An Interview with Puffy64

by Neil Carr

Puffy is an arranger that has brought something a bit different into the world of Remixing C64 sids. His use of the Guitar is extra-ordinary winning him a call-up to Chris Abbott's Back In Time 3 CD, where he worked on the cover of Armalyte.

Real name: Philipp Riefke
Handle: Puffy64
Born: 1975
Nationality: German

What c64 composers do you most respect?

Matt Gray, Rob Hubbard and Chris Huelsbeck. And many more.
Matt because of his great Ninja2-stuff.
Rob for the tunes everybody loves.
Chris made the great 'To be on top' and 'Giana tunes' I´ll love these forever.

What sid tunes are your personal favourites?

Hehe, a list of 100 I could write down here. But:
1) Last Ninja 2 (almost every sub-tune)
2) International Karate III
3) Delta
4) No mercy
5) Auf Wiedersehen Monty
and many more I really would love to mention…

What equipment do you use?

Washburn Guitar, Marshall-Amp. 900series

What equipment that you do not own, would you like?

I would like to have a band like PPOT… Equipment is not enything a musician needs 😊

You have used the guitar in most of your remixes; can you play any other instruments?

Yes, sure. I´ve started with piano lessons a long time ago. (I was 6 or something) and played until I was about 12. Then came hard-rock into my live and I´ve practiced from then. But the guitar has always been there for harmonical reasons mainly. My main instrument still is e-bass. Bumm,bumm, daooong ;) ah, and I´ve played drums a little too. But frankly, that´s not my world at all to play it myself. My destiny seems to be arranger more than artist.

How did you become part of the remix of Armalyte for the Back In Time 3 CD?

Simple question: Chris asked me to do some guitars on his beta and I said: Why not? I´m honoured to be involved in his BIT3 and my only fear was/is that my style could fail his imaginations about this tune. Hope I didn´t mess it up.

What are your opinions about the Bitlive event, and will you be attending?

Chris is doing a very good job. Not only does he produce the CD's, no he also manages to organize an event that big and Courageous! Sure, I will come to England in May. I need some real contact with all the friendly c64-people and it´s a perfect event to meet at least some of them.

Did you do any music on the original sid chip?

Erm, music I wouldn´t call it… I tried hard to understand the programming of the SID though, but never came far with my efforts. I remember these things: $D412 and up and most of all, The irq- iaddress $0314-$0315 (no warranty)

If there was one tune that you would love to claim as your own, what would it be and why?

Hmm, can´t identify with a c64-composer´s THAT much. But Rob Hubbard made the melodies and sounds that fit to my feelings many times.

Who on the current remixing scene gives the community the biggest boost?

Everyone who made a C64-related website. But there are some guys doing more and some of them I want to mention here:
Chis Abbott (he made his BIT1 when I didn´t know C64-songs that were not only loved by me)
Linus Walleij (the very first big c64-mp3-remix-site webmaster)
Kai Spitzley (Lastninja-Archives, I love his site, because I love this game/songs so much)
Jan Lund Thomson & crew
And many more that are busy making new sites and yes, interviews also ;))

Are there any other interests apart from remixing that you like to do?

Of course. Configuring PCs, creating LANs, databases etc.. But my first love was music and still is. It´s like (instant) remedy for my soul.

What aspects of the scene give you the most pleasure?

That it is growing. Finally I found out: I´m not alone with my feelings and imaginations about the c64-music. I´m not mad, yippeee!

In your opinion what should a cover be like to give the original tune justice?

Difficult to answer by few words. I don´t like one2one covers much. Every remixer should try to include some own stuff to his favourite song. Not artificially. Something that lives and transfers emotions. Can´t explain exactly. It´s like What is music about?. In some cases a direct cover is just enough… black and white. Bad and good etc…

Is there anything about the scene that annoys you?

Yes. Depending on my musical taste I don´t like standard rebirth-reason-sounds at all in remixes. And there are too many who thinks bum-tsch-drums are enough. Could be but where are emotions and thoughts in them?

How did you get the codename Puffy64?

The story behind is simple: My best friend when I was young called me Puffy (spoken Pooffy in german) some day. Never found out why. When doing the remixes I had to think about a code-name and I chose this one. The addition to Puffy64 came when I realised that there was a famous guy with the nickname: Puffy (Puff Daddy) and that´s the story behind it

What musical background do you have?

Classic (Bach, Haydn, Beethoven, Schubert, Chopin, Wagner, and many more)
60's 70's (Beatles, Doors, Pink Floyd, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath
80's AC/DC, Helloween, Metal Church, Metallica, Blind Guardian, Sting, many more)
90's Therion, Gamma Ray, Hammerfall, Stratovarius, Symphony X, Nirvana, Alice in chains .Prodigy. Chemical Bro. ….
2000's. Was there any music of importance in these 2 years…hmmm

A heavy guitar rock sound is a major part of your remixes – can we expect a different style from Puffy64 in the future?

I prefer to play the guitars distorted and to find my own style between the influences (see Q16). But I also like to hear and play balladesque songs,too. But it´s depending on my mood what the products sound like when I play.

You have done a lot of covers from the Last Ninja series, why did you choose to cover those?

Well, these songs were perfect to be transformed into a heavyrock-band setup. In addition to this, I always had in mind the songs were already rock… and it was no problem to get these melodies back out of my memory ;)

What is the main inspiration you get while doing your remixes?

Don´t know exactly…It´s a mixture between improvisation and cognitive composition. Sometimes the guitar plays automatically melodies, I haven´t planned to play (jam-sessions are great to get ideas) But it´s not explainable completely to me yet.

What do you think about the music in games on the PC?

There are no hits anymore. Just big names sometimes. There´s no place for individual sounds and extraordinary compositions. It´s on the level of the common top ten charts mostly. And the charts are sooo bad these days…

Lastly what is next for Puffy64?

Perhaps another remix. But first of all I think about my slow growing Ninja-Hymn, which was composed Sep. 2000, and I couldn´t finish it ´til now. Step by step…There are many complete songs (own compositions)in my mind for years and I have to play and record them as to not drive me crazy…

Puffy is renowned for his hard rock approach. Yet we may soon here a slower Last Ninja theme very soon. His slant on music is totally original and a welcome change from the growing dance remixes that are currently in abundance.

- Neil

Interview date: 25.03.2001