Interview with Biz Kid

Published in Vandalism News #40
Performed by Jazzcat

I recently had contact with Biz Kid and sent him a CD containing all the latest C64 productions, an emulator and all issues of his magazine SKYHIGH. He has been appearing on the C64 sites and is now showing interest in a comeback and is back again in his former crew Oxyron! It is fantastic when ex-sceners rekindle their long lost scene spirit and find their way back to the scene village.

Former editor of Skyhigh, a graphician and former member of Camelot, here is Biz Kid...

Thanks for your time! Could you please tell our readers about yourself?

First of all: thank you for wanting to interview me in your magazine. Quite a funny situation to be on the other side of the 'table' this time. =) Even though it has been a while.
Well, as seen in the topic, then I am known to the masses as Biz Kid of Oxyron. (Maybe Camelot as well =) )

Scenewise I have been away for approx. 6 years or so. I used to do graphics and a diskmag named Skyhigh. The rest you must hear from other sceners. =)

My real name is Uffe Thorning Larsen. Most of you know me as Jesper Thorning Larsen... BUT quite a few years ago I changed my first name into Uffe. And last year I got married and took my wife's surname, so that's the explanation. =)

I have 2 kids, a boy and a girl, who I love deeply. I am at the moment unfortunately unemployed.
Many will say that I am a weird and crazy person. But hey, isn't that what it's all about? =)

I am very much into hip-hop and used to do graffiti. But that was then. Nowadays it just happens sometimes that me and my homies do some work. Legal of coz ! =)
Furthermore: Open up a bottle of white Bacardi, and I will sniff you like a track dog.

What else? Not much really. Well yeah I'm 33 years old, so I'm becoming an old-timer - hehe :)

The old man? The C64 is still a youngster. :) When did you first join the scene?

Officially I think it was in 1992 at The Party in Ars.

What have been your former groups and could you tell us when you joined them?

Well, the first 'group' I joined was Ozone. Not the Norwegian one, but just me and a dude I got in contact with. Well as far as I remember we had big plans back then. But of course, nothing happened. I started swapping a bit and got in contact with Scrapper of Blaze... I had nothing to send back to him, so I did a Blaze logo for him. What a way to start huh?

Well after The Party in 1992, Blaze died and some of the members moved to Oxyron. And lucky me, I followed. MAN that was cool. Suddenly I was a part of the mighty Oxy posse. I still remember The Party 1992, where TTS was placed close to his coffee-machine, coding his arms and legs off =) Now I was in the same group as him. Here I was, a Dane between nothing but Germans.

I have a friend of mine who once said: If you die and go to hell, you can be sure they speak German...

I never really liked German in school, but now there was nothing to do. Luckily I'm not bad at speaking foreign languages, so 30 minutes and a bottle of booze later and I turned into a German. =)

What was the question again?

Oh yeah!

Well I found a new friend in one of my contacts. His name was Raz. Unfortunately for him he revealed that he was quite a coder. Big mistake!!! I was in the progress of working my way up with my diskmag, so I needed someone to code the outfit for it. Well I nagged him heavily. And I succeeded. He coded something very nice for me. A strange co-op, but a successful one. Raz is by the way one of my VERY good friends now (Hi my friend!!!).

Well I can't really remember when and how, but suddenly I became a Camelot member. I kept being in Oxyron. I always was in Oxyron and always will be, despite what some might think. =) 100% Oxyron member!

What have been your favourite moments during these groups?

Oh there are so many. Numerous Oxy meetings in Flensburg/Germany.

Hours of phone calls with Raz debugging Skyhigh (and believe me, I am no coder).

The parties of course. Meeting contacts, boozing, partying and so on. I remember a party in former East Germany in Dresden/Dessau. I drove a million km or so, in my Fiat 127 down there. On every petrol station we had to drive in and put more water into the engine. And let the poor car gasp for air. =) When we arrived at the party there wasn't many people, but what the hell. So I started boozing a bit =). The next day the rest of the Oxy posse woke me up and said that we were going home.
Erhm huh? Yeah we won the competition! Erhm we did? They decided to give me the 1st prize for the petrol for the car =)
As a final touch: as we got out in broad daylight, someone had 'shot' my black Fiat with a paintball bullet. RED!!!! So now I had a wounded car as well.

What computer equipment do you own?

At the moment I have a stationary PC: 1GHZ with a DVD burner =) That's a nice thing to have. And of course CD burner, scanner, the usual stuff. Furthermore I have a 1GHZ laptop as well. No C64 stuff at the moment. But I will see if I can find one.

Why did you leave the scene and will you ever consider coming back?

I just came to a crossroad. My daughter was born and I couldn't really find the time for the C64. So I cut myself
loose and simply sold all my C64 stuff. (That way I couldn't regret so easily)

But I have never really thought of a comeback.............................................Until now =) Well let's see. I have been away from the scene for almost 6 years. I have a lot of catching up to do. Lets see what happens...

(ED: heheheh, grand!)

Your magazine Skyhigh was the world number one for a long time, can you tell the readers what inspired you to create this
magazine and why do you think it became successful?

Yeah, my other baby: Skyhigh. It was rated number one for almost 18 months!! That was a nice time.

Reason for creating Skyhigh. Hmm good question. I think I found something I was good at. I love to write. And I was in control of the way it should be done. I had my vision, my dream of how a great disk mag should be. And I simply went for it.

Back then, most diskmags, had an attitude problem. To me it was more about bragging of how good they were. Or which famous sceners they could interview or get SIDs from. The tone was quite rough from some of the editors. I never really understood why some felt too 'elite' to have interviews with 'normal' or upcoming sceners. Sure it's interesting to hear about the hotshots, but they all have to start somewhere. And that has always been my philosophy: There should be place for everyone.

Another thing is, that I never understood why a so-called "board" mag should be more important than mine? A mag is for everyone (or at least Skyhigh was!!!)

Another thing was the outfit war. hehe. A lot of text has been written about the outfit for diskmags. One of the most common statements were: the outfit doesn't really matter as long as the text is good. Well point taken BUT... as a graphician, and a structured person, it pissed me off to see some of the outfits being so boring, even though the text was okay. So it was my plan to  have both good text and a nice outfit. And with the help of Raz and a lot of other sceners we succeeded big time.

I still remember when the first issue with proportional font up-scroller was released.....

People said it couldn't be done. Well I think Raz didn't give a rat's ass and simply coded it. =)

(He is one hell of a coder who never got the credit he deserved) Anyway, as it was released, some said that hey they could code that as well. Hmmm why didn't they do it then =) But that was one of those things: They would rather diss people instead of complimenting them. I never understood that!

OK enough badmouthing.
Well the magazine got more and more famous and it became more easy to get in touch with sceners. I still remember as I had an interview with JCH... That gave Skyhigh some respect. People really dug that. They funny thing is that interview was done over
the phone. I asked him the questions and recorded it all on tape, in Danish, hehe. I then had to translate it and write it down, what a way to do it. Funny to think about it now.

Well, the mag grew and grew and the rest is history.

Eventually as I left the C64 I stopped on top, I never had to go through the 'downhill' phase. =)

Anyway. The reason for it's success if you ask me: I always tried to keep the mag in a nice tone. I always had the time and the place for everybody. I didn't make Skyhigh for the elite, but for everybody (and in the end for me!!!). And to noneís surprise there are a lot more of the "everybodies" than the elite. It's not that I want to be friends with everybody. If someone pisses me off, they will surely find out (just ask Airwolf, that stupid mother******... He thought he could intimidate me on a party. Tuff titties - no luck, you lose). On the other hand I have no intention of making as many enemies as possible. I do believe in being friendly!

That's my recipe.

During the time of Skyhigh, what other disk magazines did you compete with and respect?

To be honest the competition was against itself. On one side there was Skyhigh and on the other side all the others. I simply tried to push my limits all the time to make Skyhigh better and better. Naturally I had a lot of respect for most of the mags. I, if any, knew how much work they put into it. =)

Was it hard to manage the magazine when you were joining different groups? e.g. Blaze to Oxyron to Camelot... How was that and was it hard continuing the mag with new staff members?

No not really. Skyhigh, has always been more like a Biz Kid magazine than a group magazine (or maybe correctly a Biz Kid and
Raz magazine). I have always been in control of Skyhigh. And think about it: of course Camelot wouldn't turn down some goodwill as I joined them. Besides it was coded by a Camelot member anyway. =)

The staff: Well as time went, I got some good friends to help me. Very nice and very much appreciated.

Back in the day, there was a real division between "mail" and "board" disk magazines, did you also notice this and what is your opinion on this matter?

That's exactly my point. To me that was bullshit. I aimed higher than that. Skyhigh wasn't concentrated to either of these groups... Skyhigh was for the masses instead. Naive you say... Maybe... but that was my goal. And to be honest: I believe I succeeded.

A lot of people had arguments with RRR/Oxyron. Editor of the Relax disk magazine. What is your opinion on this guy and did you have any personal problems with him?

Timo does things his way and I do things my way. We do not agree on many things, but that's the way it is. I haven't talked to him for 6 years or so, so no comment on that. =) I now see that he hasn't changed one bit.

Unfortunately RRR doesn't understand that I am an Oxy member again. He has constantly altered my member status on CSDB. I don't know what is happening inside his head! Nevertheless I am going to do some GFX and then I will move from inactive to active!! It pisses me off that his self-proclaimed professionalism doesn't beat his personal feelings towards me this time. But then again, I am not really surprised. As usual he chooses a strange path. But I guess he likes it that way! Just step carefully.. You might get lost in the jungle... Well nuff said.

What do you think would be the differences (if any) between a demo and a cracking scener?

I never was into the cracking part, so I really don't know. Why split it up anyway? Why not simply be a scener?

People are dedicated to what they do and therefore support and backup each other.

You did quite a bit of graphics on the C64. Have anything that is unreleased or something you would like to complete?

Dunno. All I have left is a box with the entire Skyhigh collection. But who knows. =)

Have you been to many scene parties? Which one do you remember the most?

Well yeah, I have been to quite a few. Hmm besides the one mentioned at Dresden/Drassau. Hmm, one that comes to mind was in Sweden in 1993. Can't remember the name of it (ED: TCC'93?) but I do remember heaps of sceners gathered together doing what they are supposed to do: PARTY... I remember the boozing, the partying and especially the trip with the ferry from Denmark to Sweden. That was a lot of fun. HEHE. Otherwise I remember The Party series in Denmark. Some good memories there too. =)

Your handle, does it hold a special meaning?

Hmmm yeah I think so. Of course you don't have to be Albert Einstein to figure out that it is close to biscuit =) DOH...
To begin with it's two words... Biz - well it pretty much speaks for itself - right.. I mean Business??? Hahaha nooot.
And Kid - Quite obvious as well. I'm just a kid. Grown up is good, as long as you keep your inner child...

But most of the time it's simply BK.
Furthermore I can tell you that Biz Kid is pronounced almost like beskidt in Danish. Which means dirty... hehe. I have been called a thousand things throughout the years.

With your painting on C64, which tools did you prefer to use and what would you advise artists to use and why? Is user-friendliness the main thing or is it the greater amount of options that make the better editor?

Another question which is hard to answer. I used Advanced Art Studio.

If someone has links to graphics stuff for the C64 please mail 'em to me. =) Or simply mail the tools. Thanks... (email address is at the end of this interview).

On the PC I use PhotoShop 7 (is there anything else =) )

Ever painted graphics for games?

I do think I gave it a go once, but nothing was ever released.

What do you think is the difference between the games made in the 80s and 90s and the new games on different platforms today?

Hmm I don't play much. I like Serious Sam for PC though. Cheat codes enabled and simply fire away! A nice way to relax for a while.

Otherwise I think one of the big differences, besides much better graphics and CPU speed, is the programming. On the C64, programmers had to squeeze everything out of the machine. Nowadays, programmers don't really optimize their code anymore.
Why bother, you just buy a faster computer or a bigger 3D card or more RAM and so on. That sucks. As long as people keep buying games instead of complaining, that won't change. Today's games are often more eye candy than good games I think.

But honestly I don't really play many games. So I am not the one to judge it.

Well that time has come, please send any greetings you have...

Well I'll make it short: I'll greet all I know or knew back then. There are so many. And as I usually say: None mentioned, non forgotten - RIGHT?

I hope that some of you would like to drop me a mail. It would be cool to hear what people are up to nowadays.
Send it to:

Well, thatís all, I hope you enjoy this edition. :) Any last words for the audience out there?

Well I hope to meet many of you in real life again. Let me know if there's going to be a party in Denmark (or at least close enough to go). I am always ready for some partying and boozing with some friends. =)

Thanks again and best wishes in the future!

My pleasure - and likewise....

Biz Kid/Oxyron