An Interview with Oedipus

by Neil Carr

Oedipus has created quite a few mixes, his latest Auf Wiedersehen Monty was a recomended download here at Remix64. Oedipus is the perfect example of improvement. His early work wasn't great, but now he has grown into a very able musician.

Real name: Borgar Þorsteinsson
Handle: Oedipus
Born: 1975
Nationality: Icelandic

What are your favourite C64 composers

My all time favourite musician is Ben Daglish, closely followed by Johannes Bjerreegaard, Reyn Ouwehand and Thomas Mogensen.

What sids are your favourites?

To name a few of the classics: Switchblade, Knucklebusters, Stormlord, Last Ninja (any), Firelord, Ark Pandora, DMC Demo, KamiKaze… And some slightly obscure ones: Slightly Magic, Ballblazer, Adidas Football, Galaforce 2

Why did you start remixing c64 sids?

I had an Atari ST and the demo scene was rapidly approaching the state of rigor mortis. I moved to the PC which at that time had a fairly active demo scene (remember the Hornet archive?). Anyway, I discovered great stuff like Fast Tracker & SidPlay. I loved music but didn’t know anything about composition. I thought I might learn something by analysing the works of the masters (like you do in artschool) so I followed the footprints of Jochen Hippel and started porting C=64 tunes to Mods. The first thing I did was Bangkok Knights by Gray… it was terrible!

What equipment/software do you use?

At the moment, Propellerheads Reason (Monty & Vindicator tunes). Before this I was using SB Live with custom soundfonts. The sequencer I use is Cakewalk 6, I prefer it to newer releases because it’s simpler to operate.

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

Mostly I try to pick tunes that I think will fit my style. Also if I spot how a tune can be easily extended to a full arrangement. I’m sure all remixers have found themselves stuck on some tune because it simply didn’t work in another environment. This happens a lot tom me. For every tune that I release there are about 5 others I have abandoned in mid processing. Chiptunes can get away with being much more minimalist than traditional arrangements.

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

Le aoleil est pres de moi by the French band Air. Simply beautiful! Ask me again in two day’s and I will probably say something else.

Which remix of your own are you most pleased with?

Usually my latest release… so right now: Auf Wiedersehen Monty and Vindicator ;-)

What are your likes/dislikes regarding remixing c64 sids?

What annoys my the most are wrong notes in (other peoples) remixes ;-) There are some remixers who take pride in not using converters, such as Sid2Midi, who occasionally do serious mistakes. In my experience this is fatal to the tune every time.
I usually don’t like sampled bits from the original SID’s. An exeption to this are C64 samples (Stay awhile, stay forevvveerrr!) and percussion or sweep effects. Sampling the bassline is just being lazy!
I usually like it when the remixer does something new to the tune like blending another tune into it, writes a new solo or gives it extra swing or shuffle. Some good examples of late are Puffy64’s Zak MCommando Kracken tune or Mahoney’s Spellbound (Swing mix).

Who do you think gives the scene the biggest boost?

Seeing as it binds the whole scene nicely together in one website, I’ll have to say Jan Lund Thomsen’s is vitamin A. Chris Abbott with his C64Audio gives us something to aspire to and now Remix64 provides nice coverage on the inside of the scene.

Which do you prefer cover or remix?

This is a subject I can’t say I have formed an opinion on. It seems to me that the remix term is much more technical than cover. Cover is IMO more appropriate when the artist in question releases own material. Call the tunes conversions, arrangements, remixes or covers, it doesn’t really matter as long as you can still call them music ;-)

What other arrangers do you like?

My top 4: Eric Pochesci, Jeroen Breebaart, Puffy64 and The Dead Guys

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

Ballblazer! And Puffy64 doing Knucklebusters.

What are your thoughts on remix cd’s?

As I’ve only heard 2 so far I don’t have much frame of reference. I won copy’s of Back in Time 2 and 3 in the Fred Gray competition and thought they were very good.

What are your fondest memories of the c64?

Ah, the world of portable computers… You could drop them to the floor without it having any effect! Just try that on your PC ;-)

Who/what do you get your musical influences?
What non c64 music do you like, and does this reflect in your music?

Obviously I am influenced a great deal by the music of C64, ZX, ST and Amiga, this might be the reason for my minimalist chip-ish sound? ;-)
I'm listening to a wide range of music but not much of it gets through to the remixes. I went to see Rammstein a few day's ago and right now I'm listening to the Congos but I doubt this will have much effect on my own work.
What does get through however is the early synth music I like: Tonto's expanding head band, Wendy Carlos, Perrey & Kingsley, Dick Hyman. Some more influences/recommendations are: The Shogun Assassin soundtrack, William Orbit's Pieces in a new style, Yellow Magic Orchestra, Pluxus, Moog Cookbook and Martin Denny's Exotic Moog

What sids are you looking to remix in the future?

Some stuff I have ready but unreleased is Adidas Football by Matt Cannon, Galaforce 2 by Chris Abbott, some Last Ninja tunes and a different approach to Giana Sisters.

If there is a piece of equipment that you do not own. What piece would you like to own?

I'd like a Roland Juno 106! My brother has one. The sound is just about the fattest smoothest chipsound ever!

In your opinion what makes a good remix?

Some things that put weight on my scales are chipstyle sounds, loud bass & drums, a nice funky bounce and so on… I generally dislike midi- or cheap synth- sounding tunes but I have to say that if you have a good idea, you can get away with lower quality production.

Lastly. What would toy like to say to the scene?

Don't be too hard on newcomers, their work will improve over time (heck, even mine does!).

Propellerheads Reason is seemingly becoming very popular with a number of musicians using this excellent piece of software.

- Neil

Interview date: 17.07.2001