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Old 1st December 2016

Do you still follow the demoscene, i.e. listen to that kind of music, watch demos or even visit parties?

I did follow the scene for quite a long time after I left but have not followed the scene for a few years. Once in a while I check out the new demos released at the big parties and it's amazing to see the evolution and how artistic demos have become. I have not visited a demo party since probably The Party 2 in 1992. I do feel eternally grateful for being so involved and rooted in the demo scene.

The demo scene was a perfect place to learn how to make music without any constraints whatsoever. When the Swedish division of Silents asked us to join their group and we became Silents DK, we really wanted to show what we could do and it was a great friendly competitive place to grow up. Silents Sweden was an amazing bunch of guys and a couple of years after we joined they started a game company called Digital Illusions or DICE as they are called today.

In the demo scene I feel like we did everything we set out to do and more. Arranging our own Demo Party in 1990 (Silents - Red Sector) which was a huge success was so much fun. Around that time we all went to a lot of demo parties trying to figure out how to make great demos.

Then came "The Party" which The Silents co-sponsored and that went on for 12 years and became one of the biggest demo parties at the time. Performing our music at The Party 2 was another highlight. No one had done that before and I don't think people knew quite what to think. Creating the first video demo to hit the demo scene, which gave birth to a new sub-genre of the scene, later termed a "wild demo" - that was also a cool thing to be part of. That video demo (Global Trash 2) was shown on MTV and got us involved with making a music video for a popular Danish dance band. Making music videos was really interesting and we made 6-7 of them for our live performances. We played a few demo scene events (typically there were about 3,000 people at the big events) but making music videos and performing live wasn’t really our thing - we wanted to make games.

Silents DK was known for art, music and production quality and once we met another local Danish demo group called Crionics, which was made up of mostly programmers, this amazing thing happened. Crionics was known as a really hardcore programming group and that is exactly what we had been looking for. So we decided to make a demo together which became Hardwired.

After we released Hardwired we were already working on several Amiga games and that's when we officially joined forces and started a game developer company called Zyrinx. We switched to developing for the Sega Genesis since we knew about the popularity of that machine, especially in the States, and we wanted to enter the game industry with a game that had potential to sell more units than Amiga games.

There was nothing these Crionics guys couldn’t program and they would program everything from scratch in Assembly language. Really hardcore stuff. One of the programmers, Jens Albretsen developed this insane music program for the Amiga 4000 that would connect directly to a Sega Genesis Dev Kit and create 6 channels of pure FM 44hz CD quality music. That allowed me to really get creative with music making on the Sega Genesis. That just goes to show we were not going to use some 3rd party software in our games (even for music and sfx).

The first Genesis game we did was Subterrania and that was sold to Sega, which is when we moved to Boston to continue work on our 2nd game Red Zone (IO Interactive was later founded by the members of Zyrinx).

Most of my teenage years were spent in the demo scene creating music, starting at 13 when I got my first computer, the Commodore 64 and then switching to Amiga and joining Silents DK. I would make a song each day and once I got my music out there I was able to contribute music to many big groups in the scene. It was a great way for me to start out in a creative environment that was completely open-ended at the same time. And working with computers also got us used to technology always changing, and for me that meant constantly figuring out new ways to make music. I think it was a perfect way for me to graduate into the game industry. In a sense my music was born in the demo scene and then it evolved in the game industry.

Question: Which was your first tracker? I remember prior to Protracker there were SoundTracker and NoiseTracker. I presume you used some of these.

That would be the original SoundTracker. I also used Sound Monitor on the C64, not sure if that one is considered a tracker though.

Question: Did you used the legendary ST-01, ST-02, ST-03, etc ... sound tracker sample disks?

Sure, my first 50 or so tracks in SoundTracker were all made with the original ST1 and ST2 disks. Then I started sampling my own sounds. Another cool thing about the trackers is that when you get a song from another composer you get all his instruments too, there were a lot of instruments being reused from composers as well.

Question: I would be interested to hear more about the program you(?) wrote for synthesizing and sequencing the fm chip for this genesis/megadrive. do you still fire it up on an emulator or anything? was it tracker style or?

The Genesis music program was made by Zyrinx programmer Jens Albretsen. It only runs on Amiga 4000 (as far as I know) together with a Megadrive devkit. It's a tracker style program for FM sounds.

Question: Do you ever dig up the old C64 or Amiga to mess around with, or maybe even as a sound source for your productions?

I actually left the C64 and Amiga 500 back in Denmark and I don't have the Amiga 4000 anymore.