An Interview with Marcel Donne/Mad or Mad69

by Neil Carr

Marcel Donne has produced some of the most complete covers that can be found on the Internet. He has bravely attempted some of the most complex pieces from the C64 and has come out of it with much credit.

Real name: Marcel Donné
Handle: Mad or Mad69
Born: 1970
Nationality: Dutch

Marcel Donne
What are your hobbies?

Listening to music, watching films, making music, writing short stories, make some more music, reading and er, did I mention making music?

What equipment do you use to create your c64 mixes?

Mainly a Roland JV2080, a Yamaha A4000 with a Yamaha SW1000XG card, a Yamaha DX7 as a master keyboard and a few analogue extra's which are a Yamaha CS60, A Roland Juno106 and a Korg MonoPoly. Cubase for midi recording, Soundforge for producing the bits I can't get out of the other hardware and Acid for putting everything together.

What are you top3 c64 composers, and why?

Rob Hubbard, for showing the world that you don't need a 3 million-Dollar studio to create an intense, emotional soundtrack. Instead he managed to do all that on a $15.00 chip.

Martin Galway, for creating the most atmospheric music without using rhythmic sounds.

Ben Daglish, Mostly for Trap but also for music that made me feel good.

What are your top3 Sid tunes?

Knucklebusters, Terra Cresta and Trap

What are your top3 c64 cover arrangers?

I'm afraid I don't know anyone else's work apart from the Back In Time lot and judging from the high standard they maintain it will have to be them. Mainly Chris and Boz because of the tremendous amount of work I know they have put into BIT3. I'm sure you'll agree once you get to hear the released version of BIT 3😉

Are you apart of the bit 3 project, and in what capacity?

I was involved in a few tracks on bit3 as well as providing a few 'connecting' bits 'n bobs.

Have you heard about Back In Time Live, and will you be attending?

Yes, absolutely. I booked my flight a while ago😉

Are you working on anything new, or have plans to do something new. If so what are they?

At the moment I'm having a stab at Lightforce again and I'm doing the backing track for Bowie's Space Oddity for a Dutch band.

Is there a tune that you wish you could claim as your own?

That would have to be Terra Cresta, definitely.

What non c64 performers do you like?

Jarre, Vangelis, Cocteau Twins, Recoil, Philip Glass, Michael Nyman, This Mortal Coil and The Beatles amongst many others

What is your opinion on the music in modern day games?

It seems that none of the music stands out from the rest anymore. It doesn't have that impact on me these days to be honest.

Did you ever compose on the c64 itself, if so was it commercial or just a hobby?

Uhm, yes I did. Maybe 2 or 3 projects were commercially released but I don't really like it very much. There were also a few pieces for demos.

Marcel, your covers seem to stand out from the crowd, what in your opinion makes a good remix?

Thank you😊 It depends on what you try to achieve with a cover. You can try to stay as close as possible to the original or you might want to produce a different interpretation of the track. In other cases you might decide that adding (or altering) different instruments would do the trick.

Who do you think gives the c64 revival the biggest boost?

Chris Abbott, definitely

Why did you start doing C64 remixes?

Because it's such great music!
When I work on a project different than C64 music and come to the point when I'm running out of steam I usually start doing a C64 cover to divert myself and try to get 'unstuck'. It usually works.

Is there a piece of equipment that you do not own, that you would like to buy?

That would be a Yamaha CS80 but there were only about 2000 built unfortunately. In case an owner would like to sell one, please contact Neil😉

Have you spoken to any famous c64 composers, if so what impression did you get?

Charles Deenen. We go back a while. He hasn't changed a bit since he left Holland to start working for Interplay. Other than that, none, I'm afraid.

Do you think that the C64 remixes can make a breakthru in the commercial sector?

That Kernkraft single seems to be proof that it is possible but that was only based on a short riff. It's probably going to be quite hard to land, say, Flash Gordon or Parallax in the charts.

Is there a tune that you have not yet covered that you would like to cover?

Thalamusic for one. And I'd still like to do a complete rendition of Knucklebusters, and Monty On The Run.

Marcel Donne
What in your opinion should a remix sound like to give the original justice?

Hard question. I guess it depends on how one interprets the original. You could, for instance, cover Master Of Magic with medieval instruments or electronic instruments or maybe you don't want to choose obvious instruments and go for, say, a traditional Chinese instrumentation. It really depends on the piece.

The future of c64 remixing will it get bigger or do you think it has a life span?

I truly hope that it carries on forever but if I look at it in a level-headed way I think it's a revival that will have a limited life. I hope I'm wrong though.

What are your hates about the remixing scene?

People who simply take a Sid and stick a '4 on the floor' to it.

Has there been anything or anyone who has given you a lift regarding your remixes?

Chris is a very good judge and encouraged me to do some work for the Back In Time 3 project. And I really enjoyed reading the reviews you gave my covers in your review section 😊

What musical history do you have?

I did jingles and station calls for different local radio stations in Holland. A whole bunch of karaoke tracks and 2 or 3 remixes for a few Indie bands.

From the few times I have spoken to Marcel, he seems very modest about his work. His answers are short, but to the point. There is no doubting that this guy has done some terrific covers which is concise and well designed.

- Neil

Interview date: 12.03.2001