Factor6: Member of AY Riders

Alan PetrikAlan Petrik Sinclair ZX Chiptune Chip Music 8-bitAlan PetrikMy name is Alan Petrik (aka Factor6), I'm 33 living the the Czech Republic. My interest in computers began around the age of 9, when my father brought home my first computer, the Timex 2048 – a Sinclair ZX Spectrum clone. I had quite a lot of fun with it, playing games and trying my first programming tricks in BASIC. I discovered that some games had quite nice melodies in them, so I began exploring Spectrum software and several influcencial composers, like WHAM!, MUSIC TYPEWRITER and others. All of these composers were for 1-bit beeper (I had no idea about AY chip in those days), and I was so fascinated by WHAM's 2-channel routine that it inspired me to compose my own songs. They were... awful. Around this time I had my first taste of 8-bit Atari. It was my father's friend's 130XE with no turbo add-on; programs were as slow as hell to load. I tried some of the games on it and I wasn't impressed – the sound was nothing special and the games shown were awful.

I bought my Commodore 64 from a friend while I was in High School. I was totally fascinated by its sound, but I didn't know how to make music on it – all the C64 owners I knew were just gamers and didn't have any music producing software. In those times, there were no stores that sold the software I needed; everything was pirated (which wasn't illegal in CZ). I actually didn't start tracking music until I sold the C64 and bought an Amiga 500, which I nicknamed Factor6 (stupidly taken from Factor 5, my favorite Amiga game producer). I made many Pro Tracker mods, but I didn't know any Amiga programmers who would be kind enough to use them in their programs until I discovered the AY 3-8912 sound chip, which is like 128K, and I got an AY interface which I produced music on using SQ-Tracker (which I'm still using). Then a friend put the music in the demo he wrote – Hooray! During all this, I started losing interest in the Amiga, favoring the Spectrum and its chip sound. As time went on, I gained notoriety on the ZX Spectrum demo scene, but I remained curious and always looking for any new platform I could find.

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Alex Petrik AY RIDER Chiptune Chip Music Group In 2000, I began attending demoparties and discovered lots of interesting goodies for 8-bit Atari. My interest in the 16-bit Atari scene also grew, because the A500 scene was nearly dead and, surprisingly for me, there were new demos for the ST. Meanwhile, I also got active with the C64 crowd and I wrote quite a bit of music (you can find them in the HVSID archive). In about 2002, my friend P0ke/Patysoners converted some songs from TAO to ZX Spectrum, using SID-sound. He asked me to write some SID-sound music, so I got an Atari ST and tried out several trackers. Not one was suitable for me, so I did nothing for P0ke. But when MaxYMiser came along, it was exactly the tracker. It had everything I needed: an understandable platform, control keys that were Pro Tracker-like, and it was very user-friendly. I made a few tunes on it and I'll never switch to anything else because the SID-sound is beautiful and MaxYMiser is so minimalistic and well done.

My ZX demo scene friends and I formed a chip tune band, AY Riders – we were highly inspired by the YM Rockerz band on the ST. We make our music on the ZX Spectrum and put it into MP3 so we reach a wider audience. We've also had several live concerts, but because we are an international band (United Kingdom, Czech Republic, Poland and Russia) and all of us have regular jobs, so it's hard for us to put together a show. At this point, I'm looking to extend my portfolio by doing individual albums, branching beyond spectrum and using a wide range of machines – like the Atari ST for example!

Listen to Alan's Atari ST chiptune "Broken Vibrator"

Listen to Alan's Spectrum ZX chiptune "Bits"