An Interview with Wobbler

by Neil Carr

So far Wobbler has created many dance tracks with one excpetion his remix of Turbo Outrun has a latin feel. Feel free to visit his website at: www.wobbler.nu

Real name: Markus Norsted
Handle: Wobbler
Born: 1970
Nationality: Swedish


Markus "Wobbler" Norsted
Who were your favourite C64 composers?

Maniacs of Noice, Ben Daglish, Rob Hubbard, Fred Gray, Mr Boogaloo & Zagor
(Horizon)... uhm... and others too.

What are your favourite sids?

Too many to mention, but Commando and The Last Ninja is the first that comes
to my mind.

What Equipment/Software do you use?

I rely to a 100% on my Apple Powerbook G3/400 for handling sequencing,
sampling, syntheseizing etc. I DO own a hardware syntheseizer, an Alesis QS
6.1 that I bought last autumn, but I only use that as a controller when
composing (reason is that I don't wn any mixer so that I can mix the synths
internal sound to the other audio).

As for software I started out with Steinberg's Cubase VST and used samples
from original SIDs, drumloops etc. I didn't own any hardware or software
that I could actually *play* anything myself at ths point so I guess I was
pretty damn limited i n my remixing. I now use Propellerheads Reason for my
main sequencing and software synthezeising and that really have made me less
(to say the least) depending of pre-made samples.

Why did you start remixing C64 music?

Well, Commodore C64 music has always been important for me (since I was part of the demo scene in the late 80's; was (am) a member in 'Equinoxe'.). In 1997 I rediscovered the old SID-tunes through Sidplay (Mac client programmed by Andreas Varga), and immediately felt a need to 'bring back' life in the old tunes. My first attempt to remix a SID-tune was The Last Ninja (guess that tune is what most people remember from the C64). The remix was made by just chopping up samples from the original SID and then adding beats to it. I threw in a few japanese people speaking too (ripped that from a radio station I found through RealPlayer 😊

I see your music is heavilly dance orientated, why is this?

I love tunes with a distinct beat. Maybe that's a reason? On the other hand,
my Turbo Outrun remix has more of a latin-guitarish sound to it. Dunno
wheter to call that danceiorientated or not.

Is Wobbler going to atempt another style or are you going to stick to
your current style?

I love to mix different styles and I would not like to call myself a person
that sticks to one specific style.

Who do you think gives the scene the biggest boost?

It's depending on what direction you mean. If the 'scene' is the remix-community and giving access to the people to listen to different remixes I guess the answer would have to be Jan Lund Thomsen (skål på dej Jan 😊 who started Remix.Kwed.Org. Until now, it's been a living hell to get new remixes and arrangements and R.K.O. is a goldmine for grabbing the latest tunes. As for remixers, I just LOVE the stuff that The Dead Guys make. Totally innovative audio, and their productions bring a new dimension to the old SIDs. I also like the stuff that MistaDistah has released. His style reminds a lot to TDG, but that can't be a bad thing.

Which other arrangers do you like?

Kent 'Trace' Walldén, THC Flatline, LMan, MistaDistah and The Soundwavers.

Your 'Special Agent' mix features singing. Why was that?

Well, no special reason for me adding singing but I found a few samples
(previously used by Altern8 among others) that I wanted to throw in. I think
it made the remix... uhm... different. But it works. Just see it as me
tweaking some knobs on the sampler/sequencer.

How do you feel sids should be dealt with when creating a remix?

When I started out remixing SID-music I couldn't actually *play* anything on
any syntheseizer or keyboard (since I didn't own any equipment for that
task), so I had to rely on the original SID and then chop the tunes up, add
beats etc. pretty boring, and I would never attack a new remix in that way
today (except for maybe using a sample from the original SID to make the
remix more interesting).

Today, I think a remix should bring something new to the original tune. We
all know what the 6581-chip sound like, and the original tunes composed on
the C64 was a representation of what the chip sounded like (some would
probably call it 'limitations'). I personally don't think that the tunes
found on the CD 'Back In Time' (the first one anyway) bring anything new or
innovative to the world. Most of the tunes are just the same tune with a
higher bitrate on the sounds. But then they perhaps should not be called
'remixes' but 'new versions' or 'remakes'. (I must admit that I haven't
heard anything since the first CD, and I guess the sound and arrangements
has changed a lot the past years.)

Take TDG's version of The Last Ninja (Big Beatnick Mix) for instance. A
completely new way of looking at the old SID, and a damn fine job too. The
Chemical Brothers would have been proud to have released this remix on a CD.

What other non Wobbler remixes do you like?

Drawn from memory, and I'll probably leave out some great shit here: TDG -
Last Ninja (Big Beatnick Mix), TDG - Paperboy (PeaperBoyah mix), MistaDistah
- ArkanoidIntro (Longer Version), Kent 'Trace' Walldén - W.O.T.E.F SONG3,
THC Flatline - Wizball (hmmm.. aren't they all swedes?)

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

Britney Spears - Oops, I did it again. ('cause I'd be stinking rich by now)

You feature samples in many of your mixes do you think this add's to
the remix?

First let's define the word 'sample'. A sample is (in the music business
anyway) defined as a sound recorded by a microphone (for example) and then
stored on some kind of media (preferably your computer's hard drive). It
could be ANY sound, but I guess you are referring to samples as 'vocal
samples'? If so the answer would be 'well, I do think that a vocal sample
can add something new to the remix'. New, as in different (and hopefully to
the better).

What non c64 music do you enjoy, and do these reflect in your remixes?

I enjoy different music in different situations, but the stuff mostly played
in my earphones are: Jurassic 5, Moby, Massive Attack, LTJBukem, Thomas
Rusiak, U.N.K.L.E, Photek, Bomb the Bass etc etc etc. And it's soon time for
a new release from Depeche Mode.. woohoo!

What piece of equipment that you do not own would you want to own?

An Apple Powerbook G4 Titanium

What inspires you while creating a remix?

1.) Other people's remixes
2.) The urge to create something that
sounds.

Which remixes that you have not yet covered are you planning to cover?

I actually started on 'Aural Manouvres' a week ago. I'm not sure if I
should finish it or not.

What does the future hold for Wobbler?

Dunno. I do NOT only stick to remixing C64-gamemusic, and at this point me
and a friend of mine have started a project aiming to make commercial
drum'n'bass/soul/hiphop. If that turns out well, it might take a long time
until there is a new SID-remix.

Why do you think that the c64 music scene still exist today?

It's politically correct, it's retro and it's funky. We see a lot of influences from the 80's games in not only today's music but also design, fashion and almost every kind of media aimed to the young public. Today, a blocky pixel is far more 'cool' for a 16-year old than a smooth shaded sprite on a Playstation 2. The 'retro-trend' will of course fade away eventually and probably pop up in 15-20 years time again.

Do you think c64 music can make an impact commercially?

In the disquise as a original SID: No, not today. The broad audience that
never have heard SID-music before would not buy a CD with plain SID-music
on, but people would definately buy well-made remixes (or as seen before, a
techno/club-ripoff of an old SID-tune).
Again, in 10-20 years the original raw SID-sound could perhaps hit the
charts (when the audience is ready for a 'new' sound in their radios).

Finally an open question, what would you like to say to the scene?

Make peace, not war.


Well The Deadguys appear in a favourites list once again. These guys are rapidly becoming a firm favourite with their unique style. I think the interview from Wobbler gives a refreshing approach to the scene, and this makes for a good read.

- Neil

Interview date: 17.04.2001