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Mark Cooksey |
TLb. ,dMP' all rite, now you get the chance to read
TML.dMMP some facts about some of the major amiga
,nmm`XXMPX musicians. read about their history in
,#MP'~~XNXYNXTb. the scene and their plans in future.yes,
,d~' dNNP `YNTb. that's meant to be read while listening to
,~ ,NN' `YNb their modules. read 'em over and over and over..
,NN' `b. · i n t e r v i e w · ___________
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\___P___/ .\--\__ __/__ |--\____)---\ _____/__ |--\_ \ _/
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Handle: Mark Cooksey
Date of birth: 18/01/1966
Using computers at school around 1982 and then increased interest with the
1st home computer that I bought in 1984 which was an Oric Atmos.
Oric atoms 32k, Commodore 64, Amstrad CPC, Sanyo 286 PC. I still have the
Oric and the C64 the others I gave away to a cancer charity so that they
could sell them for a small amount of money.
I applied for a job at Elite systems in february 1985 as a trainee games
programmer. To prove that I knew something about assmembly language programming
they gave me the task of writing a music player in 6502 for my Oric computer.
They wanted me to also programme a tune using this player and this music was the
theme tune to Airwolf. I got a job at Elite on this basis, and of course was
roped into doing music from that point on. So really it was by accident, if
they had asked me to write a sprite routine perhaps I would have been doing
I use at the moment Logic Audio Platinum on the PC. Previously I have used
Cubase PC and Logic Notator on the Atari ST.
Difficult to say. At lot of the early stuff was really bad because the music
player programme I was supplied with was very simple, only about 50 lines of
code. When I wrote my own custom player for the C64 the quality improved.
I'm most remembered for the C64 version of Ghosts 'n' Goblins all though I
dont think this was the best music I've ever done. My personal favourites
on the C64 are Felix (title tune) and some of the music in Storm Warrior.
I think the worse music I ever did was for the C64 version of Frank Bruno's
boxing. They asked me to do the music on a Thursday and I was going on holiday
for 2 weeks the next day. So I took the Rocky theme tune and bodged it together
really quickly and then made a quick get away to my holiday. I hadn't written
my own music player at the time and so the combination of a crap music routine,
and doing the tune in a couple of hours, led to a really awful and eminently
forgettable music track!
Music is most important in demos or games. Especially in todays almost movie
like PC and console titles. Like in a movie the music can set the atmosphere
of the game and portray danger and inspire emotions at relevant points, if done
I compose both professionally and for leisure as well. I'm doing a lot of
Gameboy music at the moment. This pays reasonably well but isn't that
artistically fulfilling. Also I have arranged the Ghosts'n Goblins theme
using modern synth technology for a commercial CD called Back In Time II
which features modern arrangements of C64 game music, composed by the likes
of Rob Hubbard and Martin Galway etc. Chris Abbott who masterminded this
CD as also asked me to do 2 tunes for the next CD in the series i.e Back In
Time III. To this end I have arranged some Storm Warrior tunes which Chris
may use on this CD. Chris's website (www.c64audio.com) has loads of demos
on it and I think my music may appear there at some point in the future
If you mean the formats of the music then I think we have taken a big leap
forward, especially with MP3. It means music is accessible to more people
and makes internet download times for tunes more realistic. On a pesonal
basis MP3 means I can take all my old tapes, records etc. and convert them to
MP3 then put them on A CD. I can fit loads of albums and tapes on 1 CD.
The only downside to MP3 (and the other formats to some degree) is the
piracy issue which costs the record industry lots of money.
(Perhaps they should drop the prices of CDs, especially in Britain,
most chart CD's cost about £15.)
I liked a lot of Rob Hubbard stuff on the C64. When I first heard
'Thing On A Spring' it really blew my mind. Other tunes I liked were
'Crazy Comets' and 'Delta'.
I don't have any plans to re-master old computer games music other than
the stuff for Chris Abbott. However over the years I have produced lots
of full music tracks which I may consider releasing on a CD if there is
any demand for it. Of course I have produced a demo CD with some full
length tracks and some excerpts of tracks which I use when attempting
to secure music contracts.
I've really got a very broad musical taste, the only music I dont like is
really over the top opera, over improvised jazz and some of the really
heavy metal and punk sounds.
At the moment I quite liking listening to bands such as The Corrs, The
Stereophonics and some of the Pet Shop Boys tracks. On a lighter note,
before going out on the town I like listening to dance music to get me
in the mood or something like the Cher 'Believe' album.
The C64/Amiga scene got me known as a musician in the games industry and
has led to me doing my hobby (music) as a job for over 15 years. Although
I have never earnt megabucks I have been happy in the main doing music as
a career. Even the really bad stuff I did now gives me pleasure cause I
can look back at it and laugh about it and consider how things have
moved on in those 15 years.
Programming Gameboy music and doing music for the Back In Time CD's means that
to a degree
I am still in the scene. Hopefully there is a long and fruitful future in
producing music for computer games. If not I'll have to get a proper job
along with all the other pawns in the rat race.
I'd like to say Hi to Pete Connelly, Chris Brighton, Chris Abbott and all the
other musicians I've met who have been able to teach me new ideas and
hopefully they have learnt something off me too.
Finally I'd like to say a big thanks to all the companies and individuals who
have given me work over the years (especially the ones who pay on time) and
to my friends and family who have supported me through the good times and bad.
(Good grief! can you imagine my Oscar acceptance speech if I ever won one).
please note: this interview is ©opyrighted in 2001 by crown of cryptoburners
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