An Interview with daXX

by Volker Buckow

daXX has been THE Amiga-remixer of the last years. Not only did he do a lot – and I really mean A LOT – remixes, according to that the quality of the remixes is outstanding in most cases. daXX won the Remixer Of The Year-award for Best Amiga Remix in 2007 and 2008, and it wouldn’t be a big surprise if he’d win it in 2009 again. Here’s the little interview we did recently:


Nick: daXX, DJ daxx, Chris Crusher
Born: 1976
Nationality: German

daXX
What equipment do you use?
I mainly work with Ableton Live 8.The sounds I'm using are mostly samples, which I manipulate with Ableton's internal sampler. Coming from Trackers, I'm used to work with samples, that's why I prefer these to virtual instruments. But from time to time I'm also playing with the freeware Synth1.

What SIDs are amongst your favourites?
Oh, there's a lot I like. Among them the  titletune of Thundercats, which is the next remix I'm planning at the moment.

You created some original SID-Tunes back in the days. What do you think about your SIDs if you listen to them today?
Well, I really would like to listen to them, but due to some new flats and lot of moving I don't have the data anymore. My C64 and all the discs are lost (forever?). :-(

Nowadays you mainly remix Amiga-stuff. Why? Are there plans for more c64-remixes?
Certainly I'll be doing some C64-remixes in the future. Many songs from the Amiga also exist on the C64-platform as SID. So you can say, by remixing the Amiga-Track I also did the C64-remix. But when I upload them to AmigaRemix.com, I don't upload them to R.K.O. necessarily.

Do you have any relationship (aka fond memories) to the tunes you remix?
Yes, these fond memories are there. Many of the demos and games of that times have inspired me to make the music I nowadays produce. I always loved to produce music on computer, even though my 1st goal was to learn coding on the C64. But at times I got even more interested in making music, and that's still lasting on. Programming of sounds was always what I loved; it's been more important to me than learning notes. That's still the way. I always try to create my own sounds instead of using presets.

I'm hardly programming these day, at least some PHP, MYSQL & Actionscript. :-)

You are known for remixing the whole story - i. e. if you remix a game or a demo, you tend to make remixes of all the subtunes (which is great by the way). Do you feel like it's your mission to do so or is it because you're in love with every single tune?
I'm remixing tunes which bring back great memories. It's not important if the track is an outstanding composition or just done by a great game-composer. In general I like all songs I'm remixing, and I like it to close the circle by remixing all tunes of a game or demo. I. e. there are still a lot of songs from the Budbrain-Demo that are on my to-do-list. The 1st complete circle of a mod-cyclus has been the RSI Megademo. Lotus 1-3, Budbrain, D-MOB etc. will follow.

Who is your favourite c64 composer and why?
Noone in particular. There are great tunes by nonames and bad tunes by glorious composer.

Who were your Amiga-Heroes? Who had the biggest impact on you?
The biggest impact has been composers like i. e. BitArts, Diablo, Romeo Knight etc. The tracks of Amiga-Demos & Games have pulled me into the electronic-scene, in which I'm still active - even there has been a time I'm jsut listening to Heavy-Metal. :-)

What other arrangers do you like?
There are some people who are making outstanding remixes. By dropping some names I certainly would step on somebodies toes. There are too many good remixers to name just a few.

What's the reason you choose a certain SID or mod to remix?
The fire had to be there. While making and selling music professional it needs a lot of stimulation to get me working on a remix after 8-10 hours official studio-work. :-)

What's your inspiration? Which composer/arranger (not necessarily remixer) has influenced your musically taste?
I've been heavily inspired by the 80's & 90's. I'm not only listening to special genres, but trying to find good songs between all the rubbish at the market. From times to times there are pearls really worth listening.

Your style could be described as Dance or Club-Music, right? Is this your favourite music-style, and do you think the style fits perfect to the chosen mods?
Well, I'm not really just into Dance oder Club-Music. I really love orchestral-remixes, but not every MOD fits that style. If a MOD has a dancey style, you should not change that, only if the melodies give you a certain potential.

Lately you did some - hmmm - orchestral stuff and mid-tempo remixes. This showed your great versatility. Do you plan more stuff directed in this genre?
Of course. As mentioned, that's the direction I'm prefering. Orchestral, Chillout / Ambient / Lounge and even some more groovey tracks with Slapbass or similar.

What's the reason you slipped into the c64 remix-scene?
I've been creating remixes of old Amiga & C64 tunes for quite a while. But I've not been aware of remix64.com and AmigaRemix.com upt to the moment someone directed me to these sites. :

What are your favourite remixes done by other arrangers?
No particular. I like listening to them all, even if they are not of the most professional standard sometimes. I'm more interested in the idea behind the remix than the technically part. Although, if you rate a remix, the technically part ist of course important, too.

What piece of equipment that you do not already own is on your most wanted list?
I'm eagerly waiting for Melodyne DNA. The previews have been amazing and it could be a big blast for composers, who mainly work sample-orientated.

You've released a lot of commercial stuff. How did you manage to get into the professional scene? Do you make a living out of this or do you have a real job?
 I slipped in 1997 in the commercial scene and met Herby F (DJs@Work) the same year, who was a big name in the discotheque Bambu in northern Germany at the time. Voodoo^TRBS, Phyton^TRBS and me were doing some Live Acts using the alias TRB Project (The Ravebusters Project) and we got to know Slobodan Petrovic Jr. (Pulsedriver) there. For his project Aqualoop (Today the name of his record-label) we made an TRB Project Remix of Aqualoop - Get naughty.
In 1999 I signed a contract with EMI Music & Tunnel Records for whom I've been producing some years.

Besides all the music I have my little Business selling music mainly. But I also offer web-design, graphic-design and print-design.

Can you name some releases by you? Which one is your personal favourite and which one has been your biggest success?
At http://www.myspace.com/chriscrushermusic you can find a complete list of my releases and remixes. There have been some successfull releases, some even appearing in the german Media Control Charts.

Are there any commercial-releases or commercial-remixes you did because
it's a job or do you only chose songs you like?
There's a lot of work I did because it's a job. In general the idea has to fit in my concept, if not, I hardly could do a good job.

When doing professional, commercial releases - do you produce it the same way you produce your remixes or are there differences?
Yeah, there are differences. Commercial dance-music has to fit into a spezial scheme. It has to be
mixable by a DJ which means Intro for about 1:30 minutes, break, song, and again Outro for about 1:30 minutes. While doing Amiga & C64 remixes I'm not looking fort he song to have this attributes.

Do you see chances for commercial c64/Amiga-remixes?
Sure. There are already:
Pimpcode - We are the best is a 1:1 cover of  Arkanoid. Also Kernkraft 400 - Zombienation of C64 Game Lazy Jones. That answers the question. :-)

When talking about commercial releases: Do you think that the commercial part of the scene (CDs, DVDs,…) could destroy what it's fundamentally about, or can you see it only improving the community as a whole?
CDs and DVDs have been a nice accomplishment to the market. The MP3 codec has destroyed the market in my oppinion. Labels neglected the trend for much too long. MP3 platforms grow and grow and labels hardly sell any CDs/DVDs or Vinyls. 90% of the releases are digital (downloads) nowadays, the classical CD and Vinyl is dying.

The community has matured over the years, but in your opinion is there any aspect that you'd like to see improved? Or anything you dislike?
Well, there are things you couldn't change or stopp. The technically part of things becomes more complicated and advanced day by day. New things on the market every day. I believe you shouldn't stop this, but you should try to adept to this development

Today we have Remix64, RKO, AmigaRemix, SLAY Radio, SceneSat, etc. We also have some very regular gatherings (BIT, SLAY, etc…). What's your opinion about these platforms? Do you think that they complement each other or do you think that there's too much of something? Or is there anything that's missing?
I think there are enough contact-points for all kind of fans. I think every site has ist own qualitities und doesn't conflict with others. But I think we have enough now, I can't think of anything more that's really necessary

When comparing music in today's games compared to the music which was being composed on the c64, what differences do you notice? And do you like this evolution?
Of course there are differences. Today's Computer-Music is more commercial than ever. The Score of today's games can compete with Hollywood blockbusters in every aspect

What do you think about the common voting-system on RKO & AmigaRemix? You like it? Is it
fair? Do you have any ideas to make it better"?
No, fair in no way. The system is outdated and is misused in many ways. Every voter should give a statement to help the remixer to understand the given score and to help him getting better. I'm really not keen on voters, who are to cowardly to tell me what they dislike.

Since you arrived on the scene, what has been the biggest highlight for you?
Every single day is a highlight. There's new things to discover and every day sceners have new and exciting ideas.

Your final words to the scene?
Never give up, always go on. And don't dream your life - live your dream!