My name is Roald Strauss. I live in a city called Hobro in Denmark. I am a 38-year old artist with deep thoughts and
weird interpretations of the world, and I use my music to express these thoughts. I've been interested
in music since childhood. This is my story.
How it all started
My life as a musician began when I was about 8 years old. My aunt was babysitting
me. I was bored and she was busy. In an attempt to get me occupied, she handed me a mouth organ / harmonica
thing, and showed me how to use it. I found that rather interesting. From the start I wanted to write
my own melodies rather than learning how to play something already written. This caused much despair
in the family, and I suspect my aunt regretted giving me the instrument in the first place. Nevertheless,
a few years later my father bought a small organ for the family. It quickly ended up in my room though,
and I was happily composing beautiful pieces (in my opinion). The audience didn't always agree, but I decided
it was due to their lack of artistic talent. ;-)
When I was about 11 years old my grandmother bought an Amstrad CPC 464. It was the competitor to the
Commodore 64. Fortunate kids had been saving money to buy their home computer in the 80ies. Most
people bought the C64, but I got hooked on the Amstrad.
Then I learned how to code BASIC, and I found it quite interesting. It didn't take long
before I had coded a small cartoon which I proudly dedicated my grandmother. :-)
I still have those old programs I made as a child. Some time ago I managed to transfer them onto my PC.
Aah, sweet nostalgia...
Time went by, and my parents bought me my own Amstrad. Meanwhile my cousin also got hooked on the
Amstrad. So we got together and formed the group "Magic Team Crackers". Not that we actually
ever cracked anything, just that it was a cool name...we thought. ;-) Anyway, I began composing/coding
music in BASIC. That means, typing in note by note in numbers (frequency). Amstrad only had 3 channels, and there were
no good programs that could handle samples.
Actually someone really had coded Protracker for the Amstrad, but as it was a real slow
8-bit computer the samples sounded terrible. :-|
After a few months...years...we got in contact with a guy who called himself New Way Cracking. He
didn't really crack anything either, but he coded some cool demos on the Amstrad.
Tracking days begun
New Way Cracking sent us a music program for the Amstrad called Equinoxe, a tracker so to speak. It
was in french, which of course I didn't understand. But being a superior genius like me, I quickly
learned what functionality was hidden behind each menu item. It didn't take long before I had composed a bunch of
tunes with that tracker. I enjoyed composing music very much, but more and more of the people I knew
either bought Amiga or PC. Suddenly I was all alone with my Amstrad...
Then I ran into an old friend of mine. He and another dude had tried to get some work done on an
Amiga for ages, but they never really succeeded. There was no way I was going to join them, I
to myself. If I even wanted to buy another computer, it should be a PC. Amiga was like garbage to me.
I don't know what went wrong, because suddenly I found myself owning an Amiga 600, and I was
happily tracking music in Protracker. So, I composed a lot of music for that group I now was a member
of called X-Force (How original, eh?). But we never released anything besides a small little intro
which no one really saw, except a few friends.
Well, the group didn't die, no sir. They wanted to buy Amiga 1200, or more likely, Daddy Cool did whom
we more or less considered the Boss of the group, as he did the coding. I was the musician of course,
and Bigfoot did the graphics. Bigfoot was the first to buy an Amiga 1200, then I did, and then Daddy
Cool bought a PC! It's a sad story, I know.
Making contacts online
While I was trying to educate myself at the Technical College in Frederikshavn, Denmark, I discovered
a fancy program called mIRC. As always I didn't read the manual before I tried it out. (People with
techno-joy never read manuals). So I ended up asking stoopid questions to people who either had a bad
day, or just liked to pretend they were masters of the universe....or something. But I thought it was
real exciting, and even more exciting when I found the channel #AmigaCafe. In there I found some polite
Most of my sparetime was now spent in cyberspace chatting with fellow Amiga freaks (yes, I was an Amiga
freak now) and fellow musicians. It was Hyper who introduced me to the channel
#Modulez. Of course I had to check it out, and it
soon became the place where the gang met to chat about our music and so. Soon I became a member of the group
j0!nT ForZe, which were basically a group of musicians. Unfortuanetly the group didn't last very long.
Sure, we had some releases, but only music. We never did find any coder, and slowly the group died.
That didn't stop my composing though. As time went by I switched from Protracker
a very cool tracker for the Amiga in my opinion. Like most musicians I had been longing for more
channels for some time, and DigiBoosterPro gave me just that. :-)
I also did try out Fasttracker II on the PC platform a little, but mostly I kept to the Amiga.
Who said bad luck?
Then something went wrong. Well, actually a whole bunch of things went wrong over the next 5 years.
At first I didn't really know what happened. Perhaps what writers call writers block?
I was empty for ideas, and I got no inspiration from anywhere. And when I did get a little inspiration,
I never could finish the track completely. As a result, I didn't release anything after year 2000.
Actually there were many reasons for this. At first my Amiga began acting weird, doing something which
was very rare on the Amiga platform: It crashed! Actually it crashed every 5 minutes or so, making it
pretty much impossible to compose anything. And my old PC with DOS didn't have the Sound Blaster 16 card, which
was required by Fasttracker II if you wanted a clean noiseless sound.
My education and work required quite a lot of energy also. Not because of the work itself, but because
of the challenge in teamwork. Unfortunately you'll meet many self-centred arrogant people out there,
and they have learned that other people pose as a threat to them, which kinda makes teamwork pretty
difficult. I don't blame them though, seeing as most people are on the watch constantly for spooky
dangerous things lurking in the corners (being used to corners holding spooky dangerous things, that is).
I just don't have the energy to be in that kind of environment for too long. Give me some down-to-earth
polite people instead. That'll work. ;-)
In July 2004 I decided, despite of everything, it was time to give my music a shot again. I got this page
up running with a simple design, making it possible for people to download my music. I think it was the
most boring version of my modpage I ever made, and I still didn't release any music. I still lacked
inspiration, energy and the right tools. And to make things worse, my computer died a violent death in
november 2004. The power supply broke and forwarded high voltage through the circuits, resulting in one
smelly toasted computer.... everything lost.
Then the company I worked for ran into what we might call a series of unfortunate events. Many people got
fired, again and again, even though management promised it was over. Those who were left had to agree
on a reduced pay check for a period of time. I didn't mind that at all. Money never was that important
to me. But things got worse, and finally just before christmas 2004 I decided to leave the company.
I stayed for 2 months to assign my tasks to other co-workers and so.
The next many months I learned that stress is an underestimated evil stupid thing you need to take serious.
The headache I'd been having for a year did give me some clue I was in trouble, but I expected it to go
away after my resignation. This was not the case. Instead it got worse, especially whenever I tried to
concentrate on something. It wouldn't go away, and I was tired all the time.
Surrounded by bad luck, I still tried to compose though. I didn't use Amiga anymore, since I didn't have the money to buy myself a new one. Instead I had bought
a PC because it was needed for my studies. For a long time I had been looking for the replacement for
DigiBoosterPro on the PC platform. There were many to choose from, but none I found
suitable, until Skale Tracker finally emerged. It was exactly the kind of tracker
I'd been looking for, but I still couldn't compose anything I was satisfied with.
In the beginning of a new beginning
I had a theory though. I'd been planning to move away from my birth city for some time, and I believed that
doing so would make things a lot better. The thought of moving also gave me new energy, and I managed to
compose 2 new pieces and finish 3 older pieces just before I moved. The 16th of July 2005 I moved all my
stuff to new surroundings, and got settled in.
Then I contacted BlueAngel,
a talented graphics artist from Denmark, and hired her to design my page. She did that very well in my opinion.
I began nursing my page, correcting minor spelling errors, supplying missing data, updating info,
adding functionality, giving the whole page a facelift. At the same time more releases saw the daylight. After 5 years
of silence, it would seem I am back!