My real name is Leonard Ritter, named after the famous composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein. I was born in Frankfurt, Germany. My mom produces radio plays for children and runs a traveling theater, so I came into contact with art and artistic technology in an early age.
How did you get in touch with computers?
We had a PC at home, one of the first 286's with Windows 2.0 installed. For my 9th birthday, my dad, who was not living with my mother, gave me a Commodore Amiga 500 that I used mainly to play games with.
Did you learn a "real" instrument?
I was always bad at playing the piano. Instead of doing my etudes, I would rather play my own compositions, which mainly oriented themselves on the mainstream at that time: Eurodance was still a big thing, and people like Dr. Alban and Hadaway owned the charts.
How did you start composing music?
My mom used an Atari ST, Steinberg Cubase and a Korg M1 to arrange her songs. I watched and learned. Whenever she was not at home, I would secretly play my own tunes, attempting to recreate the dance music I loved. Eventually, I was allowed to use the computer for composing.
The Korg M1 was a nice synthesizer when it came to pads, but it was terrible for composing techno. A friend introduced me to The Prodigy, which made things even worse. It was impossible to reproduce that euphoric, groovy and thick sound on the Korg.
I was 14 when one day, in a large store, it was pure luck for me to discover a CD-ROM with a tracker on it, a sequencer that was programmed using a computer console only. It was not possible to record MIDI, but it had the complete functionality of a sampler. I was sold.
From then on, I always made music with a tracker, and never stopped using it. Todays trackers like Buzz or Aldrin gift you with the full range of digital effects, samplers and synthesizers, while still offering full control over every note. Using a MIDI keyboard and a piano roll confines me to use what my hands can express in real time. Entering the music step by step gives me incredible control over time and flow, although it can become tedious for big arrangements.
In that sense, I have always been a classical write-to-paper composer, even if in a weird modern unorthodox sense, and always much more devoted to rhythm and sound engineering.
I also spent a lot of time programming small games in BASIC. They never got finished though, because I spent more time on tools than actual results, but it was fun.
How did you get into the demoscene?
When I was 16, the internet entered our home, and I spent much time online, making first contact with people who were alike: maverick amateurs who spent their free time composing dance music. We shared and commented on our music online, a decade before online communities, MySpace and YouTube.
All those computer art aficionados finally gathered in the only kind of group you join these days: the demoscene. If you had internet access, and you were into programming and music, you would end up there, and that's where I spent most of my time doing releases, receiving feedback on my work, getting to know people, and most of all: enjoying technology art.
So far my biggest successes have been in the scene. I had several musical releases which won prizes on demo parties. I released three demos of which two were well received: "Die Ewigkeit schmerzt" (#1st Evoke 2006) and "Masagin" (#1st Breakpoint 2008). Masagin marks my "good-bye" to the scene and a "hello" to the rest of the world.
Why are you no longer releasing on demoparties?
These days, the social internet fulfills the need for artistic and technological exchange, with a stronger focus on ideas rather than technical prowess. What the demoscene stood for has now been superseded by the mainstream - the internet mainstream, which is probably no real majority. Call it what you want: the idea is now bigger than the scene, and the amount of geek art you can now find everywhere is unprecedented.
But technology is not my center of attention. The value lies in the goods still treasured in the depths of my mental goldmine. My work has never been a great demonstration of skill. It is always an attempt to teach and entertain through wit, depth, humor, emotion and groove.
What is your special talent?
A friend told me that my specialty is to be drifting between the serious and the humorous, without giving in too much into either - and it's true. I love to flirt with despair.
I grow bored quickly and thus have trouble attaching myself to routine. I'm strongly dependent on desire (and occasionally, caffeine). I don't like going the same path twice; a trait which certainly sucks in a world built around duty, commitment and ritual, but is beneficial in creativity and art.
What I do is always new for me, because I love shaking off the shackles of rules, axioms and dogma. In composition, I drive myself to complete complacency, which often results in tracks never being finished because they hypnotize me too much. To get finished I have to work swiftly, without looking back.
What do you sound like? What artists inspire you?
I have a hard time comparing myself to other artists. I pick up impressions and ideas wherever I can (read: I steal), so there's a big deal of different stuff in my music. If you recognize other artists in my music, it's highly likely that I have heard them too.
Do you have contact with your fans?
My audience consists of highly intelligent and curious people. They drive me to new sounds and experiences. I can't tell how many times the suggestions of an admirer have brought me to new ideas. The "paniq" project wouldn't be much without them. We mostly communicate through Twitter.
What else do you do?
I have a lovely wife (we are not married yet, I just call her my wife, it feels natural) who cares for my wellbeing and suffers from my impenetrable attention deficit disorder. I work as a games programmer. On the net, I read Laughing Squid and XKCD, I participate in /b/ ('sup?) and I twitter a lot. I'm a member of the pirate party because I believe in free access of information and entertainment - all my music is free and creative commons licensed.
Want to use these tracks in a commercial project/video?
Saben trabajar sonidos opuestos y manejarlos sin que choquen mutuamente, no tienen idea cuantas noches, fiestas o viajes que e disfrutado x mas de 5años en los que este disco suena de fondo para todos esos grandes recuerdos q revivo al vover a escucharlos
This track is smooth and rough at the same time. The contradiction makes this a excellent brain tease and thus very enjoyable. I used it in one of my videos: http://youtu.be/D-0M7yg7_-c I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoy this song!
The melody is very lovable with the numerous distortion effects over them yet not too many. The 8-bit intersection near the end is the icing on the cake. Awesome track! I also use this in a video: http://youtu.be/60oALSATchk I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoy your tracks!