How it came about
Back in the early 90’s I was happily making music with an Atari ST, Roland MT32, Casio CZ-101 and a Roland TR-707. It was quite a powerful system for the time given it’s relatively low cost. As I have always done, I had converted a spare bedroom into a makeshift home studio to be able to setup my ever expanding collection of musical equipment. I was writing some of my own original music, was co-creating original music as part of a synth-pop duo (the duo was called “Gotcha” – with the very talented Steve Austin) and was also creating some covers. One of the covers I created to an almost obsessive degree was “Enjoy the Silence” by Depeche Mode.
Their album, Violator, had been released a year or two before-hand and was in heavy rotation amongst my playlist, which in those days meant I had made a mixtape on cassette… yes, that was when mixtapes were recorded on actual tape! Much to my girlfriend of the time’s annoyance (sorry Rachel!) I would spend hours locked away in the spare bedroom busily recording music using Steinberg Pro24 running on my Atari ST. I had recorded quite a few different covers, and the ability to record MIDI performances and edit them to build up multi-part arrangements was the perfect solution to my lesser playing skills at the time.
Placing it in the wild
Not too long after this, I started using (BBS) bulletin boards to get in touch with like-minded people from just about everywhere. This lead fairly quickly to finally getting onto the Internet. This was still the mid 90’s, so the Inernet was a very different place back then. In fact there were still WAIS and Gopher servers hosting documents as the WWW was still relatively new. Eventually, many music and MIDI related sites began to pop up, including several MIDI song collection websites. Amingst them was one of the best, Neil Burton’s “MIDI File Central”. So, in 1996, I dug out my old Atari disks and go the MIDI file transferred onto the PC and uploaded my version of “Enjoy the Silence” for inclusion in the site’s files. It got 4 stars… woohoo! Having put it on the site, it meant it was now available to anyone to download, listen to and use. Sadly, the site no longer exists, but you can view parts of it in the Internet Archive (click here to see the cached copy of the Depeche Mode section of the site). Since that time the file has travelled far and wide around the internet, popping up on hundreds (if not more) of sites from general MIDI collections to Depeche Mode fan sites.