Holger Gehrmann

holger gehrmann

Real Name:  Holger Gehrmann

Handle: HGSS

Country: Germany

holger_gerhmann

 

Ex member of :
HG-Software Systems
Function :
Musician
Founder of :
HG-Software Systems

 

reLINE co-founder Holger Gehrmann is now looking down at us from his cloud. No media I queried revealed anything about the reason of his unexpected death, so there are merely speculations …
BTW if I had known about this incident a bit earlier, I would have posted it!

On February 11, 2008 at the age of 39, he reportedly fell to his death out of a window in a 6th-floor apartment in a multistorey building.
It is not known to this date, whether it was suicide or accident.

It was not even granted for him to cross the magical ’40’ boundary.
Born on May 06, 1968, we COULD have celebrated a nice birthday for him next month – yes the 40th!!

One of the two founder of reLINE Software GmbH, Hannover/Germany in 1987. The company disappeared in 2004.

Source: English Amiga Board – http://eab.abime.net

Organizer of :
ReLINE Software Programmer Party 1989, ReLINE Software Programmer Party 1990, ReLINE Software Programmer Party 1991

 

Interview

  • 1-How did your interest for computers start? Which year was that?

In 1979 I started to program basic programs on the PET2001 in department
stores since I wasn’t able to afford an own computer.

  • 2-What machines did you previously have? What did you do with them?

PET 2001, VC20, C-64, C-16, plus/4, Amstrad CPC 464, Atari ST, Amiga, several
PCs.

I wrote games on all of them and did the musics too.

  • 3-For what specific reason did you end up making music rather than gfx,coding?

There is a simple reason why I never did graphics: I am really bad at this. 🙂

I never stopped to do coding, and I still do (although not for games anymore, but
for an airline).

  • 4-Which composing programs have you been using? Which one in particular?

In the past I used “Soundcontrol”, a composing tool I wrote by myself. For some
years Karsten Obarski (the one who invented the Soundtracker) worked for reLINE,
so he also did some soundtracks with it.

I never used any Tracker though.

  • 5-With which module did you feel you had reached your goal?

There is none since I never had a goal like making lots of money or get a lot
of fans. My private goals have nothing to do with computers, and I think it’s
good that way – not becoming a freak. 🙂

In my opinion the best SID I did was together with Karsten Obarski, at that’s
the “fire extinguishing” action sequence in Oil Imperium. Karsten composed it
on the Amiga (with his Soundtracker of course), and I think I did a good job
converting it for C64 and Tandy(PC).

  • 6-Is there a tune you would like not to remember? For what reason?

Most of my early tunes weren’t that great. But when I listen to them I look
back at the time when I made them, and some of them were created even without
an assembler program, but coding machine language in hex.

  • 7-In your opinion, what’s the value of a music in a demo, game?

Music always have been a part of my life. As a child I sung in a choir (mostly
classic stuff), and now, starting to get grey hair, I still get excited when I
hear good music. It’s not the audio quality, but the composing that is
interesting for me.

Maybe some people might say that music was better in the past. I think that
it’s better now, but harder to find.

  • 8-At present, are you still composing? For professional or leisure purposes?

No, I don’t have the time for it anymore.

  • 9-What do you think of today’s pieces of music such as mpeg,wave,midi,etc…?

That’s a strange question since the data formats don’t have anything to do
with music pieces.

I am glad that game soundtracks can be MP3s now, but I sometimes miss the old
times where programmers composed, having to get everytthing out of a soundchip.
It was just more “on the roots”.

  • 10-Could you tell us some of your all times favourite tunes?

Sure.
Apricot (Kenneth Jonsson of Shade)
Church (Thomas Mogensen)
Crooner (Thomas Morgensen)
Square Out (Thomas Mogensen)

  • 11-Are you planning to make an audio cd with some of your music remastered?

Not at all.

  • 12-What bands are you currently listenning to?

Since I tended to make music pieces based on classical Italo Disco patterns,
it’s still this kind of music I prefer.

  • 13-What does/did the amiga/c64 scene give you?

I’ve never been “in the scene”, but years ago there were only a few people in
Germany who did music, graphics and programming. I met Chris Huelsbeck when he
worked for Rainbow Arts, we employed Karsten Obarski who was kind of a music
“guru” programming the Soundtracker and who was able to create a whole
soundtrack within days.

  • 14-Are you still active in the scene these days?

Not at all, although I love to listen to the old SIDs. Well… when you look
at the user interface “DULOG” that has been used for some reLINE games you
might recognize that the configuration for music files (MIDI) is kind of
complex for a game, allowing to create play lists and to listen exactly to
the music you want while you play.

  • 15-Anyone to greet? Anything left to say? Feel free…

I buy an “E”. 🙂

Source: http://amp.dascene.net/detail.php?view=3360&detail=interview

 

Another interview

holger-gehrmann2

by Neil Carr

 

Holger jointly founded RE-LINE where Holger became the musician. These days however he tends not to compose as much. Though you can still hear is work on BIING.

What other c64 composers did you like?

 

There are too many to list. I guess Rob Hubbard was the first one who had a constant quality and used features of the SID (e.g. ring modulation) that most others didn’t at this point of time.

 

What sids did you like?

 

Besides the classics Commando, Gyruss etc. I liked Floating Point Action, a song only a hardcore programmer can compose (same as the name of it).

 

Why did you start writing music on the c64?

 

Hmm, funny question since I even wrote music for the old VIC 20… :-)

 

What were your likes/dislikes regarding the sid chip?

 

I loved the filter and the ability to change the aspects of the square wave form. The SID could have had more channels, and sometimes short attack and decay times caused strange internal timing conflicts, I have no idea why. What I disliked most was that they changed the filter algorhythm. Composers want their songs to sound exactly the same on all systems.

 

What would you consider to be your best composition?

 

Maybe Hollywood Poker.

 

What are your fondest memories of the c64?

 

When I look at my PC running Windows I really miss the short booting time the C-64 had. :-) I think at the time when the C-64 was on the market, programmers did anything to push its hardware to the limits. In fact it’s amazing to see a multi layer scrolling game with 32 sprites or more on a machine that is based on a 256 character set and 8 sprite channels. And for some reason one memory is about punching a second read/write hole in the 5 1/4″ disk covers so that you can store data on the other side too.

 

How did you become part of reLINE?

 

I founded it together with a friend after I already made some games with him before (e.g. for Golden Games). He did the graphics, I did the programming (and the music). Same at reLINE.

 

Do you still compose music ?

 

Rarely. In the last years I composed some CD audio tracks, e.g. for BIING!, but mostly for myself.

 

What role do you have now at reLINE, and what does this entail?

 

I mainly program user interfaces, script languages and run time optimized subroutines. Lately I started with DirectX and Direct3D. I also do quality assurance jobs for companies that sell professional applications that are not game related.

 

If there was a tune that you wish you could claim as your own what would it be, and why?

 

Karsten Obarski composed some great songs for the Amiga that I converted to the C-64, e.g. the Oil Imperium soundtrack. I also loved his Centerbase soundtrack that I made a CD audio version of. I think they were milestones.

 

While listening to your sids I spot a resemblance to some early sid music by Chris Huelsbeck, would you agree with that?

 

In a way. Chris and I seem to have a similar taste about music. I love some of his pieces, but when I composed on the C-64 I didn’t know him. We got in contact much later when the Amiga was released. He composed for Rainbow Arts, and they had the same publisher as we had.

 

How different is it composing on modern instruments as compaired to the sid chip?

 

It’s a big difference to use samples instead of analogue sounds. So it was a bigger step from the C-64 to the Amiga than from the Amiga to synthesizers.

 

Have you ever wondered what your sids would be like, if they was composed on real instruments?

 

Yes, but it’s still the composition that counts. Even the old great James Bond soundtracks written by John Barry would sound great on simple sound chips. I tried that by making a remix of the JB theme on the Adlib-chip and Amiga/Soundblaster in Dynatech. You can’t reproduce the atmosphere a real orchestra creates, but it still sounded great. He is just a good composer.

 

How do you feel music in games has progressed since the c64?

 

Nowadays people who buy a game expect a movie soundtrack, not just some nice little songs. Today you can play MP3s in real time, so why should anyone compose 3 channel analogue songs? I think it’s OK this way. When you buy a car racing game you want to see realistic 3D graphics that would have been impossible 10 years ago. And you want state of the art sound too. Looking back on the old times of music is nice for old guys like me, but the kids want other stuff.

 

An arranger named Plough has arranged two of your tunes, have you heard them, if so what do you think of them?

 

I haven’t heard them yet. After reading your question I made a quick search and tried to download a remixed Top Secret soundtrack made by him, but for some reason it didn’t work. Maybe you could email them to me.

 

How do you feel about people remixing your old sids?

 

For me it’s an honour to see that people like my compositions and take the time to make remixes.

 

Do you have any interest in the c64 scene at all?

 

When I have time I surf the web and download SID collections or remixed MP3s of old songs. Sometimes I download some old games too, but to tell you the truth, when I see them now I am kind of disappointed since they looked so much better in my memories.

 

Have you worked on any other formats other than the c64, if so what was your favourite and least favourite formats?

 

I always created my own sound formats, and I never used any common sound formats at all. On the VIC 20 I wrote just simple BASIC programs to play music stored in DATA lines, on the C-64 I made Soundcontrol and a sound programming language called SOPROL which I also used on the Atari ST. The Amiga version of SOPROL was used in early games like Hollywood Poker and Space Port, and the Amiga-Soundcontrol which allowed similar macros like Chris Hülsbeck’s TFMX was used till BIING!. On the PC I wrote players for the Tandy and Adlib sound chips, later on for Soundblaster and General Midi cards. My least favorite one was the Tandy sound chip since it really sucks. It’s like a 3 channel PC speaker…

 

Lastly, What would you like to say to our readers?

 

Thanks for reading. :-)

Rest in peace Holger


I’d have to agree with Holger about the Hollywood Poker tune being is best, though i still have fond memories of Top Secret.– Neil

rest in peace Holger… flower3

2 Comments

Add yours →

  1. Holger Gehrmann was also an excellent software designer and creator of musical effects.

    Take a look at Action on Protection which is not even an average action game playwise but the design is hilarious.

    http://pirates.emucamp.com/a/a/actiononp/c64/main.html

    Like

  2. When I did this tragic thread I came to notice that Holger Gehrmann’s co-partner Olaf Patzenhauer in reLINE a german software company going back to 1987, has left this earth too in 2012.

    rip

    Like

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