Interview with Laxical
My real name is Joachim Sobczak, better known as Laxical. I am a member of Scoopex on the Amiga System and of ACME on the PC. My job in these groups is making some music. I have been doing that since 1990. Before that, 1988 to 1989, I was a swapper. From 1988 to 1994 I was a member of different Amiga groups: Zenith, Analog, TRSI, the Silents, Desire, Delight (cracking division), Hellfire (cracking division), Fusion (cracking division), Fairlight (cracking division), The Electronic Knights (TEK), Vision, Surprise! Productions, and finally I was invited to join up with Scoopex. Actually I am at the age of 23 and consider myself being some kind of goth. Music I personally like includes groups like Front Line Assembly, Wumpscut, Unit 187, The Eternal Afflict, Ooomph, In Extremo, Funker Vogt, Die Krupps, Lacrimosa, Dreadful Shadows and London after Midnight. My next compositions will be a bit more EBM, Industrial and more depressive than the ones I did in the past.
What is a Goth?
This question is very hard to answer. First of all I can only speak of my experiences with it... I think that deep in the heard of a "goth" is grief and sorrow. Even though you wear it on the outside and not in the inside. Outside does mean that you wear clothing in cold colours. The music that I am listening to is also full of sorrow and grief. Including some things that unmask the wearers of masks in our world of immunity. People are unable to express themselves in fear of the others. They give you promises just to break them. My personal interest as well is magic, the occult and some kind of ritual places I would like to see one day or which I saw in the past years. Goth is something in you, not something you can call a period of your life. A goth is surely not a person who dresses black and misses the feeling of being a goth. Sometimes you see these "kids" wearing black and thinking that they are so-called gothics, but they miss the feeling.....
When did you start making music? And how were your first experiences?
I started composing back in 1990 with a real fried of mine who taught me a lot about using the Protracker, even though it was called soundtracker in these times. It was Greg/Alcatraz who was my teacher and who showed a lot of patience with my first attempts in doing music on a computer. Fasttracker, the one I am using on the PC, is much the same as Protracker and I do not need anybody to teach me about the handling.... My first real music release was horrible. Actually at the time of releasing I really liked that tune, but after listening to it now I could die as it sounded really fucking worse.....
How did you get to the computer?
Hm... well I first bought myself a CPC 6128, some predecessor of PC. At this time Commodore was at its climax with the C64, which I never bought. You know, a pocket calculator in our days has much more capacity than a C64. That CPC 6128 had 128 KB of RAM space and was much better than most of the other stuff at that time. I bought that one to learn coding, but never ever really tried to learn any computer language except Basic and some Turbo Pascal and C++ routines.
How did you join the scene?
Joining the scene was a bit more difficult. At first I started cracking on the CPC 6128. Yes, with BASIC you could do that. I was looking for something more fascinating. I liked competing with others and finally started coding tools (also in Basic) for that machine. After a friend of mine had bought an Amiga for himself I saw the first intros, mainly crackintros, and thought of doing that myself. So I bought an Amiga, too. Cracking is not legal and I really never had a chance to do that on the Amiga system. After a while I got more and more interested in demos. Finally I got Zine by Brainstorm, a diskmag, and applied to join some groups. I really had no plan what I should do, but a friend of mine showed me what to do and so I got some fame with swapping... After some time swapping got boring and I got back to the roots... coding and then changing to music.
What happened next?
Actually a lot of trackers were out there and it was difficult to study them all, so I had to specialise, and it was really funny. I got a hell bunch of new friends and teachers in music art. My interest grew and so I really did my best to get in the charts, but actually I do not care much about that anymore. You know... Fun and friendship is better than being part of what others call charts. They are nearly all faked as hell and so what do you have from being a part of a faking "company"...??
What are your plans for the future?
I am about to sign up with NovaTEKK in Germany. It is a label for real music and I will do some noise experiences with them and a few friends I have in the real music business. The project is called "Station 6" (Station 6 is the chamber of the dead in a hospital nearby) and I will do EBM/industrial and Electro stuff. Nothing special at all but some extra money and real underground stuff. Not techno (btw... techno was born out of EBM) or "popular" music.
What do you think of the demo/music scene of today?
Sometimes scene really sucks... e.g. I had an argument with Antibyte (coder in Scoopex on the Amiga) about using music by Scoopex musicians and not from outsiders... Actually I do not attend any parties anymore. I am tired of watching porn pics and porn movies all the time or just seeing kids play Quake, Quake II or similar games. The days of boozing are gone... Sad but true... I remember some really great parties with less prize money, but with more fun. Indeed you met people, had some nice time talking, boozed a bit around and afterwards you went out to have some fun. In our days you hang around at parties and miss the old feeling of being a part of a big family. The same goes with the scene. Some demos really have more work in them as some people of well known software firms spend on doing a game. Doing demos more and more gets some kind of full time job. You do coding, paint GFX or compose music without even recognizing that you miss some excellent parts of your own life... Sad but true...
Do you have any favourite musicians?
Hehe... You are asking if I have any idols, I guess, and I have to admit that I do. After meeting Moby in 1991 in Germany I really began to admire his work, and I also like the old tunes by Jesper Kyd, 16Beat or 4-Mat. Really Matthew Simonds is cool! Todays music really sucks. Techno is surely not the style I like very much. Some call it RMB or Dutch Gabber and give names to it in all different variations, but all in all it is the same. You take a few samples and click on the record button of your music program (just talking about Fasttracker). Afterwards you start jumping like an ape on your keyboard or synthie and save the song... That is techno. It is hard to believe that there were musicians with different styles some time ago. Today you like Vic or Muffler or who the fuck else, but all in all you can find them in every song... That has nothing to do with being inventive. Scene lives from the ideas people have, not from copying anything others do, but that is also a problem of the music industry. Look at all the songs that are released and in the "real" charts. They are god fucking COVERS.
What do you think about diskmags?
Actually I compose tunes for them, even though I prefer reading my mails from the mailing lists I am a member of. No... joking... I read a few in the last weeks. Some old ones as I do not collect the "latest" stuff myself... I downloaded a few issues of Hugi and liked it. I also had a look at the latest Amiga Mags and have to say that all you can read in there was stated ages ago by other persons... but that is media... :)
As you also started learning coding, what do you think: Is coding or composing easier to learn?
I think talent and mainly interest in what you are doing makes you get a coder, gfx-artist or musician. I was bored of swapping, started coding... and finally found music. Coding is interesting but a more-than-24-hour job if you want to be up to date with your routines. Music allows you to form your feelings into tunes, notes and you have got your own part of the time. I do not see any difference in learning the two of them. It is just your personal taste and how calm you are in yourself. You need some personal motiviation for coding, drawing or composing music. I once started drawing some pics and have to admit that I really did not have any patience with myself and so I stopped it again...
Why do scene musicians not make classic music?
Something like that one I just sent you???? *laughing* The main thing is that nobody would listen to it as it is not so popular and the second thing is that it is really difficult to compose. :) As a "goth" I like some classical music including Tschaikowski, Vivaldi or Bach and surely will do something in that direction in the near future... for fun of course..... The other thing is that classical tunes are not used in demos. The coder wants music that kicks ass off and the designers of demos really only want the musican to do their personal taste of music... If there were a "goth" group like "The Dark Demon" ages ago there would surely be demos including more classical music.
What parties did you attend in the past and which did you like most?
The first party I ever visited was organised by Panic and TRSI in 1990 and it was surely one of the best. I was totally drunken and we all had a lot of fun. CeBit 1993 was also a highlight and organised by Scoopex (oops... it is that group I am a member of... heheheh). 1994 I attended the "Doomsday" party in Ettlingen/Germany. A minor party as some would say in our days, but I really liked it. And just to say to all that stupid guys out there: I did not FUCK the sister of Lincoln/Paradox.
In the same year I also visited the Cologne Party and for the first time a TP in Fredericia/Denmark. In Ettlingen I won the music competition, in Cologne I got a really good second place and afterwards I had no interest in doing something for TP anymore. Even though I had to compose for "Alien" a demo at that time. One year later I was at the TP again. This time in Aars, and I really liked it. I met a hell bunch of old friends there and we had some nice boozing as well. Even though I missed the girls there.....
What are your favourite demos/groups etc.?
Heheheh... I really enjoy the old Razor 1911, who should be on PC right now. Mithandril was one of the best GFX artists I have ever known on the Amiga (a former member of ACME on the Amiga system) and Kreator, who taught me some coding on the Amiga again. He was a member of Anarchy ages ago, but I still consider him a friend as well as the old Raistlin/Anarchy or some other dudes. My favourite musicians are Jesper Kyd and Scorpik. Coders: Unreal (Dzien Dobry my friend) and Statix on the PC. I have never seen such cool effects.
As a scener who is active both on Amiga and on PC, what do you think about the occasional quarrels between Amiga and PC sceners?
I do not think much of the so-called quarrels. You see, the Amiga system is dying a slow death as the old C 64 did some years ago. PC is a living system, just at the moment it is, and I think that all those Amiga sceners own a PC as well and hide it in a dark corner. Even though Windows DOS and the AMIGA DOS were produced by the same person... Bill Gates... So I really do not understand why everyone flames the other system. Amiga and PC are so close to each other, but nobody really seems to notice....
Do you have any other hobbies apart from music and computers?
Yep, some I have. First of all my girlfriend, Vera. She is the top one in my list of hobbies. You see, she is moving home from Vienna/Austria to my place in Germany, just about 1200 km away from her old place, and I really want to marry her.
My second hobby is roleplaying. I enjoy the strife into fantasy, to flee from this really sucking world into a land where everything is possible.
Reading is also one of my hobbies. Actually I am about to finish the book "American Psycho" that is forbidden in Germany and which I got from www.amazon.com (really amazing stuff you can find there!!). I also like meeting friends, going out to discos and having some fun at composing real music for which you can earn some money. :)
Do you want to tell us something about your girlfriend? :)
Heheh.... I first met her at a festival last year (it was the Wave Gothic Meeting in Leipzig/Germany) and afterwards did not lose the contact to her. Friendship became Love, and that's the history of it. She studies doing movies at university and is a beauty... no, she is an angel if you could see her. :)))) She also likes composing tunes in her spare time and is familiar with Fasttracker as well. So we really do a great job together and it is real fun!