An Interview with Max Levin

by Neil Carr

Max Leven's remix Legend Intro is actually called Puzzle Mania. So those of you who have not downloaded it may now want to check it out.

Real name: Max Levin
Born: 1983
Nationality: Swedish

Max Levin
What composers are your favourites?

Almost everyone, actually! But if I'm going to chose one absolute favourite then it must be David Whittaker! I had alot of games (cracked) which he had made the music for, which I adored, but it was on Atari ST I really understood the power of his creativity. Tunes from c64 games like Bravestarr, Milk race, Enduro racer, et.c... to Atari game-tunes like Tetris, Zombi and eh... Enduro racer?... oh well! To be honest, I think he is my real dad! 😃

What are your favourite sids?

Hard to say, due to the fact that it's too many of em(!), but one tune that I find totally legendary is Dizzy Spellbound! I don't know how many times I've heard that tune over and over again, but I was very hard to grow tired of it! I would like to remix it, but it would require a symphony-orchestra to satisfy my dreams! 😊

What other arrangers do you like?

Instant Remedy. Everytime I hear his remixes I feel like writing him an e-mail about what an expert he really is! But if I had, he would probably grow tired and angry. 😊 Trace. He's my teacher. He has learned me how to make music he's a good arranger! I especially like his remix of Bubble Dizzy. And Flimbo's Quest... and Gerry the Germ... and so on... King Fisher. Maybe I think of his own music now, but there is one thing you don't hear so often in sid-remixes these days: Lyrics! According to the information I've heard, his dad is reading a poem (in Swedish) at the beginning of Babylon.

What equipment/software do you use?

My computer, mostly. I have an old crappy keyboard from the beginning of the eighties which I play around with various beats on to see if they could be useful in a remix of some sort. I'll have to buy a MIDI-keyboard sometime soon...

What are your likes/dislikes regarding the scene?

Well, there are those who put down alot of effort in their remixes, and there are those who just want their name on the list. Take for instance The Last Ninja-remix by Instant Remedy. When you listen to it you go like HOLY CHRIST! Is this his last remix, or what?! Then we have those who just add a drumloop, or something, to the original sid and call it finished! Or haven't really checked out the info about the original tune... like I have! 😃 Yep, I've made a blooper once! Remember Legend-intro? Its real name is Puzzle Mania(song 2), but I didn't know that... until after I put it up at RKO. Funny, eh? 😊

How did you find the scene?

Through Triads website. It was those days RKO didn't exist.

How do you get your inspiration?

Mostly from all my Happy Hardcore-cds'. Dutch style kicks ass! 😃

What are your fondest memories of the c64?

It was something strange with the old machine... Everytime I saw it in my room, plugged into the tv and all, I just HAD to turn it on and start programming on it! I don't know why, I wasn't even good at programming, but the keys sometimes did look more tempting to use than the joystick. 😊

How would you like the scene to improve?

They should have somekind of quality-check at RKO. The hosts should recommend the arrangers to put more work into their remixes. Some of them (including mine) are just not finished yet.

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

You think I'm jealous or something? 😃

Why do you remix c64 music?

'Cause sometimes I just happen to hear an unknown sid, and think This is good, but I want to make it better... and I KNOW I can!. Yeah, I know I'm lying to myself, but it's a good encouraging technique!

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

Well, I listen to it. I find it to be good. Then I ask myself: If a Dutch person from the year 1994 hade made this before the original composer, what would it sound like? Probably much happier! 😊 I always search for unknown sids that earn more respect than they have got. I was working on a remix of the Giana Sisters-intro tune, but I found out that everyone had made their own version and they were all better than mine. Besides, I aint such a big fan of that tune. It was more of a request. Lessen Nikke, men så är det!

Which remix of your own are you most pleased with?

Dizasterblaster. I've put alot of effort in it I was loaded with positive energy while making it, so it only took like one week to finish. I'm really satisfied with it(although it has its small glitches) so I'm quite sad it didn't show up at the best downloads of the month back then. :~(

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

Dizzy Spellbound, or any other Dizzy sid. I really love the Dizzy games and their soundtrack, so I would really appreciate if someone else than just Trace would make a remix of an old Dizzy tune.

If the scene became commercial would you welcome it?

It isn't already?! Gosh! Then I have been wrong all the time... :/
(I aint totally sure but I'm quite sure you can hear the sid-chip beeping in the background of Rollergirls Superstar)

How would you describe your musical style?

Happy Hardcore. Or rather Happier Hardcore! 😊 Party Animals-style, maybe even Scooter...

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

A MIDI-keyboard. I'm planning to make music for Gameboy Advance games, and such device is required.

Has there been a remix that has impressed you more than any other?

Last Ninja (the long version), by Instant Remedy. Now, ladies and gentlemen, THAT'S how a remix should be done! Remade from scratch, alot of own ideas and instrument additions that really makes it deserve to be called a complete remix! It's hard to sit still while listening to such musical art! 😊

Lastly, What would you like to say to the scene?

Please, do your best to make the scene prevail. Thank You!

Max is a regular on the messageboards, who always has something good to input to the scene. The highlight of these messages are the battle of words with Wobbler which has amused the staff at r64. Keep those messages coming Max ;)

- Neil

Interview date: 20.09.2001