– Hi Cris ! Thanks for stopping by our web hovel 🙂 Welcome to www.iamretro.gr !
– You are most welcome and more people should take time to visit your site, it’s one of a kind and not just “retro” for the sake of it, it’s a good one!
– Thanks for your kind words !…Could you please introduce yourself to our readers a bit ?
– Hi ! Cris Ekstrand here ! Where to begin – where to stop, heh. Okay let’s do this simple. I grew up in a pretty semi small town in the middle of Sweden. Surrounded by forest, open fields, quiet areas and yeah that certain stillness was where most of my time was spent. Nature, atmosphere, difficult environment and terrains have always been huge part of my life and an ideal playground for my life.
I was lucky to grow up with music and at an early age my parents thought it was good for me to join an academic musical school, as I did for 10 years.
This has always been an important part of my life and I am always open to learn new things and take my musicality to another level.
– Could you please give us some info about your country/age/studies/present job…etc…etc. ? Everything you want to share with us !
– I am from Uppsala, Sweden where I have lived basically all my life.
The start was Computer Science and Computer Graphics. After many years working with VFX and Special Effects I decided it was time to move on.
After 6 plus years in the University and working part time as a preschool teacher that was it and this is what I keep my days busy with, as well.
Dees Productions - The Trapdoor in the Attic - Album "8-Bit Delights" - [ https://soundcloud.com/dees-productions/the-trapdoor-in-the-attic ]
– How long have you been active in Commodore 64 demo scene ? How did you get involved into it ? What is your field of expertise ?
– We are speaking over 25 years and when thinking about the C64 demoscene it feels like it has been part of me all my life.
The major change was somewhere in the late 80’s when my neighbor introduced me to a demoparty in Denmark.
Even if I spent most of the time in a room playing games and drinking way too much coca-cola it was fun but yeah it was a bit too much for me at that time.
I didn’t yet know anything about the demoscene but the people I met were awesome and friendly.
Keep in mind I was around 13 at that time and they were from a few years to many years older than me. But it was “the feeling” that opening my eyes.
– Have you been involved to another platform / system demo scene as well ?
– As the Demoscene started to expand so did I, as well. I got a PC and some years later I got an Atari. The PC was my playfield for graphical experiments.
Very soon I got involved with 3D graphics and Raytracing. In 1992 I started to write my own particle systems in Pascal and TurboBasic.
It was extremely fun to combine this with the Raytracers and make quite some cool scenes and animations. Even if my main focus always has been music and audio.
I wasn’t part of the Amiga Demoscene too much, the Atari Demoscene was for me a great experience where I got to know many good friends.
We are still friends and doing demos on the PC 🙂 So, Yes!…Demoscene is sometimes bigger than just a subculture.
Anyhow, I was part of the PC and Atari Demoscene for many years and arranged some local parties and attended to some legendary parties too.
Wild/Animation: N o C o d e III - Revision 2015 [April 2015] - Xiny6581 [Code, Design, Graphics and Music]
Speaking of 1991/1992, I attended to “The Easter Party” in Stockholm. The party was arranged by Light, Phenomena and Horizon, and…yeah, it was quite a party !
I remember picking the “wrong” room heh and well I was more or less forced to leave the room due too much violence.
I ended up in the same room as Paragon, Hoaxers, Prosonix and some other groups. This was awesome but yeah as the night came it got very bizarre and some groups were fighting. Also some weirdos came into the party caused lots of trouble. So at the end I left the party.
– Your favorite C64 musician(s) ? Your favorite tunes ?
– There are many talented musicians out there.
But yeah when it comes to this, Rob Hubbard, Ben Daglish, Martin Galway, Maniacs of Noise, Vibrants along with many other kewl musicians, they do inspire !
Every composer has something to offer making the music for what it is and I love the newcomers who show lots of love and passion for the SID Chip.
Molotov - Digital Sound System - Rel. X'2012 (10/2012) - Code : Groenteboer / Charset : Knoeki / Music : Xiny6581
– Where do you enjoy creating / listening to your music most, 6581 or 8580 ? Are they any pros and cons ?
– For years I’ve been focused on the 6581 SID Chip, most because I grew up with this chip, but yeah the filters and the warmth is really something special.
Latter, when experimenting with the 8580 SID Chip, it can sure make sounds you never thought was possible to make. But yeah, they are both awesome 🙂
I do most of my music at home or at parties. It is a kind of “when the feeling is there it is happening“.
1h of Humid Latrin - Rel. Edison 2012 - Xiny6581
– Did you ever use or work with ‘SwinSID’ chips ?
– No, I haven’t done this so far.
– Can you give us a picture of your working environment (studio, favorite trackers / progs…) ? C’mon name your secret weapons ! 😀
– I have a modular studio which is parted into sections. One section is SID/Chip Music and the other section is the Music studio. The secret weapons are my ears and monitors 🙂
All my music is made in FL-Studio which I’ve been using since ages. It is a very creative and powerful sequencer with many great ways to make music.
When it comes to design sounds I tend to use Reaktor, Kontakt, Absynth, Massive, Surge, Serum etc… It would not make any sense to drop the whole list and many times I end up modelling it all inside of Reaktor, anyhow 🙂
Now I would like to show you some special, good old Commies…
This is the 6581R4AR machine I use for all the R4 SID recordings. This one has the Audio-in mod, as well. It pairs with a lovely combo of a 1541 Ultimate-II+ Tape connector. I also use this bad boy to transfer tapes to digital media.
This is the 8580R5 machine I use for all the C64 SID recordings. It has a 2SID board and is accessed via RR-Net to send over the files. This one has an audio-in to ground mod, to reduce unwanted noise.
This is a customized Commodore 64 which I picked up from a Dutch friend of mine. He saw it at a bunkerparty and well the way I understood it was more or less “for free”. He thought this would be a very nice gift to me because of my passion for the Demoscene and Commodore. In the future I might be able to get a 1541-II that originally was together with this machine. I am super happy about this and yes I actually use this fine machine from time to time.
– Could remixes be more astonishing and appealing to audience than the originals ?
– This is a personal opinion and for me it’s simple. There are SID Original tunes you just can’t remix because they can’t be done differently.
But yeah, it’s nice to pull off a nice remix and feel the authentic bits in it from the original.
– Have you ever performed live on stage ?
– Yes and that was an experience I would love to do again.
Dees Productions - Altitudes Prelude - [ https://soundcloud.com/dees-productions/altitudes-prelude ]
– How harsh could be the whole process to compose ? From A to Z, how long does it usually take to complete a perfect SID tune ?
– It’s pretty much impossible to make a perfect SID tune. You just need to realize when it feels good and then it’s done. The time can be from 30 minutes to weeks.
It all depends on the feeling and not so much about how advanced it is.
– 2SIDs…3SIDs…Do you enjoy them ? Any plans to release similar tunes in the future ?
– Yes, some are really good and fun to hear how much they can push 3–9 voices 🙂 Never say never, maybe I’ll release the tunes I have been working on.
Dees Productions - Miracle Mirage [ https://soundcloud.com/dees-productions/miracle-mirage ] ...8X8580 SIDBOX ?!
– You are currently a member of so many groups ! How do you cope with all groups requirements ?
– When I get asked I try to do my part as good as I can. It’s not that complicated 😉
– To be honest, I can’t recall how it happened. I remember Curlin or/and Groepaz asked me if I would like to join as a musician and make music. That was it.
Thing is I have talked to them for many years and well one day it just happened 🙂
Crowd Pleaser - Hitmen - Rel. Revision 2013 (3/2013) - Code : Groepaz / GraphX : Cupid, Death, Groepaz / Music : Moog, Xiny6581
– Groepaz started to work on the demo, show me some parts and gave me free hands to make soundtrack for the demo. The hardest part was to not exceed the memory and make the tune fit the demo. Lots of timing things, making up the progression, so different elements would match the demo. I was in the middle of writing a heavy report for the University and on top of that I had two other productions in the pipeline for Revision so to make a long story short, “It was intense, but wicked fun !”.
Substral Hyperwaves IV [#19:44] Rel. Revision 2013 (Mixed Music Competition)
– Which demo(s) do you fancy most ? What is your TOP10 ?
– There are so many, I can’t number them all.
– You’ve been to so many parties. Is it something like a tough competition between groups or a meeting between pals just for good fun, having a great time ?
– In the past the competition between groups was harder and the groups were not too open about what they were up to. Like nowadays if you ask a big group what they are up to they don’t mind to show you some small effects or show the framework. That would have been impossible back in the days, you would probably just have seen a dark screen and two guys looking at you, point at the door, and you knew what you were to do 🙂 Hah, well seriously I have only good memories from parties and I am there to meet friends, make new friends and help out. My friends tell me I am hard to find at a party, because most of the time I am helping other demosceners with their productions 🙂 I think that’s called “dedication”.
Dees Procuctions - Kiss A Boy
– Any funny or embarrassing stories to relate ?
– What happens at the party, stays in the party 🙂
– Many people things that demo sceners are somehow bonded to software piracy. What do you want to say to them ?
– Gosh, I could go on about this but really all I can say is, “Do your homework and don’t mix things up” 🙂
– I am listening very often to lots of people saying that “We (retro system fans) are wasting our time with dead and obsolete machines”…or…” Why are we spending so much time to something no profitable…” What could be your comments for this kind of nonsense ?
– We have different hobbies, different lifestyle, that should be respected. I respect what people do and what they are up to, just as long as there’s something creative and constructive. We might be old, but not obsolete….
Dees Productions - Projected Lemon Images - [ https://soundcloud.com/dees-productions/projected-lemon-images ]
– Have you ever thought to quit C64 scene ?
– Never !
– What do you thing may the C64 demo scene’s future be ?
– Even if many of my demoscene friends quit the demoscene and say : “It’s in the past, this is the future…” I can’t believe them because every time we watch new demos on the Commodore 64, they smile and say : “WOW !”
My dedication for the demoscene has always been there and will be there as long as I can do it and that will be many years.
– Thank you Cris for being with us ! Good luck with all your future projects !
If you find this interview interesting and want to learn more about Cris’ great music and work, you’re always welcome to pay a visit to his excellent website @ http://sidpreservation.6581.org/ …You will discover by yourself, why this is a real Goldmine of infos, a vault full of knowledge and sweet memories…
“….When you hit that special cave you know it was worth it, worth all the heavy work, sleepless nights, databytes haunting you endless! That has and is the case for me too and all the time. So far I have discovered lots of “never seen before” releases and this journey is sure and far from over. This was also what my archaeological exploration has brought to and the keystone for mining this site. What you see here is a true preservation mine that finally has been open to public. Because we need more thirsty explorer who want to join us in this expedition.
Once again welcome to SID Preservation – an open place with warm passion and respect in the journey of TRUE PRESERVATION and FINE ARCHAOLOGIE!
/ Xiny6581 ”