An Interview with Larsec

by Volker Buckow

Larsec burst upon the scene like a rocket. Or a bat out of hell, depending on your preference. A taste for the dramatic and the atmospheric made him a natural choice for Remix 64 - Into Eternity.

Real name: Lars Erhardt Christensen
Handle: Larsec
Born: 1976
Nationality: Danish

What equipment do you use?

I use Propellerheads' Reason on a P4 2.1GHz PC... That's about it...

What SIDs are amongst your favourites?

Times of Lore Intro, Terra Cresta, Parallax, Zoids, Chimera, Nemisis the Warlock, Ghoulsn'Ghosts, Firelord, Deflektor, Flimbo's Quest... As many other I could go on and on...

Who were your favourite c64 composers?

Martin Galway, Rob Hubbard, Ben Daglish, Tim Follin and Agemixer. At least they ARE my favorite composers... Back in the day I didn't really know much about who did what, I just enjoyed the music

What other arrangers do you like?

Marcel Donne, O2, Glyn R Brown, Machinae Surpremacy, Mahoney, Makke, Press Play on Tape, Markus Schneider, åØåJuha Kaunisto... Again, to name a few...

What are your favourite remixes done by other arrangers?

Trauma - Cauldron 2 (I'm a Pumpkin Man), O2 - Nemisis the Warlock, Slow Poison - Zoids (Prototype Mix), Trace and Mahoney Task III (Hum along with Task)... To name a few  :-)

What piece of equipment that you do not already own is on your most wanted list?

I would like to have a midi keyboard... Doesn't have to be anything fancy although a Novation Supernova wouldn't be all that bad  :-) I was talking to DHS and he suggested a Yamaha CS1X or CS2X... Might look into that once I get some money together...

Who do you think gives the scene the biggest boost, and why?

Well, it would be really easy to say a guy like Chris Abbott, because he certainly does a lot with the Back in Time CDs as well as the live events... Or a guy like Neil Carr who has dedicated a lot of time to the scene. KWED for hosting RKO where the remixes are located, LMan for doing I guess I'll go with Chris Abbott  :-)

Are you planning any remixes for other systems, i. e. for

I have been talking to Neil Carr about doing some Atari ST remixes. I wasn't that much into the Amiga back in the day but I just like good music so that's not ruled out... Might even remix some of the old PC mods I have a ton of lying on my HDs

In your opinion, what would be your do’s and don’ts when remixing?

Do's: Put some heart in to it, add something that wasn't there to begin with, be different, be original, be creative, have fun

Don'ts: Don't make a remix than 10 guys have made before you (same track, same style), don't use SID2MIDI and just change a few things here and there

In the charts your first real remix, Arabian Zoids, still has the highest score. What’s your opinion about that? Do you think your latest tracks are weaker, maybe unknown to the public or released at the wrong time? Any ideas…?

Well, Arabian Zoids was put up on RKO after nothing had been released for quite a while. It seems that it got a lot of attention because it was part of the new batch... It was also released at the time where reviewing had just been introduced at Remix64, that might also have something to do with it.
I don't think the tracks I have released after Arabian Zoids have been particular weaker, some of them might, but not all of them. Most of the other remixes aren't as well known SIDs as Zoids (which had 3 remixes in the top 50 at the time I think, O2's version and the 2 Slow Poison versions). They don't have the time and effort put into them that Arabian Zoids has... But they are also very different in the fact that they are allmuch more dedicated to following the original SID. Arabian Zoids had a lot of original work that really doesn't have anything to do with the original SID but I though would work well with it, and it does feautre part of the Araber SID by Drax. It has a few themes from other SID in the solo as well... I wanted to make my entry to the scene with something big and I found that Zoids was the perfect SID because it wanted to be so much more than just a SID. The original SID was brilliant (like I said ealier with 3 remixes of this SID in the top 50, 4 with Arabian Zoids), there's a lot of variation to this remix and I think that's why people like it... But that's only specualtion... I also think that Arabian Zoids might be for a broader audience than the others...
I also think that in general, remixes released at RKO don't get as much attention these days as they did earlier in the year, back in the winter/spring... This might just be my imagination, though... For me, the remix I like the most of my own so far is the one I am working on now, schedueled for release on my SlayRadio guest host appearence, but it might not be as well received because it's more narrow in it's target group you might say...

The community has matured over the years, but in your opinion is there any aspect that you’d like to see improved?

Well, not that I can think of... This community is by far the best working I have been a part of online. The public outbursts and namecalling, all that stuff, is extremly rare and usually gets resolved peacefully and fast. Of course you can't get around the intrigues and trolls entirely but I think this scene is a great place to be with a lot of great people

Do you think that the commercial part of the scene could destroy what it’s fundamentally about, or can you see it only improving the community as a whole

I don't see the commercial part ruining anything. The most of the remixers that appear on the CDs still make great quality remixes to release on RKO. The difference from the commercial tracks is primarily in the sound quality, the idea of the whole project. I think it's great to have these CDs that takes the 'normal' RKO tracks a little step higher. Everything is still done in good fun. It's not like the commercial aspect of the scene is overpowering, overprized or overambitious. It's not a big-time industry, it's still hobby you might say...

What are your fondest memories of the c64?

The summer of 1990, mostly staying indoors with windows open, playing, Maniac Mansion, Street Rod and so many more... and listening to SID music from all these demos and programs I had.... and of course making tracks in the Micro series of music proigrams... That was so great. Found a tape a while ago with some tracks I arranged in a couple of those programs

When comparing music in todays games compaired to the music which was being composed on the c64, what differences do you notice?

I think that the music was more apparent back in the days of the C64. Today it is much more in the background, typical 'score' I think. Todays games have the music more as a mood setter in the background. The SID chip has a very 'sharp' sound that penetrates more... That's the major difference in my opinion aside from the obvious 'quality' issues... The SID being one synth with 3 voices to the doomsday-all-mighty-orchestral-angel-choir-from-Hell soundtracks that are being produced today... The SID has a charm that tends to get lost in all that 'quality' that is being produced nowadays... Don't get me wrong, I do indeed enjoy today's soundtracks as well, it's just that the whole concept has changed so much over the years... Maybe it felt more intimate back in the old days...

You produced a track for the forthcoming CD Into Eternity by Neil. What’s the difference between producing a regular remix or a track for a commercial CD? Are you planning any other commercial releases?

The main difference for me during the production of the Blood Valley track for the CD was the fact that I had to 'answer to Neil', meaning that anything I did had to be approved by him. It wasn't all that difficult since we seemed to agree on just about everything about it but I didn't just have free hands to whatever I wanted like with the tracks I do for RKO.
I am planning on appearing on other commercial CDs... There has been talk of an Atari ST remix CD as well as a concept CD with just me remixing and a CD with original stuff... But the 2 latter ones are somewhere in the future, not an immediate thing... I need to maybe develope a little more musically, get more experience...

What do you look at in a SID when remixing it?

I usually take what I really like from the original and then add things that fit with them... For example. If you have a bass that just plays one note throughout a passage I might do a bassline instead for rythm and harmonic purposes... Same goes the other way around. If you have a series of arpeggios and I think it would work better with just playing the chords the arpeggios are doing then I'll do that.... Mostly I try to stay with what made the original SID what it was, the things you recognize the most... But it doesn't always work out like that...

Since you arrived on the scene, what would be the biggest highlight for you?

BITLive Brighton, no doubt. It was so great to finally meet all these people I had been chatting with, reading posts by, listening to...

You have met a lot of composers & remixers at BIT Live Brighton. What was the greatest moment for you?

That's a tough question. I was so 'high' during the whole thing. It came at a great time since I was really missing my girlfriend who had been away 2 months by the time I went to Brighton. Everyone, and I mean everyone, was nice and pleasent. I bought a lot of stuff, played with a lot of stuff... But if I had to pick out one thing... I talked to Martin Galway, my SID hero. I have a great picture of shaking hands with him. I met Rob Hubbard, Ben Daglish, Fred Grey, Reyn Ouwehand, Press Play on Tape, talked to all of them, great guys, nice to talk to... But I think the best part of the whole trip was sitting in the Walkabout pub Saturday afternoon, chatting with Neil, Dan, Infamous, Glyn, KWED, Makke, Tomsk, Slaygon and Max Levin was there as well as I recall... I remember sitting with a pint, a cigarette and just chatting away about everything and nothing, being truly happy, wishing that afternoon would never end... It was so fun, so relaxing, so great to be with these great guys just doing the danish 'hygge' thing... I'll never forget it...

You are a regular visitor of the IRC channel. In fact, it seems you’re there around the clock…What’s your opinion about that channel, how is it developing?

I think the channel is great. It's nice to chat with all the guys, remixers and SID fans alike. You can exchange work in progress mixes and get feedback, stuff like that. I wish more people
would come inthere. It's the most fun when it's busy... And I also wish more of the composers would come in there... Barry Leitch pops in from time to time...

Your final words?

Thanx to all the people who have downloaded my music and given me feedback. Thanx to all the people who helped me BETA test my tracks... Thanx to other remixers for making great tracks that I enjoy... And finally thanx to everyone in the scene for keeping it alive and making it such a great place to be....

Who knows what Larsec will do next? I've always believed there's a 70s concept album in him somewhere, but only time will tell....

- Dr.Future

Interview date: 31.10.2003