into my graphic design and multimedia degree and meet a ton of demo sceners or at least people who loved demos.  But no one knew shit!  I was shocked that I was the one showing everyone demos for the first time.  People seemed interested but were not coders and not interested in making prods... so I just assumed the demoscene here never existed.   What I did find is a ton of dudes into DJ'ing vinal, which in its day was mainly brutal techno, drum'n'bass and house tracks.  I bought a whole load of audio production gear like samplers and desktop sequencers such as the MC505.  I would play techno gigs and project demos behind me while I played.  Eventually I came across someone who told me about Coven demoparty in Adelaide but it didn't run in 1999 and I assumed it was cancelled beyond that point.  Where was the local scene?!!  I knew about groups like Disaster Area and Affinity but just assumed they were in Adelaide. (or Perth as it turned out!)

Most of my old friends who I used to code with had moved on and it ended up with Scotty and myself drinking beers and watching demos on the odd weekend.  I'd go to Uni and download an entire party worth of prods to Syquest drive which meant we also got all the C64 stuff.  This is about the time Goat Tracker was released so I started making tunes for the C64 again.  I was experimenting a lot with Flash and 3D Studio stuff – had things going in demomakers and was basically a coder away from being able to hobble a demo together.  But never met a person with the skills to make it happen.  After a few beers with Scotty one night, we decided we were going to Europe on a demoparty trip.

So that's how I got to my first demo party which was Assembly 2006.  Then Evoke and then a few meet ups in EU.  And people started asking me if I knew Ript and Sh0ck and that they were from Melbourne, and then I met Tomcat who was writing Freax and told me all about the C64 scene.  I guess it was a lot more about the beers and good times than I had anticipated and decided that we had to start a party back here.  So I sent off a message to the Disaster Area guys and Scotty went on a mailing mission to some contacts he had dug up.  And we started Syntax!

Of course Syntax needed an invite demo, so I approached Disaster Area which a few months later I joined and worked on our 64kb invitro.  It sparked interest in our local dorkbot and we were invited to deconstruct and explain how it worked.  One thing led to another and we ended up creating a bit of a buzz.  Syntax first ran in Melbourne in 2007 and has grown since then.  You can see photos and videos on this website to how it's changed over time (getting the venue right has been hard).  I've continued on with DA where AnakiRob join and led us to doing Amiga 1200 demos, a music disk and Ript also got some fun C64 and Vic20 stuff going.  The biggest victory in EU was coming second at Evoke party for our 2009 Syntax invite which also got nominated for a scene award.  At the moment we are being very slack and don't catch up nearly enough!  When we do, it's generally about drinking beer and having a good time because they are all great dudes to do that with.

I also met up with e64 of Affinity and we started writing 4k PC demos together before the first Syntax.  We defined this silly style of black-and-white demos with lo-fi techno soundtracks and got bagged out hardcore but it was fun!  We made a few silly demos together after that too.

SPC, or Syntax Party Crew is an RSI Demomaker crew for LOLs.  It's an open group for low quality party rocking Amiga 500 demos.  TBH, it's almost always just me and maybe a second person throwing me a graphics here and there.

The reason I've gotten any kind of recognition in the Amiga scene is because of my tracking.  The reason anyone recently has even heard my MOD files was due to a crash I had!  Around 2005 my Roland MC505 sequencer died and I lost half my tunes.  I was faced with cancelling a show, or, because it was pretty low key, coming up with an alt show on another platform.  I'd picked up a couple of Amiga's during Uni and discovered my 1200 could read PC floppies so moved a set of old MOD files across, made a few new ones, fixed some samples and dropped a half hour set of Amiga tracks.  It went down so well that I was asked back to another show where I busted out a full hour show and went on from there.  I was blown away how I could just pick up where I left off 10 or 12 years ago and also how good the Amiga actually sounded.  So I kept playing shows on the Amiga and I love its simplicity and reliability.

I'd promised a whole load of people at Evoke party (Germany) that I'd come back one day.  In 2009 I brought the Amiga's with me to Germany and the tracks went down really well with the EU Amiga guys.  I guess because a lot of my tunes are from the 90's (and sound like it!!) it struck a chord with them and I've released a mix or two from there which peeps have hopefully enjoyed.  Chip music wise, I was always tweaking away at the C64 over the years, but I've probably only released 6 or 7 tunes all up.  Heaps of unfinished stuff!!  The main platform I've done chip music with has been the Gameboy which I didn't start making music on until 2007 when someone in Melbourne handed me LSDJ.  I guess with my C64 and Amiga tracking I approach things differently so have apparently got “my sound” which is a bit more unique from someone moving over from a DAW.  I also smashed house music and techno on a Gameboy right from the start because it was fun, and peeps saw the fun in that early on.

I guess my chipmusic hit the right websites at the right time and so I got asked to play Blip Festivals in NYC and Japan, which is where I busted out the gAtari (Atari 2600 with EFX pedals) and from there one of the vids went viral.  I've toured Europe, the states, NZ, Mexico and Japan with my music and it seems to go down well.  I'm also quite friendly with the Soundbytes crew here and help run the Square Sounds festivals.  I ended up on the livestream of the final Blip fest when we broadcasted out of Japan last year.  I think it's just because I'm passionate and automatically help people organise stuff if I'm around a party which is being set up.  I've also had magazine articles published about my music in mags like Audio Technology and Future Music, been on Triple J and ABC, etc, but I'm still mainly playing fun shows for people that enjoy listening to chip music.  There were a few hundred at a show I played in the Netherlands, and I think we pushed 1000 at a show in NZ... so I guess in that sense I'm also taking chipmusic / Amiga tracking to the masses a little bit.

But as far as the demoscene, which I have always loved - I was a long-time observer and Amiga module tracker but never managed to get to those earlier parties because of distance.  My stuff was on BBS's and I'd watch lots of demos and know who the groups were, but didn't meet any of my fellow sceners until I went to EU or until they came to Syntax!

What are achievement are you most proud of in the scene?

Probably Syntax Party Invite or the music for a 4k I made recently with a fellow scener from Finland.  I'm quietly very proud of some of the things I managed to pull out of RSIDM but apparently that's forbidden!

Music wise, winning the music compo at Evoke.


What achievement are you least proud of in the scene?

Probably anything I didn't finish!  Also when I submitted a corrupt chip music entry to Assembly 2006.  Right after the deadline I figured out why it didn't work.  Also had a dead Amiga demo at Syntax last year.

How many tunes per year do you make and how many do you release?

I made around 55 last year.  And under-the-radar released many of them, but a lot of those tunes were in draft form.  I still plan on mixing and mastering them alongside releasing the source files.  I'd be working on it right now if I wasn't typing this :-P

If you had a time machine and were able to remake one day of your life, what day would it be?

Watching Bass Nectar for the first time at a rave party about 6 years ago.  Best sound system I'd ever heard standing with a bunch of good mates who all understood PA setup and music production.  We just stood there with grinning faces loving it.

Demoscene wise, watching TBL's amazing Starstruck demo at Asm 06 for the first time.



What are your favourite tracker programs?... and what is your favourite Amiga tracker and why?

My favourite newskool program hands down is Reaper for PC / MAC.  As a mixing and arrangement tool it is the fastest and most efficient piece of commercial code I've seen in years.

On Amiga I use Protracker 2.3a and also track MODs on a carefully configured OpenMPT.  The Amiga / PC bridge is fairly seamless, but I always end up tweaking the tunes on the Amiga side as it tends to bite a bit more transients wise.  For the C64 I use Goat tracker and compile to PRG... it's cheating to some degree, and one day I do plan on hitting up some native tools.  For Atari Lynx I use a tracker that's currently in dev, for Gameboy I use LSDJ and for GP2X I use Piggy Tracker.  For the Atari 2600 I use a combo of the SDK that Paul Slocolm released and my own tool that takes a specific OpenMPT file as input and spits out asm code on the other side.  Then I have to optimise everything on the Atari 2600 to fit in 4k as I haven’t figured out bank switching yet! Lol



What do you use as a source for tracker samples? (synths, drum machines etc)

Yamaha DX7, Sequencial Circuits Prophet 600, Roland MC202, Korg Triton, Machinedrum, Dave Smith Instruments Mopho, DDR30 (latest!) and then pre-process all samples usually in Cool Edit Pro.  I have a couple of drum libs too.  I don't have any VSTs.  Sometimes I cross sample C64 or Gameboy back into the Amiga.  When you get those raw waveforms then the layer of Amiga sample-rate aliasing on top it sounds awesome.


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…and the Syntax Party. It has become iconic in Australian scene history, how did it come about and what can we expect in the future?

I mentioned its history earlier... basically it was just Scotty and I emailing / on forums for 6 months and an empty room we figured would fill with people.  We underestimated how well everyone would get along and how much fun it would be.  Demoscene, chipmusic and hardware hacking people are globally generally very fun and friendly people.  We like to play on that at Syntax and make sure everyone is kicking back and enjoying their time... either productively or socially.

As far as the future – we want to expand Syntax so it also caters for the hardware hackers and arduino kids too.  I think these little embedded computers are something we can all appreciate and seeing what people do with cheap sensors and things like camera recognition could be fun as a compo.  I think it would bridge the older and younger guys too – because once you are at a party age is rarely a roadblock to a fun time; and I think both parties could learn a lot technically from each other.

I have my eye on a venue that will take Syntax the next level in 2014 if it stays around... but for now we will use the same venue as last year.  It's cosy and easy to work with and pretty low risk.  If things go to plan for 2014 then we might be able to sleep over and have 24/7 access from Friday 8pm – Sunday 8pm.  It's right near a train station and one stop from the CBD.  But a lot happens in a year and plans we've had in the past have changed due to venues changing hands, etc.    Ultimately Syntax is just a Date and a place where people gather.  The demoparty happens because of the people that attend – and I think we will continue to see it be a fun, semi-underground event into the future.




The state of the Australian scene right now, your thoughts?

Great bunch of folks, all ages!  We don't have quite the same urgency as Europe to push the envelope with the code here in AU.   I'd say it's because we don't have the same winters that our Euro friends have (well, unless you live in Tassie!)   I think we have a group of sceners who appreciate good code / graphics / music and are not afraid to submit an entry.  Australians will support and cheer on the artists no matter how technical things are and support new talent.  Above all, the Aussie spirit is to have a good time at a party; and whether an entry gets finished or not doesn't matter as much as having a good weekend.  It took me a few years to get used to relaxing at a party after some frantic times at EU demo parties finishing prods!!

I think Australia still has a ton of prods bubbling away – it is a matter of getting a team of people to remind each other and keep asking “what have you worked on this month?”  Australians are inherently lazy and sometimes need a poke so they put down the BBQ tools and take the beers in the direction of the computer.
As far as getting the younger crowds in – I think they have been drawn towards the indie game development scene more than the demo scene.  Many next-gens have gotten over seeing “new effects” on modern computers as they are not that exciting anymore.  For instance, high colour screen modes and 3D engines took some revolutionary steps during the 90’s, but nowadays we’re seeing subtle “improvements” and they are demonstrated by manufacturers ahead of the public obtaining access to the hardware.  It is more the creative and design aspect that is applauded these days. 

But that said, I have seen a similar spirit to the demo scene with technology like the Occulas Rift 3D goggles.  Bunches of friends, and we're talking high school kid, have pooled together their money to buy beta dev kits from the US to experiment with.  Yes, they are using “pre-fabbed” 3D solutions like Unity, but they are essentially building interactive demos focusing on the environmental experience.  Same with the Arduino technologies.  Hopefully we can join some of the gaps over the coming years and get those guys on board.

Tell us some more on “A for Amiga” and the label Bleep Street…

A for Amiga is an Amiga based music project which started life as a music disk for the Amiga 500.  The aim was to make tunes based purely on my original collection of samples from when I was 11 - 15.  I used to scour swap meets in the early to mid 90's looking for floppies full of samples or MODs that looked promising.  I had an older friend who ran a BBS who would sling me the odd set of samples if he found them.  I ended up with a ton of sounds from the original ST-00 to ST-08 disks which were the original “sample tracker” samples many early Amiga tunes featured. 

Back in the late 80's all sorts of sounds were sampled in 8 bit, often from the radio or from cassette.  There would be a drum hit or a synth pad that held for long enough that it could be crudely looped.  Or maybe it'd be a vocal sample or sound effect.  Unfortunately, there was never much crediting going on back then and iff.supersound6 could be from anywhere!  I wish I knew where half the sounds started life - but then again you get drum machines and synths filled with samples recorded by real artists who are not listed in the patch name.  The only issue with the old Amiga sample packs is they were often badly biased, contained mains hum, were fuzzy from being sampled at too low a volume or were flat out clipped.  I fixed almost all the samples from removing clicks to creating better loop points and removing hums.

Once I started getting into the composition side, the tunes started taking a life of their own.  Some of the tunes stuck to the original idea of just using my old sample collection, but I also started recoding some additional sounds using 1980's synths like the Yamaha DX7 and my Prophet 600.  The idea is that A for Amiga is still something I could have created when I was a kid, and yes, the result is still a bunch of 4-channel MOD files that play on an Amiga with no RAM expansion.


I'd played a couple of the MODs at chip shows and people started asking “when are you going to record the synth tunes?”  At this point I figured that I'd make an EP because if you release a music disk in 2013, 99% of the public will listen to it on YouTube!  I also decided I should mix it properly and break the MOD files into instrument groups to EQ some of the elements.  The dilemma I had was that mixing on a 2013 era computer w/ 16 cores at 3 GHz wasn't in the spirit of an Amiga release.  It was breaking my rule of keeping it to Amiga 500 era equipment.


It was obvious I needed to mix from tape so my old 4-track recorder originally got pulled out for the job - but the pots on the EQ’s had gone scratchy and effects running to the Quad reverb sounded ok, but it lacked excitement.  At this point people heard the tunes were going to be released and started hyping things up – so I felt a huge pressure to mix it properly.  I got worried the some of the songs lacked quality so I also dropped two of the tunes and replaced them with new ones.  I was falling into that hole of “this is never going to be good enough to release”.  I needed someone fresh to help me engineer the tunes with the same respect for 1980’s technology I had.

Right at the moment I was losing faith, I stumbled upon Sunshine Recorder here in Melbourne.  Sunshine is run by an exceedingly passionate audiophile-grade electronics engineer who has collected and restored a ton of vintage gear.  The power supply management alone is a godly feat – a custom built box which uses the exact resisters, caps and transistors to switch a bank of huge relays which in turn powers the entire studio up in the optimal order!  Connected to the power management is everything one could want from a state-of-the-art mixing studio circa 1985.  The studio was (at the time) still under construction but had a full analogue 24-track tape machine rolling 2” tape.  The main console was a 64 channel modular mixing desk connected to a full patch bay.  An oak bench-topped 3 meter wide rack housed banks of 1970's compressors and panels of bakelite-style knobs drove vintage hard-wired equalisers that were so elite they used clicking knobs to select the frequency bands rather than inferior potentiometers.  There was a set of plate reverbs in an adjacent room and a rack of delay units - some of which had tape loops in them, others that were classic digital.  It was a collection of equipment of which every piece was the pinnacle in its era.   Everything featured that “no-expense-spared” engineering of the 70s and early 80s studio environments.

The big question was if the studio owner would let me rewire the whole studio to bypass the 2013 computer workstation that was driving the desk.  To his absolute credit, out came the soldiering iron, and we started rewiring the cable looms and configuring the patch bays for a direct 24-track tape mixing session.  It was exactly as if it were 1985 (the year of the Amiga's release).  We tested the setup so thoroughly started finding small faults on a couple of channels.  This meant hot swapping a couple of modules in the desk – a common thing to do in the 70’s and 80’s - as the equipment was so complex it needed constant on-the-fly maintenance.  It’s amazing to have hands on experience with a mixing desk built for instant troubleshooting.  Channel 22 stops sending on AUX2?  Easy - you just spin the thumb screws and swap it with channel 62, preferably leaving a red sticker on the questionable module saying “test”.  Almost every desk of that era had a few gremlins and its part of the charm of mixing.  Much more charming and faster to fix than a crashing VST of 2013!

Rather than attempt the mix myself, I employed Mark, an engineer who was taught by one of Frank Zappa's engineers back in the day.  I've known Mark for years and have always hoped we could work on something together one day.   I told him the back-story of the Amiga, my high school sample collection and asked “could we mix the oldskool way?”  In between the laughter his eyes lit up at the opportunity to turn back the clock – but “only if we do it properly”. And I knew I had my engineer.  In the end we had to use briefly use a PC to synchronise the raw recordings (to save time and sanity) but once we had the 16 “separated” instrument groups, everything was dubbed to analogue tape in its raw form and the computers were turned off.  We powered on every valve and solid state piece of gear around us and downed a cuppa tea each.  The very faint hum of way too many transformers (probably about 50 - 60 of them) could be heard, but the studio was remarkably silent considering the kilowatts of power we were drawing.

The mix session was epic.  As soon as we hit tape, the sound became very warm, rounded and much sharper than I would have expected.  We used every patch cable in the studio and ran a ton of subtle dynamics compression layers and some crazy effects chains to do what is now achievable with a single “plugin”.  It was amazing discussing every element with Mark as we mixed– his fresh ears were an asset to have during a mix session seeing I’d heard each song at least 100 times.  We slammed the VU needles into the red on the 2” machine and the bass, kicks and toms opened up into harmonically rich landscapes.  The aliasing from the crude resampling of an early tracker replayed off the 2” tape machine with a reassuring but eerie sizzle.  In fact the aliasing fuzz from the temporally squared waveform is very forward in the mix – much more than I expected. 

I doubt anyone in history has taken a set of 4 channel Protracker MODs and - without adding any additional layers - split the raw output onto the same 2” tape technology used to record MJ's Thriller.  But if there is any way I can pay my respects to the team that developed the Amiga (and created such a capable music workstation in a Commodore “budget” box) then I feel providing a royal 1985 treatment was justified.


The tunes are being released though BleepStreet which is a small net label in Berlin.  I've hung out with Ultrasyd at demo parties, previously remixed 2 of the artists and played with almost all the artists while in Europe, US or Japan at chip music festivals.  So it made sense to align with my friends and its little like being asked to join a respectable demo crew – you just say yes.  The “label” is more a collaboration of artists than a traditional label structure and we all still have day jobs!  It’s basically a demo crew of musicians all pushing the envelope.  A for Amiga will be a digital release (for now) and primarily via Bandcamp and iTunes.  It was a hard call with my demo scene background to put the tunes on sale, but I need to recoup what I paid to hire the studio, pay the engineers, recover three weeks off work and purchase tape stock.  The 2” multitrack tape alone was $350 for a single reel!  I asked a number of people if it was reasonable to charge for the release and not a single person objected.  But yes, I still one day plan on optimising the tunes and releasing it as an Amiga 500 music disk.  Just gotta fit it all in 800kb.

I'm a demoscener at heart, which means once I've finished a prod, I like to put the project aside, maybe explain how /why I made it, and move onto the next thing to keep learning and exploring.  It is a relief that BleepStreet are willing bounce around excitedly with the release so I can focus on what to create next.  Which is probably a chip entry and C64 gfx for Syntax Demoparty.  I’ve got a tune for a PC 4k I need to work on tonight.

What instrument have you not played yet that you would like to have a crack on?

Double Bass.  And one day I’d love a good session with a B3 Hammond organ using a real spinning Leslie speaker cabinet. (There was one at the studio damn it!)  Chip wise, Nintendo Famicon with VRC6 expansion chipset.

Who would you turn gay for? Or which scener?


Jazzcat 100%.  And Defame 110%.

Time to send some greetings…

My AU crew in Warriors of the Wasteland, Trem Trio, Cygnus Oz, The Force, Chrome, Onslaught, Defame, Ikon Vizual, Rebels, TSR and Nerve.

My Euro peeps esp RC55, XXX, m0d, 8gb, Jeroen Tel, Truck, Ferris / Youth Uprising, DSS, gasman, titan, moods plateau, brainstorm and 68krue.

There is easily 50 more I’d greet if my brain worked right now.

Thoughts to leave a final impression on the audience?

I’ve rambled on more than enough.  I’d just like to thank all the people that keep the demo scene and chip music spirit alive.  From the people that write the tools, to the people that make the prods; from the people that put on the parties to the people who come and party; from the loonies that make C64 diskmags to the dedicated people reading this on a 1702 – it takes a lot of dedication to keep things rolling but the good times make it all worth the effort.

Come to Syntax Demoparty 2014!

cTrix /