An Interview with The Mighty Bogg


by Neil Carr

Mighty Bogg (Graham Marsh) Famous for the ermmm... Mighty Bogg Albums 1 and 2. But What happened to Bogg, where did he go, on he had the answers. So we seeked him out to ask exactly the questions.

Real name: Graham Marsh
Handle: Mighty Bogg
Born: 0
Nationality: English


What other c64 composers did you like?

Galway for the rich sound, Hubbard technically. Rob's tunes were very well
constructed, making 3 voices sound like 33. I could never work out which
voice was doing what. The constant blipping & beeping gets wearing, though.

What other c64 sids did you like?

My fave all-time Sid was Hall & Oates Maniac, which was an anonymous,
simple 3-voice arrangement, but was the first tune I saw (heard) which ran on
interrupts. Typing in programs while music played in the background
blew my mind. Still don't really get it. Favourite game music has to be
Castle of Terror. Utter genius, fantastically atmospheric. That's one I
load into Sidplayer to listen to as music in its own right.

What were your likes/dislikes about the sid chip?

It was basically a synthesizer on a chip. I especially loved the fact you could
adjust the pulse width realtime (in BASIC!) for chorus fx, which makes 3
oscillators sound like 6. I hated the fact that filters varied on different
machines. Someone once ran my demos in a shop, but you couldn't hear the drums
on Smalltown Boy cos I'd used filters.

Why did you start to write music on the c64?

I studied & played music from age 9 to age 23, got into computers at 17, and
it seemed an ideal medium. I can arrange much more complicated stuff than
I can play. My music theory qualifications are higher than my practical ones,
which basically means my head is a better musician than my fingers.

If memory serves me right their were just two Bogg Music Demo's (correct
me if I'm wrong) what can you tell our readers about these demo's?

The first was cover versions, and I basically rearranged songs I liked into 3
voices. My favourite bit (oddly) was writing the machine code to animate the
Frak balloons that fly up the screen (or was that album 2?). The second album
was mostly self-composed, fiddling with filters & experimenting, which people
either loved, or loathed to the point of abuse. People used to mail me on
Compunet to complain that I wasn't doing cover versions. I used to write
back saying that Jean Michelle Jarre didn't have people moaning at him for not
doing cover versions, so shut up. That demo also had embarrassing amusing
voice samples by me, which gives you an idea what an 18-year old lad from
Yorkshire sounded like (ie awful).There was also a Christmas demo on Compunet,
which people were charged o1 for. A friend at the time helped with graphics,
so I had to give him half the money I got (o150) even though I did all the
music and programming. And indeed most of the graphics. Anyone got a copy?

Why did you stop writing music for the c64 after just a short time?

Boredom, age, beer, opposite gender, coupled to the fact that
no-one asked me to write anything commercially after Spiky Harold (wonder
why!) so I didn't see a career in it. I only actually did 2 paid jobs I think,
the other being Dan Dare. I reviewed Electrosound 64 for a magazine, but the
flood of writing offers I didn't receive afterwards told me I can't have been
too hot at it.

Your music was heavilly distributed on the c64, reaching many parts of the world, why do you think your music became so popular?

Accurate cover versions always seem to be popular, and I have a good ear
& can isolate the things people will recognise a song by. A bit like
MP3 compression. Inaccurate cover versions are just hilarious. Search for
MIDI files of Bohemian Rhapsody & you'll see what I mean.

There has been quite a few covers of you music over the years, have you heard any that has impressed you?

I quite liked the versions on C64Audio.com, not tried any more. If the
Chemical Brothers decide to cover Bogg tunes, and give me royalties, I'm
highly unlikely to argue. Anyone feel like mailing me some versions and saving
me the bother of finding them, I'd be grateful. Unless it's a 5MB download.


What did you use to create your music?

Master Composer, prior to that BASIC.

I would say you was one of the earliest c64 composers producing anything of any note. What year did you make your first tune, and who gave you the insperation to write c64 music?

I had a Speccy from 1983, and bought a 3-voice soundbox for that. I got my
C64 in 1984 I think, and obviously having a 3-voice built in synth impressed
the pants off me, so I probably did something fairly soon after. I started
with DATA statements & POKEs, millions of lines of numbers. Wouldn't have the
patience now.

Unless our readers were part of the scene in the early days they have probabily never heard of you or your music, what can you tell them about this?

Er, some kid doing pop songs on his home computer, got onto Compunet (C64-only
internet, except ran at about 3 baud - DAT ACK ERROR anyone?), did some
of his own tunes a few people liked, got a couple of commissions out of it,
watched Barry Leitch rocket to international computer music stardom under his
nose. Incidentally, Barry got slagged when he was on Compunet, and I got this
minor celebrity status. When you look at who got the jobs and who now lives in
the USA writing game music, who had the talent?

Just when C64 music started making an impact it seems that you just vanished, was there a reason for this?

I lost interest, sold my gear to a second-hand shop for about 20 quid, and
believe it or not destroyed my 64 by pouring water into it. As an electronics
engineer I cringe at that now, but the recklessness of youth eh? My 64 emulator
is now my favourite piece of software, ironically. Maybe every 35-year old
wants to pretend he is 18 again...

Did you ever create music on any other format than the c64?

Only Speccy. I've always owned synths, recording equipment etc, but since
marriage, kids, house etc don't have the time. I just play on stuff like Vaz
or Symsynth now. All my gear has been sold, and all my floppies rotted away
in my previous house, which had a basement so damp you could have moored a
boat in there.

Because of the age and time of your music, you never was able to use some of the tricks of the latter composers. Do you think you could have improved upon your music if you had used some of these tricks?

Yep, but I seem to remember Rob Hubbard wrote his sound routines himself. I
wasn't that good with machine code! I never found a commercial program
that I liked apart from Master Composer anyway, so I had to improvise by
coding arpeggiated chords (eg in RollerCoaster) note by note then speeding it
up about 50 times. Incidentally, I have absolutely no recollection at all of
programming RollerCoaster, but it's there, so I did. Weird.

Did you ever try to make a living out of c64 music. If not why not?

As mentioned previously, did a couple of commissions, but I think my Spiky
Harold music was so awful no-one dared ask me again...

What are your thoughts of people remixing your music?

Flattered! It took me 15 years to get my Bogg albums again (got em 2 months
ago) so I had no idea my stuff was still kicking around, even less idea that
it was still popular!

Have you ever thought of doing computer music again?

I'd enjoy writing game music for a living, but I just don't have the
inspiration. I get stuck after about 5 minutes. I sent a couple of audio
demos to Atari about 10 years ago, but they wanted me to submit them on an
Amiga (!). I couldn't afford one at the time, so that was that!

So, What does Graham Marsh do now?

He repairs computer monitors for a living, lives with his wife, 2 daughters
and two Miniature Schnauzers, does no music writing or performing, messes about
on PCs, loves Gameboy Color, hates PC games and the ludicrous idea that you
need a Pentium III 900Mhz to type a letter these days (I refuse to upgrade my
P133), cycles to work, and lives a normal(ish) happy life!!

What does the future hold for you?

Winning the Bananalotto jackpot so I can buy a helicopter (flew one once),
grey hair (about 30% already), fat belly, wrinkles, aches & pains, moaning
about Radio 1 (thank goodness for Mark & Lard), not knowing anyone in the
charts, paying the mortgage, being proud of my family, still playing gameboy
when I'm 95, and listening to Cardiacs FOREVER. (www.cardiacs.com)

Will we ever hear anything from Mighty Bogg again in any format?

Doubtful. Can't be arsed really. Toyed with the idea of making a Bogg 2001
remix album, but don't hold your breath. Well you could, but you'll die.

What would you like to say to the scene.

email me (gmarsh223@yahoo.com) with Compunet memories....


Isn't it sad that the Mighty Bogg disapeared so early. Be it commercially or as a hobby. The Mighty Bogg was one of the musicians who set the c64 Demo scene alight with his albums. One could only guess at what might have been during the more technical years to come.

- Neil

Interview date: 27.04.2001

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