Interview with Tangerine of T-Rex
Written by flux
The interview was partly made via e-mail and partly face to face in Moscow, the capital of Russia.
Flux: Hi Tangy!
Flux: Please introduce yourself to the readers.
Tangerine: Phillip Il'yitch Barsky. I was born in Moscow, Russian Federation, planet Earth, and I have been living here until now.
Flux: What groups are you currently in?
Tangerine: 1. T-rex (PC) as a musician and artist. 2. Sands (PC) as a musician and artist. 3. Looker House (Amiga) - just a musician.
Flux: And what was your first group? How did you get in there?
Tangerine: "Overlook" was the first one. I was invited by its organizer, Dreamwalker, who worked in one university with my mother. He got my first MODs, which are still unreleased because of their doubtful musical value.
Flux: So, when did you start tracking?
Tangerine: I got to the ProTracker for the first time in January 1994, but I couldn't understand how to switch instruments and pattern numbers *grin*. After a couple of tries I had an insight and I got the way to do it. And immediately I made my first module - four patterns of exclusively dumb rhythm, and then a remix of Space's "Magic fly".
Flux: What equipment did you have back then?
Tangerine: The equipment was a Commodore Amiga A600, which I sometimes borrowed for the night from my neighbour and hooked to the Sony tape recorder. In October 1994 I bought myself a Gravis Ultrasound Classic with 1 meg RAM and a midi-adaptor for 220$. Most of my tracked music was written using this card.
Flux: How did you get to the scene?
Tangerine: Actually I got 'on scene' when Dreamwalker brought my first s3m "Numizmaty", which was released in 1995 in the music disk "Autumn Collection", to some kind of scene meeting.
Flux: Did anything in the scene look unusual to you?
Tangerine: The thing is that there was actually no 'scene' at that time. Just a bunch of people who called BBSes, met each other and did something from time to time. And you could count all musicians on your fingers (smiles). I was surprised that we later had a 'scene' after all.
Flux: By the way, why do you call yourself 'Tangerine'?
Tangerine: I've been thinking for a long time and then learned that Purple Motion took part of his nick from his favourite band's name - Deep Purple. Actually I wasn't a fan of Purple Motion, but I liked the idea and I thought of band "Tangerine Dream". (And in their turn, they had taken 'tangerine' from Beatles' song "Lucy in the sky with diamonds").
Flux: So, are you still using a tracker? Which one?
Tangerine: For some time I thought I'd never be going to track again, but two months ago I bought myself an Amiga (A600, just like the one I had when I started *grin*) with 40Mb HD and 3 megs of RAM for 50$. I bought it to take it with me when I go out of the city, which I am actually about to do now. Being out of the city I've already done some MODs, so it seems it's too early to bury me as scener.
Flux: Do your friends use MIDI?
Tangerine: Yes we do, since the moment I bought Gravis Ultrasound in 1994. I was exploring Scream Tracker at the same time while studying MIDI (Midisoft Recording Session, which was supplied together with Gravis). Now I've bought myself MAXI Sound 64 Home Studio Pro, and of course I don't even remember trackers now. When you have hardware filters and effects and a lot of memory, it's not very attractive to lose time in trackers, though the process of MIDI composing is much harder, but it gives much better sounding results.
Flux: Are there any reasons for not tracking apart from hardware reasons?
Flux: So are you ever going to do something in a tracker again?
Tangerine: I use trackers when I'm away from home (I need to write music, but I can't carry my PC with me everywhere and Amiga perfectly fits in a small bag and can be hooked to any TV). I still have motivation to write music for demos and I have a lot of unfinished music, which I might finish.
Flux: Would you be back to serious tracking if you were invited to join, say, Five Musicians?
Tangerine: Well, I think modules are a dead end. The scene is a limited audience and if I want to get into the 'real' music 'scene', I have to use professional tools to get professional sound quality. I'd better spend some time on making a real professional album than feed the scene audience and enjoy fame in a small society. Well, after all I compose for my own pleasure, and I'm not sure that someone will buy my music, but I just have to give people a chance to hear me on CD *grin*.
Flux: Are you still interested in scene-related stuff? What is most interesting to you?
Tangerine: Yes, but I don't have the time to stay up to date. Well, I can't say what is most interesting thing - I like everything.
Flux: Do you listen to beginners' modules?
Tangerine: Some time ago I was collecting them *smile*, now they are just too numerous, that's why I don't listen to every tune released now. I usualy listen to things that the authors themselves send me for a review (I usually critisize them badly *smile*).
Flux: And what about veterans' releases?
Tangerine: Again, I listen to them when I have time. Sometimes even record them on tape *smile*.
Flux: What do you think about separating the scene in an elite and lame part, a Russian and an international part and such?
Tangerine: I think they exist only in the heads of very complicated people, though the Russian scene is as always on 'its own way' and quite far from international one. Probably because here people talk more than they do. If they did more - they would be more popular.
Flux: What do you think about using MP3s in demos?
Tangerine: It makes size bigger and sound quality worse.
Flux: And what if the MP3 was done by a non-scener and used without the author's permission?
Tangerine: How should I react? Should I be happy or what? Nothing can be used without the author's permission.
Flux: Many parties cancel 4k intro and 4channel music compos. Do you think they are on the right way?
Tangerine: And Assembly still has Commodore 64 compos... Why do you think they do so *smile*? Because there are people who will take part in them. I would actually take part in 4channel mod compo, just because I'm tracking on Amiga. Because Paradox '99 didn't have a 4channel compo, I entered my 4channel module, written on my Amiga, in the multichannel music compo... *smile* Let's see how it ends up...
Flux: Do you think you can do professional stuff in a tracker?
Tangerine: I'm not one of the enthusiasts and I think you can't. You need much accurate sound processing, not just constructing music from samples.
Flux: And what are the advantages of MIDI?
Tangerine: The advantage is that any professional instrument that has a MIDI interface can be controled from one programm. And the quality of the final material depends on the instrument itself. So you need to compare synths and soundcards, not standards and file formats.
Flux: Do you often visit parties?
Tangerine: Once a year I go out somewhere...
Flux: Have you ever been on international ones?
Tangerine: No, too far, too expensive.
Flux: And what do you think about Russian parties? What can you say about them?
Tangerine: The head phrase of every Russian party is "We wanted it better, but it happened as always". It's good that we have parties after all that.
Flux: What is the meaning of "party" for you?
Tangerine: There are two main things about a party for me: to take part in compos, see other people's work, and see and talk to those people.
Flux: Is the scene dying? What do you think about its future?
Tangerine: It's not dying at all. Trackers are just not programms which only sceners use now. The result is a global absence of knowledge among beginning tracker composers who don't even want to get to know the tracking 'classics'. I don't want to predict the scene's future, but in Russia it goes quite well so far, though people always want more.
Flux: Do you like modern demos?
Tangerine: Yes, but only those I can watch on my P-233, because half of them go just too slow on my computer or need more memory. I don't like the tendency to make demos for 3d accelerators, but it's just for personal reasons - I don't have one. Furthermore, because I absolutely never play games, I'm not ever going to buy one. But some demos need it. Well, I, as a musician, don't need it at all. So why should I buy one? Just to watch new demos?
Flux: Do you think musicdisks with interfaces have a future?
Tangerine: It depends on the music and interface quality, of course *smiles*.
Flux: What kind of disks do you prefer?
Tangerine: I don't care actually, but if good music comes along with good graphics - it's just great.
Flux: And what are your favourites?
Tangerine: My favourite disks with interfaces are still "Epidemic", "Progression" and "Ambrosia".
Flux: What equipment do you use now?
Tangerine: Pentium-233MMX/32Mb/4Gb, MAXI Sound 64 Home Studio Pro, Gravis Ultrasound Classic (I'm not going to throw it out!), Commodore Amiga A600, Yamaha PSR-500 (an old synth, used as a MIDI keyboard) and a Sennheiser mic.
Flux: Are you involved in some kind of commercial project?
Tangerine: Not yet.
Flux: What do you think about tracker composers who do work for money?
Tangerine: If they are lucky, I'm happy for them. If they are not - good luck, the best times are still to come.
Flux: What is the ideal tracker for you?
Tangerine: A tracker with Cakewalk functionality and FT or IT interface (I feel comfortable woth both).
Flux: And what is the ideal demogroup?
Tangerine: One that consists of several talanted people who can work together on demo productions.
Flux: And the ideal demo?
Tangerine: Ideal demo = ideal code + ideal design + ideal music! Is it hard *grin*?
Flux: Who is your favourite tracker musician?
Tangerine: Uh, hard to say... I have a lot of favourites.
Flux: Favourite demogroup?
Tangerine: Even more here. But the Amiga-folks "Made Elks", "SpaceBalls", "Sanity" and "Melon" are still legends for me.
Flux: Favourite artist?
Tangerine: It's probably Ra, though I also like what Made, Cyclone, DmD/Looker House and many others draw.
Flux: Favourite coder?
Tangerine: I can't answer that, because I can't judge coders' work objectively *smiles*.
Flux: Favourite demo?
Tangerine: Now it's probably "Relic" by Nerve Axis or "How to Skin a Cat" by Melon. Both are from Amiga.
Flux: Do you play musical instruments?
Tangerine: Trying hard to learn guitar. Sometimes I play the piano.
Flux: Do you have a musical education?
Tangerine: Not really, except a couple of lessons with a private teacher.
Flux: Do you ever use music theory when composing?
Tangerine: No, I use just my own inner feelings and my mood.
Flux: What is needed to start composing using a tracker?
Tangerine: Computer, tracker, motivation, fingers, ears, eyes, brain and some inspiration *smile*.
Flux: How to get popular *smile*?
Tangerine: The quickest possible way is to kill someone popular and then tell everyone you did it. (Kidding.)
Flux: Do you read diskmags?
Tangerine: When I have time.
Flux: And which ones?
Tangerine: I have quite a lot of different mags: Imphobia, Scenial, Hugi *grin*, Armor of Gods, Hacker, Harm, and some more stuff which is not good enough to be listed.
Flux: What do you like in them?
Tangerine: Interesting articles and interviews, humour. I don't like meaningless articles and personal talks.
Flux: Do you take part in polls?
Tangerine: I try to.
Flux: What music do you like in a real life? Styles, names, whatever...
Tangerine: Uhhh... very different. First of all 'classical' electronic music (J.M. Jarre, K. Schultze, Tangerine Dream, Space), then folk and related styles, especially celtic (Loreena Mckennitt, "Clannad", Mike Oldfield), ethnic and related ("Dead can Dance"), and lately Andreas Vollenweider inspires me a lot. I have also listened to The Beatles, Pink Floyd since I was a child. And to finish the list, I like modern dance music with ethnic and trip-hop elements (Enigma, Banco De Gaia, Carma De La Luna).
Flux: Who is your favourite writer?
Tangerine: It's Tone Yannson, she wrote about mummie-trolls. I think her books are a special kind of existancial philosophy in a literature form.
Flux: And favourite movie director/actor?
Tangerine: Probably Greenway and Tarkovsky, actor - probably Leonov.
Flux: And movie?
Tangerine: Don't know, hard to say.
Flux: What kind of girls do you prefer?
Tangerine: Smart and beautiful ones *smile*. At the moment I 'prefer' only one girl - the one I love *smile*.
Flux: Do you ever use drugs or alcohol?
Tangerine: I absolutely never use either of them.
Flux: All right. Do you want to greet anyone?
Tangerine: Greetings go to all pretty and smart girls *smile*! To be serious, the list would be too long...
Flux: Any wishes to the Hugi readers?
Tangerine: I wish everyone health, both in the physical and mental sense *smile*. And if you ever feel like listening to my modules, my homepage is http://www.glasnet.ru/~tangerine/. (I'm using my interview victim role for some advertising, hehe! *smile*).
Flux: All right, thanx for answering, it was really nice talking to you. See ya.
Tangerine: No problem. Bye.