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   Interview with Estrayk (English)
Well, finally we have here the first interview of modulez, which we hope it to be the one that makes the way with some more ones. :) Out first interview, written by Sole, was made to one of the most well-known Spanish modsceners in the world: Carlos Del Alamo, a.k.a. Estrayk. He started in 1988 with his Amiga 500, and bit a bit entered lots of first-line scener groups of Europe, Darkness, Capsule, Scoopex, Nah-Kolor, Iguana or Fusion. Nowadays he is one of the musicians of Paradox, and tracks in his free time :) Next, the interview.



Well, at last I managed to collect all the questions 'we always wanted to ask but never dare to'. And as you have been interviewed several times, we'll try to obviate a bit the typical questions, and ask other more interesting ones. I hope you find it ok! Let's go.

You belong (or belonged) to several groups: Capsule, Tlotb and Paradox. The first two ones are Spanish; it's strange to see a Spanish guy in a foreign group; how did you manage to join Paradox?


Before starting I'd like to thank Sole for the interview, and I hope you all have fun reading these lines as I enjoy answering the questions.

Well, everything started about 15 years ago, in 1988 with the Amiga A500, I started making music with programs which today you couldn't imagine how simple and not-intuitive they were. I started with it just as a hobbie and soon I was interested with some thing called 'demo-scene'. I already had seen some intros and demos in Commodore64 but the AMIGA ones catched me all, specially for the music and the effects made by coders just as a hobbie. So I met two guys of my city 'Valencia', one of them knew how to make gfx and the other one was starting to code, soon I suggested to make a group and voil?! 'Fifth Generation' was born. That one was the first group I really was in, then F.G. became bigger and some of us went to another group: 'Darkness' one of the best Amiga groups in Spain in that time. Then, I made some coops in other groups and I met a lot of people, so it can be said that I have belonged to the following Amiga groups: PUSSY, skillion of RAZOR 1911, TRSI, SCOOPEX, FUSION, PARADISE..etc... afer walking along the illegal 'warez' world of scene, I felt that I wasn't of that world and decided to make a new demogroup for Amiga called CAPSULE. At that moment I was in some PC groups: IGUANA, TLOTB, CHANKA...etc.. of ATARI ST: EMPIRE and even in C64: FAIRLIGHT, but not exactly making music. :) Then I had an important Stop in my 'scener' life because I didn't find that 'feeling' of past years, and I was stopped for a couple of years. Until I saw a PARADOX intro in a Playstation !!! and I don't know why nor how... i said myself: -wow!! Intros also in PSX ??? I knew PARADOX as a group of Amiga Age, but I didn't know any of them. So I started moving a bit on IRC and I med the 'leader' of the group, who invited me to make the music of their intros. And this is a small summary of how i ended up here. :)



People considers you - and you don't deny it, and if you did so, I have no proof about it- 'of the oldschool'. So, gossip has it that you keep using the Amiga for the cracktros of Paradox in PS2. Is it a incongruity? Pig-headedness or just 'fidelity to olschool spirit'?

I don't want to be vain, but YES. People has told me this so many times in these years that finally I start believing it. I can be considered as one of the 'old Skool' sceners that are still in this crazy world called Scene. About the music I've made in these last years for consoles: PSX, PS2, DREAMCAST, GBA... Atention scoop: Yes !!!! All them are made with the Amiga. If you wonder why.. well.. uhmmm... I dunnno why. I suppose that as a I am a nostalgic of that age, I feel comfortable using always PROTRACKER and I find inspiration sooner than with other more powerful programs of PC. Maybe I feel better by making music with some kind of limit. I mean that what really inspires me and I like, is to make music with limitations, short samples, 3 or 4 sound channels, filesize limits (chip music) for instanace, to sum up, what I really like is people to say me: - Hey ! Carlos, I need a tune for an intro ans so, but it has to be up to 9kb, but it cannot be very repetitive, you know! it has to be 3 minutes or so. I take this as a challenge and I suddenly find inspiration. In addition, they say I am quite good at that. Although you cannot believe it, nowadays there is not much people who can make a good MOD in 4 channels, sounding fine in 120k. There has to be music of all kinds and styles, and I am in this small group. :?

As an anecdote, let me tell you what happened in some party:
In a small party some years ago, we made a little music compo (we were 6 or 7 musicians there) and the orgo of the contest left me amazed when he said:

-CHIP MUSIC COMPO:
-We are gonna give you a disk with all you need and you won't be able to use another program nor additional sample. It is.. a disk and an Amiga A500.
I, and all the other musicians, understood that inside the disk they were going to give us protracker or another similar program and some samples. Our surprise came when we saw that the disk just had protracker and nothing else !!! Some of them went to the party-org and asked the orgo if there was an error, there wasn't any sample, any module inside the disk to start making the music.
The orgo shut up and smiled looking at me and another music next to me, inferring that there was no error. - Do what you need to do! There's no error. I... was open-mouthed, made the following: I loaded with the sample-editor of protracker some binary file I found inside the disk, I think that it was some library or so, as it was a sample... imagine what played protracker, a bunch of infernal noises. I cut it as I could, made a loop, and hal?! I had a sample. A terrifying 'piiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii', I made what I could and I won. This was the compo I enjoyed more in all my life. Perhaps with this anecdote people really understand what I like doing, and what oldskool spirit is, trying to make the imposible where there's nothing to make.

Altough the 'olschool spirit' is not made of things but of thoughts. If not, we'd keep watching rasterbars and giant scrollers. Could we say that it is an attitude to the scene? What do you think? And... in your case, what is this attitude? (how would you define it)

The oldschool spirit HAS TO BE LIVED in your own body to be understood. I'm sorry, but although it could seem that I'm making a fast answer to this question, it's the truth and it's what I feel.

In that time, in the late 80's early 90's. Everything was very very very different. Not only in prods, but in EVERYHTING.There was no information, no Internet, mediums, and people didn't know what you were talking about when you said 'scene', 'demos' or 'party', we were a VERY small group of people obsessed for a thing which is hard to explain, very limited, strange and difficult to get into it. From there appeared the word 'freakers' :)

It's like all the people who like 'remember' 80's music. Nearly all the people who loves this music likes it because they have lived it and now, by listening to one of that 80's tunes they still like it, perhaps because the current music is not an achievement or because it reminds them that time...
Anyway, it's said by everybody, not just by me... everybody knows it: 80's and early 90's were something 'special' in the world of music, electronics and computers. :~-)

Answering your question, about that attitude, I could say that an oldskool attitude is like a 'retro' attitude. I mean... living in the current society but always remembering with nostalgia the years that will not come again. That's why the music I make can be considered oldskool, because it's based on the melodies, chords and percussions of that age. (I know that some people cannot understand it or can say:'-THIS SOUNDS OLD-FASHIONED') but it's the music I like making, if you don't like it, listen to another module of AWESOME, who has managed to get in the new musical trends. :)))
(Hi! Awe!) :D

As an 'amiga fan' you lived a lot of exciting moments in the demoscene history, specially of Spanish demoscene. It can be said that you are one of its 'daddys'. Does it gives something to your ego? Do you feel proud of having contributed in some way to many people like me to join the scene?

YES.
I feel very proud of having lived and contributed from 'NOTHING' to what the Spanish demoscene is. I don't want to mean that I have made lots of things to the scene, but I did my bit in that hard age and I hope it has been useful in some way. I don't know... the fact that somebody by listening some of my modules has found insipiration to make one by himself, for instance.
About the ego, I have to tell you that I lost it some time ago. :( I never considered myself .uhmmm... . how i can say it... 'very good'. in making music. I have always known that there was people with more talent than me.

And talking about egos; didn't you feel as the center of the universe when naif and wonder dedicated 'strike one' to you a and evelred? (although they won, of course)

hahahaha! Well well... this was very good.
What really happened is that Evelred and I, had won several years before that time with modules we had here and there. And well, I admit that it can be very annoying, you have been working for 3 weeks to the compo and suddenly a couple of spoiled scene boys, Evelred and Estrayk, get a module 3 years old or more (not joking), re-made it, they enter the compo, and in addition, they win. And of course, always with the same style, commercial, which likes the people. So I think that Naif and wonder damned our mothers several times and they made the module in some kind of joking but very good in quality, like some protest, and people understood it. And they won.
The people who voted, or the jury, realised that the style of music Evelred and me made could be made by anybody. And that's what really happened. Wonder and Naif laughed at us and being right. But well, we laughed a lot!
(Hi! Wonder!') :D

NOTE: I'll never forget the face of my pale Evelred next to me when they put the mod in the party. :O You can imagine it. hahahahaha!

download strike one

Estrayk at Mekka Symposium 2k1 Do you miss anything of that time? Perhaps the competitiveness? Not just between scener groups but also between musicians, with those needles in the samples' text, saying 'I'm the best, you'll never reach my level' ... and all that...

Well... yes of course. I miss lots of things.
I miss the Amiga scene, I miss some styles which are dissappeared today. With lots of melodies and chors like 'Jean Michael Jarre', I miss the 'Feeling' the Parties had. When you went to a party to compete, to make friends and to met people. not as today, people goes to a Party to play, to play, and to play. :( ah! I forgot it! and to copy porn divx. And why not!, I miss a lot of friends of that times, I lost their contact.

Some people say it lacks 'scener conscience'. Today anybody can download a program to make music dragging samples, while some years ago we got tired optimizing the tune to make it smaller. Did we become lazy?

Yes.
In the past it was not so easy.
I always remember the criticized Amiga 4 channels limit.
Which I loved as I have said before but I have to admit that sometime you missed a fifth channel. A lot of musicians must know already it, but the ones who have started now in this computer music world may not, with 4 channels it was impossible to make chords. As everybody knows, you need a minimum of 3 channels to make a major or a minor chord. So if we made plain chords, we just had one channel left, and of course it was unacceptable.
Those musicians had to mix in an only sample the three chords, and of course, we didn't have so much freedom of chords nor so much felxibility as today. And then don't talk about making a module which didn't sounds as a typical 1 channel for the bass, 1 channel for the percussion, one channel for the melody and one channel for the chords. What happened if you wanted to make a counterpoint in the melody, or inserting a wavestring or make a simple 'echo' or a 'delay' effect, you couldn't do that... there were not free channels !!! It was a challenge, I can assure it.
How many times I've listened...
-dude, i dunno how you can make these modules with 4 channels. it seems impossible!!! The sounded as if you played more than 4 instruments at the same time !!! :)

Anyway... yes, we got lazy !!! but i have to admit that nowadays when you listen to a multichannel module it sound professional, and in the past it was impossible.

And if people think that a tracker is loosing time, what could motivate today a module contest? (and cash cannot be said)

I think that the limit. It could inspire. I mean... as a challenge like: 4X4 MODULE CONTEST. Just 4 samples, 44k limit, 4 minutes, 4 channels ! :D Total freedom. It could appear very nice things, sure. :) Price: a coke. (it's the price i got in the contest I told you before in the anecdote) :D

Let's change the way of the questions: have you ever thought about expanding yourself in other music fields? For instance, in cellular phone melodies; The arpeggios king wouldn't have a rival! You could make a fortune...

Well, now that you mention it, it's not a bad idea.
If they make a mobile with a Paula chip or a SID of C64....!!!
haha! i'm joking... but yes, sometime i thought about it, but you know Sole... my wife, my job... i have no time to wee! :-P

A question hard to answer: Why people love the music of the phones, but they are not always listening to nectarine?

Why does people see Big Brother, Hotel Glamour or Operaci?n triunfo?
Why do women go toghether to the toilet?
Why VHS ended up with the BETA and 2000 ?
Why does the coyote never catch the road runner?
Why Spectrum won in the 8 bit age if it was the worst ?
Why if you don't connect your keyboard to your PC, it says it cannot find the keyboard and asks you to press any key to continue !!

They are questions without answer Sole. I dunno !! :D

Do you think they should leave 'the other programs' (although it was just a little), or it would be hard to them to understand the scener music? Or perhaps you are of those ones who say 'leave them as they are', the ones who prefer the scene to be as it is?

I'm of leave them as they are. An intelligent people knows how to look far away, if he really is intereseted in listening other things or trends.

And to end with the interview, just a question; you haven't gone to any party for some time. will we see you in euskal? in bcn? in...? Have you lost your interest in parties? :-)

Err.. yes.
As I have said before, I have lost my interest in parties. The last party I went was SYMPOSIUM in year 2000. Or was in 2001? In Germany, I can't remember.
I don't go to Parties because although people call them parties, THEY ARE NOT PARTIES ANYMORE. They are GAME-Parties. When I started going to Parties, always, as I remember, it was totally forbidden to play! It has never been allowed to play in a party. At least the ones I went. And now... look at them. I think I won't go to any other party in my life. I think I've gone to too many of them and I've seen the decline.

Well, arrived this point, we can end the interview. Lots of thanks for dedicating to us all this time.

Thanks to you.




Estrayk's official website
Profile of Estrayk/Paradox in Ojuice
Interview with Estrayk in Amiga Music Preservation
Estrayk's profile at modulez
Some tunes by Estrayk


-- english translation by yero


 
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