An Interview with Sonic Wanderer

by Neil Carr

After stumbling on the Triad site, SW download the remixes from Instant Remedy. Thus i suppose because of these two we have some great remixes from Sonic Wanderer.

Real name: Mattias Johansson
Handle: Sonic Wanderer
Born: 1976
Nationality: Swedish


What c64 composers do you like?

My favourites from the top of my head includes: Ben Daglish, Anthony Lees, Reyn Ouwehand, Matt Gray, Martin Galway, Chris Hüelsbeck and ofcourse Rob Hubbard (who *doesn't* like his work??).

Sonic Wanderer
What are your favourite sids?

My favourites of all times would without a doubt be the music from the The Last Ninja series of games. I remember getting goosebumps all over my body the first time I played series 1 on cassette for the first time in 1987. The loadermusic for level 1 is incredible. Ben Daglish and Anthony Lees worked well together. Matt Gray and Reyn Ouwehand added atmosphere to rest of the series.
Other favourites include Delta (Rob Hubbard), StarForce Fighter (Wally Beben), ZigZag (Anthony Crowther), Bulldog (Ben Daglish) and Uridium (Steve Turner) amongst many more.

What other arrangers do you like?

Instant Remedy (he was the first remixer I ever stumbled upon)
Putzi (share similar taste)
Boz (tries to keep the feel of the original SID. Love that!)
LMan (Just sounds nice)
Makke (I love it that he has the guts to actually *SING* in his remixes!!!)

And others. Nobody should feel less worthy. We all have different tastes, and we're all adding to keeping this scene great, alive and kicking!

What in your opinion is your best remix so far?

Uhm........ I don't know. Breaker, I think. It has the (according to myself) best composition of sounds among my remixes. I also like Operation Wolf, because I used no original SID sounds in that at all. It was more of a challenge to replicate the feel of the original that way.
By original SID-sounds I mean those little blirp:a and flurr:s that makes the SID so special.

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

Once again Breaker, since it (in my opinion) sounds best among my remixes up to date. But I aim at getting better and more self-secure so it will probably change over time. =)

Which is best remix or cover?

I like dancemusic, so I have to say Druid 2 by Instant Remedy. His version of Last Ninja also rocks. He's damn heavy!!

What are your likes/dislikes regarding the scene?

I like the open-minded atmosphere among the arrangers, when giving feedback and tips. I also like the idea that *anyone* can upload their remixes for public display. What I don't like, is those persons that seems to just have fired up FastTracker2, loaded some SID samples and drums, and hammered away on the keyboard for half an hour. Then calling it a serious remix. This is not as much of a problem anymore, though. Probably thanks to Jan:s Sorting Out The Crap routines at R:K:O.
There has to be some heart put into the remixes.

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

I examine the melody lines very thoroughly. I try to make the melodies 100% correct and true to the original SID. This can be somewhat time consuming since I use my own sounds, and I don't use programs such as SID2MIDI (or whatever it's called) to extract the notes.

What non c64 music do you like and does this reflect in your own music?

I like, and have always liked, electronic music. From Jean-Michel Jarre, who started in mid-70:s, through Depech Mode, LaserDance, Koto and similar in the 80:s, up to Techno and Trance in the later decades. I think my personal pick of music reflects very heavily on my remixing. So is probably the case with most arrangers.

Who do you think gives the scene the biggest boost and why?

There are two persons to be mentioned here. The reason is that their homepages has worked as entry-portals for so many arrangers into the scene of remixing.

Jan Lund Thomsen at R:K:O, and
Chris Abbott at 64audio.

Ofcourse *remix64* contributes to the scene too, with all those nice interviews and reviews. =)

How did you become part of the scene?

I actually stumbled upon Triad's remix page, thanks to of a tip from my brother XeNoMoRpH. It doesn't exist anymore, R:K:O has taken over it's function. From there I downloaded Instant Remedy's work, and it inspired me a lot. The rest is history.

How would you like to see the scene develop?

Some co-operation projects among arrangers would be neat..

What other remixes have made an impression on you?

Stuff by The Dead Guys, and the tunes on the first Back In Time album.

If the scene became more commercial would you welcome it?

More commercialism would probably be a huge speedbump for those remixing mainly for the fun of it. Sound quality would dominate, stopping nice budget-projects from ever getting known. But it would be nice if not-every-heard-SID-music persons got interested in this kind of music too.

What equipment/software do you use?

At the moment I use only one single piece of software to create my remixes. Reason by Propellerhead Software. It's great, and not that expensive. Only $399.00 at the time of writing this interview. It's possibilities are endless. Surf to www.propellerheads.se and download a free evaluation demo. =)
My earlier work included the use of another softsynth named DreamStation, by AudioSimulation. A demo is available at www.dreamstation.de .

What equipment/software that you do not already own would you like?

A genuine Roland TB-303 would be nice, some retro-sounds synthesizers to sample from and a cool drum-machine would also be great.

Should sid be used in remixes?

If you mean using genuine SID-sounds, then yes. Sometimes they are the backbone of the tune. Those blirps and flurrs are unique. There are great tools for intergrating SID sound into your modern musicstudio. For exaple HardSID, SidPlay, SIDStation and QuadraSID.

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

Yes, actually. The in-game tune from the game Dark Castle, but it's not available in the High Voltage SID Collection (yet), so it's damn hard to find material to work from.

Finally, what would you like to say to the scene?

Don't quit because of a bad review. Use it to get better!


R:K:O is mentioned time after time. Sonic Wanderer here too mention's the website. I doubt any other c64 site has as much traffic as R:K:O, or has greater importance to the scene.

- Neil

Interview date: 03.08.2001