An Interview with a0d BST

by Neil Carr

Nearly 10 years in music production, A0d and BST are brothers working together and producing c64 remixes. A0d does the composing while BST works on the FX and post-production.


A0d BST in front of their truck

Profile:


Name: Anton van Deurzen
Codename: A0d
Nationality: Dutch (Rotterdam, Yeah!)
Birth Year: 1973

Name: Edwin van Deurzen
Codename: BST
Nationality: Dutch (Rotterdam)
Birth Year: 1970

First things first, How did you get a name such as A0d?

That's actually very simple. About 12 or thirteen years ago, in our c64 hacking and freaking days, some really illegal spreader used my old name 'Demolition' and since I, as 'honest' game-cheater and programmer, didn't want to be mixed up with him I asked my brother for a new name (He makes up quite nice ones) and he lifted 'Angel of Death' off of a Slayer record cover lying about in my room. I in my Heavy metal period thought it was great. The 'A0d' handle with the zero in the middle is a digital rendition of my graffitti tag I still use. The zero to emphasize my digital 'roots'

Officially a duo (A0d BST of Subversive Elements), How and what does this entail?

BST, short for the Beast (Yes we were both rockers in those days!), is my brother Edwin and as long as I can remember we were doing stuff with sound and music together. But when we left our parents house (birds have to fly, you know) we had to split up the studio and the cooperation faded a bit, having seperate private lives and such.
But, thanks to digital technology we are working together again. I do most of the composing and he does post-production and special-effects. The Subversive Elements is just a name to cover the load. We will celebrate our tenth anniversary next year!

What c64 composers are your favourites?

Hmmmm... I'll give you a list in favorites order. Comments would be far too long.
Johannes Bjerregaard
Rob Hubbard
Ben Daglish
Neil Brennan
Demon
Jeroen Tel
Deek
Chris Huelsbeck
Kim Christensen (Future Freak)
Fred Gray
etc. etc.

The same list will go for Edwin

What are your favourite Sids?

By far my favorites are: DMC demo IV tune 2 by Bjerregaard, Knucklebusters in-game by Hubbard, Kettle by Daglish, the Peter Clarke Ocean Loader, To be on Top loader by Heulsbeck, WotF II by Brennan,Head over Heels tune 1 by Peter Clarke, The Last Ninja tune 6 by Ben Daglish, Driller by Mat Gray , Leviathan by David Whittaker.

And again this will also cover Edwin's taste


What other arrangers do you like?

THC Flatline is the first one that comes to mind. The way he looks at sid-tunes is completely my style. Taking the very essence of a tune and doing something completely unexpected with it; Terra Cresta 'Shrooms mix' and the Spellbound 'short mix' being absolute masterpieces. Same thing goes for Mahoney Kaktus. Their Amiga tunes are also very remarkable. My 'neighbour' FTC (on a global scale that is 😊 for his kind of synthy seventies feel. But I also like the thumping styles of Bart Klepka, Dean Frenz, Instant Remedy, DJ Lizard and DJ oscillation or the 909 Sadist. Making accurate remakes of Sid's has never been my thing, though. (Mainly because I can't read , write or play one single note!) But the works of Chris Abbott, Glyn R. Brown or Forsythe are very nice!

What would you consider as your best remix?

That has to be my 'Switched on Bogas' version of PSI-5 Trading Company Crew select. It was made in just about 4 hours on a rainy Wednesday. Somehow it just all pieced together. Sid2Midi (Somebody give that man the Nobel prize!) blurted out a perfect Midi file that almost needed no editing and the symphonic feel with three softsynths (that's six oscillators!) fighting for some bandwidth in just one compressor was there from note number one. The rest was simple. A standard orchestral string and a nice chemical beat without too rough edges finished the job. I also like my Mission Impossabubble mix. Just because it is a great Sid in itself. This one was also finished in about 4 or 5 hours. My Knucklebusters mix would have featured in an online game for the Levi's red Tab (c) co. If it wasn't for both the software house and Levi's itself having their main offices in Manhattan... 😒

Mommys Nightmare: a0d BST's workstation
What equipment/software do you use?

Three words...Reason Reason Reason.

My brother has a lot of stuff which he (but I seldom) uses. Here is the list:

PC running Logic Reason (midi sync with Amiga)
Amiga running OctaMed
Akai S1000 Sampler
Korg Wavestation AD
ARP Odyssee analog synth
Roland M240 line mixer
Roland MIDI controlled Parametric EQ
An old very small Midi keyboard
Two Eminent organs about a millennium old
and a lot of stuff that mostly belongs in a museum but Edwin just loves...

I used to own a Korg 01W FD Keyboard, A MPC 2000 form AKAI and a Spririt Folio Mixer but I sold it to a friend.
(I have included a pic from the days it was all crammed in the attic at our parents house. On it is the also sold Korg M1 Keyboard.)

How do you get your inspiration?

I get my inspiration by listening. Having always been more of a producer and remixer instead of a composer I need other stuff to get me going. I hear a tune or a loop. I sample it. Chew on it. Smell it and then when I have the taste I want in my mouth I start cooking. Sometimes surprising myself. Sometimes overeating and sometimes losing my appetite altogether. (Yes I like cooking and writing as well 😊

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

In a Sid I look for that special taste as I said in the previous question. It doesn't matter who made it or how popular it used to be. In Mission Impossabubble I liked the perfect bluesy feel. In knucklebusters it is the seventies Rock'n Roll and in BedLam it was the merry 'I am a Psycho driving 150 Miles an hour' franticism. I have to hear it to know if it will be something being uneducated in music. This also goes for Edwin. He hears something and it passes him by like a summer breeze, caressing his ears, embracing his heart or it kicks him in the behind to go and remix some. 😊

What other arrangements do you like?

I like everything by THC Flatline ofcourse. Bart Klepka's Last Ninja Jungle Ressurrection, FTC's Infodroid and Dor-x 's Zig Zag are also among my favorites. As you can see I like mixes with an edge and a twist to them.

What are your fondest memories of the c64?

The memories are the times when WGI 2015, our group which still exists, was among the greatest and everybody liked us. We were almost famous!
Staying up whole weekends to finish that demo in time for a party. And so on and so on...

What are your likes/dislikes regarding the scene?

I can't tell if there still is a real c64 scene. But on the PC the memory is kept alive by people who work hard and completely adore the little beige bugger. The atmosphere is a lot better then it used to be in 1987-1990. It was total competition war then. No fun at all. But now it's great. I am almost feeling guilty for not participating more.

What single piece of equipment that you do not own would you like to own, and why?

That is a question we asked ourselves many times. My brother would like to have everything but I am convinced that a great piece of equipment doesn't make a fine mix. This sounds corny I know but I would have traded all my equipment for Linus Akelsons piano lessons so to speak. Because learning to play now is almost impossible due to my age and rough working hands...

If there was a tune you wish you could claim as your own, what would it be and why?

It would definitely be DMC Demo IV tune 2. I wish I could make an almost arabic chord progression sound like a rock band!

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

The biggest boost apart from the people living the scene, I think, are the emulators and Sid players which are getting better and better. Being able to totally recreate a sound or a screen keeps the fans hooked and can show the younger people where it all came from in a dignified manner.

How would you like to see the scene develop/improve?

I think we are on a good track.. But, and forgive me for the pessimistic view, I also think that almost nothing c64 related can become a commercial succes anymore. I do not consider this a bad thing, though. It means that only real c64 crazy people will keep it in our world. Enbalming it, surrounding it with the almost mythical glow that also keeps, let's say, Star Trek the original series alive.

What non c64 music do you like and does this reflect in your own remixes?

In my normal days I also like music that has an edge and a twist or just sounds a little different from other music. I still have a weakness for Heavy Metal. But Drum'n Bass is also my thing which can be clearly heard in my work. Edwin likes almost everything besides Heavy Metal.
The biggest influence, however, are the loops and sounds we steal!

How did you come across the current scene?

I always knew there was an 'Emulator scene' on just about every platform. But I took a long while to get a PC. And when I had bought one and got me some Internet the very first site I visited was c64.org!

Is there a sid that has not yet been remixed that you would like to hear?

Oh yes there is. I would like to hear a great rock rendition of the Knucklebusters in-game tune. With big synths and big drums and huge guitar solos. The whole Shazam!
Hello 'Press play on Tape'? Hello 'Puffy"?

Finally, what would you like to say to the scene?

Keep 'em Scrolling!


A rock version of Knucklebusters is long long over due. So i'd second what a0d says when he says he'd like to hear this Sid done in such a style.


- Neil

Interview date: 10.10.2001