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Chipmusic • Interviews • Retro Gods

Goto80 interview pt 2

goto80-tpb1Ed: Here is Part II of TCTD’s interview with Goto80. You can catch Part I here. Thanks to Billy_R for the photo

LB – Did you have any specific objective in mind when you released Papaya?  Were you looking to bring your music to a wider audience, to bring the C64 into clubs?

GT80 – Not really, no. I just thought it was fun to release a 7″. The first idea was to make an album with covers of cheesy 80s music, like my previous cassette release, but I was happy I settled with the Papaya. It’s a cover of a Swedish 80s schlager song, and it haunted me or many years. But yeah, the record received attention from all kinds of directions. I remember that I felt like an unwilling ambassador for C64-music. Lots of talented people remained unknown to most, but now I know that most of those people just don’t want to be famous or play live. Demosceners are a lot like that, it seems.

LB – You said “Made on the Internet” was “the best thing I’ve made so far“, bearing in mind you had released over 1000 tunes by 2007 how did you pick MOTI as your favorite up until that point?

GT80 – For my previous releases I typically mixed very old with newish music, whereas MOTI was mostly all new music. And I wanted to believe that it was my best, so that’s why I wrote it. I actually spent 2 weeks in isolation to finish the album, which made it a bit more special than other releases I have made. Actually, it was supposed to be something very different, but it turned into this. And in hindsight I think the title is a bit misleading because it gives the impression of some best-of-internet collection, which it is not.

Some might have noticed that after my MP3-catapult (one MP3-release every month in 2007 and almost one MP3 every other day in 2008) I have now slowed down to release almost nothing. I’m trying to focus more on quality than quantity. I think I have stained the Goto80 name enough!

LB – Silly question perhaps but is it just me or is there a touch of a Karate Kid theme in that album?

GT80 – There might be, yes. Some people say that Best of The West is a mashup of the theme from Rambo and the song in the final scene of Karate Kid. Listening to it, they are definitely right. What a nice coincidence!

LB – What percentage of your music gets released?

GT80 – Well, after 2007 and 2008 the percentage has gone up considerably. But there are still tons of unreleased things. But yeah, sometimes I leave those decisions to others – what gets released or not. Also, not backuping your floppy disks is a good trick to not have to make tricky decisions.

LB – How did you go about taking your music out of your studio and into a live setting?

GT80 – I (got) asked to play live at a local C64-themed night at a “synth-club”. I asked my friend to join me (a man with many names, who I still work with today), and we played loud, eclectic, hard, and sang and played the C64 like a piano. So yeah, (I) haven’t really come far since, but like others, I am still struggling with how to perform live with 8-bit technology, to enjoy myself and to please the crowd to some extent.

LB – On a similar note, how do you approach playing to Chipmusic set to an uninitiated crowd?

GT80 – For me I adapt more to the context of the evening (which sometimes means contrasting it, of course). If there is a drum n’ bass evening I sometimes start with that, and then gradually change into, yeah, other things. I don’t want to underestimate the audience, and I sometimes like to challenge them a bit. Uninitiated is often better than initiated anyway, if knowledge has perverted your ability to enjoy music.

LB – You talk about getting “thrown off the stage at local raves” during the 90’s, is there an interesting story behind that?

GT80 – Well, we all know how subcultures depend on inclusion as well as exclusion, and in this case I had to be excluded. Although it wasn’t chip music – it was drum n’ bass and acid and even house/techno – it was just not good enough for goa-trance idiots.

LB – Did you ever play any truly amazing gigs where the crowd, you, your music and everything fitted together perfectly?

GT80 – I would like to think so. I remember La Gare de Coustellet in the south of France, where I did a residency with Entter for a week (and recorded the Microcolorado song+video) and then had a great audiovisual show. I also remember a gig with Jossystem at Arvikafestivalen in a tiny tent for the Swedish alternative comics-elite. It was just crazy filthy energy, and I lost my C64-disks on the “dancefloor” (gravel) and think I destroyed the soundsystem as well.

LB – I notice you played at the spectrial, how do you feel about your own physical releases appearing on TPB?

GT80 – Well, it’s just normal.

LB – I understand you don’t speak for anyone but yourself but I would be interested in your take on this. On your plagiarism page you talk about the Demo Scene’s internal (and fairly effective) method of dealing with Chiptheft, however when it comes to plagiarism from people outside the scene there seems to be an incredibly varied, often aggressive reaction. Tim O’Reilly states “Obscurity is a far greater threat to authors and creative artists than piracy” (admitedly piracy/plagiarism are slightly different). It seems almost as if the Demoscene “wants” to remain obscure. If Timbaland had approached GRG the way, for example Eminem approached Dido what do you think may have happened? Do you think the Demoscene “wants” to exist as an artistic microcosm, not part of the larger cultural matrix?

GT80 – I think if Timbaland would have approached Tempest he might have agreed. I don’t know, of course. But there are demosceners that want to reach outside the demoscene with their work, and many have succeeded of course: Bogdan Raczynski, Brothomstates, Lackluster, etc. Others though, are fundamentalists and say “what is made in the scene stays in the scene” and ignore offers to publish their music elsewhere. It is not uncommon to see such opinions expressed (which doesn’t necessarily say anything about how representative they are). But consider sayings like “they steal from us” – also common at places like 8BC. Such claims about copyright is more similar to certain indigenous cultures, than the “remix cultures” that are so dominant today. I think it is very unique with such attitudes when so much else follows consumerist dogmas of accessibility, fame and instant gratificiation. Really. I like obscurity. Well. These are actually questions that I am exploring in some longer texts that I have been writing, which I hope to publish at some point.

LB – Around the time of the Laromlamb debacle you made a really interesting comment on Chipflip “Personally, Ive had my (Creative Commons licensed) music used without permission/credit in both commercial (MTV) and public service contexts (Swedish radio and TV). I can get money for this, by reporting to copyright organizations such as IFPI, STIM, or SACEM. What I cannot do, without proper time and money to go to court,” You don’t mention which CC license you released the tunes in question under but assuming you had the proper time and money, what would you do and what outcome would you like?

GT80 – I would never actually go to court. That bit is more a comment on music ownership. You have CC and other “free” licenses, but it offers no protection. It is more about enabling remix culture and maybe even standardizing it, by defining some positive rights. I am not overwhelmed by this idea, on a personal level. The way that musical copyright has turned into almost an industry of its own, is of course ridiculous and will not be much more than a parenthesis in the history of music. (How could it?) But one idea I like about copyright, is  attribution, already embedded in copyright for 100+ years (mainly in EU but also elsewhere), but now seems to have been replaced by money instead. Radio stations expect to be able to do whatever with my music, as long as they pay money to copyright collecting societies. Brrrr!

LB – If you had Roman dictator like powers for a year to create a new set of copyright laws from the ground up, what would you like to do?

GT80 – I don’t really think laws would change people’s behavior, seeing what kind of possibilities technology provides. Censorship of printing some hundred years ago, censorship of copying now. Reproduction rights seem so 20th century. So, what the hell, if I was a dictator I would remove copyright. And ownership all together. Because dictators are supposed to be radicals!

LB – How would you react to an offer from a major label like Sony/EMI either for a 1 off album deal or a longer term contract? What would have to be in the contract for you to consider it?

GT80 – I really don’t know how to answer this question, since the scenario is so unlikely. To accept it, I guess I would see it as an opportunity to see how extreme/stupid I could make music to get in the charts. Hm. On one hand, the major-ism we call Music Industry is just a big joke, but we’re also not living in 1968 anymore. There is no distant evil engine to destroy anymore, since it’s more a distributed power, so people talk about subverting the system from the inside. But I am pretty sick of that argument too Eh, so I think my reply would be all about the situation. Right now I am out of money, so I wouldn’t mind a short-term, $$$$-contract. …. Is it even possible to (not) be a sellout anymore?

LB – There seems to have been a bit of a boom in Chip Music over the last 2 or 3 years for various reasons, who of the newer artists to the scene have impressed you?

GT80 – Hm, I always feel like I am not staying well informed enough…. but for example: little-scale, chantal goret, disasterpeace, neurobit, linde, dr von pnok, peer, and unas.

LB – On the flip side of the coin, are there any Demoscene or Chip Music artists who you think have been overlooked in the years since you became active?

GT80 – Kjell Nordbo and Ed spring to mind directly.

LB – Are there any Net labels, Demo groups or pieces of software which are disbanded or no longer in development that you really miss or wish were still active?

GT80 – The Melon Dezign demogroup as they were around 1995. I am not sure if they could be better today than they were back then, though. The “old” Protracker for Amiga (2.36 style) would be nice to see in new versions with more features for improvisation. Hm, other than that I don’t miss anything!

LB – Sweden seems to produce an incredibly talented and vibrant group of Chip artists, Any idea why?

GT80 – Sweden is actually exporting a lot of music – both commercial and underground stuff. Lots of people make music, even if the live stage culture is rather crap. Maybe it is the melodic language, the (ex)generous welfare system that meant opportunities to work with music when it does not bring in cash, the (social) climate that keep people inside, the early introduction of home computers also considering the educational lean of the  government, the large amount of demoscene and electronic musicians. And all the pirates of course!

LB – What prompted you to start Chipflip?

GT80 – I had been working on a text about chip music for the book From Pacman to Pop Music, which was published last year. During that process I regained a belief in chip/demoscene as important (involuntary) political subcultures, and I started chipflip as a sort of repository for shallow research. First I tried to do it anonymously in order to feel like I could write what I want and without being connected to some Goto80-freak, but that seems almost impossible these days (or maybe just unrealistic).

LB – On Chipflip you write extensively about Chipmusic as Form, Medium and Culture. How do you respond to the “what kind of music do you write?” to people who aren’t familiar with the scene?GT80 – I usually say something like “bleepy music, old computers, from ambient to breakcore” or even (which I am not very proud of) “gameboy music”. Eh, I don’t even do Gameboy music. But it’s a nice lazy answer, hehe. But I prefer to just reply chip music to people that I think know what it is. It’s excellent in these times where nobody wants to, but are forced to label their music style.

LB – You have worked with an awful lot of different people, do you approach collaborative efforts like Demodisks, installations or HT gold any differently to your solo projects?

GT80 – All too often music is just something that gets slapped on at the end, and I appreciate other forms for working together. I would like to think that the collaborative processes are not completely different from my solo works, since I was always trying to collaborate with computers rather than repress them. Hm, I don’t really know what to say. I just know that most of the time I actually enjoy the challenge of adjusting the music for the situation (Illegal Heroes, Sharp, HT Gold, etc) but sometimes I apparently make things completely crazy and never hear from the people again.

LB – Is there anyone you would like to work with but haven’t had the chance yet?

GT80 – There are probably plenty, but at the moment I can’t think of specific names. The last few weeks I’ve been making a lot of casual jam sessions, and I really like it when these jams “just happen”. And of course, the best ones are never recorded! But if anyone reading wants to jam and has a tape recorder, let’s kick out the hams!

LB – Thanks very much for your time and do you have any closing words?

GT80 – I am planning to do a bunch of releases this summer and later on, and for the matter of inconsistency, I will do some of them as $-MP3-downloads. I hope some of you reading will buy it if you like it, because I really need some money for floppyflopps! Also, I am working on some ultra-limited edition releases with unique packaging, get in touch if you’re interested.

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