An Interview with Maindrian

by Volker Buckow

1981? A mere strapling when the C64 first came out, Maindrian has been a guitar-driven force in the remix scene over recently. Here's his reactions to the world in general, and the C64 remix scene in particular, expertly coaxed by the inimitable Dr. Future.

Real name: Adam Knights
Handle: Maindrian
Born: 1981
Nationality: British

What equipment do you use?

A Squire Gold model strat copy, a rather good Encore Les Paul copy, lots of leads, a distortion pedal and a very dodgy computer. The music program I use is called Music 2000. It’s a little old and nasty, but if you’ve heard what Glyn R Brown has done with it, you wouldn’t mind so much. If it worked for him…

All in all, my equipment is cheap and crap, but it gets the job done.Badly.😉

What SIDs are amongst your favourites?

There would probably be a lot of Ocean games amongst my favourite SIDs. Robocop by Jonathan Dunn and Midnight Resistance by Keith Tinman are two I would single out. Marauder by Barry Lietch is one that I think demands a remix. Scout by Jeroen Tel is another. Of course, I’m also a huge fan of Rob Hubbard music, especially Dragons Lair 2 and Nemesis the Warlock. I could go on, there are tons more I’d like to mention, but it would end up reading like a who’s who list. Hang on, thats for the next question!

Who were your favourite c64 composers?

Rob Hubbard, Martin Galway, Matt Gray, Steve Barret and Jonathan Dunn. A lot of unsurprising choices, eh?

What other arrangers do you like?

Ifadeo, he does some great electronica, which is my preferred chillout music. I shouldn’t even have to mention Markus Schneider, Glyn R Brown, Marcel Donne or Puffy64… But I just did. Funny that.

Also, Play By Numbers. That fella can grind a guitar better than I could ever dream of. Certainly a future scene legend in the making.

What are your favourite remixes done by other arrangers?

Auf Wiedersehen Monty by RBT, Deliverance by Ifadeo and all of the Last Ninja 2 remixes by Puffy. They rock. As before, I could go on, but I won't.

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

A Gibson SG and a Vox amplifier would be nice. A new computer and some better programs would be nice too. And of course, money and talent, of which I have neither. You making a Christmas list?

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

All you fellas at, Chris Abbott, Jan. Who else? Uh… Everyone.

The remixers are important, without a doubt. Some of the stuff that’s being done these days is fantastic. Orchestral remixes, rock and punk remixes, vocal remixes… Damnit, there’s a lot of different styles on show these days, one for every taste. Its all good.

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

I never had an Amiga, but there is one tune from that system I love. Captain Dynamo. If I don’t do it someday, I hope somebody else will.
I’ve considered doing some Silent Hill remixes lately. Of all the contemporary games soundtracks out there, I believe those games are the most groundbreaking in terms of sound design and music.

You’ve done some unique remixes of songs that haven’t been remixed so far, i. e. Star Lifter, Very Short and Midnight Resistance. Are these tracks that influenced you? Are you planning some more innovative releases?

Star Lifter was a suggestion from a friend and Very Short was a lucky find. I love both of those tunes now, but until I’d remixed them, I’d never heard of them. Midnight Resistance was one track that influenced me. I know the SID tunes were based off of an arcade machine, but I’ve only ever heard Keith Tinman’s renditions.
I keep trying to find stuff that nobody has done yet. I ask for suggestions from people quite a lot. It’s hard to find stuff that fits a guitar remix though.

You’re playing a lot of guitars in your remixes. Is this a must for your style or are you planning to release some guitar-free tracks also?

It isn’t a must. Anything is possible as far as I’m concerned. Perhaps we’ll wait and see, eh?

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

Not really. Everything pretty much runs like clockwork as far as I can tell. Sure, clockwork needs winding, but… Damn these crappy metaphors.

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 have an opinion on this. I’ve never really heard any of the CD’s that have been released, apart from snatches of stuff from C64 Audio. I never paid much attention to the commercial part of the scene to be honest.

What are your fondest memories of the c64?

Going round a friends house after school to play Last Ninja 2. We’d take turns with every life and hum the music.
For my tenth birthday, I got Spectrum 128. For her tenth birthday, my sister got a Commodore. I would never let her anywhere near it. She’d have to her Dizzy games on my spectrum instead. What a rotten shit I was, huh?

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

I hate those games these days, where you have a soundtrack made up of the latest hip bands. I hate it in movies, but I detest it in videogames. Its just lazy.
However, there are some modern game soundtracks that have impressed me quite a lot recently. Silent Hill springs to mind again.

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

Its got to be something that will stick in my head and stay there. A melody I’ll hum while making a cup of tea in the morning. Catchy, Y’know?

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

Getting reviews. Most people would say they don’t care about that, but I do. Its an ego massage to hear compliments and its even more helpful when somebody tell you what they don’t like, or where you’re going wrong. You know not to make the same mistakes twice. Uh… Well, within reason anyway.

Is remixing your only musical output or are you doing some own material also? If so, where can we get it?

I’ve just recently formed a band, after years of saying I would never do it again. We’re not really that professional, just jamming sessions for now, but in the future, who knows? I stopped writing songs for a long time and now I feel… Inspired, which is always great.

Your final words to the scene?

Live long and prosper… Stuff of that nature. 😃

There you go: a talented a nice man. He really should listen to the CDs though... 😉

- Dr. Future

Interview date: 30.04.2004