An Interview with Dr. Future

by Neil Carr

It had to happen, either now or sometime in the future didn't it? A BITLIVE experience outside of the UK. Thanks to Dr. Future, the organiser it will happen, but this interview barely mentions bitlive Germany, instead we talk about the c64, music and remixing, oh and a little on bitlive Germany.

Real name: Volker Buckow
Handle: Dr. Future
Born: 1973
Nationality: German

What equipment do you use?

Huh, that’s quite a lot to mention…Are you prepared?
Computer: AMD Athlon XP 1800 , 1 GB DDR RAM, M-Audio Delta 44 Audiocard, Steinberg USB2Midi Midi-Interface, Windows XP, Cubase SX

Mixer: Yamaha MX 12/4

Monitors: Cambridge SoundWorks 4 Point Surround, AKG K240DF

Mic: Audio Technica AT 3035 (Preamp: dbx 286A, Midiman Audio Buddy)

Synthesizer: Yamaha CS1x, Yamaha RM1x, Steinberg HALion, Steinberg The Grand, Steinberg PLEX, Steinberg LM-4 MK II, Steinberg D’cota, Edirol Virtual Sound Canvas, Edirol Super Quartett, Edirol Hyper Canvas, Edirol Orchestral, Native Instruments FM 7, Native Instruments Kontakt, Native Instruments Battery, Native Instruments Absynth, Native Instruments Pro 53, Native Instruments B4, ReFX QuadraSID, ReFX Claw, Wizoo Virtual Guitarist, Waldorf Attack, TC Mercury 1, IK Multimedia SampleTank, Audionerdz Delay Lama, Spectrasonics Stylus, Spectrasonics Atmosphere, G-Media The Oddity

Effects: Waves Renaissance Collection, Waves Masters Bundle, Waves Native Gold, Steinberg Warp, IK AmpliTube, ReFX Trasher, TL Audio EQ-1, Antares Autotune, Prosoniq Orange Vocoder, PSP Lexicon 42, PSP Lexicon 84, PSP Vintage Warmer, Steinberg Mastering Edition, Steinberg Free Filter, Steinberg Voicemachine, TC Works Native Bundle, BBE Sonic Maximizer, Antares Tube

Guitars: Keynok Accoustic 6 String, Vesper RightHand 6 String Electric, Ibanez 12 String Western

What sids are amongst your favourites?

Cybernoid 1 & 2, Giana Sisters, To be on Top, Crazy Comets, Rambo, Commando and lots more…

Who were your favourite c64 composers?

Galway, Hubbard, Hülsbeck, MoN.

What other arrangers do you like?

Every arranger helps the scene developing on, so I like everyone. But to mention some nice guys I talked to in the forum or on the phone, there are Jan Zottmann (Immortal 2), Chris Abbott, Markus Schneider, Arvid Weber (arvirus), puffy64, DHS, Larsec, Markus Holler, octave.sounds, Marcel Donné, O², Trace…Sorry for everyone I’ve forgotten ;-)

What are your favourite remixes done by other arrangers?

Machinae Supremacy have done a marvelous job on Giana Sisters, this track has brought professionality to the remix-scene and has raised the entry level quite a lot. I’m also in love with N-Joy’s wonderful Commando Highscore track, this is just more than a remix, it’s the title-track of the forthcoming Disney’s Commando ;-)
Of course there are more favourite remixes, I like everything by Instant Remedy, Trace, O², Glyn of course, Thomas Detert and many more…

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

Hardware! Real Hardware, hehe. As I do almost everything with Softsynth, I’m a sucker for everything to touch. I’d really like to have the Korg Karma, the Virus by Access, some nice Waldorf Synths and a Nord Lead. And I’m insatiate for the Mackie Control.

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

Maybe it was the Pentagon by inventing the Arpa-Net? Just kidding, this is the place for names like Chris Abbot and Jan Lund Thomsen. Without their enthusiasm and their pioneer-role the scene wouldn’t have a central (c64audio) and wouldn’t have a munitions-lager (R.K.O.)!

I see you have ported over a remix to the AMIGAremix website, can you forsee any further Amiga remixes from yourself?

Of course! It’s only a question of time, hehe. I’m not the fastest releaser, but I’ve got at least 2 Amiga-remixes on my HD that are 90% ready to go…

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

Do: Capture the spirit & the feelings of the original Game & SID.
Don’t: There is no pressure to make a modern (Dance, Techno) version of a SID. I always try to do the remix the way the original artist could have done it with more than 3 voices…

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

Hmmm, not much, maybe it’ll be cool if there were more collaborations between artists.

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 believe it could ever destroy the fundament, and everyone’s free to decide if he’s willing to take part in the commercialization or not. For me, it has always been something special, so I supported the commercial part from the beginning (man, all this CD’s and clothes, am I nuts?)…

What are your fondest memories of the c64?

10 Going to the shop, buying a Quickshot 1
20 Meet with friends, play Decathlon over and over, breaking every record
30 Hmmm, another broken Quickshot in my hands…
40 Goto 10
P.S.: I had a technique were I was bashing the stick with my backhand, it worked, don’t ask me why and I (and my mostly blue/green hand) broke every record and every joystick ;-)

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

Since I’ve moved from the Amiga to the PC, there hasn’t been ANY game music that made me load the game just to hear the music! With my C64 and my Amiga, I often loaded a game only to lay back and listen to the inspiring music for hours. That’s lacking in today’s games as the music is more like a movie-theme and not like a #1 chart entry…

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

As mentioned before, I try to imagine how the original artist would have done the track back in the times if he had nearly unlimited voices at 16 Bit, 44,1 kHz.

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

The biggest highlight is it to meet people from everywhere with the same fond memories and the same history. Everyday! This has been even better since the forum on IRC has been opened, it’s totally awesome to talk to you alter ego from Scandinavia or England…

Go on, shameless plug-time… Speak to us about the Bit Live Germany event?

What should I say? I always wanted to meet some other arrangers/composers, but I wasn’t able to get to the BIT’s in England, so I wondered if BIT Live could be possible in Germany…And now leave me alone, I need to organize so much more for this event ;-)

Keep in touch with BIT Live Germany @remix64. Don’t miss it on June 21st in Wedel/Hamburg!

Your final words?

It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice!

Dr. Future has spoken about the benefits of IRC and has enjoyed his experience their. Now is a better time than ever to join the chat and discover who's who and what what on the scene. Give it a go, you might have a bit of fun.

- Neil

Interview date: 12.04.2003