An Interview with Neil Carr

by LMan

Besides being our editor and a nice guy, he's the father of 2 lovely kids. Neil puts great effort into providing articles, reviews, news and interviews for the Remix64 site. He's always thinking on how to improve the site - actually he's vital to all magazine parts of it. Read his views on all that here!

Real name: Neil Carr
Handle: Tas
Born: 1972
Nationality: English

Who were your favourite composers?

I’m part of the old group here I’m afraid, the music from Martin Galway and Rob Hubbard certainly made the old sid chip sound so great. Some tunes from Ben Daglish and Chris Huelsbeck also had great qualities to them. The later musicians couldn’t compete in my opinion regarding the experience of their predicessors.

Neil Carr
What were your favourite sids?

Storm (Whittaker) Master Of Magic, Confusion, in fact anything from 85/86 by Hubbard, I also liked the Short Circuit music by Galway. Think Twice III also became a much liked piece for me.

What arrangers of c64 remakes do you like?

Oh I enjoy the music of many, but there are some people that are more suited to my tastes than others. I do especially enjoy the music of LMan, DHS, Che Lalic, Glyn R. Brown, Axel Melziner, Trace, and most of the stuff from bit3 was impressive too.

Whoa, thank you for the compliment! 😊 What are your likes / dislikes about the c64 remix scene?

It’s all down to the remixes you guys are producing. It was a dream of mine. I always wanted to hear c64 music re-done with modern synths and sounds and that’s what’s happening right now.

The dislikes: Well where should I start… ;) The main thing I dislike is how some people are so rude and so discouraging to other members of the scene (luckily it’s not too often)
And bug bear is the idea of original sid with sampled drums thing… where is the talent in that!

What in your opinion should a sid remix sound like to be faithful to the original?

I personally feel that the original should remain largely unchanged regarding style. Just replace the old sound with new. However if done really well for example The Soundwavers Dance remixes have impressed me no end. What I’m not over keen on is changing the style from it’s genre to a more modern beat. That wasn’t how it was done originally and it’s not faithful to the original. That of course is just my view, I know that there will be many who would regard this as nonsense.

How do you judge a remix when writing a review?

I take several factors into consideration. What’s trying to be achieved, what has been achieved, how slick does it sound, amongst many other factors. One thing I always do is listen to it many times. A CD can in fact be listened to over 10 times, before I write the review. I also listen to it while writing the review. A fair review cannot be obtained by listening to it once. There is more on this on the Hot-Topic messageboards at remix64 if anyone is interested.

What non c64 music do you like?

I’m a massive fan of Mike Oldfield. I also enjoy the early work from Jarre. Apart from that it’s really down to each individual song. I can’t say I’m over fond of a singer or group other than the two fore mentioned.

What are your fondest memories of the c64?

I remember walking into a local computer store and seeing Way of the Exploding Fist and just being in awe of it. I bought the game shortly afterwards.

And I remember loading up the Ocean games and hearing the music from Galway, and saying IT CAN’T DO THAT!. But of course it could and it did. I forget exactly how many times I said that!

I also remember freezing stuff with my Trilogic, and messing about with the code. What a great cartridge that was.

How did you get the idea of creating Remix64?

Well when I first visited the scene. I thought wow! This is great. But I’m sick of downloading loads and loads of rubbish on my 56k modem. I thought there must be a website that would review this sort of stuff… But hey there wasn’t. So I thought of creating a website that would cover this. Shortly after creating the first website of remix64 I noticed that the idea was good but needed to be expanded on. So I set out to do exactly this. Then Markus popped up and it was obvious that we both had similar ideas. He suggested that we should join forces. He didn’t need to convince me. One look at the possible new website and that was enough. So here we are now and in a short time we’ve done quite a lot. However Markus can vouch for this I’m never happy and want things done the day before I think about it ;). Luckily Markus is a nice guy and is very patient with my ramblings.

Also the old website looked and acted so ugly it wasn’t feasable to continue with it. So you can imagine when markus offered the opportunity to link up with him and slim that I grabbed it with both hands. I was so taken back by his honesty and ideals that I’m proud to work with him and call him a friend.

Hey was the question how to pay tribute to markus?. Oops!

Thanks, Neil - and the same goes to you, mate! 😊 Where do you get your motivation from regarding the Remix64 magazine?

Mmm, difficult question. Since the scene seems reluctant to actually be part of what is essentailly their centre point, it’s difficult to get motivated when they don’t want to actually be part of it. Far too many people sit back and grab everything without giving anything back. For those that do and often give feedback (good or bad), then this is for them. I hope so far we have done a good job.

Have you encountered any resistance when contacting composers?

Not really. Though I’m pretty disapointed to the few who said they would co-operate, but then didn’t return their interviews. Do they realise how much work I’ve put into research! And other things. Especially since many interviews are catered to the interviewee.

David Whittaker has very co-operative saying he was too busy at the moment and to contact him later. I’d rather have that! At least I don’t put in any work myself to get no return. Thanks David for being honest.

How do you find the time to work so hard on Remix64?

I Don’t !!! ;)

I work nights, and I sleep through the day. I’m not really sure how I find time, but I do.

What are your hobbies?

Reading especially Fantasy books, Playing Rpgs and good strategy games, And I follow my beloved Doncaster Rovers football team. (No! laughing please)

You're involved with the group FOFT. Tell our readers about that group.

Oh yes, Foft started it’s life in the early days of the ST. We became quite well known throughout the ST coding scene. Disbanded in the early 90’s. We created many of the famous Compact Menu’s over 80 infact. Foft made it’s return last year. Already we have made several simple intro’s. A linux web browser, and a simple game. I and Fash (some of you maybe familiar with his remixes on R:K:O) are now working on quite a project at the moment. It’s a game which is top secret at the moment. But in my opinion is looking quite good, and I’m optamistic for it. Foft itself is a union of groups creating games/intros/utils whatever. We are always looking for members. You can visit us by clicking on the TAS personal link. (unfortunately the website has a technical problem that won’t go away. So sometimes it’s online and other times it’s not!)

What does your handle Tas stand for?

Tas is a character from The DragonLance series of books. A cheeky, but lovable character that at times is a little bit on the silly side. (just about sums me up too ;) )
I used this from the ST days of FOFT, I was also known back then as Tyrant. (but that didn’t suit me at all).

Do you think the c64 remixing community will continue to grow, or could there be a limit of people's interest?

Well I originally thought it would slowly die, but there seems signs that the younger generation is becoming involved, to what degree remains uncertain. I’d give the scene at least another 10 years. After that well it’s anyone’s guess.

So do you think the scene can make a commercial breakthrough? Would you welcome this or are you sceptical on that matter?

No! Absolutely not!. You maybe see the odd Zombie Nation thing, but I can’t see it really taking off. As far as commercially viable, the Bit albums and CD’s like that is as far as it will go. I doubt we’ll ever see anything like a Bitlive thing again, however nice that would be. As far as liking it or not, well I’m undecided on that and have no strong views on this matter.

What are your hopes for the Remix64 magazine?

My hopes that we can improve and grow on what we have already achieved and for r64 to become a central point for the scene. That would be nice. Even nicer would be if people actually enjoy visiting R64. Even nicer still would be if people wouldn’t just lurk and would help us provide what they would want. I’m very pleased with our hit rates and very surprised by them. I can see these improving quite drastically too once we become interactive.
Over 600 hits to our reviews in less than 2 month in my opinion quite staggering at this stage in development

What development would you like to see in the future regarding the community in general?

I wouldn’t really want it to develop, it’s nice as it is. I would like people to develop though. What makes me laugh is when arrangers say feedback is welcomed!, but they don’t give feedback themselves. Come on guys, think about it… You want feedback, but you don’t give it… Works both ways.

What does the future hold for you in your private life?

Now That’s Private!!! ;)

I don’t know. I’ll just take every step as it comes.

Lastly, an open question. Say anything wise you would like to share with the community.

I’d just like to say good work guys. There wouldn’t be a scene if it weren’t for every single one of you. Everyone has their place, And I welcome all to Remix64!

Have a good day!

As you can see from the interview, Neil and me have become more than just colleagues during the development of Remix64. Sometimes I am impressed how Neil finds the time to do all the things he does for the magazine. I couldn't imagine someone doing the editorial work any better. Cheeeeers, Neil! 😊 - LMan

Interview date: 16.07.2001