Interviews



Interview with Electric

Published in Vandalism News #31
Performed by Jazzcat

I hold pride in presenting you, dear reader, with one of  my all-time favourite C64 graphicians. Someone who has been responsible for many years in upholding original C64 painting, something that must be treated with respect in the new age of PC and AMIGA picture porting.

Please welcome the one and only ELECTRIC of EXTEND.



J)
Welcome to Vandalism News, our effort in providing the scene with gossip on the current events and entertainment. Please introduce yourself to the audience.

E)
Well, my name is Tommi Musturi, better known as Electric. I'm studying graphic design (4th year going) at Lybecker Institute of Crafts and Design, and quite much enjoying it. My life is basically but drawing and designing. Mainly I draw on paper, but besides my studies I'm also working as a web designer in a big Finnish multi media (yuk) agency. Not to forget my work on C64 - this machine still follows me everywhere I move. Hmm, I guess I'm totally anti-social when I'm not drunk or stoned. Life? Where?


J)
You are very famous on the C64 scene as a graphician and almost all sceners are knowledgeable of your great artwork, displayed in such releases as MORBID ART and other Extend demos. Could you try and re-account your scene career, when it all started and what were the highlights and changing points up until the present day.

E)
Once again... ;) Well, my first real group was Ziplers that I formed with few class mates (this happened some time in the year 1986-87 if I can recall). We released a few small demos and other junk, got some new members (for example, Scorpion/Ex Contex etc) and so on. I guess we just got bored of Ziplers as the group split only something like 1.5 years after it's birth. One of the former Zipler's members was GI Hero (now known as Barfly) that was later one of the former members of Extend. Anyway, the second group was Alpha, containing mainly the same guys as in Ziplers + a lot of new people coming and going. With Alpha did a few bigger demos and also some cracks. Then came my first (and only) group I didn't form myself, Genius. I joined together with few of my Alpha mates (GI Hero and Kilroy). Genius was a group of mates from the same are of Finland, so it was easy to join. Our genius time lasted only for half a year, containing one demo called "Still Lamers". Things didn't work out too well in Genius, so we reformed Alpha with the old bunch and released some more demos. It was the year 1989 and Autumn at this point. Later that year I spoke on the phone with JAP/Traxion, and he suggested that the Finnish half of Traxion and Alpha could be a totally new group. It was a quick decision that I made with Barfly, and Extend was born on 12.12.1989. The members were at least Barfly, TBB, JAP, TSB, Shadowcat, Kilroy and I.

After that there has happened a lot in Extend, but after the year 1992 the group has got it's stable form. There has been ca. 40 members in Extend during these 9 years (+ other 40 of our party members).

When it comes to my changing points during my existence in the scene, I could give you two: firstly the forming of Extend which lead me to really start drawing, and secondly the SCRIPT magazine, to whom I have my support those days, and which was the first magazine giving me some really good response and showing me in it's charts. It really meant something to see your name in a chart those days, nowadays its just more like to show people that you're alive and active.



J)
Yes this is a good point, although I think the charts have changed in many other areas also. Such as people voting for people just because they're famous, etc. Moving on, how would you describe your average day?

E)
Well, I wake up at 9-11am, go to school or work (late as always) and start the day by drinking coffee and reading my mail. Then I just drink more coffee, hang on IRC and try to get some design or other work finished. I may visit some shops searching for records, comics, books, old C64/Vic originals etc. If I have some spare time in work I usually have few ink pictures that I am drawing. After work (that's at 7-10PM usually) I go to my flat, make some food, listen to records, read something, watch TV - the usual stuff my kind of anti-social person does. Then (if I'm not going to the bar or gig) I just draw on paper or C64 - mainly on paper nowadays. There's always something like 10 unfinished pictures lying on the floor. As I'm running that record label (boing being) and comic (glomp) it may also take couple of hours to make packages, writing letters etc. At this point time is something like 1 or 2 am and I'm too tired to do anything but sleep. Anyway, at weekends I'm usually travelling around Finland; spending my time on music/film festivals, meeting my friends and boozing with the.



J)
Your Uncle is a artist also, and apart from C64 you do quite a lot of paper artwork. Please give us some more information on this.

E)
I used to hang around his house as they took care of me when I was little and my parents were working. Anyway, his work had an influence on me those days as his workshop was really a kind of strange place for a young kid. But after I started to draw more on paper I found inspiration at the beginning from record covers and music, later from different comic artists. At the  moment I've come to concentrate on the motive of the pictures. I've got also great interest on photography, making animation and graphic designing... and possibly I could spend a few years practising those. Anyway, I don't want to get stuck in anything... that would make me just bored. In my own opinion I'm 50% graphic designer (I'm studying it), 40% illustrator and 10% something else. Yes, I do draw on paper MUCH - but I can hardly find enough time to draw everything I want. Where my pictures mainly go are independent zines, record covers and so on. At the moment I'm trying to draw like 10-20 A5-sized illustrations for a book by a friend of mine.



J)
I have a similar situation, my best friend is writing a book and he will also obtain artwork for it. What do you think is the most enjoyable aspect of the scene and for what reasons?

E)
Heh, for us in Extend, releasing something is always a moment of celebration (that really happens seldom). Well, most of my real life friends are on the scene also. Meeting new people and old friends on parties is always great. The atmosphere on the scene isnít the same thing as it was back in the late 80s and in the beginning of the 90s, but anyway. I also hang on #c-64 (irc) and enjoy it.



ELECTRIC'S FAVOURITES:

Programmer: Mr.Sex
Graphician: Bob Stevenson, Ogami, Tyrant
Musician: AMJ, DAF, Zyron... and of course Rob Hubbard
Disk magazine: Script, Skyhigh, Newspress
Game: Thrust
Demo: FTS III (or was it part II that is the latest? ;)
Demo group: Byterapers
Comic: Charles Burns' BLOODCLUB & BLACKHOLE, Max Andersson's PIXY, everything from FANTAGRAPHICS and DRAWN & QUARTERLY, I'm also a big fan of the Finnish comic scene and also part of it .
(check... http://www.kaapeli.fi/~sarjaks/)
Paper artist: Max Andersson, Charles Burns, Al Columbia, Jim Woodring, Chester Brown, Dave McKean etc etc.


J)
Over the years the C64 has dramatically improved in the graphics department. When do you think the biggest improvement was made? and what do you think about all the new graphic formats available now, such as IFLI, SHIFLI, AFLI, etc..?

E)
Hmm, FLI was revolutionary when it came and so was IFLI. I still think that it's IFLI that finally made it possible to actually draw good looking pictures on C64... maybe not "good looking" but it brought C64's gfx closer to what could've been done on Amiga and PC. At the moment I'm using Draz Lace (2 koala pictures laced) for my pictures. This is because I see it's advantages in usage of memory and rastertime more important than the loss of colours. So the pictures are friendly to use in demos and everywhere. I can also get the picture full screen wide. Devil: how about improving the editor a little bit? :)



J)
I have noticed that a lot of painters these days also use Draz Lace, so Henrik, please bring out a new version! :) Now a completely different question, have you ever had any enemies? any arguments with any sceners? or people that you disliked?

E)
Actually I think I never had any enemies, or at least they never told me. I've always been against this stupid elite-lamers statement that  has lead to many arguments. Of course there has been a few people that I could call real assholes... but it isnít my business to tell them that; I rather just ignore them and spend my time making something useful.


J)
Your handle, Electric, when did you first think of this and what made you choose it? Have you had any other handles?

E)
I was something like 12 years old, reading an English dictionary when sitting on the toilet. It just sounded good, I really didn't care about what it meant. So it doesn't have a meaning for me... just a name like my real one. I never had any other handles after Zipler's time.


J)
Does music have any influence in your graphics? Who inspires you to paint and for what reasons?

E)
Everything that I see or hear inspires me. But nowadays, when I'm always working in a hurry, the ideas come from really small things. From the real world that I see and mix something twisted that crawls from my mind every now and then. There's always some periods also in the things that inspire you... like garage, psychedelic, blaxpoitation etc. I really can't NAME anyone that inspires me, because it all comes subconsciously. I see so many things I like and those all inspire me in one way or another. So, I think a normal picture is half a mix of these things that come from outside my head and half a result of thinking.



J)
What artists do you respect and why?

E)
Nowadays I respect more people that are making graphic design. I don't consider myself as an artist, more like an illustrator and graphic designer. I hate people who claim they're making "art". You can't MAKE art, it just appears man! It's true that my taste has changed a lot during the last 5 years. I don't care too much about Vallejo, Frazetta and the others who are just playing with  their technical skills. What I appreciate is the experimental view in making something creative. To give you a few names (familiar to all designers) : Neville Brody, Tomato, TDR, Jan Tschichold, etc. etc..


J)
Some sceners dislike alcohol and other drugs, what are your feelings on these things?

E)
I mainly just drink but I've nothing against good weed. Never took anything harder but that isnít the principle. I dislike fanatical people, no matter if they're against drugs or favourable. Do what you want with your life, I don't care... and let me do what I want.


J)
Yes this is also my opinion, couldn't have said it better. Do you have any ambitions in life? what are they?

E)
Nothing big really. It's quite hard to just live day by day. What I want is to develop my skills in the area of graphic design. I would also like to spend a year somewhere and draw a comic album. There's so much I'd like to do actually... release some
stunning records on my label, travel to all parties and countries in the world, write a book, direct a film, etc.. Bah, I'm happy if I could just get some sleep tonight (...and a 6-pack).


J)
What is EXTEND got planned in the future? are you in contact with many of the members? and will we see the completed 'Total Epygt' demo soon?

E)
Most of the people in Extend are either finishing their studies or working all around Finland. I'm in contact with all of our members. Of course more with those that are active. We still meet a few times a year, and all spend time together outside the scene too (new meeting in 3 weeks).

Total Epygt will be released SOMEDAY, mainly because we are working with a NEW demo that was about to be released at Assembly '98 but got delayed and will be out on ZOO'98  (20-22.11.1998, Pori/Finland, info: http://www.cedunet.com/~jasuni).



J)
That is great to hear! What is your opinion on the current trend of graphicians porting down graphics from PC and AMIGA
and then 'touching' them up for the C64? Some people have been known to not even credit the original graphician.

E)
Scanning a picture or fixing one that someone has drawn on another platform - stupid. I really don't know how low people can go. The least they should do is TELL if the picture is scanned or something. I just hope that people stop to act like this as cheating your friends isn't too nice. There is also a big difference between drawing a picture from scratch with a C64 and PC.
Those who draw their pictures with PC could as well at least admit it. I will continue drawing my C64 pictures with "the real thing" - that's it.


J)
Fully agree with you there, let's hope that the "painters" out there pay attention to these words. Here is now the opportunity for you to greet any of your comrades in the scene...

E)
There are too many friends to  greet. Hi's to everybody that knows me or I've met but were too drunk to remember now. Cheers!


J)
Thank you for you time Tommi. I hope you enjoy this edition of Vandalism News which you are featured in, and lastly, is there any final words from you?

E)
Keep well and cu on TP8.


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