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Alive 13

Interview with

Grazey / P.H.F.

        cxt: Hi grazey, since you are a dinosaur regarding the Atari 
        scene it might be superfluous to introduce yourself, probably 
        everybody knows your full name is Phil Graham and you are busy 
        protection the UK border during your professional life. You are 
        mostly busy ripping music and making sound drivers OS 
        compatible. Grazey's ZAK Hacks and UMD are some of your bigger 
        projects. What else can you tell us about you?

        grazey: Dinosaur? I see myself more as an owl... regurgitating
        dead mice now and again. Not any more to tell really. UMD is
        dead, although a tiny new music demo is in the works. As for Zak
        Hacks... I'm really lacking motivation at the moment... heading
        to 40 fast and B&Q, Ikea, Wilco's and Wickes are my passions at
        the moment... mmmmh Swedish meatballs :)

        cxt: Well since birds are to be said the descendants of the 
        dinosaurs I wasn't so far off :) I heard your 1st computer was a 
        C64 in 1983, how comes you didn't buy a ZX Spectrum to support a 
        British company?

        grazey: I don't believe in all the patriotism shit, if it
        carries on world wide I see a bleak future ahead. So I bought a
        C64 coz the Spectrum was crap... We had BBC's and Spectrum's at
        school and all the Spectrum users used to tell me how good Daley
        Thompson's Decathlon was, then I showed them Epyx's Summer Games
        and they scurried back behind the bike sheds. Getting a bit deep
        there, well it's a beard thing... plus half mast trousers and
        driving a kiddie-mobile... low slung C5's past Primary schools
        was also a no no in the 80's.

        cxt: Hehe, what happened to it? Do you still posses the 
        mighty breadbox?

        grazey: I do indeed, Mr CXT sir, got the old shape... although
        it's still at my mum's (moved out 6 years ago), I doubt I'll
        ever switch it on again. Saying that... I still don't like the
        feel of emulators. So who knows... a bash on Wizball, Impossible
        Mission and Skate or Die! may be on the cards.

        cxt: Mr CXT sir? Am I your drill instructor now? 100 PUSH UPs ON 
        THE DOUBLE! :) Well, besides the C64 and your Mega STE I heard 
        you also got an Amiga 1200. What were your main activities on 
        those machines?

        grazey: Since I moved house (February) I've not even unboxed the
        A1200, to be honest I'm not sure why I even bought an A1200 in
        the first place. I did a small bit of coding but I just loved
        the ease of the ST, with the Amiga I didn't have the patience to
        come to grips with the custom chips. Probably my main activity
        was working with Mr Styckx converting ST tunes to work with his
        excellent MY-ST Yahama emulator (see Aminet). C64 wise I started
        just as a gamer, but progressed to the infant demo scene (mainly
        due excellent Sid tune... Bogg etc). Then I went onwards to
        coding and music ripping. I loved the early C64 demo scene, it
        was so friendly and boundaries were been pushed all the time.

        cxt: In the past you had some trouble to make your prods Falcon 
        compatible since you didn't own such a machine. Did you get one 
        in the meantime?

        grazey: I've had a Falcon for over 2-3 years... I obtained one
        off that former Yorkshire compatriot Deez. Ashamedly I never
        really used it apart from making sure my SNDH rips worked with
        the Falcon cache. It's only a base machine, 4mb and 030 so I've
        not really seen the new demos.

        cxt: In UMD 8730 you added the model numbers of the YM and the 
        SID, so you probably know both of them. The YM is always 
        referred to as the underdog of the sound chips, if you compare 
        the SID and the YM which one would you prefer and why?

        grazey: You know the answer to this. I don't really have a
        favourite. Quite of a lot of Sid fiends can't understand the
        attraction of YM music, I agree it's certainly an acquired
        taste. What surprised me was how quickly I became hooked on the
        YM blip blop. One minute I was listening to Galway crashing the
        Sid chip from one sonic extreme to another with Rambo, next I
        was listening to the monotonous drone of Xevious on an early Was
        (Not Was) menu. To this day I have an equal love of both,
        although my ripping time is devoted to the ST as I seem to be
        the only person extracting music nowadays :( so a contrast to
        the vibrant C64 ripping scene.

        cxt: You said you prefer the Atari scene to the Amiga scene. I 
        can understand that when we go back to the end of the 80s but do 
        you think the Atari scene is still a nicer place to be than the 
        Amiga scene?

        grazey: I've not been a member of the Amiga scene since the
        early 90's and I've not got a clue what the scene is like today.
        I go one sometimes but it seems rather staid and

        cxt: Someone very, very close to you did a lot of game 
        compilations :) How do you like Atari ST games? Are you playing 

        grazey: The paradox with many crackers... They don't play many
        games :) Can't remember the last time I played a game apart from
        play testing a crack.

        cxt: What do you think about competition nowadays? Is D-Bug the 
        only real menu crew left? What do you think about the Atari 
        Legend menus?

        grazey: Is there any competition? Can't really think of anyone
        cracking / packing stuff, where oh where have the Construct Crew
        gone... they were the last people doing menus as well.

        cxt: What about game consoles, any interest?

        grazey: Not at all , the only 'console' I own (and ever have) is
        a Grandstand Astrowars game I got for Christmas in 1981.

        cxt: Even though you are no big gamer, can you list your 
        favourite three games for each platform you own?

        grazey: Sure!

        C64:   Pitstop 2, Wizball, Beach Head
        ST:    Giana Sisters, Kick Off 2, Gridrunner
        Amiga: Turrican, Pinball Dreams/Fantasies/Illusions, Alien Breed

        cxt: Not the worst of all possible choices, indeed there are 
        some nice gems included. Anyway, in another interview you said 
        you don't like accelerators and every demo should work on a 
        stockpile machine with 1 MB memory. What do you think about the 
        recent demos for the ct60?

        grazey: I respect what the guys did, but it's like asking me
        what I think about recent Amiga 060 demos. I only ever see
        video's of their works. Also I've not kept abreast with coding
        tricks on the newer architecture so I find it hard to decipher
        if a demo effect is really pushing the limits of the machine or
        is simply a nice animation ;)

        cxt: A ct60 coder can't expect much feedback since there are 
        only very few machines sold. How is your opinion on feedback for 
        your products? Do you need it to continue or did you find 
        another source of motivation for yourself?

        grazey: Feedback is always nice but we don't crave it. I think
        it really depends on the person, I expect nearly all the people
        left do it for themselves... If they really wanted excessive
        amounts of plaudits they'd move to a more popular platform.

        cxt: You said once that you prefer the old days of the demo 
        scene, because lots of borders were literally broken and 
        boundaries pushed further and further with each release. So it 
        seems you are addicted to oldschool FX and technical code like 
        myself. Do you think this make us blind for the technical 
        advance made in newschool demo technology?

        grazey: Probably yes, although I'd like a definition of
        newschool demo technology, especially concerning ST demo coding.
        Even c2p is years old. I've always wondered who coined the term
        old/new school when used in conjunction with the demo scene. All
        I was saying is that I prefer the old demos of 89-90, but I
        guess a large part of this is due to nostalgia which seems to
        grow and grow the older you get.

        cxt: Let's stick to the old-/newskool topic. There are only a 
        few Atari chip trackers, which are actively developed and could 
        be called "newskool" :), I heard some rumours that some of the 
        authors feel sorry for spending so much time on them. Do you 
        think those trackers are superfluous? Would it be better to have 
        only one standard?

        grazey: The more the merrier, each tracker has it's own quirks
        and different composing style and more importantly 'sound'. I
        see no point in limiting the options for composers and it's up
        to the coders of the trackers to decide if they're spending too
        much time on them. I'd say this only applies to MusicMon,
        MaxYMiser and maybe Triplex. So it's not a massive issue.

        cxt: Should people go open source with their products if they 
        stop development? What do you think about open source in 

        grazey: Well I know lots of D-Bug source is available from the
        web-site... So it gets a thumb up from me... I trust we'll now
        see Lethal Xcess open source and the release of Lothar Beck's

        cxt: Hehe, that will be left to Claus and Lothar to decide. 
        Besides I guess Marc Rosocha owns the rights to LOB's packer, 
        might ask him about that if I will meet im at STNICC 2015 :) But 
        enough of that, what can you tell us about forthcoming prods?

        grazey: Yet more music hacks through Will I
        ever reach the end?! And the aforementioned small music demo.
        Plus we're updating GlobotWars which won the game competition at

        cxt: Nice to hear that, GlobotWars looked really nice on the big 
        screen, also had some "Minter-Feeling" about it. But let's not 
        dig to deep into that, because I know you should spend your 
        precious time with a paintjob instead of answering stupid 
        questions :) Well, since your Alive brainstorming test in issue 
        six was far too easy, we will go for another one. I guess you 
        still remember the rules even though you have to be almost as 
        old as myself :)

        grazey: Let's go...

        G: reenpeace, give generously

        R: eplicants

        A: tari

        Z: ulu

        E: by gum

        Y: don't you do something less boring instead

        O: fficer of HMRC

        F: oxtrot 4

        T: rans Europe Express... whooo whooo!

        H: ubbard from Hull, Grazey from Hull :)

        E: arth is Rotten by Donald Fakk

        P: angalactic Gargle Blaster (Cider, Pernod, Blackcurrant,
           Vodka, Orange, Galliano) in a pint glass
        H: istory means nothing

        F: ringe at Edinburgh

        cxt: Damn, have to admit you made it :) But now it's about time
        for some final words. Thanks a lot for taking the time to 
        answer these important :) questions.

        grazey: This is nearly as bad as writing scroll texts!

        cxt: LOL, I guess so, especially if work is awaiting... :)

                                               cxt for Alive, 2006-08-10

Alive 13