Another Interview with Virgill? Well, this time by Ghandy, who wants to know more about the rise of Virgills new sound tool AmigaKlang.
Jochen Feldkoetter aka Virgill began his career many years ago as a popular Amiga musician. Some years ago he began coding arse kicking intros for Windows. Nowadays he’s also developing demo tools like the AmigaKlang, which is very helpful for musicians.
“I thought it must be possible on Amiga as well”
Ghandy/JP: Hi Virgill. I think we first met about 30 years ago on the way to Denmark. There was a cable hanging out of my car at the time. You were – kind enough to point it out to me in the car park. 🙂 Do you remember?
Virgill (V): Hi Ghandy. I know I met you and Fishwave at The Party (1994?), but I can’t remember this situation. Hope your cable has savely arrived too ;)
JP: Yes, it did thanks to your hint. ;-) What actually attracts you after so many years to still do something on the Amiga? And what attracts you to the demoscene?
V: I’m totally in love with the demoscene my whole life. Doing creative things and meeting creative people, working together on “useless” things is just my kind of fun. And I especially adore the oldschool machines. Why Amiga? Because it was my youth. Maybe I’m living too much in the past. But everyone needs a hobby to distract from real life.
AmigaKlang was possible with the help of many coders
JP: And how did it come to your change of direction. In the past you only made music, then at some point the first killer PC intros came out – from you.
V: Well, I coded ASM before on C64 and Amiga systems. But I was no good in any way so I dropped it for 25 years. Then in 2013 I started learning C and graphics programming out of total boredom and curiosity. My question was: how do they stuff all that precious scenes into 4k. And somehow I managed it more or less to answer the question. I want to say thank my fellow sceners who explained it all and helped me a lot! A long list. They know who they are :)
And without the tools from other sceners, my journey would not been possible! 4Klang, Crinkler, IQ 4k framework – just to name a few.
JP: The tool AmigaKlang is based on the tool 4klang. But what exactly is that? And what can Amiga coder or Amiga musicians do with it?
V: 4klang by gopher & powl of Alcatraz got my attraction, because it is one of the standard synths in the pc 4k intros. It is a modular synth: you can freely wire the nodes in any way you want. That enables you to create stunning sounds. So I thought it must be possible on Amiga as well. Of course it’s not realtime like on pc. But you can precalculate samples and use them in your music tracks for tiny intros.
Many additional tools used
JP: Many people are involved in the programme, what have they contributed to it?
V: A lot! Like the Cool VScode Amiga Debug extension where I coded the synth core is from Bartman/Abyss. Gopher, Xtr1m, LJ and especially Hellfire helped me with the algorithms of the synth nodes. Antiriad helped me with the player and the cleaned up my messy scripting. Dan later wrote Aklang2ASM to make the precalculation faster and smaller. Blueberrys Shrinkler is the tool for compressing the executables. And last but not least I had some friendly beta testers and input from other scene friends.
The work on AmigaKlang is still in progress …
JP: There have already been several updates, what is planned for the future? Or has the development already come to an end, because you have – already reached the intended goal?
V: Work in progress.. We’re porting the tool together with Leonard to Atari STe platform. The first tests were successful. And I’m preparing a step sequencer. When that is done, I consider it as finished.
JP: Do you also have something to do with IT professionally? Or is this your compensation?
V: I quit the coal mining 20 years ago ;) Nowadays I’m an Electrical engineer writing automation software for a food plant.
JP: What will you be doing in 10 or 20 years?
V: The same as you, being a demoscener.
JP: Will we all go to the Easter party in a wheelchair and with a care service?
V: I hope so <3
JP: Virgill, thanks a lot for filling out our questions!