Autobiography

Introduction

Born September 29th 1979, Solihull, England, birth-name Gregory Raymond Tuby.

Educated at Hobmoor Primary School, Yardley Birmingham.

Secondary education first year at Cockshut Hill, Yardley Birmingham.

Second year through to year eleven at Lode Heath Comprehensive School, Solihull.


School and the wonder years

“Hoots Man”

I spent quite a lot of my youth between school and enjoying my hobby looking after birds of prey, volunteering at an Owl Rescue in the Midlands. Frequently organizing fund raising events at school as well as traveling around the UK to various garden centers with the owl rescue putting on demonstrations and educational talks in locations such as Perth in Scotland, Peterborough (hello there JK Rowling), the local Notcutts at Solihull and also down in Clacton-on-Sea.

It was sometimes crazy, gaining the attention of the local media during several fund-raising events – one being to raise money for the Somalian famine crisis. It was a no-brainer to organize a fundraiser in conjunction with my school and Midland Owl Rescue. Mr Robb the headmaster was extremely supportive which helped really get the ball rolling.


Hobbies

Music

I began writing music in 1994 for the Amiga music ‘tracking’ scene based in England. Being limited to just 4 channels/tracks at the time soon limited what I wanted to do so at some point in 1996 an investment was made into several keyboards. These were Yamaha PSR 520’s and were quite good for their time and with these I managed to learn how to play using the larger keys, as all the other keyboards I had used before at home and school were all tiny finger mini-keys.

Eventually these keyboards too became a bottleneck since they we not really able to synthesise any new sounds. I was frustrated with their rather small sound range and lack of fully compatible General MIDI so, when I could afford it, and the time was right, I upgraded to a really snazzy piece of kit- a Roland XP60 synthesiser.

After moving to the Netherlands, I began composing ‘real’ music but this didn’t actually start until five months after I got the synthesiser. The steep learning curve to working with MIDI controlled synthesizers began in October 1998, and that is when the first compositions were produced, they were a little ‘weird’, as to be expected while getting to grips with the workflow.

Having had a tendency to try out new ideas just for the experience, it did not take that long until I found my niche.


Amateur Radio

After school had finished and I’d got the job at Legend, the boss turned out to be a licensed radio amateur as well as the chap who did the license training at Wythall Radio Club, so naturally after showing my boss and colleague my working portable packet radio setup in a backpack that worked over CB radio, he got me going to the club nights and then I studied and took the exam. I passed, only just. I am and always have been number blind. I obtained the amateur radio license in England in 1997 with the callsign M1BMY.

After emigrating and shuffling through a couple of different callsigns I settled on the Dutch amateur call sign PE1RRR. I still maintain a keen interest in digital networks, I help keep the amateur radio packet network on life support and operate an AX25 BBS and node to help test and harden the cutting edge new software-driven audio modems in development by several friends to establish the next generation of shortwave reliable and robust digital data communications, frequently contributing my time and skillset to various open source ham radio projects.


The “M”

I mentioned during an early interview that a few tunes of mine were released in to the Amiga scene via the Amiga Format magazine. Notably winning the ‘mod of the month‘ accolade.

For the curious, the terribly annoying track that earned the prestige being no other than “m.mod” – Everyone Go M. This would be the foreshadowing of what was to become of my “curious” vocal talents.


The Cat’s Meow

During the mid-2000s the YouTube video for Meow Meow Meow went viral, drumming up a phenomenal 516,000 plays between 2008 and 2012- a lot for its time. Unfortunately at the peak of popularity an intentional account termination driven by the psychological effects of long term low self esteem combined with bullying from some of my so-called-peers (haters) in the demoscene*, I wiped the video clean from the Internet. Forever.

Or at least that was the plan! Today the track is back, charting well on streaming service Amazon Music– already having surpassed its first million plays in the first two years there.


The Mod Archive

Perhaps unsurprisingly, if I wasn’t at work I was working at home- on a massive project- the new Mod Archive website – database driven and built from scratch to replace the aging Mod Archive set up originally by a bunch of co-founders who left for other projects leaving the sole star coder Mikael ‘Stary’ Hedberg to bring it up to version 1.0, which stuck around for a couple of years and was genuinely great.

Unfortunately this too was eventually abandoned and creaking under the strain of the site’s increasing popularity, it running from flat text files and some very specialised perl scripts for a search engine, it was beginning to break. Due to life challenges presented to Stary he stepped aside to focus on his health and after quite some pestering, allowed me to take on the admin lead despite me not knowing a single line of code. I promptly purchased a couple of O’Reily “in a nutshell” books and began work.

Writing all the the conversion tools to migrate the site to my database, while keeping the look of the site the same this was the era of Version 2.0, with switchable themes to get our users used to the move to the new system.

The site in my version-3 form was featured in Sound on Sound which was a super boost, but it was far from finished because I was not satisfied with the look and feel.

After many more years of hard work on the code as well as the graphic design on top of doing my day job at the telecom company I was also involved in community support and all sorts of funny internet dramas. I eventually presented The Mod Archive verison 4.1b to the world on April 1st 2008, and it is still there to this day – as from 2012, the site was transferred from dedicated hosting to Scenesat where it remains operational.

A quote from the About page to give an idea of my backstory:

Initially joining the fold around 1997 as an artist, then reviewer, then crew member and eventually landing the administrative lead in 2004. Red took the site to new heights by recoding and implementing the Modarchive 2.0 followed by 3.0, 4.0b, and is now responsible for all aspects of the site – participating both as a member and a crew person.

Fun nerd fact: The Mod Archive hosted on the .org domain was built from the ground up in the text editor ”vi” (not even vim) with development and testing happening on a personal SPARC-based Solaris host.

Eventually hitting the sweet spot for the design including the logo and overall site theme, it finally stuck with TMA version 4.0.

There are a couple of easter eggs hidden in the site, for instance if manipulating the http query for the wiki pages you can find the help page for ”mp3” where it will show the following test page and a clicky link that will let you change the site theme to something a little peculiar 😀

As mentioned earlier, after many years of providing dedicated support and fun for the community, the pressure of several other major work related projects put tremendous strain on personal wellness that resulted in the unfortunate but necessary decision to step back from the development role and site activities some time in 2012. I still miss the community a great deal but I cannot afford to be distracted by the project and it still has claws that no doubt will grab me at any opportunity with more “free” work for me to do, not good for my own sanity!

But before I finished, you should see some of the pictures and photos that came from the community surrounding TMA. These were the golden years.


The Demoscene

Throughout the period between 1997 to 2012 I was a participant in the demoscene digital art subculture, mainly from 2008 onwards in a physical form by participation in the international events & parties, these helped produce a number of quirky (party humour) productions released under a pseudo name “m0d” that on occasion went on to win several awards. This era helped hone my skills and demonstrate my flexibility and willingness to experiment as an artist, much to the amusement of many, I am sure.

Other demo-scene activities included helping to organize several demo-parties contributing network and server expertise as well as hardware for the occasions, and hosting several live radio shows on the demo-scene radio service “Scenesat”. It was a lot of fun!

You may find some of the ludicrous meme-music created for the scene on the Demomeme music page.


Professional Life

School Leavers

Aged sixteen, I left high school with several GCSEs passing but rather than seek a job I was fortunate enough to find a client thanks to a lucky chance with a local dentist that needed to upgrade their computers, as a family friend I offered to do it for the experience alone. It went great and I was happy, a week later a surprise envelope full of cash was dropped off and that financed me well enough to start my own freelance computer building business, or at least that was the plan.

It was not long after repeatedly showing up to collect computer parts from a local distributor that I caught their attention and as they were expanding their operation I was approached and offered a job! I started earning a regular income for several fruitful years building custom computers for Legend JSM in Hobbs Moat, Solihull.


Ericsson Telecom R&D

Based now in the Netherlands, many years were spent working up from a tech-support handyman to becoming a successful Unix systems support specialist, specialising in the cutting edge research and development sector of a very well known mobile telecom innovator – Ericsson. Mostly working with Solaris on Sun Microsystems architecture but also having a free run to invent and develop systems and custom equipment builds to provide experimental solutions for the R&D workforce of about 500 people.

However it eventually turned sour due to the agesim in the salary department, I was refused pay raises in line with others despite my seniority, citing my “young” age(!). It became a sore point because I had a mortgage to pay, a wife to support and major life plans.

It was insanely challenging and for the majority of the time I spent there (13 years) it was very rewarding, lots of fun and good times with colleagues. Many unusual projects.

Eventually becoming the last man standing from an original team of 20+, I eventually quit after HP took over my contract and treated me like dirt, so left that industry entirely in the dust for good. The once massive behemoth of the telecom R&D industry was closed down not a less than a year later. HP and the managers involved were, and I still maintain are- absolute scum of the earth people.


The Indie Music Revolution

By the late 2000s, all of the compositions had made their way on to the various “free” underground internet labels such as IUMA, MP3.com, CTGMusic etc. Unfortunately these sites did not stay around for very long with the exception of CTGmusic that sadly just died when social media as we know it today gained popularity.

Before the collapse of Michael Robertson’s genius mp3.com, there was an unexpected success when the national news paper Brabants Dagblad posted an article about the new revolution of online music self-publishing and CD production featuring an interview with me.

Despite initially awkwardly telling the interviewer that I was not interested in a news paper subscription (my Dutch was not at all good back then) an article was actually published (English).

My success on MP3.com came to an abrupt end when the company was sold to Vivendi/Universal after a lot of legal disputes over the questionably legal introduction of mainstream (record-label backed) artists to the platform, the sale for nearly $400 million saw MP3.com take a few hop-step and jumps before selling the domain name to CNET where it went to auction and seems to have be used for, well… not much lets put it that way.

Losing MP3.com at the point where I was about to go full throttle was a catastrophy that I personally would not recover image and exposure-wise for about twelve years!

Fans became fragmented between too many different and awfully implemented alternative plaftorms, and that alone just made fans give up looking and exploring their favourite genres where they would discover the smaller, niche artists like myself.

The alternative- going it alone hosting my own website and provisioning free downloads with Moving Primates web services worked well enough only for so long. As there was no way to earn money to pay for the hosting, except through donations which were too few and far between to make this viable long term.

Mixposure and other short-lived popup “MP3.com alternative”companies that tried to fill the void were asking premiums to even participate, this eventually folded as well as listeners moved to streaming instead of downloads.

The only way for any success was to reverse the revenue stream as it was costing quite a lot of money just to make my music available.

CDBaby soon brought the ability to self publish to all music services as an aggregator and although one-off up-front costs per release are quite expensive, it has meant all of my material is out there on every platform in every desirable format, and- I get paid when you play it.

All in all, my memories of the early days of Internet music & fame are fondly remembered, the entire era was a golden age of innovation and massive ideas that paved the way to where we are now.


As of 2012, the capability to self-publish commercially and globally had finally arrived. Immediate investments were made to begin the process of full scale commercial release, but it would take years to get it done and tonnes of missteps were made.

Releasing commercially required an expensive up-front distribution and aggregation fee, the streaming music services such as Apple Music, Spotify and Amazon Music have since helped pave the way forwards for Redheat as a moderately successful artist.


Tuby Continued…

Lastly, Thanks for reading

Lastly, I want to state that this entire website and every piece of music that has been composed is a direct testament to the love of my life- Ilona-Ruby. The music you hear has come from a place that was generated by this love. A few years ago we almost lost her to cancer, it was discovered very late and in late stage in the unfavorable category, as the oncologist put it.

Fortunately after physically battling the sickness that accompanies the treatment and surgeries, she made it through and reached full remission. Cancer has most certainly shaved years off her life expectancy, and things are and never wiil be quite the same as before due to the way the cancer and its treatment has ransacked the body. However I am eternally grateful for the staff at the hospitals and the science that made this miracle possible.

Here is a little video of our first sunny day out after weathering a year of winter in lockdown, this occurred a year before the pandemic which only made matters much much worse. Suffice to say, we Ruby-Tuby’s are as solid as ever.

Photographs over the years