Interviews



Interview with Danko

Published in Vandalism News #28
Performed by Jazzcat


Welcome to the interview section, this time hosted by Jazzcat/Onslaught. This issue I would like to introduce you all to one of my personal favourite musicians on this computer and a profile that is well known and respected in the scene. Responsible for the music in the classic SHOCK magazine produced under the Censor and later Legend labels. Demos such as the fabulous Wonderland series and Spasmolytic he has contributed to musically.



J)
Welcome to the media and to the pages of Vandalism News, as usual with most interviews, please introduce yourself to the audience and make yourself more known, also if you could give some non-computer related facts about your person.

D)
Greetings people, my name is Tomas Danko, I'm 23 years old and I live in Stockholm/Sweden. Another non-computer related fact could be that I'm hungry right now. Although I bet you hackers don't know the meaning of the word, sitting there, hacking day and night... ;) (ED: I know the meaning of Coffee though Tomas!)


J)
The most popular musicians seemed to have always adapted to the development of their own music editors, JCH, BRIAN, FALCO PAUL etc.., did you code your own editor? Do you think it helps the creator more to make better music? and have you used other editors?

D)
It might. I did some (unreleased) routines, but didn't care to create an editor of my own. I think that, just like with ordinary instruments you've got to get familiar with the editor. Learn it fully through, and then learn to live with the limitations. Once one has fulfilled these criteriaís, I think one will do the best music possible. Changing instrument doesn't make you a better musician. (Although I could see your point of view when comparing Newplayer to Future Composer and the likes...)



J)
You have been on several computers for quite a few years now. Please give the readers a history on when you first started and what has happened up to present day.

D)
I started out on the C64. Before that Iíd been fiddling about with the VIC 20. At first, I played games and made some music in basic. After that I started making music in assembler, with my own compiler (merely translating the basic-data into NL). I've probably used just about the lot. After that came a heap of different groups, where I composed music to another heap of demos. After a while I quit. And now we're talking present.




Danko's favourites:

Food - Meat, Broccoli
Drink - Rusty Nail, Grolsch
Movie - No movie, but TV Series 'Nile City' and the show 'I manegen med Glenn Killing'
C64 game - Pirates,Uridium,Kaiser,Paradroid
PC game - Quest for fame, The Dig
Console game - Samurai Showdown 2
Demo group: Judges, Black Mail, Science 451, Horizon and Censor Design
Musician - Martin Galway
Graphician - The guy who made the sentinel eye, the guy who made Piccolo Mouso
Programmer - David Braybrook, Karl XII, Bob, Syncro
Music group - (non-scene) National Teatern
Disk Magazine - Shock
Cracking group - Censor Design, Fairlight, Clonekid & I, Cream crackers and Triad
Cracker - Clonekid, Mr.Z, Syncro
Sexual position - All possible ways


J)
What computer/musical related equipment do you own?

D)
2 SX64's, Psion Lz 64, Atari 1040 Stfm, Vic20, Mac se/30, Pentium, Ensoniq ASR-10, Jvc Xd-z505, Yamaha Yst-s25e, Teac Cd-z500, Zip, Bernoulli 150 multidisk and some more junk.


J)
Which musicians do you respect and why?

D)
Loreena McKennitt, for her writing and here expressional performance. Vijaya Anand, for his unique style, Albinoni  for his incredible Adagio in D minor.


J)
How much time do you spend on one music? Which tune is your favourite and which tune did you spend the longest amount of time on?

D)
A couple of hours. My favourite tune would probably be "No Comment", but Iíd hate to choose. I spent a couple of evenings making the covers on Magnetic Fields IV and Hotel California.


J)
Do you like conversions of music (i.e.: Hotel California) If so, how should it be done to be better accepted by the public?

D)
The main factor is resemblance. If it's not close to the original, it should never have been made. Unless it's enhancing the original concept. If you don't include the important ingredients of that tune, don't bother.


J)
Which skills have you improved over the years? Improvisation? Musical theory? Techniques?

D)
All of them, having studied and played since I was a minor. Harmonic content, in a minimalistic fashion, is probably my most important improvement. Less is more.



J)
If you could build the ULTIMATE group with ANY scener from past or present, any BBS or magazine, which would it be? and what would you call the group?

D)
Censor Design. :) To me, the main importance in a group is the friendship within. Thatís why I state my own group.


J)
Have you ever been involved in commercial software before on any format? I know that your involved with Bob's game "Bouncy Balls", can you give us any information on this game?

D)
I have been involved in  the following titles:

Deep Core (Amiga, CD 32)
Pocahontas (Sega Genesis)
Casper (Playstation)
Deadly Skies (3DO, Playstation, PC)
Impact Racing (Playstation)

That is, on some of them I have made actual music and on some the rest that you won't hear. Regarding the game 'Bouncy Balls'; all I can say is that the original concept is one of the very best Iíve seen since Pacman. Bob really should remake it on another platform. (ED: agreed there, creating a new style on other formats takes things to a new level and also makes quite a bit of money!)


J)
In 1989 some of your friends in the current Censor Design had some problems with Jerry/Triad. What happened?

D)
I have never been a member of Triad,  and I didn't join Censor Design at that early stage. I was busy elsewhere in groups like Science 451, Sphinx, Agile, Phenomena and Fairlight. Considering this, I won't be discussing what happened.


J)
Censor have been notorious at scene parties for their boozing antics and regular appearances. What parties have you been to and which were the most fun?

D)
Eskilstuna (don't remember which one)
Varby (Horizon)
Huddinge (Horizon)
Tyreso (Rebels)
Aars (The Party, don't remember which one)
TCC 93
and then some I don't remember. I particularly don't remember Aars. That was fun.


J)
Parties you cannot remember generally are fun I believe! 8) I understand that Laxity, Jeroen Tel and yourself did some music for a Disney Productions game which were not used, even though they were of a high standard. Is this true? What happened?

D)
That is correct. It's quite a complicated story. However, Laxity, Jeroen Tel, Jogeir Liljelahl and I made the whole project. Afterwards Disney messed up. We didn't give a damn. However, Laxity and I got credit for some  of our work in the game.
I won't tell you what was left in the game and what wasn't. ;)


J)
What disadvantages and advantages musically have the Commodore 64, Atari 1040st, Console and IBM PC?

D)
The C64 has got soul. Not to mention the nostalgic value of it. The db ratios (signal-to-noise, filter, amplitude) could be a bit better though, as well as the total amount of available voices. Some of the consoles are actually quite impressive samplers with DSP and all. The development- kits are really wonderful on some of them (i.e.; Playstation). Not to mention you often do normal DA-tracks. The Atari 1040ST has a shitty soundchip, although it's a bargain as a steady and reliable MIDI sequencer. The IBM PC has got several soundcards with semi professional synth's/samplers built-in. They are really worthwhile when putting demo music or such material at work. However, for final production it's not really fully usable.


J)
Censor Design is a well respected group which boasts success in the magazine, cracking and demo fronts. What in your opinion is the most important factor in making a group successful?

D)
Talented people, being creative and having something to state of their own. Original ideas, that is.


J)
So what does the future hold for you and the C64?

D)
I'm currently working on a personal homepage. You'll find all my C64 songs there, as well as a lot of trivia and Amiga modules, photos, new studio material etc. It'll be quite large to be honest. I also have got some unreleased, as well as unfinished, songs on the C64. Not to mention the C64-itch I've developed the last months. There are a couple of ideas Iíd like to express on the C64.


J)
These days we see a lot of old sceners return to the good old C64. Why do you think people keep paying attention to the C64?

D)
Mainly for nostalgic reasons as well as getting in contact with the old community within the scene.
Also, the new platforms are boring.



J)
What is your opinion about the PC and AMIGA group's struggle to survive in the light of CONSOLES and CD ROM orientated software? Are consoles the future?


D)
Demo programming isn't that practical regarding consoles. In that sense, I think the computers will survive. Although Iím not sure when it comes to the Amiga though. The new 3D-Engine equipped video cards to the PC will probably generate quite a good platform for future demos.


J)
Commercially, the C64 is in heavy decline. Most software houses consider the C64 as a risky machine to produce games, maybe because of lack of advertising due to no magazine or because of the 16-32 and 64 bit oppression. What can we do to help improve the situation? A C64? Stop cracking games??

D)
I don't think there is any future in marketing products to the 8-bit line of computers. The community of hackers will simply manufacture and distribute on their own. Since they've got such an effective network nowadays, considering the internet etc, I don't think that should be a problem. Although I never have felt the C64 to be of any commercial value. The games and the demos should stay in the public domain. The games and utilities could probably be stretched to shareware though.


J)
What advise could you give the learning musicians? What music do you think would be good for them to learn from? Jazz, Classical, Funk?

D)
Everything. Learn from history, begin way back and advance up to present time. You'd be surprised how much there is to gain.


J)
What has Censor Design got planned on the C64 for the future? A sequel to 'Spasmolytic'? I've heard rumour of a demo name from Censor called 'Deep', what is this?

D)
We are all working on quite a release, covering all issues. Right now we're in production, and soon you will experience what we have been working on. For more information I advise you check out:

http://www.censor.net

In the near future for more updates.


J)
Here's your chance you give some greetings to the scene, go for it.

D)
I would like to say thanks to the people who have listened to my music over the years and to all my friends in Censor.


J)
Thanks for your time Tomas, hope you can continue on the immortal C64. Enjoy the magazine!

D)
Thanks, I will!

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