Interviews



Interview with Kjer

Published in Vandalism News #40
Performed by Jazzcat



J)
Greetings, for those who might not know you until now, could you please give us a short introduction.

K)
My handle is Kjer and I was active in the demo group Horizon between 1988-1993 or so. My real name is Kjell Ericson (uhu, easy handle then, or...) and live in Stockholm/Sweden. For those not knowing at all, Horizon was voted best demo group for a year or two. I was voted best demo coder (or at top ten) for some years too.


J)
I remember your days in Horizon, also when you were in Super Swap Sweden earlier. Could you please tell us how you got into the scene? When did it all begin?

K)
My friend had a VIC-20 in the early 80's, and my parents thought I spent too much time at his place. So in 1982 they bought a C64 for me, and while the computer lacked some games, I learned to do my own coding. Bla bla bla, and then in 1987 me, my friend Bagder and his brother Zagor made a demo for a copy party. We made some friends there (Thundercats) that later invited us to a private party in their cellar. There we met Natas of Super Swap Sweden and joined them on the same weekend.

Without know it we enter the scene whilst our skill was still growing. After some months Horizon was made from a merge of SSS and Thundercats, and then the story just continued from there.



J)
You were responsible for coding quite a few demos for Horizon. One of the most famous demo groups to come from Sweden. Can you tell us more about those times and the demos being created?

K)
Happy times!!!

From the beginning you just sat and coded some fun stuff that you later added a scroll and then made a demo part out of it. It could take between 2 hours to 2 weeks or so (at the end it took at least two months) to make one part. The demos got bigger and bigger and in 1988 we released the first disk demo. After that, most demos took one or two sides. At the end of my scene career (1992) it just took up too much time and I didn't see it as a challenge like it once was.

When we went to parties, we usually only had half of the demo parts almost done. The rest was made at the place, together with friends - that was the most fun part of all.


J)
What is your personal favourite demo you have been involved in and why?

K)
Uhu, I think I would say "Biltandborste" released in 1991. Mainly because it was one of my last demos and contained some edges of my skills.

However, I have plenty of favourite demo parts. Parts that made people lose their breath. Those demo parts are nothing today, but back then it always was impressive when you pushed the limits a bit further.



J)
What is your opinion on demos in general? Design, hard-code, themes? To summarise - what is the most important element of a demo for you?

K)
The answer is: The scroll!

It is the one element that I always expected in a demo part. A real good demo would do something with the scroll - and doing that would mean you did it in real time. The C64 was a computer with limited memory and CPU, so stretching the real time handling always impressed.

But a lame scroll was accepted (or not noticed) if the effect you presented took your breath instead... the music was also important, but it was always taken for granted.

I got many complaints about my design, that's because I always saw the beauty in the code. Back then the demos didn't have any themes...



J)
Were you ever involved in any commercial projects such as games or tools on the C64 or other platforms?

K)
Nothing that I would admit or anyone still alive could tell about...


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

K)
Demos: Bonanza (from MDT that later joined Horizon)
Demo groups: Horizon??
Coders: Exilon (of Horizon). Excellent coder that never could finish anything alone...
Graphicians: Pernod
Musicians: Boogaloo (of Horizon)
Games: Hat Trick

Horizon is mentioned so often because my memory is weak... Trying to do that list without mentioning Horizon:

Demo: Think Twice series
Demo group: Judges
Graphician: Goblin (Agile)
Musician: Jeroen Tel


J)
Do you know what the other members of Horizon are doing these days? People like Mastermind, Bagder, Boogaloo, Zagor, etc?

K)
Bagder, Zagor and Boogaloo live in Stockholm and work at the same company as I do. We also have a side-company together called Haxx.

Exilon is still in Gothenburg (don't think he finished his studies yet - did I mention he never finished anything :-)
 
Mastermind I only see on the internet sometimes. Don't know about Pernod and Judge.



J)
What is your opinion on the cracking scene?

K)
I use cracked games myself. I think I like the crackers - they find their challenge in removing copy protections, I find my challenge in constructing something new.

What I don't like is destructive people that destroy things for other people (virus and worm authors etc).


J)
During your time in the scene did you attend many parties?

K)
Many parties, mostly in Sweden and some in Denmark. But the last one where I brought the computer with me must have been around 9 years ago. Horizon also arranged many successful parties in Sweden.


J)
Have you ever had any wars or disliking towards some group or person in the scene?

K)
No, but some people/groups saw Horizon as a target. That was only the people who never knew us.


J)
You are now working at Contactor as a consultant. Do you think the C64 scene helped or at least influenced your job position in any way?

K)
Oh yes! The C64 taught me real time demands, basic coding, and the motivation of always doing something better.



J)
What are your hobbies outside the scene and how would you describe an average day of your life?


K)
My computer is my only hobby (at least to 90%). A family with one kid and another on the way takes some time...

The market for consultants is dead, so I'm out of work right now (I have a job, but nothing to do there). An average day is up at 7am, kid to school at 8am, at work from 9am-3pm having fun, kid back at 4PM, family until 8pm, computer until 9pm, TV until bed...


J)
Here is some space to send any greets...

K)
Greetings to everyone that I met or swapped with. Names get blurred after some time, but don't fear - I remember you all!


J)
Thanks for your time. Any last words for the audience out there?

K)
http://www.contactor.se/~kjer/horizon :-) I spent some hours looking at every demo I made. From every part I made a screen capture - this improves my ability to review my demos. :-)

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