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The Warlock 
Handle: The Warlock
Real Name: Jukka Aho
Lived in: Finland
Ex.Handles: Warlock
Was a member of: Dimension 4 (DM4), Grace (GRC - GCE)

Modules: 9  online
Interview: Read!
Pictures: n/a

Interview


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          `n.          .rP'
           `qb       ,dP'
            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..
             dNP        `Yb.  
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    Handle: Warlock (The)

    Group: Dimension 4, Grace SF

    Date of birth: 30-Mar-1976


  • 1-How did your interest for computers start? Which year was that?

  • It all began when a friend of mine bought a Commodore Vic-20. That must
    have been at around 1982. I was roughly six years old; my friend was a
    couple of years older.

    When he first told me about his plans, I recall asking rather uninformed
    questions like "aren't computers hideously expensive - how could a
    schoolboy afford one", and "wouldn't you need a whole room to house
    one". Obviously I already had _some_ conception of computers, but I was
    thinking of scientists in lab coats and panels of blinking lights...
    Once the computer arrived, that was all cleared up, of course.

    My friend mainly used his brand new Vic-20 for programming simple BASIC
    games. (I recall he had the "Super Expander" BASIC extender and memory
    expansion module.) He often used me as his test audience. From time to
    time, he was also letting me to experiment on his computer on my own,
    and we occasionally played some commercial
    games ("Raid on Fort Knox" springs to mind!)

    So, that was my first touch with computers. As these things usually go,
    one thing leads to the other, and some six months later I was a proud
    owner of a Commodore 64, which my parents bought me as a Christmas
    present after I had defeated them in my persuasion campaign.


  • 2-What machines did you previously have? What did you do with them?

  • "Previously"? Watch your language! You make it sound like people would
    actually throw their old computers away! :)

    I have owned a Commodore 64, an Osborne 1, an Amiga 500, an Amiga 3000,
    various types of PC clones, and several IBM Netstation Series 300 thin clients.
    Oh, and a TI-85 graphical calculator (it's got a Z80 and it's more
    powerful than the Osborne I, so it will have to count!)

    Some other machines I've used more than just in passing (but not
    actually owned): Vic-20, Sega SC3000, Commodore 128, Osborne 1, Apple
    II, Amstrad PC1512, various MSX compatibles, various Macs. I've also
    touched (in passing) the keyboards of Amiga 1000, Amiga 2000, Amiga
    4000, Amiga 1200, Salora Fellow, Acorn Archimedes, some Sun
    Sparcstations, and a NeXT, to name but a few.

    I still own the C64 and the Amiga 3000, the IBM Netstations, the Osborne
    I and an Ampex A220 (a dumb video terminal.)

    What did I do with them? The operative term is 80's style "home
    computing": small-scale programming, tinkering with graphics and sound
    features, finding new, creative uses for computers at home (which was a
    new concept at that time); experimenting with everything, hacking my way
    around limitations. I had a mouse, a copy of GEOS and a printer for the
    C64; I got a modem for the Amiga which opened up a whole new world of
    BBS discussions and downloadable files. Gaming was never particularly
    high on my priority list, but I did my fair share of that, too. I've
    done video titling, computer animations for video, raytracing, video
    editing etc. Listing the things I _didn't_ ever do on a home computer
    would probably be easier than listing the things I did.


  • 3-For what specific reason did you end up making music rather than gfx, coding?

  • Badly formed question, again. :) I've done all of these, though I have
    not "coded" for any demoscene production. But we can rephrase that
    simply as "how did I end up making music on a computer", right?

    Some credit must be attributed to the fact that I took piano and guitar
    lessons as a child and in my teens. I was often playing my own little
    improvised tunes and themes on the family piano, even though I didn't
    yet actively develop them into coherent songs at that time. Frankly, I
    was usually _more_ interested in my own tunes and improvisations - or
    playing tv and movie themes by ear - than playing compositions of people
    who had been dead for centuries (much to the dismay of my music
    teachers!)

    Once I got a computer on my own, I naturally started paying some
    attention to the tunes in the games, music demos and cracker intros.
    It's probably correct to say that the SID tunes I heard on my Commodore
    64 during the first couple of years were really my first touch with
    synthesized music - and, in some ways, also my first touch with
    "grown-up" music. (Mind you, I was 7 or 8 years old at the time.)

    I actually heard many classic pop tunes - including Faltermeyer's "Axel
    F", Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven" and many pieces from Jarre - as
    SID renditions first, and the original versions only later. (I didn't
    listen much radio at all in those days, and didn't buy much commercial
    music. One of the reasons for that must have been the [then-current]
    state of the Finnish radio stations, which were really underdeveloped
    and backwards up until the late 80's. One of the other reasons was that
    I didn't really have much money for buying records or C cassettes.)

    On a parallel timeline, my friend (the very same guy who bought the
    Vic-20), was getting more and more interested in music, and purchased a
    synthesizer, a MIDI sequencer, and a drum machine, letting me borrow
    them a couple of times. The idea of composing music in a pattern-based
    fashion became familiar that way, and that was also my first touch with
    MIDI.

    I didn't compose anything on the C64 yet, as I didn't have the necessary
    software tools or skills to program them myself, but I deeply admired
    the SID wizards of the time (Hubbard et al.) I recall I was always
    feeling kind of sorry for all my friends who owned all these _other_
  • 8-bit computers, since their music capabilities were clearly pitiful
  • when compared to the C64: just soulless electronic blips and bleeps. SID
    music was (and still is!) something completely different to ordinary
    "computer music" in its quality: there is warmth, character, and
    satisfying resonance and roughness to its sound. (Kudos to Bob Yannes,
    who designed the chip!)

    There are literally dozens of great SID tunes that I _still_ listen to
    from time to time, and I'm absolutely delighted of the high activity on
    the SID remix scene ( etc.)

    Then came the year 1985. I had naturally read all the magazine articles
    about the Amiga, but the first time I actually saw and touched one was
    at my relative's place, about half a year later. He had an Amiga 1000
    running Deluxe Paint.

    The concept of drawing high-resolution (320x200!) multicolor computer
    graphics with a mouse and, on the other hand, having a modern, powerful,
    multitasking graphical windowing system at your fingertips was exciting,
    but the A1000 would clearly have been too expensive for me. I had no
    choice but keep using my trusty old C64. (I also didn't hear any sound
    output from the Amiga during that short visit, so I had no idea of how
    Amiga fared on that front.)

    The second time I saw - and actually heard! - an Amiga was a couple of
    years later, at my cousin's. It was a brand new A500. Once I arrived, ny
    cousin had it running a Breakout clone called "Crystal Hammer", on a
    C=1084S stereo monitor. The title screen was colorful, high-resolution,
    and almost photorealistic, and the game was playing back Karsten
    Obarski's music - IN STEREO and WITH SAMPLED INSTRUMENTS!

    That tune (and the spacey stereo feeling in it, as Karsten bounces the
    notes between the left and right channels) sounded better than anything
    I had heard on a computer before. I instantly fell in love with that
    machine. I also experimented with Deluxe Paint and the Workbench again,
    took a quick peek at shell commands, and decided that _this_ is it - I
    got to get one of these myself.

    Not too long after that tryout, I had bought my very own Amiga 500.

    Then a friend of mine copied me Oktalyzer - and _that's_ when I started
    composing music on a computer. It felt a bit like I would have suddenly
    got a collection of musical instruments (a drum machine, a sampler and a
    sequencer) for free.


  • 4-Which composing programs have you been using? Which one in particular?

  • Oktalyzer, SoundTracker, NoiseTracker, ProTracker, OctaMED. I've also
    had some brief encounters with Dr. T's "KCS" and Blue Ribbon's "Bars &
    Pipes Professional".

    (Oktalyzer, ProTracker, and OctaMED are the ones I have used the most.)


  • 5-With which module did you feel you had reached your goal?

  • My most ambitious works have been composed in OctaMED, utilizing its
    MIDI features, and a separate MIDI keyboard acting as a sound module.
    These have been done outside any scene affiliation, and they are
    generally not in public circulation.

    I have also made some unfinished 4-channel modules (stored away
    somewhere) which I might easily end up liking better than some of the
    released ones if I only had the time to finish them some day.

    As for the published ones, "Guitarous" seems to be the one that usually
    gathers the most favorable comments from random people, though that may
    be simply because Alexander Stock decided to include it as a sample tune
    with his MOD2MIDI tool (which means "Guitarous" has easily had the
    greatest exposure and circulation of all of my released works.)


  • 6-Is there a tune you would like not to remember? For what reason?

  • Can't think of any. The earlier ones are certainly more amateurish and
    less polished than the later ones, but that's to be expected! On the
    other hand, I didn't really release all that many in the end (and the
    really, really bad ones were, of course, ditched a long time before
    anyone ever heard them.) The smallish tunes (in the <40 KB range) are
    simple and small on purpose: they were composed for boot menus and
    similar purposes where you can't sacrifice tons of disk space for the
    music.

    Looking back, maybe I could have thought better names for some the
    tunes, but naming
    your own compositions is always a chore. You often end up with silly
    random names if you can't be bothered to give it a serious thought at
    the time of the release.


  • 7-In your opinion, what's the value of a music in a demo, game?

  • Just like in movies and prime time tv shows, music sets the atmosphere
    and mood for games as well. Music can, on its own part, help in holding
    up the suspension of disbelief, making the make-believe worlds
    believable. That's actually a very important thing, especially in the
    narrative games which are trying to tell you a story.

    Music, of course, can play a very important role in synchronized demos
    as well, but ironically, in many cases the demo music modules have
    easily outlived the actual demo. :)


  • 8-At present, are you still composing? For professional or leisure purposes?

  • I've done both to some extent, but I don't currently have the time for
    serious composing. I'd like to get back into that, though - and I
    probably will.

    (The inspiration for composing seems to be a thing that comes and
    goes in phases.)


  • 9-What do you think of today's pieces of music such as mpeg,wave,midi,etc...?

  • I'm not sure if I follow the question. If you mean to ask if the "mpeg",
    "wave" or "midi" formats are better or worse for composing and
    distributing music than traditional modules (or SID tunes and the like,
    for that matter), that really has to be decided on a case-by-case basis.

    I hold the belief that technically restricted and challenging music
    formats and tools should be used more - not less - especially in the
    early phases when working with the themes, riffs and bacrdounds.
    Sometimes the limitations of the instrument seem to bring out the best
    of a composer. If you have virtually unlimited resources (as far as
    instruments, tracks and recording quality go), the danger is that your
    tunes will lose their rough edges and originality, and they will begin
    to sound just like any other bland pop tune you can hear on the radio.

    Computer music used to have its own sort of distinctive quality, but now
    that many games are using music produced with "real" instruments, and
    software houses even hire the top pop group of the day to do the tracks
    for them, that's easily lost. I'm not saying composers and softare
    houses should necessarily stay with the old formats and tools, but
    keeping your music influenced and open to the past would be nice.

    The SIDstation (which is a MIDI sound module built around the Commodore
    64's SID chip) is a prime example of what I'm talking about: even if you
    have modernized all your tools and instruments, and are no longer
    restricted to having just three synthesized oscillators, you don't have
    to _totally_ abandon and forget the past - you can mix and match. Google
    for some tunes of "Rezo Largul" to see what I mean.


  • 10-Could you tell us some of your all times favourite tunes?

  • - Alistair Brimble's absolutely brilliant work in "Alien Breed"

    - Olof Gustafsson's every bit as brilliant tunes in "Pinball Dreams" and
    "Pinball Fantasies".

    - Walkman's "Klisje paa Klisje"

    - Romeo Knight's "Boesendorfer P.S.S."

    - Fleshbrain's "Neodrink" (15 minutes of developing themes!)

    - Chris Glaiste's haunting "Lost Patrol" theme (especially when combined
    with the intro screen slide show in the game.)

    - Audiomonster's tunes in "Flashback"; especially the haunting
    "flashback-options1" (aka flash4.mod), which I've sometimes listened for
    hours in the backround on repeat. He should really rework this into a
    proper song and publish it on a CD, or something.

    - Karsten Obarski's "Crystal Hammer" (well, perhaps not the best of the
    mod tunes overall, but one of the best of _its own time_, when Obarski
    was just about the only person tracking. :)

    - Almost everything by Dizzy and Heatbeat

    - The tunes from Monkey Island 1

    There are many others I should have mentioned, but I'll have to stop
    somewhere.

    As for the C64 side, Rob Hubbard's "Nemesis the Warlock", "Commando",
    "Zoids", and many others. Then there's Martin Galway, of course, with
    his "Ocean loaders", "Miami Vice", "Rambo" etc. Oh, and the funky
    "Boulder Dash" and "Spy vs Spy I" themes.


  • 11-Are you planning to make an audio cd with some of your music remastered?

  • Not at the moment. Never say never, though. I'd perhaps like to develop
    some ideas and themes further, especially using some of my unfinished
    material.


  • 12-What bands are you currently listenning to?

  • I don't really listen to "bands" all that much. (Why? Bands often change
    their style from one album to the other, and while I might like one of
    the albums very much, the next one may already be pretty bad.) But
    here's
    a list of some of my now-current favorite albums:

    Kemopetrol: "Slowed Down" (excellent trip-hop; get this album if you
    can!)
    Sting: "Ten Summoner's Tales"
    Toto: "Tambu"
    Jamiroquai: "The Return of the Space Cowboy"
    Jan Hammer: "Escape from Television" (Themes used in Miami Vice)
    Kolmas nainen: "Hikiset siivut" (A Finnish down-to-earth rock band)
    Janita: "Sävyjä" (Ma Baker's Soul Factory)

    Some other artists with great songs, compositions and performances,
    in no particular order: Vince DiCola, Jean Michel Jarre, Vangelis,
    Madonna, John Williams, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Dave Weckl, Gary
    Moore, Rush, Clannad, Rinneradio, Trio Töykeät, Lenni-Kalle Taipale,
    Sade, The Police, Genesis, Neljä ruusua, Robin Williams, Seal, and
    probably many others I forgot to mention.

    I'm pretty much genre-agnostic, but I'm trying to avoid raspy-voiced
    stadion rockers, sloppy MTV-style rhytm & blues, punk, gabber, happy
    hardcore etc., and most of anything labelled as "rap" or "hip-hop".
    (Sorry.)

    Skillful and thoughtful rock, jazz, electronic dance music in its many
    shapes and forms, movie soundtracks, soul, funk, pop, ethno (especially
    celtic music), synth pop etc. is what will usually get my attention.
    I also listen to classical music.


  • 13-What does/did the amiga/c64 scene give you?

  • It was a nice experience. I was never very deeply involved with the
    scene circles, but I enjoyed the productions (both participating
    in creating them and viewing the finished ones!) and the subculture
    (such as the disk magazines with their party reports etc.) Most of
    all, if it weren't for the scene, many great tunes would have been
    left uncomposed, and many creative people unrecognized, and that
    would have been a shame!


  • 14-Are you still active in the scene these days?

  • Nope. For me, "the scene" pretty much died after Commodore's demise (and
    the subsequent decline of the Amiga as a popular hobbyist computing
    platform.)

    I never really understood the "PC scene". Where's the challenge of
    creating demos (or music for them, for that matter) if you don't have a
    common hardware platform with its common restrictions?


  • 15-Anyone to greet? Anything left to say? Feel free...

  • Greetings to all. Keep trackin'!


    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
    please note: this interview is ©opyrighted in 2005 by crown of cryptoburners
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------


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