Interview with Newscopy
Published in Vandalism News #30
Performed by Jazzcat
Welcome to the interview chapter of this milestone edition of Vandalism News and to present it this time is Jazzcat.
This issue we have a very interesting and enlightening profile with a fellow competitor and colleague. A former member of Vision and Genesis Project, he is now one of the leading figures of the Fantastic Four Cracking Group. Vandalism proudly presents the main editor of the Propaganda magazine.
Welcome to Vandalism News. Could you please inform the readers a bit about yourself.
I wouldn't really know where to start, but I guess the very early days would be a good shot. I was born in Gothenburg, Sweden but I moved to the USA at an early stage. My father is a scientist and was doing research in Virginia at the time, which is where I started by somewhat trembling career in kindergarten and school. I loved America and would have done anything to stay there, but my mother insisted on coming home to Sweden and all the relatives, so after some 6-7 years we headed back home to Gothenburg. I was not really keen on the idea and I guess it showed by the way I was managing school. I was thrown out from my first school only to be a clown in the next one, until I finally got my senses and decided to be a good boy during the last years of my education (even though the scene stole most of my time).
The last few years of my life have been terribly interesting. It was not long ago I got my degrees on Marketing and Public Relations as well as a couple of years at commercial studies. Today I am working with marketing and Public Relations heading a unit of great people on an international basis. The company is one of Sweden's largest and I like what I have seen so far. I've also been awarded with the privilege of writing for a living, as I function as copywriter for the unit.
I am seeing the most wonderful girl who just about stole all my heart. Johanna is right now studying Spanish in Chile (to where I will visit her in a week or two) but will be coming home somewhere in February this year. I am normally not the type of guy who would get involved so seriously now, but this time I've really been knocked over completely. It is as much cliché as it is honest but she's everything I ever wanted from a woman and gives me support in any desirable way. If I would have been older and ready to settle, I would be walking down the aisle in a church tomorrow. But I'm not.
Life in Gothenburg is not much different from life in other big cities. I work and spend as much time as possible at the scene. A normal day I can usually take care of all E-mails and boards during the not so hectic hours in the morning. During the Propaganda-editing sessions, I normally spend all evenings in front of the screen - normally I end up working effectively about 40 hours per issue. Since I am on the road a lot, many of the most recent issues have been written on a laptop running CCS64 on various locations. Apart from work and scene, I see my friends - be it over dinner, a movie or a cup of coffee down at Paley's, where they serve the best coffee in town.
To cut a long story, I would generally say I am a rather nice guy. I know I can be a pain in the ass at times and I tend to get rough. I get rough to get things done, not to create enemies even though sharp elbows is not really something admirable in social life. I am ambitious, loyal and always give my projects and ideas full effort. As a friend I value talking and honesty. Somebody who doesn't open up, at any time, is not a friend. Life is too short to waste on not sharing. Have a laugh and enjoy as much as possible. Those who know me can judge me for what I am and what I can give.
You have described a happy lifestyle which is reflected in your magazine. Most know you for your work with Propaganda. Could you tell us about your work with this publication and what we can expect from it in the future.
Propaganda is my kid. At least I treat like one. When I took over editing Propaganda after Antichrist, I was proud but knew little about magazines and what made them grand. Even though I was a big fan of both SHOCK and MAMBA in the past, I must say that looking them now, they look very pale considering what scene journalists can accomplish today.
We have come such a long way in making intelligent journalism and offering a nice variety of thoughts and aspects of the scene.
Editing Propaganda over the past 5 years has been one of the most interesting journeys of my life. Few things have taught me as much and gotten me so close to many. And even though I know Propaganda has never been the favourite in the charts, I know it has always been regarded and credited as THE source of information for the top-people of the scene. I also firmly believe our magazine changed the way we look on magazines today. With an increased amount of text and intelligence, many magazines have followed in our footsteps (and many have done it better than us, mind you) to increase the quality matching the new demands of the people. It is easy to see that people regard magazine releases as highlights and take great interest in every issue of every favourite magazine coming out today. Never before have we been so civilized and with so many decent ways to speak our piece of mind.
What is happening to Propaganda is particularly interesting. For the first time ever, I have seen us working our way up the charts. This has never happened ever, in our history. Many people are starting to appreciate the magazine in a wider way, not only cracking groups and also we are finally the effective and wonderful staff one could dream of. The entire staff is having a great time, and I think the best thing that happened was when Duke came along. Duke and I go way back in time during his career at The Pulse.
We competed at that time - many of you probably remember the endless rags and debates featuring in both Propaganda and The Pulse. I don't quite recall how it ended, but instead of being enemies, we became good friends and awarded each other in a very creative way. Today we finally function as a creative duo that was probably always meant to be and drag out even more from each other.
Propaganda today is managed completely over the Internet. The entire staff is hooked up and communicates over a mailing list on a daily basis. There is a lot of laughter, a lot of positive vibes but mostly several hardworking minds working their butts off to give the scene the best they can. Most of the editing work is normally done just the last week before release which means there are many hours spent in front of the screen in the end. We will make 1998 as interesting as possible to the reader. Propaganda as a magazine will grow both in terms of quality as in amount of text.
Several chapters are being added and for the first time since 1992 we are going to cover the demo market. World of Demos, a favourite chapter from The Pulse is coming with Druid/Agony and Deekay/Crest/Onslaught among the staff members. We will also be launching a new service and concept on the net somewhere in February at the same time as we release Propaganda 27. Scenetown, the popular chapter and soap of the scene will be running as a red thread through the project. By far, 1998 is our year.
In my opinion, the magazine scene on the Commodore has improved very much in quality. There seems to be an equilibrium between the amount of magazines and the amount of 'quality magazines'. What are your favourite publications at present and tell us what you regard as the 'quality' magazines of the C64.
A quality magazine on the 64 is very hard to define. Many of the people scream and shout the importance of delivering a magazine on time. If Propaganda was to be released every 4th week, we could never ever be contributing with so many articles, interesting news and juicy chapters. On the other hand I must be honest and say that a regular magazine serves a very fine purpose in keeping up the pace on the scene. For instance, the new magazine THE CREST is doing a great job, even though it is very short and after reading not much lasts. I think we have to look at this as two different types of journalism. THE CREST would be a tabloid - short, correct and to the point, while a magazine like say DOMINATION would be the thick morning paper, covering all sides, all angles and all thoughts. Many people read only morning papers, many only read the tabloids. Still, I would say most people probably read both. As I do.
Many magazines do one hell of a good job on the scene today. DOMINATION is probably the finest of the lot. It
gives a very open and broad perspective of what the scene is today. The combination between text and a beautiful outfit gives a very delicate experience. VANDALISM was on a winning streak before Vengeance started to fade away from the scene. Even though there have been two comeback issues, it is still hard to tell if he has the spark left or if he's just running on routine.
For the scene I hope he will continue, because he has a lot to give.
Relax is a great example of hard work and good research. I think no other editor has as good insight or knowledge about today's scene. However, no matter what may be between me and RRR, he is being carried away by not being able to take criticism or jokes. Relax could easily have been the best magazine on the C64 today, but it is sometimes too serious, hence too dull to read. It is also a terrible waste of capacity and weak judgement to spend several chapters on defending Relax against bitter enemies. It is certainly not to the benefit of the reader, and certainly not to the magazine. I hope RRR can focus on making his magazine more interesting during 1998, and with more joy and spirit. In my eyes, it will be the read of reads. Enough said.
I agree on your last point, it is a pity that people just cannot get the most fun out of the scene and treat it so seriously. It is a matter in my opinion, of knowing when to move on to better and bigger things. I am sure a few people would be interested in your scene history. Could you please try to state your events and highlights from when you first got your C64 up until present times.
Actually, I started out on the VIC20 2 years before the Commodore 64 was launched in the shops. Back in 1981 there was no scene or no digital underground to mention but it was there I first started deprotecting software, mostly cartridges under the handle Cheese. The VIC20 was wonderful little machine that gives back wonderful memories. I still keep the VIC20 in my closet and bring it for nostalgic trips occasionally. I think I must have got my first 64 on Christmas, 1983.
I had been drooling over it in the shops for months and had been nagging at my father to get me one. He must have been fed up with me as I found it neatly wrapped under the Christmas tree. At this time I was still living in America, where the market kicked off a couple years earlier than in Europe. Games from ECA, Broderbund, Epyx were getting our jaws to drop and I had a good friend working in a software shop. I don't remember how completely, but we were starting to organize in smaller groups. I know GKC must have been the first name we used, late 1985 or early 1985. When my family headed back to Sweden, my father started working in London and flew weekly between Gothenburg and London. A friend of mine was working in a software over there and saw to it my father always brought home to me over the weekend. Somewhere around this time I got to know Mr. Pinge/West Coast Crackers and his younger brother Snokie/XL-Crackers. I decided to team up with Snokie and his friends and shortly after, XLC renamed to THE SILENTS. THE SILENTS was a great time but they showed interest in the Amiga and they headed for a very successful time on the new 16-bit wonder in 1987. I had very little interest in going Amiga and decided not to follow my comrades. Who knows where I would have ended up in the 16-bit world? I joined up with my new friends in EXACT. EXACT was at the time a promising German group with members like Snacky (GP), Mr. President (RSI) and TCC (RSI Amiga). The leader of the group was a kind guy who supplied me with my first modem. I was thrilled by the technology and spent hours hooked up with the early boards. Unfortunately, EXACT was coming end as well. TCC headed for Red Sector on the Amiga and became very successful coders. Snacky went and joined Genesis and most of the others vanished. I kept up with my British friend Hookie, but both of us knew we would not be able to keep up on our own so in 1989 we decided to give it a rest as a group and as a scene. I left the Commodore 64.
In 1991 I got a call from a good friend. It was Antichrist, my good friend Oliver. We had become friends earlier when he had written lies about me in Sex'n'Crime provided by my enemy Razor/Oneway. We had kept rather good contact during my absence and now he wanted me to come back to the scene in his new project Joy Division. Joy Division was a side project to Genesis Project and I was flattered to be asked back to the scene. It had been almost 3 years since I set foot on the C64 and I figured that it would be a good way to find myself back. How I had longed to see games, demos and people again. Unfortunately, most of my old friends were gone but there were many new to make. After Joy Division, Vision followed where I met today's family; Jucke, Motley and Scope. Together we headed for Genesis Project, taking Walker and Sixx (God of Thunder at the time) with us. The 5 of us had a great time in Genesis Project and it was for all of us a memory for life. No matter how important or wonderful F4CG may be, the Genesis-era was a time when the scene was vivid and full of fresh air. And even though we all keep in very steady contact today, there is only Walker, me and Sixx left on the active side. Therefore, there will be a special part of my heart dedicated to that era and what we all experienced together. We were sceners 24 hours a day and rested on friendship as solid as I ever experienced it. If I was to relive a part of my life, that era would be the one.
Over the years, things changed. Genesis was coming to an end we needed to move on. Many of the older members were starting to fade away and we did not want to carry a crown of the past. As active remains we decided our talent was to continue F4CG and I know now it was the right decision. F4CG is everything you ever wanted from a group. There is a chemistry that grabs you the second you enter. We have worked hard with the group and it's expansion since late 1994 and we have come to a point where we cannot go further. We love it and we will die with it. F4CG is an institution, a family, a part of the machinery. You may love us for what we do and you may hate us. We feed on both of you and give you what you always wanted. A bunch of noise makers having the time of their lives. In the ultimate group. In the ultimate scene.
Most board callers have been involved in a group or personal war in some form or another. Have you been involved in any wars and what annoys you the most about the scene?
Nothing mind-boggling. Genesis Project and Arcade had some quarrels over releases and members and I remember all those conferences where Oliver, me, Jucke and Tyger would sit and listen to Tyree trying to defend himself, but it was only a lot of hot air. Tyree was upset because he couldn't convince Tyger to join the new German label and for the fact that we had stolen several releases from Arcade.
Bacchus and I have had our share of arguments as well, but that is not because of Bacchus as a person but because of the new Fairlight. I have great respect for what Fairlight did in the past, 1987-89 (the Strider + Gollum-era) as well as some decent demos in the early 90's, but the group failed to live up to their past and should have quit long ago. It has become a minor Swedish tradition, the Swedish G*P section against Fairlight, but always with a glimpse of humour and not really serious. I think it is a shame most of the old-timers act today. They come along and act as though ragging is a
characteristic to admire. As if I give a single shit if somebody can slag on someone. Or if somebody did so in the past for that matter. In ten years from now, the memories that will last are saved as bytes on our disks. The releases, demos and magazines are our contribution to history - nothing else.
I agree with you on that statement, the older sceners have so much to offer and now they just ruin their images by causing trouble rather than causing releases. I am sure some readers would be quite interested to learn what your all time favourite things are in the scene, so please name the following..
Cracking group: Fusion, Papillions
Cracker: Crisp & HOK
Demo group: Censor, Finnish Gold
Demo: Dawnfall!!!!, Spasmolytic, Mathematica, Parts
Coder: Mr. Cursor
Graphician: Scope, Electric, Bob (old UK Compunet-guy)
Composer: JT, Zyron, Hubbard, Galway, Shogoon, Mitch & Dane. I listen to SID several hours daily.
Disk magazine: Propaganda, Pulse, Domination
Board: The Addiction, Channel Zero, The Forum
Scene party: Ikari/Zargon 89?, Randers (DOM+Upfront+Trilogy) 89, TCC93, X-95/95 and all our internal parties.
Food: Italian & French
Drink: Caprina, Champagne
Apart from normal scene activities you are also involved on the commercial front, one project that comes to mind is Cherry Software. Please give us some more information on the company and on other of your activities in the genre.
Cherry Software was a brave attempt that started out in an office in central Gothenburg. We signed on several titles but as time rolled by we realized the push we expected to see on the C64 was not going to happen. There are several die-hard addicts out in the field and they are all doing a wonderful job to keep the little commercial market that is left alive, but to be honest - no matter how we have had, and still have the market is gone. The C64 is a hangout and we will never experience anything as grand and lovely as the past again. Still, Cherry Software is not dead. We have 2 titles that will appear in early 1998 and that is our contribution to the remains of the market - our gift to the people that have stayed around for so long.
Lately the Relax magazine, or more accurately, RRR/Oxyron has been on the offensive in his publication. Both editions #21 and #22 contained several chapters related to your group and your magazine Propaganda. What are your views on the whole situation and how has it all started, and how do you think it will eventually end?
The great thing about all these quarrels is that nobody ever knows where they really started or why. I am certain Alpha Flight were very offended when virtually the entire first releasing-scene started criticizing them for constantly releasing 100%-versions of other people's games. I have nothing against Alpha Flight in general. They are talented and work hard. But it all comes down to a point when the race becomes boring. It might be a loophole and maybe people should be releasing 100% in the first place - it would at least prevent Alpha Flight from filling the scene with bore that, when it all comes to terms, nobody cares about. If a game is playable, it is, regardless if there is a shitty flicker in the end-sequence end-scroll. Nobody cares about that.
As for Relax, I think RRR does a good job in several departments, but it becomes ridiculous when he tries to convince the crowds that he is subjective and not at all on good terms with AFL. After all, it is ALWAYS the AFL-story being told in Relax, no matter how much you try to shape it. It wouldn't hurt if RRR could be more honest with himself. I can only speak for myself. I write Propaganda and take part in one of the proudest groups to set foot on the scene.
Of course I love my group, just as much as I love my magazine. And either way I try to, Propaganda will always be my side of the story, but at least I am honest with it. That makes me respect myself and my work a hell of a lot more than I can respect RRR.
What are your views on the Onslaught/Legend saga that occurred? Is there any one in the wrong?
I have not followed or been interested at all. If Legend wants to make noise by ragging only, fine with me. They will be remembered for their glorious efforts in the past, not the rags in 1997.
Today's major first release cracking groups: Chromance, Success & TRC, F4CG, Onslaught, Alpha Flight, Motiv8 and Laxity each have their own qualities. Try and describe the best qualities of each group..
Chromance are a bunch of die-hard people that have been doing their job forever. And they most probably always will. I have great respect for Chromance and their releases.
Success & TRC - The best group in today's scene, no doubt. Their organisation has always worked great as has their
cracking efforts, even though originals decreased slightly with Nightshade's lack of involvement. Great people to share a beer, or a spliff with as well.
F4CG - The scene, the family and the noise. You love or you hate them. And you always hear them.
Motiv8 - Crossfire has done great jobs adapting the scene to the internet but I never really liked the M8-style.
Onslaught - Probably the hardest working group in the scene (still?). Active and good in virtually all fields, which deserves a great deal of admiration. Hats off. I only hope that the public criticism makes them grow bored and that they will increase their releasing in 1998.
Laxity - Didi is a jolly good guy. I have all respect for a new group on a field that grows so little and so slow.
Alpha Flight - Hard working and with a good register of releases in their archives. Still, Alpha Flight are as entertaining to follow as a game of chess. I don't know how it came to that point, but there is just no exciting sphere around them. It seems they are only running by routine like a big institution. If say, Genesis Project was a Porsche - exciting and fast, Alpha Flight is a Volvo - good, solid but generally boring.
The boards are gradually being overtaken by the internet, a combination of both tougher phone company security and growth of the super highway have made the internet the new communications medium of the future. How do you see the scene in the future, will web based boards be popular, will the boards be totally dead?
Even though few want to admit it, the boards are dead. With 4 calls a day, calling the states is not an exciting or mindboggling experience. And it never will be again. We have little or no time to search for ways to call for free while the net offers a variety of options of us. Also, the more of us heading for the net (and we're all there now), the more great ideas will be developed for the modern scene. Goodbye America and greetings to a new era of web-based systems (or whatever somebody thinks up next). More people will be hooked up, with 64's or PC's and Starcomm cables. We want to survive by nature, and this is our way of keeping up. Like it or not.
A lot of old sceners return from 16 and 32 bit machines to the 8 bit machine. Why do you think people keep paying attention to the C64?
Because the C64 is the only scene that was everything you ever wanted it to be. Big but small. Noisy but cosy. Fast but slow. The C64 was always about the atmosphere, the people and the million smiles it brought to teenagers across the world. No system in the world will ever come around to that. No matter how many meds are being released a day on this planet. If you weren't on it, you will never understand the word of true magic.
What do you regard as the major highlight of 1997 in the scene?
The entire year was a highlight and orgy in true scene spirit. On a public level, I would say X97. On a personal level, the traditional F4CG-meeting during the fall.
F4CG is also established on other computer platforms, could you give some information on these?
Solar is leading our work on the PC. F4CG is a utility group while Solar is also heading Divine with other people. I don't care much for the PC as long as I have a working Starcom-cable. As for Playstation we are not involved in any creative work - we sell and makes bucks, capitalists as we are.
Your handle, Newscopy, why have you chosen this and is there any special story or meaning behind it?
As I mentioned before I used to be called Cheese in the early/mid-80's but somewhere Newscopy came along. My friend's alias Newdisk Corp. had a nice ring to it so I decided to go with something involving "new" to. But it means nothing. And has no meaning to it. Just like me!
What sceners of the present time do you respect and why?
No idea. All the people who really do something for the scene. (Duke and all at Scene+, Coma, Oxyron, Domination+staff, TRC*SCS and some others I guess.)
For new sceners and people preparing to enter the scene, could you give them some helpful advice?
No. The secret of success is to offend the greatest number of people. Or impress with skills.
Please now take the opportunity to send some greetings to your scene friends from past and present.
Oh brother. Hi all at F4CG and Propaganda, Viper, Aaron, Gerwin/Fairlight (are you still out there Per?), Antichrist, Sorceress, Tyger, Snacky, LA Style, Jucke/Genesis Project, Hookie/Exact, Irata, Communist, Psychobilly, Termo/Red Sector, the X-95/96/97 organisers (cheers!), Tranziie/Hitmen, Duke/Scene+, Pudwerx, Skinhead, Shadow/Transcom, Bob, Geggin, Alfatech, Slaygon/Censor, Tricket/Dominators, Count0/Scs&Trc, Cyborg at Dreampark, Richie, Garfield, Freestyle/Illusion, Majesty/Onslaught, BOD/Talent, Jazzy D/Chromance (RIP), HOK/Avantgarde, Evs/20CC, Elegance/Enigma, Mike/Sphinx, Spiderman/X-Factor, Aze & Trinity/Agile, Arrow & Mr. Pinge/Triad, Snookie/The Silents, Rcs2100/Bros, Timoc/X-Ray, Yeti, Dokk and others.
Thanks for your time Per, do you have any last words to leave a final impression on the audience?
Well, best of luck in 1998!
Thank you. Make sure to release Vandalism on a more frequent basis in the new year.
We hope you have enjoyed this rather interesting interview conducted with Propaganda editor, Newscopy over the internet in early 1998.