For those that don’t know me, I’m one of seven billion people on this planet. I’m in my 40s, separated from my partner and have a cat as my child. I’m Australian and a senior IT Professional. I worry and act the fool in equal quantities.
Gavin Graham was a demoscene musician and programmer on the Commodore 64 & Amiga home computers in the 80s & 90s who has an affinity with those older 8-bit soundchips such as the MOS6581/8580, Atari TIA/Pokey and AY2681.
Today, Gavin is recreating covers in the Bitpop genre and exploring how these 8-bit home synthesisers can be transformed into a fusion of old and new electronica.
I started out on the Commodore 64 way back in the early 80s and I was fascinated by what that home computer could achieve in synthesis. I wrote my own music driver in assembly and tried hard to push the limits of its sound chip. I wasn’t (and still aint) much of a musician but I really got wound into the technical challenge of it all. I guess I could’ve chosen to focus my technical on graphics or other things (and I did at times) but I always came back to sound production so I suppose it has some affinity with me or me it.
I then moved beyond the technical compulsion and poured myself into the creative side as time moved on. Looking back now, even the technical programming has a creative element to it inasmuch you look for novel or innovative ways to solve a problem. Creativity is really the fundamental element at play. I’m a self taught musician and I love discovering new techniques in sound production and musical theory.
Now I think of how I write and arrange music more as how a sculptor starts with a block and carves away until there’s a statue. That’s a total reversal of how I use to write music. Previously I would start small and build the piece up. Now I think big and etch parts away to give it texture and contour. That’s just become part of my creative evolution.
In a nutshell, it’s not about money, publishers, fame – it’s a personal growth and learning where expression is allowed to flourish. Yeah, it’s nice when my music gets a like on Youtube or Soundcloud or someone buys a song on iTunes/Google PLay but even if no one listened, I would still put my music out there. I do share my music mostly for my own existential meaning in life it’s something that will be left to survive me when my time on this world is over. So, it’s also a legacy.
My tiny little mark in the archives of mankind. It’s my my graffiti that says “Gavin was here.” but mostly I just love doing it.
I consider himself and his music to be a anarchic display of the pop-culture anti-hero by repurposing defunct computer sound hardware to create a bridge between an underground electronic music culture and the mainstream music medium.
About this site and a bit more about me
My website is foremostly about my music both past and present. I’ve had a bit of a revival of my musical persuasion and I thought there was no better way to apply that to the tunes I remember most. There’s more background information and what motivated me to go back to music that can be found here.
I’ve released the efforts of my own personal “Summer of Code” project. This project is where now around twenty-two years later, I’ve decided to bust out my old assembly language programming skills and rewrite my music driver (“sequencer” for those who aren’t in the know) to make an ‘ultimately flexible’ player capable of tricks that I could of only dreamed of all those years ago had I not been so heavily invested in the one I has already written.
Fourthly, there is some odd old computer history floating around that doesn’t have much information on-line as I would like. This is generally true about (for me at least) for old 8-bit computers that were specifically branded for Australia after being imported by some obtuse manufacturer. This is my attempt at preserving some history by adding or collating some historical information.