Interview with Laxity

Published in Domination #7
Performed by Jazzcat

Once again I have the pleasure of chatting with someone most should know. Most would remember him for his classic music and for the work he has done more recently with Drax for The Pulse magazine.

Firstly feel very welcome to the Domination magazine and your first public appearance in quite sometime. Please introduce yourself to the audience... i.e.; age, name, etc..

My name is Thomas Egeskov Petersen, and I actually just turned 23, (31st of January). I'm 1.76 cm tall, blond hair and blue eyes etc... At this time I am living in Norway, where I work as in-house composer at a software developer’s house called 'Funcom'. I specialize in Orchestral and Jazz/Funk music and I’m at this time working on a game where orchestral music is required.
My place of origin is Denmark, where I was born and grew up. I've been raised in a middle sized town called Vejen in Jutland.

I started to make music at the age of 14 or 15, on my 64 in Rob Hubbard's music player, without any former experience from music. I did so for around 3-4 years until I attended high school, where I got involved with live-music (i.e. acoustic instruments).

From that time, up until now, I’ve developed a passion for piano playing, one of my strongest sides at this date. Only last year did I return to computer music, when different software companies got interested in my 'midi' music and since then I’ve been involved in loads of different game-projects.

Happy birthday and it is nice to see your career is going so well! Of course your very known for your exceptional musical abilities, could you give the readers a description of your computer/musical career from the beginning to present date, the C64 in particular…
I can only try, hence I only remember little about specific dates and years. At the age of 10 or so, I got my first home computer (as the called them back then). A commodore VIC20, which was not all that good. I mostly played games on it, but after a while I started making my first stupid programs, like the well known 10 print "blabla", 20 goto 10, and so on..
But after a couple of years I bought a Commodore 64, which I’d been adoring for a few years.. cooler games, cooler graphics and very much cooler sound..
Now a new world of pirating and hacking was slowly showing. I started to get various demos, and cracked games. I got interested in coding, and I started making small programs in a monitor. At one point I got Commando from one of my friends, and that's when I really got interested in music. Hearing Rob Hubbard's Commando music put me in ecstasy. I gathered all the R.H. music I could get, through both games and demos..
After a while I started to make music in Rob Hubbard's routine (at that time I was 13), knowing absolutely nothing about music. I could hear when the music didn't sound right, but sometimes, I couldn't really correct it. I just kept on trying, and at a point I got into contact with some dudes from the demo/cracker world, in 'Wizax 2004' an old Danish group.. and from there on it went…
I started coding my first music routine (it sucked!)… making music... getting positive response from a lot of places... from WIZAX to ZETREX.. more music.. from ZETREX to 2000 AD. At some point here I wrote my second music player (which didn't eat as much rastertime and was a little bit better). I met Kim T. Christensen (Future Freak/Dexion) at some point, and we formed a music group called "The Flexible Arts". But we didn't have all that much success getting the contracts for making music, in fact we got only two. DNA Warrior, and some other game Kim made some fabulous music for.. (I guess Maniacs Of Noise was hard competition).
Later I joined 'Starion', which was the last C64 group I was an active member of. While being in Starion I coded my third music player, which actually turned out to be a fairly good player. (It's still used out there in the 64 demo scene!) All this happened over a period of three years.
At some time I finished normal school and went on into high school and I met some people laying in bands… I didn't really know much about playing the keyboards, but I joined a band as a keyboard player, and developed slowly. For the first year of high school I kept on doing 64 music, and I did some work for Maniacs of Noise and later I joined Vibrants. In late 1990.. I stopped 64'ing and I only composed music for the band.
In 1992 I finished high school aged 19.. I got a job at a fish factory. (aaaaaarrrrgggg!) I worked there for five sucky months (the worst 5 months of my life!)
In February 1993 I travelled to China with a friend for 2 and a half months, where we did absolutely as little as possible.. (what a brilliant time that was) Unfortunately I broke my arm playing volleyball, and I had to head home to Denmark again.
I started working in a kindergarten, and I was back in the band business. 1993 went fast and in 1994 I went to a kind of school we called "hoejskole" which directly translated to highschool but is nothing like highschool. Its a place where you only work with creative things… music/theatre/journalism/nature etc.. I did theatre.
After finishing the school, I moved to Aarhus in Denmark to study as a computer systems programmer, but I quit after 1 week, finding it NOT MY THING! I had an offer from a little Danish software company make music for a game called 'Super Star Wars' for the PC and they offered me a PC with sound card, and midi interface.

I did the music and they offered me another job with a car game and I did that also. In December 1994 I was contacted by Geir Tjelta, who worked at Funcom in Oslo, he asked me and Drax if we were interested in moving to Oslo and work for Funcom as musicians, but we both rejected, hence Drax was still doing highschool, and I didn't wanna move to Oslo. But instead I was offered freelance work from Funcom in spring 1995. I was doing Pocahontas for Disney.. in the summer, Funcom was pushing to get me to Oslo, and I finally agreed in July 1995. I moved in mid October and I’ve been doing music for the game ever since.

I understand that Jeroen Tel, Danko and yourself did some music for a Disney Productions game and they were not used, even though they were of high quality. Is this true? what happened in this situation?

I'm afraid I can't comment on that due to my contract with Funcom.

What disadvantages and advantages musically, have the C64, Amiga and PC.

Hmm..  Hard question!.. if I was to talk about the 64 first, I'd say that the biggest advantage of the 64, is the quality of it's generated sound. They are amazing compared to what I've ever heard on synthesis. But the disadvantage of the 64 is the lack of channels. We are only speaking of 3, which is very little (and only one filtered voice!)
The Amiga... advantage… everything is samples… disadvantage.. but only 8 bits and 4 voices without panning, and it requires a lot of memory that the Amiga doesn't have! But still.. some musicians have made some amazing stuff on it... whoa!!... (Hi Jogeir !! 8)
The PC... Sums up the advantages of the Amiga and adds the quality and memory that the Amiga cannot. Today we can make 32 voice of 16 bit samples at high rate. Further more, PC is expandable, in a very unique (sometimes very lame) way that allows us to make the PC do whatever we want. Midi, for instance, work very week with the PC... if you have a good midi interface card... disadvantages for PC... MICROSOFT!

What is your personal opinion about the following musicians;

Rob Hubbard - He's probably my all time favourite… the best on C64 ever! (Martin right behinJ). Tim Follin - What can I say... brilliant.. he made some amazing stuff on C64 to my knowledge. Jeroen Tel - Very musical guy to say the least… his old C64 music was very good in terms of sound and rather good in terms of melodics. He's a very professional guy, who knows a lot about what he's doing. (I don't like your rave stuff, Jeroen, it sux, but I don't like that coming from anybody!)

Drax - The best musician on the C64 today...!!!
Metal - Doing mostly XMs these days.. and they are good too.
Danko - He made a lot of C64 music, but I’ve yet to listen to one that I like.

What would you regard as your personal favourite tune you composed on C64/PC? and why..
That's a pretty hard question. Especially now, where I haven't been listening to my C64 music for quite some time. But anyhow, I guess my favourite tune is "The Alibi", along with a pretty recent song called "Wisdom" (a one and a half year old tune!) Why? I can't give a logical answer to that... I just like them the best..!

What is your current computer hardware you own, including other musical equipment you may have.?

I own a lousy PC.. A 486DX2 66mhz with 500 Mb hard disk, and 8 megs internal + AWE32 (Yak! I should buy a GUS MAX), Roland MPU 401 Midi interface and all that...  Apart from that I own 1 Roland RD 500 (electric piano), 1 Roland Sc-55 (Scc -1 equivalent), 1 Korg M1 and 1 Roland Juno 60 (an old analog keyboarJ).

What in your opinion is the most important factor in making a group successful?

The right people! You can not generalise that I think...

What is the one question you'd most like to be asked in this interview?

That question be.. "Do you think techno and the like is shitty music??" and the answer would be.. "Yes.. it suxx!" Honestly I wouldn't know what i'd like to be asked..! I let the journalist decide!

I think the readers would be interested in finding out what your favourites of the following are...
Scener: Sodan
Cracker: None
Crack Group: None
Demo Group: The guys with the 'Think Twice' series
Programmer: Einstein or Mario Van Zeist.. (Hi!..)
Graphician:  Mom
Musician: Dad
Magazine: None
Game (64/PC): C64 - Exploding Fist 1+2, PC - Duke 3D
Food: Does it have a name?
Drink: I think they call it Pepsi!
Sexual Position: Most
Movie: The Star Wars Trilogy
Music Group: Keith Jarret Trio
TV Serial : All the spelling ones.... NOT!

So what does the future hold for you and the C64? Commercial game music, the legal scene or even a collection?
I don't know about that.. so far I’m spending most of my time either making game music in a studio, or learning myself 'fasttracker'.. (Which means composing stuff!)

That all means, that the 64 is standing in some corner of my office getting real dusty! But I promise I’ll take it out now and then, to make some music on it. (I'll probably get stuck again..!) About going commercial on the 64, I’m not to sure… But it all depends on the market. I've been in contact with Jeroen Tel, and he looks very brightly upon the destiny of the 64, hence it's been released on the Chinese market! So if he's right.. you'll all see more of me on the 64..!

We are nearing the end. Please feel free to say hello to any friends..

I'd like to give my regards to the following people, although some of them will never see this media. Regards go to: Kristina Rosenkrand, Forgensen (you are the best.. Do you wanna marry me>..) Esben Hallund Dostergaard (my best frienJ), Thomas 'Drax' Mogensen (for nice discussions about most things, especially philosophy..), The Brain Bug Team at Softgold. (you guys are amazing... Ole, Sam, Jesper, Joergen, Soeren etc..) Jeroen Tel (for talking too much... else being a loyal friend... But you like Kristina too much I think.. hehe!) Metal, JCH, Youth and Yavin of HeatWave.. (gee!) all the rest I forgot... (I know there's a lot of them).

Well that’s it from me to you, but is there any last words you would like to say to leave a final impression on the audience?

Beware of imitations..! hehe!.. and thank you for your time, of course! Mr. Laxity signing off anno 1996.

Thanks for your time Thomas and I am sure the reader's hope for some new music from you soon.