Interview with Dawnstar

Makke / Comic Pirates / Hugi

After Dawnstar had given me some feedback on my newly released "Kraftwerk" musicpack, we got to talk about Hugi, and I asked if he felt like being interviewed. He agreed to answer questions, and this is the result.

Dawnstar's real name is Henri Isojarvi, and he lives in Finland (which some of you probably have already guessed, looking at his name). Dawnstar was brought into this world in the year of our booze 1981. This makes him 17 years old at this date (18 in less than six months). He began tracking in 1994 and has tracked since then without any longer periods of inactivity. Currently he's a student and has planned to stay that for a few years.

How did you find your way to the scene?

It all dates back from 1994 when my friend introduced me a wonderful program, Fasttracker. Some time later I bought my first soundcard. With the program I could play awesome songs and even make my own music! It really was something special for me back then and especially the easiness of Fasttracker really got me since I had no previous musical background. The same friend also showed me 2nd Reality, which really stunned me being the first demo I ever saw. After teaching myself how to use Fasttracker and first doing things by ear, I began tracking songs for my own pleasure. At first the songs naturally sucked but fortunately I had no means to spread them, unlike the beginners of today. In the late 1995 I began dialing local BBSes, got some friends there and began uploading songs for others to listen. This way I found my way to the local demoscene.

As far as I know you're not in any group right now. How come?

I just don't feel the need to be in a group for the group's sake. A few years back, in the beginning of my scene career, I thought it was cool and elite and all that stuff to have a slash and a group name after my handle, but I don't feel the same way anymore. For me, a group is supposed to be like a family, more than just a shared ftp-directory and a website. And since I can make friends in the scene without being in the same group, why bother? Joining a group means committing yourself to certain rules and I just feel more comfortable on my own. Another reason is that nowadays there are so many groups, most of them very small and mediocre. I don't want to be one of them, I can be my mediocre self without belonging to a group. ;)

Which style would you say you're tracking in?

I can't really give a direct answer to that because I'm constantly exploring new styles without a clear direction. My last five songs include psy-trance, slow rock, distorted ambient, funk and drum'n'bass - the last two haven't been released yet. That's a quite broad spectrum... I like techno music but I try to avoid tracking house, d'n'b, trance and all kinds of trendy dance music because of the fact that the majority of the tracking community tracks in these styles. I feel the need to stand out from the mass.

Which are your main influences and what inspires you?

I get my inspirations from awfully many sources. I like most kinds of dance music, so this naturally drives me to compose in these styles, but I also like older music, such as the Beatles. Especially lately I've tried to listen to non-techno music. Many times I get the very first kick that makes me compose a song in a particular style from a very little thing. It may be a song on the radio, the music in a commercial, a particularly good module, anything! The modules I download are really quite a big influence on me.

Do you have any favourite trackers?

My favourite trackers change from time to time but at the moment I could name the Norwegian guys Gainx, Optic and Xhale as my three favourite trackers. I don't know exactly what it is that appeals to me in their tracks, but they are just great. And besides them I also like the old stars like Leviathan, Necros, and Emax on the 4-channel modules.

Ever attended a demoparty? In that case, which one was the best?

Yes, I've been to half a dozen demoparties. The best... hmm... the first party is of course always something special and my first party, Abduction'96, was quite a good party. Assembly'97, my only Assembly so far, was also a great experience, although I'm one of those who criticize its commercial atmosphere. I guess we just have to cope with the kids who've come there to play Quake non-stop.

(Right after this interview had been finished he attended his 7th party, so the text above should better say a dozen + one party :) /Makke)

What have you planned for the future?

I really haven't planned my future very much. I'll do my matriculation exam in 1 1/2 years and after that my military service. Until that I'll just do things just like I've done before. Track, go to school, have fun and that kind of things.

A lot of people say that the scene is as good as dead. What's your opinion of this?

Being my usual optimistic self, I hope what we're going through is only a temporary phase. It's the next generation that has to take over now, and it never happens painlessly. We may still have a bright future in front of us. On the other hand, if the scene keeps getting more and more commercial, all the coders may soon be working in a game company as well as some graphicians and modellers, while trackers go commercial with their techno music. These are just my guesses and thoughts, however. Nobody can give really reliable predictions and I can't really say anything reliable since I've only been in the scene for a few years.

What do you think of people hanging around on IRC all day (instead of writing articles for diskmags :)?

I've never really paid any thoughts on this but I don't think IRC is a bad thing for the scene. I /join #trax every once in a while myself and like it there, although I don't spend very much time there. Of course people there could use their time more creatively like writing, tracking or coding something, but I certainly don't see IRC as the reason the scene is heading the way it is.

OK, here's the usual quickies! Which is/are your favourite... Movie(s):

I don't know... perhaps submarine movies, like U96 and Hunt for Red October.


Anything by Stephen King and Terry Pratchett.


Current favourites: Hyperventilation by (B) and Sunflower by Pulse (Hyperventilation rocks! /Makke)


I don't have one favourite food.

Waste of time:

Being interviewed. ;) And apart from that reading and going to raves, parties etc.

Anyone you'd like to greet?

Mansooj, Jangler, Pest, Juzdie, Nico, Maza, Sape, Makke (hey, that's you!), Argus, K.Ylikulju, Jcole, Sojagga, Leach, Zage, Trigger, Internet Music Monitor reviewers, Theralite, Milk, Coil, #trax, Tranze and people with who I've had email conversations recently, and as usual everyone I forgot.

- Makke / Comic Pirates / Hugi