Interviews



Interview with Kjer

Published in Domination #14
Performed by Jazzcat


Remember those great demos from the legendary group Horizon? Here we have one of the main contributors, someone who has inspired many programmers to keep on stretching the C64's capabilities beyond its limits!

This interview was conducted through the internet in late July 2000.



D)
Welcome to one of the most read magazines on the C64! Please introduce yourself to the readers.


K)
Hi,
My real name is Kjell Ericson (born 1970). I took the handle "Kjer" around 1983 when I found out my initials were pronounceable (too bad only I could pronounce it). I coded demos from 1987 to 1993 as a member of Horizon.


D)
Could you tell us a bit about your C64 history? When did it start?

K)
I got my first C64 back in 1982 when my parents got tired of me staying at a friend's house that had a VIC-20. After some years with basic and some years with learning assembler, I entered the scene in late 1987 together with my friends Badger and his brother Zagor. We three guys formed a group called "Confusing Solution" (Consol) - no name you have heard of...

In 1988 we joined SSS (Super Swap Sweden) and three months later we merged with another group and became Horizon.

Highlights of my career would be the first time I was voted "number one demo-coder". Also the first competition won is a good memory.



D)
Horizon is well remembered in the hearts of a lot of people. What were your favourite moments in the group?

K)
Copy parties and hacking weekends are my favourite. We were a small active group (8 people) with complimented skills and could easily work together though we were spread all over Sweden. Most fun was the unnumbered local parties with only special invited people (close friends).


D)
Did anything go by that was unreleased or unfinished by you or Horizon.

K)
I only know one (simple) demo part I got left. Exilon had a great routine left that he forgot how to start (typical him). Otherwise I must say most things were released. So there will never be a garbage-collector-demo from us... We actually did those garbage-demos while active just to get rid of low quality parts (some complained that our low-quality wasn't their imagination of 'low-quality').


D)
What are your all-time favourites on C64?

K)
...looong time ago, I'll see what I can remember. ;)

Demo group and demo:
I was always a fan of Judges and their Think Twice-suit (1987-88). It came before my career took off and triggered me to improve myself.

Programmer:
Exilon of Horizon will be my choice. He was a great coder with the only problem that he never could finish anything by himself.

Musician:
...too many favourites to mention anyone.

Graphician:
Goblin - he always painted the logos I wanted.

Game:
Hat Trick! I even ported it to the Amiga to be able to continue the fun ;)


D)
In your opinion, what is the most important thing in a demo?


K)
The text scroller. At least in that aspect that you need something movable or altering. If you can build the main effect into the text scroller is a big plus. Without the text at all something is missing. Music is a must too, but that's always easy to put in.


D)
Should demos be released more often in-between scene parties or mainly at scene parties?


K)
I would say between and often. That was the case in 1988 when it was a sport to build a demo in only one executable file. In late 1988 it became more normal to let one demo take a whole disk which let you to store the parts until the next party, and not release when the memory was full.

At the beginning I could make a demo part at the party place, but to the end it could take several months. That made it almost impossible to release something between parties (unless you couldn't finish it and released it a week after. ?



D)
Been to many scene parties? Which ones did you attend?

K)
Oooooh, I can't remember that. To give a full list I must look at all my demos and see where we released stuff? Beside the Horizon parties in Varby, Huddinge, Eskilstuna and Enkoping, I recall Alvesta 2x88, Randers, Trondheim, Uppsala, Gothenburg, Tyreso just to mention some.


D)
What are your activities these days?

K)
The scene is gone for me and demos too. The Amiga is also gone and a PC is occupying my table. I still code for fun some demo-look-a-like that never leaves my hard disk. As a profession I'm working as a consultant at the same company as Boogaloo, Bagder and Zagor of Horizon. Right now I'm building GSM base station at Ericsson.


D)
The C64 scene is still alive. Wares are still released into the scene, even new people are still entering it. What are your comments to this, considering you left so long ago?

K)
Pathetic?
No, I think it is fun to know the C64 is still alive. I'm not updated with anything that has happened for the last 7 years. I imagine that as machine the C64 is gone forever, but as a creative tool for fans and obscure artists, it is still something that connects people. I always saw myself as an artist. The C64 was a static box that you had to bend as much as possible to do something good (code is an art).

Everybody had the same raw material.

The PC is a better machine, but what fun it is to make a demo when you buy a new CPU if you’re routine is too slow. Q: Why paint a landscape when you can take a photo? A: Because it is more fun!



D)
Ever had any wars or disliking towards some group or person in the scene?

K)
Naah, not really. But some guys I've never met seemed to have it against me. Maybe a misinterpreted scroll text did that, what do I know?

Some guys didn't like that Horizon could seem to look down at other groups, but if I got a penny for every time we called each other in Horizon for lamers...


D)
Ever work on any games on C64 or other platforms?

K)
Nothing professional. I tried, but it was not fun...


D)
Any tips for the C64 programmer out there?

K)
Always do something new and you'll become better! That helped me. I always saw people doing something I couldn't do, so I tried to do the same and improve it. I always felt that someone was better than me, and then suddenly people said "you are the best". Imagine my surprise!



D)
That is just like me. I keep striving with this magazine. Competing against others, what fun! Do you do anything on the internet much? Like a webpage or html coding of any site?

K)
Internet takes a lot of my time nowadays. I do some intranet stuff you can't see, and my homepage is mostly in Swedish - but you can see it at: http://www.contactor.se/~kjer/

If you read Swedish you can try
http://www.haxx.se/home/
where you will find the four Stockholm-resided leftovers of Horizon and our little left-hand company.


D)
Please feel free to send any greetings to those you know...

K)
Mum and Dad that bought my first C64?
...generally to all people I met and gave me help with my demos. I hope I gave back as much as I got from you. Everyone who met me shall feel greeted.


D)
Thank you for your time Kjell. Any last words for the C64 audience reading this?

K)
I left the scene when I felt I couldn't do anything new or better, I don't regret this, but I still think that time was the best of my life. The C64 will NEVER leave my possession - I will be buried with it (maybe I could place my ashes within it ;)

Keep up the fun that is the motor of life!

                 
//Kjer of Horizon is signing off...

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