A SID Adventure – Introducing JAMMER / Artstate

Hi Kamil ! Welcome to ‘iamretro.gr’ ! Very glad to have you here !

– Hello ! My pleasure.

Let’s start with the usual stuff ! Could you please introduce yourself to our readers ? (Your name, current job/occupation and everything else you want to share)…

– I’ll try to be rather brief here 😉 Kamil Wolnikowski [ http://jammerstudio.pl/ ], better recognized among C64 demosceners as Jammer, belonging to way too many groups, raping SID for quite a few years and feeling absolutely no guilt out of this 😀 In real life I hopelessly try to make ends meet taking care for audio part mostly in mobile games. Sadly, I cannot boast more recognized titles (apart from Fury Of The Gods for iOS which was moderate hit). In general, pretending to be an adult and still living with mother in my 30’s 😀

You’ve been an active scener quite a long time now. What is the Commodore 64’s mystic element that attracted you to start creating and get involved to 64’s demo scene ?

– Commodore 64 is one of the most important elements of my childhood. While other kids were running around the bushes and playing soccer, I was writing ridiculous BASIC games and trying to squeeze my first sounds out of Voicetracker 4 (with rather pitiful outcome that you might witness taking a plunge into my HVSC oldies dir). In general, I started my long C64 adventure being stubborn and awkward 8yo kid, while first SID attempts came out two years later – which is more or less 1993. In the meantime I was devouring every release of Polish ‘Commodore & Amiga‘ papermag and building initial idea of other C64 geeks and demoscene gathered around. I realized there are meetings of those, competitions and stuff but I had no guts to get any scene contact at that time. Still, I don’t regret it at all – I came across scene in the right period, I might say (2001/2002), which strangely enough coincided with me turning adult, not to mention I didn’t have to feel ashamed of my attempts anymore (at least not that much) 😀

Amen,Bigbeat Brother! - Release @ Gubbdata 2015 - Jammer

 

It was initially all about good old love from the childhood (as in majority of cases around here) but turned to completely different point. My naive and unconditional love for the beloved platform changed into some kind of masochism and pleasure of squeezing the most advanced content possible out of very limited hardware. That’s the biggest drive nowadays, I guess. SID is in fact very handy synthesizer that aged really well and still can surprise me and the others as well. The very scene turned out a bunch of cocky yet awesome, passionate and dedicated guys that I quickly fell in love with and I have to say it’s really heartwarming experience to know that there are more no-lives out there, sharing your passion (wink, wink) and having as much fun as you do. I’m also very lucky to witness probably the best moment for demoscene when quantity evolved into quality – sceners aged, got experienced, many of them evolved into professionals in respective arts and that can be felt in their scene releases as well. I know some people miss golden 80s, 90s, boring scrolls, ugly logos and music from Future Composer but that’s definitely not for me. I’m the happiest guy around getting stuck in demoscene right here and right now.

Floatee - MultiStyle Labs - Release @ The SID Compo III, 11/2003 - Jammer (Music)

 

Have you a music theory background ? Have you studied it or you compose by experience ?

– Oh, hell no! 😀 Absolutely no theory, no school. All is self taught. I’m still learning things about composition, arrangement and production by myself – slowly, at my pace but steadily. One thing I regret a bit is that I haven’t mastered any live instrument at all. But if it was anything, I’d aim for drums, most probably – tried it twice and it was nice experience. And I’m quite good at beatbox, well, sort of 😉

Are you active to others system’s demo scene, as well ?

– I had a brief affair with PC demoscene in 2005, being invited by ALLien Senses group which is nowadays inactive to my knowledge. Apart from that, quite an avid Impulse Tracker guy in 2001/2002, partially connected with another love which is Unreal/Unreal Tournament and first Unreal Engine from 1998. There’s still quite dedicated yet not very numerous scene around those titles and custom maps for them. You can find my old IT modules at http://modules.pl run by AceMan. Some of them are really cringe worthy but still a piece of my own history, I guess 😉 Besides, I’d gladly try composing for another chips like POKEY or 2600’s TIA in free time.

I'm Telling Ya - MultiStyle Labs - Release @ X'2010 - Jammer (Music)

 

Which is your favorite chip to work with ? 6581 or 8580 ?

– Definitely 8580 which is more flexible in my opinion, not to mention it allows me to use far more tricks – all trademark sounds from my trickbag are definitely 8580 oriented 😉 Of course I love that dirty and acid quality of 6581 – it’s irreplaceable for some goals and I know that guys like Soren (former Jeff) can totally rape it (and even squeeze a bit of bass out of those farts, he!he!he! 😀 ).

Black Spark 100% - Black Sun - Release 5/2010 - Code : Nitro, snerg / GraphX : Carrion, Jammer, Miras / Music : Jammer / Loader : Krill

 

Speaking of SID, what can you say about its emulation ? I am referring to SwinSID and SwinSID Nano. Are they going to get further evolving ? Did or do you use them ? Do you think that one day will all witness a perfect 1:1 SID replacement ?

– My experience with SwinSID and knowledge about this chip is very limited. I was listening to it mainly during some presentation at Silesia Party. With all my respect to the author, it sounded really crappy to my taste, unless the guy wanted to do something alternative to SID, instead of nailing faithful emulation. Examples from his website weren’t much better. Not a fan, unfortunately – I’d opt for HardSID if I was to choose from. On the other hand, SID emulation in general became really satisfying – those days when Goat Tracker project, SidPlay and output from real SID were nothing alike are luckily gone and I usually know what to expect when I get into the depths of soundchip. Total 1:1 accuracy is not that vital imho – mind that what we hear is also very much about output speakers connected so not everyone remembers sound of C64 the same 😉

Pi  - EXclusive ON - Released @ Forever 5 / Placed #1, 2004 - Volcano, Jammer (GraphX and Music), Habib, K.M. (Loader)

 

What is your preferable trackers ? …to which platform ? Real hardware, emulator or both ?

– I’m definitely so called emu-lamer 😀 My weapon of choice for SIDs is entirely cross-platform Goat Tracker, I check the compilation with SidPlay 2.6 while my poor old C64 collects all dust in cupboard but I occasionally have luck to hear my things on real hardware. Oh well, life… For regular job I use FL Studio / Adobe Audition which are not really trackers. And, besides, I used to compose with Impulse Tracker which was mentioned before.

Impulsetracker-2.14

Could you give us a picture of your studio ? …your equipment ? Show us some magic please 🙂

– Well, current state of my room doesn’t allow me to present any photos – believe me, you’ll be grateful that I’ve spared you this awful view 😀 In general, my studio equipment serves as SID output as well. As I’m helping myself with emulation, I rely on pc interface which is E-MU 0404 USB – old but reliable, together with pair of killing KRK VXT8 which are far too big for my place.Doing SIDs with professional monitors really pays off and Linus will agree with me about that for sure 😉

izob

Can you describe a typical day in your studio ?

– Well, I either work or waste my time – preferably the latter 😀 I assume you’re not really interested in my regular job so question is about SID composing. I’m almost entirely about improvising what can be heard in tunes (unfortunately) – one of those guys who hate planning things, setting them up and having no foggiest idea what’s going to happen tomorrow or in 5 minutes, including my own activities. Usually it’s about some impulse, surge of idea and I instantly try to verbalize it via most appropriate medium, including SID naturally. I’m really quick about ideas, introduce them lightning fast in Goat Tracker, then I usually lose interest, get tired and abandon majority of projects. Still, some of my WIPs are lucky enough to be dug out again and even completed 😀 That would sum it all up.

I have been a fan of ‘Samar Productions’ for a quite long time. Ramos was more than a friend to me. You are a member since 2002. How did you join the group ?

– Well, no surprise – Ramos invited me 😀 I’ve been already releasing first tunes under MultiStyle Labs label and there was Polish website gathering C64 users and scene at that time, managed by Bzyk/Samar. It was already easier then to spot new sceners and Ramos simply found me. I still miss the guy, he was kind of unique.

Forever Lost - Samar Productions - Rel.@Riverwash 2015 - Code : Don Kichote / Graphx : Isildur / Music : Jammer, Pece / Loader : Lft

 

Speaking of ‘Samar Productions’, a great release came to my mind…. The terrific ‘Dream Travel, 100%’ demo (Rel.2012). Could you please tell us two words about this ? How long did it take to get completed ?

Dream Travel 100% - Samar Productions - Code : Axel, doZe, Hermit, Mr Wegi, Skull / GraphX : Isildur / Music : Jammer, Randall / Design : Isildur, Skull / Loader : Mr Wegi

 

– Oh man, I don’t remember how long it took to complete the whole prod. I know that I did whole soundtrack for 90% version and later got snowed under other assignments so I had completely no time for 100%. Randall took care of my tune and remade it for new timing. I wasn’t quite happy with the result and harm done to some moments but on the other hand totally loved his new music for the second half of the demo. Besides, people loved it in general so it’s absolutely cool 😉 About the very demo – Skull was really persistent to put long and boring fractal part in the very middle of production which was strongly objected by me and Isildur. He got bashed for this by some sceners so I assume lesson was taken 🙂 Nonetheless, prod is really captivating, stylish and full of interesting ideas – that I might say 😉 Has anybody told you before I’m a nitpicking motherfucker ? 😀

– ‘Samar Productions’ released ‘SID Dualux’ (SID Dualux ) and recently ‘New Horizons’ (New Horizons) which are stereo SID and 3SID music collections. I personally find the idea very innovative and both compilations a real pleasure to listen to, a nice treat for our ears ! Seems that ‘Samar Productions’ like to support multiple SID hardware 😉
Are you an X-SID format fan ? Are you going to release 2SIDs or 3SIDs as well ?

– I really love what can be done with multiple chips and I support the idea. I totally loved Conrad‘s effort and what he can produce with 2xSID config. Pity that he got tired of scene life – I’d sell my kidney for his new tracks 🙁

I’ve already done couple of 2SIDs myself *  and it was really cool experience. 3SID is a bit more problematic due to the lack of GT‘s native support for that number of chips, however, I’ve already tried to glue compiled stereo and mono sids together – can be done, but not in very tasteful manner. There’s Hermit‘s SIDWizard around that allows you to jump straight away into 3xSID and enjoy all its glory – I might definitely try it one day.

* (Meat Hook , Yet Bigger Beat , Odyssey , Crank Powered Async Loader , Crank Powered Async Loader V2)

You were the organizer of : ‘Je suis #Drax‘ and ‘Je suis #Linus‘ music compos. How did you come up with this ? 🙂

– I love to imitate styles in general – really great way to have more insight into SID, other guy’s workshop and to show off a bit by the way (disgusting, I know 😉 ) At certain point I started to think that maybe more guys love the same and tried with such compo as a nice experiment. First installment was moderate success and I was motivated to do it again. ‘Je suis #Drax’ edition initially foreshadowed disaster but close to the end of it many cool entries arrived and I could sleep well. Third edition is to be announced for sure but I won’t tell who’s next 😉 I hope all participants have as much fun with the idea as I do.

Caren and Tangled Tentacles‘ is a fresh new adventure game that reminds to most of us the golden days of ‘Lucas Arts’ good old adventures. I think it’s neat ! It also met a great success too, wasn’t it ?! You composed the music theme of this one. Could you please tell us two words about its making of ?

– Ah, Caren is one of the coolest if not the coolest C64 project ever I had a chance to be involved in. I was probably Veto‘s first choice here, as I’m quite into more elaborate sound design which was needed for sfx. Audio layer was definitely a bit of a challenge in terms of technical implementation. All started with idea of music and sfx playing together, where the last channel of tune can be overridden by required sound effect. Unfortunately, Goat Tracker turned out not very suitable for this so we’ve come to compromise of no compromises – either we play fully blown music track of fully blown sfx (being technically a subtune of Goat Tracker song) at once . That was the right decision for sure. Stylewise, I’ve started with something very akin to Day Of The Tentacle soundtrack – name it Alan Silvestri mixed with goofy experiments and happy pizzicatos. I liked the outcome but Enthusi was quite moderate about it and we’ve established that music is going to follow 80s theme (as the very game does). In the process, I also went for mild ‘Alien‘ reference as a form of joke and it turned out suitable for tense moments. Final cover of Bach was strictly Enthusi‘s idea – it was discussed several times but in the end, I stuck to this and it turned out really cool 🙂 I loved this job and, fortunately, it’s most probably not yet over 😛

Commodore 64 demo sceners, were the pioneers who lead the whole demo scene (in general), to its present existence“. Do you agree ?

– Well, I’m tad to young to have better insight and constructive opinion on that matter 😉 I believe Compunet was kind of flywheel for whole movement but I cannot tell anything from my experience. I was merely shitting my diapers at that time, sorry 😀

Dat Lollipop - EXclusive ON - Release @ ZOO 2015 - Volcano (Code, Linking, Concept), Joe (GraphX,CharSet), Jammer (Music, Text)

 

Can you make a prediction about C64 scene’s future ? Are new sceners joining the ranks of Commodore 64 demoscene? Shall we experience more miracles coming out from SID in the near future ?

– What to say here… There are still youngbloods (well, part of them not that fresh anymore atm) appearing every year and often surprising with great quality so future is not that dim. To name a few – Stinsen, MCH, Wiklund – you wouldn’t expect those talented guys 10 years ago, would you? 😉 Besides, young mainstream acquired taste for retro and indie form and it’s not that long way from there to demoscene. As I’ve mentioned earlier, demoscene become more ‘professional’ in terms of quality. Many of sceners are already over 40 or even 50, part of them developed their professional career upon their scene function – scene graphicians became successful web artists for example. And that professional touch has bleeded back into the scene world again – you might witness how much design changed thanks to that, how timing changed, how much graphicians can squeeze out of standard modes or how much things coders can fit into 50Hz effect. Surely, crossplatform tools really facilitated the whole process of raising overall build quality. About SID miracles – THCM is for sure one of the keywords here. For over twenty years, C64 used to be about crappy, noisy and distorted samples – people despised sample compos during events and nobody really wanted it apart from few avid sample fans. And suddenly, it changed. Yeah, expect some miracles, definitely 😉

SID Illustrated - Released by Carrion (Idea, GraphX), HCL (Code), Jammer (Music), Valsary (GraphX,CharSet) - 3/2010

 

Can you give us a taste from your future releases ? Any hints ?

MultiStyle Labs is definitely up to something – I won’t spoil it for now. EXclusive ON is planning more productions as well. I’m not that familiar with nearest plans for Samar releases so I won’t say much more here. Speaking of my personal projects – I have hundreds of WIPs on my drives and dropbox – I guess they’re awaiting better times as usual 😉 Some of them definitely should be finished.

 

Is there anything else you want to share with our readers, we forgot to ask ?

– Nothing comes to my mind atm, sorry 😉

Thanks for your time ! It was a pleasure to chat with you ! Good luck with all your feature projects ! 🙂

– My pleasure, thank you very much !

geoanas

geoanas

I am an avid collector of retro hardware. I collect anything retro ... from calculators, to real arcade boards and home computers. Being a tech/craftsman (self taught by experience), I like tinkering with electronics. I believe that hardware engineering is a kind of an art form. I don't want to miss any chance to grab my trusty screwdriver and my precious soldering iron just to repair, improve or spice up with a ‘mod-flavor’ almost anything. I was familiar with retro scene world when...wasn’t retro at all (!)...

4 thoughts on “A SID Adventure – Introducing JAMMER / Artstate

    • geoanas
      February 17, 2016 at 10:49 pm
      Permalink

      Παρακαλώ ! Παρακαλώ ! Δε βρίσκεις ότι είναι μια από τις πιο cool συνεντεύξεις που έχω δημοσιεύσει μέχρι τώρα ; 😉

  • dR_wH0
    February 19, 2016 at 12:34 pm
    Permalink

    Φοβερός!!!!!

    Να αναφέρω οτι και εγώ στα tracker years μου, δούλευα πάντα με Scream Tracker και αργότερα με την εξέλιξη φυσικά με τον Impulse Tracker. Απλός Θεϊκός…

  • March 30, 2016 at 6:35 pm
    Permalink

    “Jammer(Kamil J.) : About SID miracles – THCM is for sure one of the keywords here. For over twenty years, C64 used to be about crappy, noisy and distorted samples – people despised sample compos during events and nobody really wanted it apart from few avid sample fans. And suddenly, it changed. Yeah, expect some miracles, definitely ”

    Και όντως 2 1/2 μήνες μετά την συνέντευξη ….

    Foregone Destruction
    http://csdb.dk/release/?id=146332

    “Τhe tune uses 5 channels in total: 2 sid channels and 3 ‘virtual’ sample channels, mixed and played with 8bit resolution on last sid channel 🙂 Synth part done with Goat Tracker; sample part with Milky Tracker, saved in proper MOD format and all combined together with THCM’s tool 🙂 ”

    Για περισσότερα περί -2 SID channels plus 3 digi channels- μπορούμε να δούμε
    κι εδώ http://underground.iamretro.gr/viewtopic.php?p=27007#p27007

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