for ToXic Mag 17
As interviews always begin, can you introduce yourself to the Toxic Mag readers ?
Ok, my real name is Frank Seemann (please don't believe what you read in Leonard's 'Nostalgic Demo', he mixed up something with an eMail-address i used to send him my stuff) and i was born on a cold and rainy november evening in 1968. This doubtful event took place in Hamburg, northern germany. Here's where i raised, lived and became a brother of two lovely sisters and the uncle of an amazing little girl. I lived an ordinary life, went to a 'lycee' and did my civil-service. After skipping my studies of social pedagogics two years ago, i did several jobs, before i'm now preparing for a new profession....
How and when did you start computing ? On which computer ? How and when did you begin coding, why ?
It was in 1985, when i got my first machine, an Atari 600XL with a cassette drive. Later i bought a memory extension and a floppy drive and i started to discover the world of computer games. I spent nights playing games like 'Bruce Lee' or 'Archon'. In these days i started to consume the first music demos, although there have been just a few of them. And while coding my first BASIC stuff, i started to play around with music editors like 'Softsynth'. Just when started coding in 6502 assembler, i got enough money to buy 'this new great Atari-computer' with a single sided disk-drive. I restarted playing games and consuming demos like TEX's 'Little Color Demo'. And then it happened: One day i visited a friend, who owned an Amiga. Another guy i didn't know until then, showed his demos which really kicked ass. This guy had a look at me and asked me:'What are you doing with your Atari ? Just playing games ?' That was hard, but damn, he was right. From this day on i started coding. An i got a lot of help from this guy, which we all know as Candyman today.... I did all the usual stuff like scrollers, sprites, music-ripping. From an article in a german magazine, written by Mad Max, i got my first steps in music-coding. I wrote my own player and editor and started composing tunes. In late 1991, after releasing STMYGM I, i joined the ACF Design Team and made the musics for 'Just Buggin' ', until i finally formed Cream together with A.-t-, Abyss and Candyman...
Which machines did you have and which do you still have ? Which is your fave one ? Why ?
I have access to an old 486-PC for my internet- and mail-stuff. For nostalgic moments i own an 800XL. Sometimes i have some 'Archon' or 'Rally Speedway' sessions together with some friends. The most important machine is still the ST. Now it's a 1040STE with 4MB, but still without harddisk. Totally old-skool, including floppy-disk-chaos. ST-coding is still fun, because of its limitations. We don't say:'Buy a faster CPU'. It just feels good to create effects, which are thought to be impossible, like Candyman's '...do things.' - intro (I love it.) or SyncBuzzer. ;-)
How did you enter in Cream ? (and when) What is(are) your job(s) in Cream ?
I did't have to enter cream, because all actual members are founders of the crew. That happened around the end of 1992, when i remember right. But because Candyman has been very short of time for coding, i had to do most of the code myself together with Abyss. I coded stuff for all our demos, as well as our PlaySID or 'Mine Sweeper ST'. I never intended to become a pure musician, although coding YM-music became number one. I'm a coding musician, or a coder who creates songs, if you like...
You're also a member of ACF too, I'm right ? Why did you create Cream also ?
That's right. We did't really leave ACF, when we founded Cream. When we worked on the follower of 'Just Buggin'', the activites of Jacky and Desire faded rapidly and the release of the 'Jacktro' became more and more doubtful. And the way they used to present themselves seemed no longer suitable for us. So we created this project to make sure, that A.-t-'s gfx and my songs could be released someday. It was also a chance to present ourselves in a more friendly and peaceful way. But i recently got mail from Jacky and probably we're going to put our hands on 'Jacktro' again...
What do you think about the demo scene ?
Although it has shrunken through the years, the Atari demo-scene is still a place to be. And except of this silly 'UCM-Maggie'-'war', it is peaceful and full of respect. And there's a strange phenomenon: While we have a decreasing number of releases, the corresponding is highly active. People have eMail contacts, they meet in Irc chats or place notes or rumours on Bulletinboards like on the DHS site. There's no question, that our scene is alive this way just because of the internet.
What are your faves demos, games, softwares ?
Hmmm. It's been a long time, that i played games. I used to play 'Arkanoid' or 'Wings of Death' like hell. Just recently Abyss and me got some old disks out and found 'Goldrunner', which is really a fast and cool game and hard to play. If i play games today, i usually do it on PlayStation. Together with some friends we have some 'FIFA Soccer' or 'NHL '99' battles.
My fave demos are also old-skool. It's the 'Union Demo' and the 'Cuddly Demos' just because they're trendsetters. Or 'Oh Crickey...' wich i think is one of the best designed ones. Another Demo, wich i recently watched again is 'No Copper' from '1984'. A great demo concept, some absolutely beautyful colorshocks... My ST software equipment has reduced to Turboass, sometimes Gfa Basic, NeoChrome, IcePacker and to my own Music-Editor. For all other stuff like textediting or whatever i use the PC.
What do you think about Linux ? Is Linux in a good way to break M$-Windoz's dominance ? Do you use them ?
I don't know very much about Linux, just saw it a few times. It seems to be a good OS, maybe the only alternative one so far. But i really don't understand the (sometimes religious) discussions about Windows. Some people give more attention to it as necessary. To me, as i don't have to use it commercially, it is just a very good OS with some really cool features not known from my good old ST. Just use it, you don't have to love it....
What do you think about PC or Mac ? And about Atari computers and of course clones ? Have you heard something about the Phoenix ?
PC stands for making money. I know a lot of PC users, who don't know, how a computer works, but they do as they're told and buy the latest hardware to have a good look at Lara's butt. Too many shareware coding lamers want money for any piece of shitty software. But nonetheless it is a very useful machine with some very powerful applications. I don't own a Mac, but to me this machine represents individuality and professionality. The name itself is a cult. And the PowerPc must be very fast. Candyman developed a complex and strong music engine with realtime filters and many more for it. But what i really love on mac is its software disk-eject. Very funny. :-) I can't say anything about Atari-clones. I just heard of them and that some people seem to be interested in the existance of these machines.
What are your hobbies ?
I'm a sportive guy. I like playing football (Not american! I'd be crunched.), jogging or tennis sometimes. Cycling is one of my favourite hobbies. In the summer holidays i love to go on cycling tours with my tent and sleeping bag, preferably in scandinavia. I'm interested in reading nordic sagas and history. Sometimes me and some friends have some dart-sessions together.
What kind of music to you listen to to compose those lovely chiptunes ?
I'm not sure wether i'm influenced by the music i usually listen to. I preferably listen to the music of e.g. Pink Floyd, U2, Sting, Lenny Kravitz, Van Morrison, Bjoerk, Mike Oldfield (although Tubular Bells III sukz!), Metallica or to Rappers like Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, Scarface...
Thank you for having answered my silly questions. Anything to add ? Greetings ?
No question is silly as long as it can be answered ;)
Respect to those who keep on doing things to provide us with some inspiration... go on like that....