An Interview with Ben Daglish


by Neil Carr

Ben needs little introduction. As a pioneer of C64 music, his feel good anthems made him a household name on the c64. His most popular music includes: Trap, Deflektor, Krakout, Bulldog and Foft (ST/Amiga). We asked Ben about his time on the c64 and what he thinks about the current C64 remix scene. Here is what he had to say...

Real name: Ben Daglish
Handle: Benn
Born: 1967
Nationality: British


Picture of Chis Abbott and Ben Daglish at work on the remix of TrapWhich other C64 composers did you respect?

Rob,mainly. I didn't actually listen to a lot of others. Martin I liked
for his sounds, but he wasn't as musical as Rob.

Which non Ben Daglish Sids did you like?

My favourite was always 'Master of Magic' - I was so disappointed to find out it was ripped off :-))

Which tunes that you composed were you most proud of?

Proud... funny word... Trap was my first 'full-length'
composition with intro and codas and everything... I was quite proud of that. I also liked FOFT (don't think I did it on the C64, it was an ST game, but
me and a mate also recorded a 'studio' version on tape to go in the box.)

How did the idea of W.E.M.U.S.I.C take shape?


Tony & I wanted to make money writing music for games....needed a
company - simple as that.

While talking to many c64 remix arrangers Trap is often mentioned
as being one of their favourite tunes, Why do you think this is?

Like I said above, it's quite a biggie, with lots of little
bits... I was definately on an 'orchestral' kick at the time...

Ben Daglish is often well known as a C64 composer, but you did work
on many other formats. Why did you stop composing computer music?

A few reasons. Years of working on 3 voice chips started doing my head
in.....but also the industry had changed - it was all blokes in suits
'selling boxes'.

I recently heard a Beta version of Trap for the forthcoming Back In
Time 3 CD. (which I can tell you, I was mightily impressed) What can you
tell our readers about this remake?

I went down to see Chris for a day - we jammed arounnd, and I sketched
out a few ideas for how I thought Trap should be treated, which Chris
recorded and subsequently did a mighty fine job of extrapolating (forgive
the pun) and completing. He played me the 'beta' versiona couple of weeks
ago, and I suggested a few refinements, but basically the work was all done
by Chris.

How did you come to work with Chris on his BIT 3 album?

Er... he asked me. :-)

What are your early impressions on the Bit3 CD?

I like it.

What do you think about the Bitlive idea?

Great! I'm looking forward to it.

Do you miss the c64, or did you just treat it as a job?

I never 'miss' anything - I enjoyed working on the C64, just like I
enjoy conducting, or enjoy doing childrens workshops - for me, it has always
been about music, rather than how the music was done.

Ben Daglish was and still is a highly respected composer. Tony
Crowther also was a highly respected programmer, What was the background to
your partnership?

Well documented elsewhere, but basically we went to school together -
knew each other from being 14/15.

Are you surprised that the C64 Music scene still lives on, after
all this time?

Yes!

What did you like/dislike about the sid chip?

Likes - marvellous sounds... analogue feel.

Dislikes/Challenges - limited polyphony, to say the
least... non-standard filter circuits (you never had ANY idea how it was
gonna sound on another machine...)

How do you feel about arrangers remixing your work, and is there
one single track that has made an impression on you?

It's great - nice to be appreciated without having to work for it myself.............As to track...well, I quite liked 'Deflektor' with the 'dayodayo'... I fancy playing on that live someday :-)

Will you be working on any more remixes of your music for the
future BIT CD’s?

Probably - assuming people still buy them.

If there was a tune that you have not composed that you would have
liked to have claimed as your own, what would it be and why?

Beethoven's Fifth - but I reckon I'd be found out.

Ben Daglish (Image taken from composers.c64.org)Ben Daglish was known for creating feel good music, was this your
intention?

Yup. That's me - feelgood bouncy Benn.

Have you ever considered returning to composing computer music?

Not really... maybe if the right job came up.

What were your fondest memories of the c64?

The scene - getting blasted at a show then going back to Minter's for
Star Wars.....etc.

Was there a tune you made for a software house that you knew was
sub standard?

Many many many.

Are you going to name some?

Nope

Why did you start composing music on the c64?

Because Tony asked me to.

So, if it wasn't for Tony, do you think you would be here Today?

Depends upon your take on Fate and all that - I'd still be Here, Now... just with a bunch of different There, Thens... maybe if Tony hadn't asked, somebody else would have the next day... who can tell?

What are your thoughts on the state of music in modern games?

Same as my thoughts on modern music... on all music in fact - some
good, some bad - generally the more commercial, the poorer.

What was it like working with Rob Hubbard on the music for Auf W.
Monty
, did you have any disagreements, or was it plain sailing?

Nope - it was all great fun. Just spent a few days jamming - what more
could you want?

Lastly what is Ben Daglish doing now, and what does the future hold
for you?

I'm being a dad & husband, an actor, a rock musician, a PERL
programmer, a director of R&D for an ISP, a workshop leader, session player
and sleeping whenever I get the chance.


As you can tell from the last question, Ben is a busy guy, lending a hand to a large amount of interests. Music is a major factor for Ben, be it in computer games or as a session player. I for one will never forget the epic Trap theme or the Jolly theme tune to Kettle.

- Neil

Interview date: 26.03.2001

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