Interview with of (Geir Tjelta) Predator
What is your alias? If you find the story interesting, then let us know how you came up with it?
My alias was Predator. You know, the film.. It's a alias I regret I had, but I stopped using it after 1988 when music took over my creativity. I felt like not being a hacker anymore, I didn't do piracy, so I thought, why having alias.
Have you changed handles? If so, give us the reason(s) and your previous nickname(s)!
Of course I had lots of handles, but this was before typing anything on the machine but pressing "play on tape". Can't remember the nicknames.
When and where were you born and where do you live now?
I was born in Stavanger of Norway, on the 21.06.74. Raised in Sandnes. Now, October 1997, I live in Oslo.
When did you get your first computer and which computers do/did you own? When did you get your C64?
I got the C64 with a tape recorder in 1984. In 1993 I bought a PC, Amiga 1200 in 1994, then I sold the Amiga 1200 after three months. Compared to the PC, the Amiga audio weren't challanging enough. So after coding a player on the Amiga, I went on with the MIDI stuff on PC. But in 1996 I bought Amiga again, did some music in a program called THX, sold the Amiga again. Now, I still have the same C64s as I had in 1987. I just keep swapping out the SID chip.
How did you get to know the scene? Who was your first contact (person you knew) on the scene?
That must definiately be Thunderbolt of Thunderbolt Cracking Crew (TCC). This was already in 1985, when the scene was totally unknown for me. He was a schoolmate of my older brother. I can't really remember how I entered the scene, remember getting a call from JCH in 1989 after releasing some music. But I think in 1988 when I joined a Canadian group named Whiz Kids. I did some graphics and demos.
Describe your scene career, including all groups you have been a member of! Keep chronological order please!
I did some graphics and coding in Whiz Kids (1987), the Suppliers (1988), left Suppliers the same year, did a Rob Hubbard editor (1989), started a music group named Moz(Ic)Art together with Trond K. Lindanger (alias IQ64), we also joined Shape (1989), I left Shape (1990), joined Paradize (1991), did music for a game named Brain Artifice (1991), left Paradize (1992). Did a new music editor in 1992 on the C64, started a PC group with Adept named Scoop (familiar?) in 1993, joined a game company in Oslo in 1994 as a inhouse musician, did music and SFX for Daze Before Christmas on SNES, Jogeir Liljedahl joined Funcom (late 1994), I was responsible for the audio for the Pocahontas game, got a trip to Disneyland, got to see a rough version of their movie Pocahontas (1995) in a MGM office. Danko joined Funcom (summer 1995), Danko got a record deal in Sweden and left Funcom (1996). Met one of my favourite C64 composers, Jeroen Tel & Laxity in Oslo 1995. Jeroen worked freelance while Laxity joined Funcom for a year, because I had to join the army (1995-96), I had to leave the Pocahontas project to Jeroen and Laxity. Got back to Funcom late 1996, got into internet and found lots of C64 related sites. Sent a mail to Rob Hubbard and Whittaker at EA, got a surprise the next day, recently left Funcom (September 1997). I got totally burned out doing General MIDI music on PC every single day. I'll concentrate on music in my spare time.
Which scene do/did you consider best and why? If you have been only on the C64, then give us the reason(s)!
I consider the C64 as the best, but wasn't that much involved when I did music programming, rather than sending off some music to my friends and the groups I were in. Trond (IQ64) had most of our contacts. I had regulary contact with other C64 composers like JCH, Deek and Drax. Wasn't until 1995 I contacted Laxity and Jeroen.
What do you think you gained by being a member of the scene?
The scene gave me inspiration and motiviation of continuing doing music. I got positive responds and letters from people. This led me to my job at Funcom. I got letters, offering jobs for their games many years after I left the scene.
Funny, Isn't it ?
What do you consider lost, wasted or meaningless during the years you have spent on the scene?
My social life got lost. But I catched up alot afterwards.
What is/are/was/were your main interest(s)/function(s)?
My main interest was of course the SID chip. Saving the music routine till its last cycle, but still having a powerful routine. Who think of that these days ?
My coding ability probably slowed down my composing knowledge a bit.
What made you start doing graphics/composing/swapping/modem trading organising or whatever you did?
I think all the great music on the C64 got me interested in creating music. Being a creative person and artist. I got inspiration from the alltime Exploding Fist music by Greg Holland, and many of the Hubbard tunes aswell. I realised from the very beginning who had the best sound. And I was curious, why ? I wanted to explore Hubbard's player, and did a music editor with it. Right after that, I did my own player, because my knowledge of the SID chip had kickstarted.
What are/were your greatest successes/fiascos?
My greatest success was creating a music routine and editor. I haven't had any fiascos. Not concerning music on the C64, nor programming.
Was there any special connection between you/your group and some other people/groups on the scene (co-operation, war, friendship etc.)? If so, what made it start and stop?
I had great friendship with Rawhead, Panoramic Design and Omega Supreme. We often swapped technical ideas of music routines, as with JCH and Vibrants.
Have you attended parties? Tell us about your favourite conferences? You can even mention some fiascos.
The first party I attended was arranged by Suppliers/Bros/Shadows in 1988. The most creative party I attended was Shape's party in Porsgrunn (1989), were I and IQ64 did the Luminous music without any editor, coding the notes and sounds on a cartridge. The party I really remember as a (half) fiasco was in 1995, the C64 tribute party, when I got too drunk and did some stupid things. Some of you remember. :)
Is/was there any special feeling in your crew, something more than just being in a group?
Yeah, of course. We did lots of things together. Making wine, getting drunk. Arranging small meetings were we just had great fun.
If you are not a C64 scener anymore, when and why did you leave the scene?
It was around 1992 I quit the C64, but I've never been planning selling it. I've regulary plugged it up and played some tunes. The reason why I quit, was because I had to follow by the time and get more knowledge, otherwise I would had been left behind. I would never get the job at Funcom if I didn't quit the C64 and continued with the PC and MIDI. But there's a combination of both here. If it wasn't for the C64, I wouldn't be interested in the PC, or music after all I guess.
What were your favourite groups/artists/coders/productions? Why do/did you like their work/these programs?
I still admire Rob Hubbard's music routine and compositions. He was and still is the C64 pop idol. While Martin Galway being the Vangelis type with experimental music and great pulse-sweeps. That's my opinion. Later on, I really loved the SID chip when Charles Deenen and Jeroen released their "That's the Way it is" demo. It was amazing. Charles' visuals (and music) combined with Jeroen's great contribution to this demo was superb. I also enjoyed The Judges, 1001 Crew's demos with Red's music. But my really really favourite is Tim Follin and his Ghouls'n'Ghosts music. Other fusion-jazz type of composers I like is Johannes Bjerregaard and Laxity.
Give us a brief description on the development of the scene as you experienced it and computer society in general!
It sort of faded out when I was at my peak. If I just had been one or two years earlier. Speaking of todays society.
Its development has increased dramatically. Youngsters are doing unbelievable things with computers today. But there's also lot of people studying for years, and think they're genius with computers, but they're not. Think logically, things ain't as complicated as they seems.
What is your profession? What do you do for a living? Does it have to do anything with computers? Is there anything you do in real-life that is similar to what you have been doing on the scene?
My whole life has been involved with computers. At work or at home. I've been setting up computers at stores, I've been composing music for games as a living for four years (since 1994). Now I want to get out on my own. Doing a combination of what I've done all these years. Design, programming and music. By the time I'm writing this, I've three weeks left as a inhouse musician. My life will change during the next months, October/November 1997.
How did your attitude towards computers change during the years?
Computers turned out to be more like a tool rather than a box of secrets like the C64 was. But technology has changed, there's no point in saving bytes and cycles anymore. It's meaningless. My attitude to computers is more irritating than ever before, with these large and unstable operating systems that usually never works properly. Why can't anybody do a 100% working system ?
What do you like doing in your spare-time when not computing? What is/are your hobby(ies)?
I rather relax, and don't be creative in my spare-time, but after quiting Funcom, I've to concentrate on my programming abilities and music composition. I listen to alot of film music, especially Danny Elfman and John Williams. Besides that I lift iron a few times a week, to keep in shape and to get out of the daily boring routines and stress.
Are there moments when you feel nostalgic thinking back to the past years of the scene? If so what do you do when it happens?
Turn on the Sidplayer my Michael Schwendt (hi man) and listen to various tunes, or the specific tune I were thinking of. E.g. Knuckle Buster often pops up in my mind. That just shows how great Rob's tunes is.
What are your plans for the near/far future?
Setting up a company doing WEB solutions. Programming my own MIDI editor in a C64 type of way, for all formats, N64, PC, Playstation or whatever. I'll say that this will happen in my near future. Also continuing composing music. Maybe for commercials.
What is your goal in life? What would you like to achieve?
Getting a company up going. Having lots of contacts (I have a few by the time) in the commercial and film community. Doing a film score one day.. Hmm.. That'd be something.
(I'll look back on this interview in big nostalgi if my goals gets achieved)