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Interview With Hollowman
by Cactus/Oxyron

Welcome to the interview with Hollowman, well known Swedish C-64 scener. This might be an interesting article as this is the first ever time Johan has been interviewed.

Our conversation was mainly scene related, you can find out Hollowman's view on different things, (concerning mainly the demo scene) in this little interview. Our talk has been done in November 2002, so the text doesn't seem to be much outdated.

Guest starring:

"C" - Cactus/Oxyron, "H" - Hollowman/Fairlight.

C: Hello Hollowman! How are you?

H: Hello Cactus (and "Attitude" readers). Since the sun is shining and I'm sitting inside working on demo related stuff, things are just fine.

C: At the very beginning tell us something about yourself...

H: My name is Johan Bengtson, I'm a 22 year old Swede who does enjoy doing a demo every now and then. In real life I study computer science but very soon I will have to face the horrors of real life and try to get a job. The last few years I spent most of my spare time doing gfx and code for Alter, Triad and Fairlight. I never cared much for the real life that people keep talking about, the scene and its inhabitants provides me with enough sex, drugs and rock'n'roll. But I do enjoy lying about in the sun, windsurfing and some more nerdy things like collecting comics.

C: How long have you been on the C-64 scene?

H: Since 1994, although I didn't really make anything worthwhile before 1995.

C: How did it all start for you? What was your first experience in the scene?

H: Wiggen (who went to the same school as I) and I started calling a few C-64 boards in Sweden, in the beginning we just leeched as hell and perhaps checked the subs once in a while. Later on Wiggen started to paint c/g and was asked to join Accept. I started to paint c/g aswell, but my gfx was not as good as Wiggen. It was a confusing time, I lacked a lot of knowledge about the scene and people were always there to correct me, along with an insult or two. Considering how much crap I've had to take throughout the years I just find it silly nowadays when people are whining because someone has been saying mean things to them. That's what the scene is like, like it or not.

C: Do you keep on painting the C-64 graphics today?

H: Actually I do most of the graphics for my demos myself, but I never tag anything so sometimes people think that someone else has done the gfx. It's easier to do things yourself but I am not good enough so things would look better if someone else did the gfx, but it's hard to find reliable people to slave for you. Wiggen has been my fontslave for years. Vodka, Twoflower, Tempest and Bizk has contributed to the demos also. I don't like making a big fuzz over exactly who painted what so usually I just mention who has been involved in the demo.

C: What was the reason for your move from Triad to Fairlight recently?

H: There were a few reasons. One was that I was tired of having all demos audited by Jerry. His opinions were rather weird at times, and that he didn't listen to me was pretty disturbing. What finally made me leave the group was some arguments in connection with a meeting in autumn 2001. I'm not a very rich person so when I had to spend money to attend the meeting I wanted to get the most out of it and meet some other sceners in the south of Sweden. Some of those weren't allowed to come however which caused a bit of fuzz. A few of my databuddies were allowed however, but since they were rather young, said a few stupid things and wore goodlooking clothes they weren't appreciated by all people at the meeting. After the meeting I had to defend them on IRC a few times, which lead to that I was told to either stop arguing in public with groupmembers on #c-64 or leave the group. Vodka had offered me to join FLT and so I did.

C: So how do you feel as Fairlight member right now? How many active sceners are in the crew?

H: Things are working pretty well. The C-64 section is just me and Vodka but Maktone who is in te PC section of FLT has started to do music for the C-64 and has done quite a few tunes by now and could be counted as an active member on C-64 aswell. Pantaloon has been talking about releasing a C-64 demo with his old parts, possibly in cooperation with Shadow/Noice. But with all the stuff Panta is involved in, I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for that one.

C: You're well known demo coder... How many demos have you made in your scenetime? In how many other projects have you been involved? Do you have any favourite one?

H: I coded one collection of BBS-graphics by Wiggen and me for Asgaard Designs, I also released a few single file demos under that lable with IFLI pictures I painted. I joined Alter as a graphician and I contributed with gfx and sometimes a bit of code for something like six demos, I think. During my membership in Triad I was involved in eight demos and so far I have done two demos for FLT. Then there has also been a few odd parts and demos every now and then, some things were only meant for a few persons to see and have not been spread. I usually only like my latest demo because I have got some distance to the older stuff and can see all the bad things about them. At the moment I am rather pleased with "Pretending To See The Light" and the second half of "Drop The Basics". From the older stuff I think "Omed96/Alter" is pretty good, but I only got a font used in that one. I have to mention 'Feedback' and 'Emission', Iopop and I did about 50/50 of the work in 'Feedback', 'Emission' was his demo but I managed to infiltrate that one in the last minute. I like Iopop's demostyle and I think those cooperations turned out pretty good. As you can see I don't have a single favourite, but those are the ones I think turned out best.

C: What do you think about today's C-64 demo scene form? What's your opinion about demos that were released last months?

H: It's been a pretty slow year, the demos at Mekka were a disappointment and I expected more from LCP also. I don't think there has been that many demos released lately, but it's not so strange since there are not that many groups around and making demos takes time. It's easy to get depressed and start thinking that everything sucks and that there is no reason to care anymore, but one demo that really cheered me up was "Dream Injection/Arise", I've liked parts of their previous demos but this one was great all the way through. "Digital Magic/Crest" wasn't really my cup of tea but had a good relaxed feel to it. "Demo/Civitas" had some nice features but I think Puterman has done better stuff before. Also I have to mention "Nivussieni/Dekadence", Britelite proved that less is more sometimes, much more. :)

C: Do you think we can still expect some great C-64 demos in the future, such turning-point titles like "Mathematica" was?

H: Two demos I have great expectations on are the new Wrath Designs demo and Krill's next big demo. I don't know about turning point, groups like WD, Focus and Civitas have tried to do things differently but it has had no big influence on the scene.

C: Which demos from the past had the biggest influence on today's productions?

H: I think any demo that shows a new hardware trick or has some clever code will have an influence. But it seems to me that no demo, no matter how brilliant, has had any large effect on later demos. It's not often you can say: "This demo would not have looked like this, if it hadn't been for the old demo XYZ".

C: What are your future plans concerning the demo scene?

H: I have finished two parts for "Singles Collection vol. 2", and I am planning to release one demo at Floppy and another at Mekka. That is if no terrible accident happens, like me losing an arm or two, or even worse: inspiration...

C: What's your biggest inspiration when coding a demo?

H: Don't know really, I think I can get inspiration from almost anything I see. But usually it's easier to copy an idea from another demo than it is to copy an idea from a movie, or some art installation.

C: What's the most important (in your opinion) in demo design?

H: I really don't know much about demo design, people keep talking about design but I still haven't quite got what they mean, I guess people mean different things with that word. But I can say what I often miss in demos: a good pace. Many demos, definitely some of mine are too slow. But it's hard to make a demo on C-64 that has a fast, steady pace. Also the way demos are usually made, with many different people doing small contributions, can make the demo look rather weird, with different parts and graphics not fitting together. However, I've also ran into this problem while working on my own.

C: Your favourite all the time demo is...

H: "A Qui Ca Sert/Wrath Designs". I can't count how many times I've said that it is the best demo, and then got the reply "Why is it the best demo? It's so short!" It is a really solid demo, all pieces fit together and it looks and sounds great too.

C: Do you read C-64 disk magazines sometimes?

H: For a period of time I only read "Vandalism News" and "Domination". Older favourites like "The Pulse" and "Propaganda" had disappeared and the other magazines that were around weren't interesting. But lately I have become more and more bored and read all magz that I have got my hands on. "Vandalism" and "Domination" are still the best magazines around, although they suffer from the same problem as all other magazines on C-64: the news chapters are completely pointless. Why read "news" that you read before on the websites months ago? And it's obvious that the only news about groups that the editors manage to put together are just what the groups themselves have mailed in, so the readers get no tasty gossip or rumours. It also looks pretty stupid to me to print "xxx joined Civitas, yyy left Civitas", but not mentioning any of the demos Puterman has released meanwhile. I would love to see a magazine that actually put some effort into obtaining news. There must be people out there who can provide inside information and real dirt about the different groups. Except for those two magazines I found the last issues of "Beergarden" quite entertaining. It's been a real joy seeing the role posse embarassing themselves. "Attitude" has had some good material also. As for the other magazines I will probably continue checking them just to read the charts, nothing gives me more satisfaction than to see Mr.Sex entering the coder chart at position seven, six years after we last saw a demo by him on C-64. I would like more provocative material in the magazines (and in the rest of the scene also), apart from the argument in "The Beergarden" and Wrath Designs more or less making the whole scene pissed off with their demo reviews in "Vandalism", there is way too less of that sort of entertainment.

C: What's your opinion about "Demo Reviews" in the latest issue of "Attitude" that has been made by HCL?

H: I enjoyed reading HCL's reviews, I think he has a rather good taste and valid opinions. He did avoid two common mistakes I've seen in reviews lately. One is describing the demo in detail, the other is presenting your own misconception of the demo as facts. The only thing wrong about his reviews I could see was a small fact error, he claimed that the FLT demo at Tribute loaded in 5 minutes, I have heard several witnesses say that it took at least one hour to fill the REU with the animation. :)

C: Do you think that "The Charts" chapter should be maintained by mageditor by throwing inactive sceners out of the list?

H: If people really think that there hasn't appeared any better coders/graphicians/whatever in the last few years, then I think they should vote for old inactive people rather than vote for active sceners they consider to be crap. I just find it strange that they stick around if they don't like any of the new stuff being released.

C: So it is rather the problem with voters, not mageditors! I (and many other editors) ask voters to choose active sceners only, but these appeals meet with no response...

H: Well, what can you expect from a lazy and conservative scene? :)

C: I expect at least a little bit of thinking when someone is deciding to fill in the votesheet. If he wants to vote only for inactive sceners, why doesn't he leave this job to other people?

H: Makes sense. But then if there is something I've stopped expecting from the C-64 scene, it's common sense. :)

C: You say: "reading news that you read before on the websites makes the news chapters completely pointless". But what about those people who has no Internet access? Do you think they don't deserve to get information about "xxx joining or leaving Civitas" etc.?

H: How large is this part of the scene that don't have Internet access and only get their stuff through snailmail? It must be quite huge considering how much consideration is taken to it, with magazines being spread through snailmail for a week before the rest of the scene is allowed to get them. I think this form of the newschapter belongs to the past, but all magazines keep it up, printing the same news in the same way. I could understand if one magazine did it this way, but when all magazines do, what's the point? There must be other ways of doing things and a magazine that would dare to do things in a different way could have quite some success, I believe.

C: Well, why not starting your own successful magazine then? ;)

H: I have been involved a bit in planned magazines that never came to be, I have much to do already and there are other people who can do it much better than me anyway.

C: What are those planned magazines and why those projects have never been realised?

H: Usually the idea has been to release a magazine with a more frequent schedule so the material can be more up to date. A more subjective view in the text had also been a priority. The problem has probably been that none has been 100% dedicated to do the magazine, they have always been involved in other projects. But when I joined Triad I saw a more or less finished issue of a new magazine. I'm still waiting for that one. :)

C: How many scene parties have you visited? Which was the most impressive one?

H: After counting for a while I could think of 25 parties. LCP is probably the most impressive one, it's amazing how Autoboy alone can arrange such a cool and relaxed party. Of course the attenders mean a lot. I wish the organizers of bigger parties could understand that you can arrange a cheap party and let people drink, smoke and enjoy themselves.

C: Do you also drink a lot of alcohols at the party place? :)

H: I am a thin person who doesn't drink very often, so it doesn't take a lot to get me into that disgustingly drunken state that I'm often in at parties.

C: Have you visited any copy party outside Sweden?

H: Only X'2001 and The Party 6, I would really like to visit a party in Finland, that country is known to have the best people in the party pigging business. Swedish people are rather good at that also, but it seems like whenever someone has done something extremely disgusting at a party it has always been a Finn.

C: Well, I think we've discussed some interesting topics. Would you like to say anything more at the end of this interview?

H: I might aswell use this opportunity to send greetings to a few groups I appreciate with a wish that they will flood the scene with releases. Respect to Extend, Triad, Civitas, Wrath Designs, Focus, Plush, Dekadence, Booze Design, Resource and 64ever. Please, keep those demos coming!

C: Thank you very much for this interesting conversation.

H: Thank you, I've been waiting for years for someone to do an interview with me. :)

CACTUS/OXYRON November '2002.

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