Martin Galway is a British-American composer, known for his Commodore 64 music.
Martin Galway was born on January 3rd, 1966 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. At the age of five his family moved to Manchester, England. Because his father was a music teacher, Galway was introduced to music at an early age. His father gave him lessons on the flute, violin, clarinet and piano, but he wasn't interested in them at the time, something he regrets. He grew up listening to rock'n'roll, gaining a strength with fiddly guitar solos, and to electronic music. As influences, he would cite Jean-Michel Jarre, Tangerine Dream, Depeche Mode, Thomas Dolby (especially The Flat Earth), and Cocteau Twins, and for guitar, David Gilmour, Ry Cooder, Brian May, and Arlo Guthrie.
At age 16, Galway became involved with his high school's computer lab, which was only a single room with a few home computers like the Commodore VIC-20, Commodore PET, Sinclair ZX81, and TRS-80. Only a year later, Galway was hired by Optima Software (owned by Database Publications, who published "The Micro User" magazine), and at 17, his very first professional music was published on a BBC Micro. From the money he made he was able to buy his own computer and teach himself how to program.
While pitching one of his friend's computer games to Ocean Software, Galway also tried selling his BBC music. Ocean, realizing that there wasn't a market for the BBC Micro, only wanted Commodore 64 music. Ocean lent Galway a Commodore 64, an assembler and the source code to someone else's driver to learn from at home. After he did, Galway began working as a freelance musician. In early 1985, he quit college and joined Ocean as a full-time game programmer. He was only secondarily a musician, since Ocean was not comfortable to hire a full-time musician. However, the multi-tasking didn't work well, so they made him a full-time musician after all. From that point on Galway wrote music for a large number of Commodore 64 games and is one of the most popular SID artists to date. His work with the SID chip and assembly music is one of the most complex and profound.
After having to deal with the terrible working conditions and low pay of Ocean Software for too long, Galway quit and moved to Austin, Texas, USA to work for Origin Systems. He worked at Origin Systems composing music, and doing some minor design and programming work. When Origin Systems was acquired by Electronic Arts, he left with the main programming staff to form Digital Anvil.
For his first C64 game, Ocean gave Galway an unidentified "dreadful" driver. Afterwards, Galway developed his own driver. He always entered the music into the assembly source code. He felt hassled by bugs in the ADSR and the filter.
In February 1987, Galway became the first SID arranger to use 4 voices. He had discovered an American synthesizer package called Digi-Drums which played samples on a 4th voice. He admits he did not understand the actual sample data and just made up numbers (he kept calling "farts and burps"), possibly inspired by the ZX Spectrum. By July 1987, he added a bass drum sample and a snare drum sample from Rockmonitor II.
His favorites are Rob Hubbard, especially One Man and His Droid (C64), the cool bouncy melodies of Fred Gray, and among his own, Title - Wizball (C64), Arkanoid (C64), and Rambo: First Blood Part II (C64). His least favorites include Title - Green Beret (C64), The Great Escape, and Top Gun.
Galway's only NES game was Ultima: Warriors of Destiny, which he did for Origin Systems. Galway created the game's music the traditional way by programming a 6502 assembly sound driver for the NES' RP2A03.
Galway used a driver called Plip Plop programming by Jonathan Smith.
Wearing a Q-Sound shirt. Unknown source.
- mobygames.com/developer/sheet/view/developerId,4639 - MobyGames.
- sidmusic.org/sid/mgalway.html - Interviews from Commodore Zone in the late 1990s and Happy-Computer 11/86.
- zakalwe.fi/~shd/texts/imr/c85galwa.htm - Interview from circa May 3, 1996.
- c64.com/interviews/galway.html - Interview from circa 1998.
- remix64.com/interviews/interview-martin-galway.html - Interview from March 28, 2001.
- lemon64.com/interviews/martin_galway.php - Interview from July 9, 2003.
- archive.org/details/Sinclair_ZX_Spectrum_and_Commodore_64_Book-2012/page/n133 - Interview from 2012.