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The Trio Speaks
by Taper/Triad


Three groups with a distinct Swedish presence celebrate their 30th anniversaries during 2016 - TRIAD, Genesis Project and Software of Sweden. Two were formed in Sweden, while G*P has been led by high-profile members from Sweden during most if it's existence. We gathered the present organizers, Taper, Hedning and Ron, for a chat about both past and future.

Back in 1986 when your groups first saw the light of day, Ron was the only one of you guys directly involved in the birth of his team.

Ron: From the very beginning Sal was the only member. At that same time period I was programming machinecode (Z80) on the ZX Spectrum. The main reason for programming the Spectrum was to be able to transfer my original games to disc. It wasn't until I had played Uridium on the c64 that I just knew I had to have one of those lovely Commodore computers myself. After I bought my first C64 Sal and I became SoS.

At first I focused on finding and ripping the music from games and demos. Later on when we learned to code we used the ripped music in our early projects. The first projects were coded in a mix of ML and Basic. At first my handle was not Ron, I used my real first name, Ronny. But as I always used 'RON' as highscore name in various arcade games that I was playing a lot, it felt natural to swap out Ronny for Ron as handle. Sal also always used SAL as highscore name, but I never found out what the 'S' in Sal was all about.

Taper: As we all know, TRIAD was founded back in 1986 by The Arrow, Fred, Skydive, Ixion, Lucifer, RND and Mr. Z. Early on, Ixion took the leading role which we today would refer to as main-organizer. I didn't even have a C64 in 1986, I got mine in 1987 with a datasette and had to wait another year to pick up a second hand diskdrive. Needless to say, I was an utter lamer back then, exchanging Turbo 250 tapes with the other kids in school.

So, what I know about the birth of TRIAD I found out later, by talking with those who were involved. During the years I talked with Arrow, Ixion and Lucifer from time to time. I also inherited a lot of material from Jerry when he passed away. Among the documents are some handwritten letters from early members. That helps to paint the picture, but to be honest I think my co-organizer bepp has an even better picture of the TRIAD history than I have, despite him not being a member for as long. He is a natural archaeologist.

Hedning: I was only 7 or 8 at the time Genesis Project was founded, and I got my first computer, a C64, in the summer of 1986. Datasette first, and later an Oceanic disk drive. Just like my classmates we did trade turbo tape cassettes on the school yard, and my first memories of intros and demos are from 1987. I never saw any G*P releases back then, having mostly Swedish and Danish cracks and demos at that time.

I heard about Genesis Project later on (I believe I saw some G*P demos or intros in 1989 or so), and the story about how it was formed was handed down to me long after that, by Sixx and Jucke in 2010 when I joined the group. It's the same story Antichrist himself published in Recollection #1: G*P was founded in late 1985 or early 1986 in Aachen, West-Germany by The Nauseating Timelord (TNT), later Antichrist, together with his friends The Nasty Ounk and Catman. The first releases found are from 1986, so we count that as a start year for the group.

The first Scandinavians in the group were Danish (Alf and Spike) who joined in 1988, and it was that year G*P started to recruit even more talents, adding Snacky and more to the mixture, making G*P one of the more successful cracking groups in the world.

By building up and running the G*P internal archives, and preserving releases, I might be one of the members in G*P that knows most of the old and new G*P history, even if I hear a lot of new fascinating stories every time I chat with Jucke, Newscopy or Antichrist.

So, how did you end up in your respective groups to start with?

Hedning: I was active in the C64 scene a bit back in the 80ies, organizing some smaller copy-parties, swapping a bit, but due to my age I was mostly a lame ass; it was first when I got my Atari ST my life became completely absorbed by demos and the scene. Also when I got a PC in 1994 or so it was all about demos, then real life took over: studies at the university, girlfriends and so on. The C64 was always with me though. I had it hooked up somewhere in my apartment - I remember it was used in the corridor where I studied at a university to have IK+ tournaments in the late 90ies.

I got my first daughter in 2009, and by some reason I went back to my roots, and started to collect C64 hardware and started to experiment with pixels, making some graphics and joined the scene again. I wanted to go to a C64 copy party, and I ended up going to the first Datastorm in 2010, where I met Sixx, who rebooted Genesis Project in 2009 after some chats with Antichrist. Sixx asked me to join in the summer of 2010, right after TRIAD turned me down. I wanted to join TRIAD at first because Bepp, a good friend of mine, just joined them. When Sixx asked me to join G*P I immediately joined, happy as a child.

Ron: Sal and I knew each other a couple of years before we founded SoS together. We exchanged games and demos and we were amazed by the cool crack intros and demos. In fact we were so inspired by those crack intros and games that we decided to learn how to code. For me the most interesting thing was how to make games, but I didn't know how so we started with intros and demos.

Taper: I came in contact with Jerry in the early 90's. We ended up exchanging letters and disks, but over time it became more than just swapping. We talked on the phone from time to time, I bought an Aprotek modem from him and started to call out - first to the Swedish boards like The Studio, The Highway (where I ended up co-sysop together with Jucke and Homeboy, since Joyride wasn't much active on the C64 anymore), Warez Aqurium, Future Zone, and pretty soon also to international boards.

If I remember correctly I was first asked by Tao to join TRIAD and to take a few selected members of Delta with me. However, at that time Delta was conducting talks with the Norwegians in Unlight (formerly known as Digital Designs) about a possible merger, so we declined - although it was not easy to say no to the most legendary group in Sweden.

The merger with Unlight was completed and Ambient was born in 1995. We had quite big plans for the future. So, when TRIAD approached me for the second time, I still declined. However, things were not working out as expected in Ambient. We were a good bunch of sceners, but things moved slowly. And so, when Jerry picked up the phone and asked me for the third time, I couldn't hide my enthusiasm for TRIAD any longer, and thus I ended up joining together with two thirds of the other Ambient members.

What were your initial jobs in your groups at the time of joining?

Hedning: When Sixx asked me to join G*P I joined as a graphician, and to be honest that is not my main talent. When I joined, I took X-Jammer with me as musician, and about the time Zyron and Mermaid joined G*P, I quickly understood what I was good at: organizing and supplying originals.

Ron: I have been a programmer from the start but could also do some graphics. Since we had no graphic artists and musicians in our group, we were trying to do everything ourselves. It was my role to find new members and it went slowly as I was very shy at the time. But I got great help with this as one of my contacts was Yankee (Mitch). He joined us and started to call around to the guys that he knew! Suddenly more coders and graphic artists wanted to join SoS.

Taper: I joined as a swapper and trader, but I'd like to think that Jerry saw some organizing potential in me as well. After all, I had been the driving force in both Delta and Ambient, mostly working in tandem with Quorthon (who was one of the other members also recruited by TRIAD). Quite soon my jobs expanded to original supply, public relations, phreaking and other things that needed to be handled.

Organizing is a skill sometimes underrated, did the role come natural to you?

Taper: As said, I did organizing work in Delta and Ambient, and even if these groups were small and never made it to the top I kind of realised I did an OK job considering the circumstances. While in TRIAD I gradually grew into it, picking up tips and tricks from Jerry, until he retired from daily duty and passed the day to day chores over to me.

Ron: The role as organizer was something I gradually grew into because most of the members kept in touch with each other through me. Later on in the golden age of the Amiga my role as organizer was challenged by another member that wanted to throw me over. This ripped SoS apart and ended up with half of the members leaving with their new leader. I was not sad when his group died after only a short while because of him being a terrible leader.

Hedning: Yes. My main interests are archiving, sorting, planning and organizing, so I quickly became a co-organizer in G*P, and when Sixx decided to go inactive, I became the main organizer. It took a trip to Gothenburg though, talking things through with Sixx. We still call eachother from time to time, and I also have talks with Newscopy and Antichrist.

TRIAD has been putting out releases for 30 years straight without missing a single year. Genesis Project stopped releasing in a regular fashion after 1995 and put out less than a handfull of goods before their insanely powerful return in 2010. Software of Sweden was active for just over two years (until mid 1988) and then fell into insomnia before Ron resurrected the group in 2011. Comments?

Taper: There is no denying that we in TRIAD are proud of the fact that we managed to keep going through both good and bad times for all these years. It has definitely not always been easy, though. From TRIAD history I know the hardship that occurred when Ixion left the scene, before Jerry took over. Luckily, 801DC stepped in and kept the group alive.

During my own time in the group, 1998 and 1999 were tough, but we managed to keep going. During those years many groups were put to sleep and lots of sceners handed in their uniforms. TRIAD survived - and together with other stubborn people made sure that the C64 scene survived too.

Hedning: The core C64 department of G*P was indeed declared dead in 1995. The strong name was tempting to steal though, and a British scener tried to steal the brand for a while in 95-96. At the same time G*P was somewhat active in the PC scene through Snacky, and some Amiga stuff also exist. Also Jucke as well as Widdy made sporadic releases during the years, and they never left G*P.

The sleeping mode ended in 2009 when Sixx wanted the group rebooted when he started to plan for Datastorm together with MagerValp. Sixx did most things right when recruiting and the mixture of talented coders, musicians and graphicians showed off in demo land. But it was the mix of me, Zyron and L.A.Style that really got things moving when it came to the amount of releases: It was really fun to try to beat Onslaught (there were no other top competitors when we started to release cracks again) in the beginning, and the more cracks we put out, the more desperate they became.

The result was a LOT of cracks in 2011-2012, which I believe was the reason F4CG+ATL was revived and Laxity got inspired again. So in a way we are proud to have revived the C64 cracking scene. Today we are more players than in many years, and just check the first release lists to see how active the C64 scene is after our reboot, compared to the years 2005-2010.

Ron: Software of Sweden have been active through the years but not always on the C64 Scene. We all left the C64 for the Amiga. A quick search on the internet will reveal many old and goldies from SoS during this time period. When I suddenly found love, SoS was not prio number one anymore and the group was left on their own devices. Beast finally pulled me back into programming the Amiga and PC because he wanted to learn. There are many Amiga and PC games from this period. I returned to the c64 scene in 2011! I blame Hedning for this!!! ;)

Historically, your three groups have had different focus. TRIAD is known for quality cracks and demos, G*P firstreleases and Propaganda magazine, and Software of Sweden for smaller demos and after the comeback also developing games. What shaped the focus of your group?

Ron: Demos and Intros always inspired us. The challenge of learning how to control and push the hardware to master many of the effects seen in demos is the real driving force. Maybe our old school games are not the most advanced ones out there but we are trying to create the feeling of 'just one more time', that many more advanced games lack. When we get good feedback on our projects, if it's a game or intro or demo does not matter, this positive energy goes right into the next project.

Hedning: Europe's no.1. Our cocky slogan was a goal, and that goal was focused on the first release cracking scene. Demos was something some of the members enjoyed doing, but it was and is always the first release scene that shaped the identity of the group. Cool intros, fast delivery of goods, and the adrenaline pumping. Quality cracks, or Jewel versions, were put out by Snacky back in the days, and that brand still stands for quality, and was taken over by other groups.

Antichrist was not always easy to handle, but he was a genius when it came to PR and, heh, Propaganda. Do I have to remind you about Sex 'n Crime? Our main focus today is still first releases, it always was, and will always be. But demos, music and graphics are also delivered. Maybe not huge two disk side Booze Design stuff, but we have a very friendly, creative and nice atmosphere in the group, which forms the demos we make today - humour, creativity and so on.

As people know we also try to revive Propaganda, but as it turned out it was hard as hell, and quite time consuming, to edit the magazine in the old C64 editor, so we are working on a new one. When that one is ready we will once more make the no.1. diskmag.

Taper: Hard for me to say, but during the reign of Jerry he always stressed that demos are art and as important culturally as a painting, statue or a movie. As for games, Jerry had his favourites - but he was hardly a gamer. To him the value of a game was largely decided by how well it was cracked. Personally I like gaming a whole lot, but still the quality of a crack is the most important aspect for me as well. Not to mention a witty scroll text...

Perhaps you could say that the focus of TRIAD is cracks and demos, but to me we are one of the very strongest all-round groups on the scene. We don't restrict ourselves to this or that. Releasing diskmags, tools, music and graphics is as important as demos and cracks. We do it all - and quite frankly it would be boring to just focus on some limited areas.

What has been the key ingredient in the success of your groups?

Taper: Without doubt the collective force of our individual members! TRIAD consists of talented sceners who has come to realize that working together is more fun and rewarding, and that we can achieve more as a team than on our own.

Sometimes I get the question who I believe has been the most important TRIAD member for the last 30 years. Well, quite frankly and with the deepest respect and love for the founders, Jerry and other past members - the most important TRIAD members are the ones who are presently active in the group. The day we start to think otherwise is the day it's time for us to retire the group.

Ron: The explanation that our group lives on is that we try to vary us and not just focusing on safe bets. Why have a lot of rules that must be followed when they usually limit the individual's creativity. We are a group that have fun together with many crazy ideas! I take the opportunity to thank all the current members and former members for everything that we helped each other to create during these 30 years.

Hedning: Pleasure before pressure; our members do stuff for G*P because they think it's fun. There is no whip involved these days. G*P consists of small islands of connected people that work together when they like to. Redcrab and H Macaroni is one example, Zyron, L.A.Style and hedning another; Mermaid and Shadow tend to enjoy eachother's talents, and so on. The musicians and graphicians are very productive and deliver stuff quickly when they see that something is being coded. I see myself as a gardener rather than a leader, and G*P is growing organically. We all seems to like it that way.

Please share some defining or important happenings for you personally during your years in the scene?

Taper: There are so many, it's hard to even begin. Quite some years prior to joining TRIAD, I bought a modem from Jerry (as I mentioned before). He imported and sold them without profit so people like myself could afford them, being just a kid in school without income.

I've never been into cars. Never understood the fuzz, don't like to drive and to this day still don't own a car. But once an older co-worker questioned me why. He just couldn't understand my disinterest. He told me about when he turned 18 and landed his driver license. Then he could take his little car anywhere, anytime and discover new places. Suddenly I understood what he meant. That car meant freedom to him. Just like that first modem was freedom for me. Being able to exchange files and communicate with sceners all around the globe - that was amazing in its own right.

Tribute 94 was another of those moments. Before that I had only visited smaller parties and meetings. Now I got to meet a lot of non-Swedish sceners as well. And last but of course not least, joining TRIAD!

Ron: My most important happenings have nothing to do with c64. That's when we got the contract on our very first DOS games (Bubble Pop) for PC. Unfortunately, the game was marketed poorly and sales were low.

Hedning: Back in the days my scene life was defined by finding other nerd friends, forming my first ever C64 group: PAD, in 1988, taking the handle Mr.Marvel. I was Mr.Marvel for quite a long time, way up to when I got a PC. A nice memory was organizing a copy party at school, and one of my idols showed up: Atari scener Troed of SYNC. It was like having Bruce Springsteen walk in to your teenage anonymous garage band to jam a little with you.

Of course joining G*P defined my nowadays scene life, and I am very grateful Sixx invited me. Also both Datastorm 2010 and X'2010 was very important for me. I met so many nice and interesting people - and got many new great friends. After visiting these parties I knew I wanted to go 100% C64 scene. The scene started with the C64, and I believe it will end with it. And I want to be there to the end.

So, now it has been 30 years - what is the plan for the future?

Hedning: I see no reason to stop - the C64 scene is one of the strongest holds in the whole scene, and G*P still has as much energy as ever. We enjoy working together, and it seems the flow of new games to crack, and the never ending flow of old unknown games discovered, refuse to stop. Also our creative members don't seem to run out of ideas. Just look at the amazing creativity - check all our small productions, music and demos. Running G*P is what I do as a hobby - plus preserving scene material, and I really, really enjoy it. I feel I need to quote our musician Brandon Walsh: G*P for life! We are a family.

Ron: If SoS exists yet another 30 years is difficult to predict. In 30 years I'm 80 years old and who knows if I still walk this earth. If not I promise I will come back from the other side and haunt you all at the 60 year anniversary!!!

Taper: We still have that sparkle in the eye, so we'll do our best to keep on going well into the future! Personally I have quite limited time on my hands these days, but I can't see myself leaving the scene. I would probably bore to death if I did... where else can you get some drama from time to time...? Not to mention the amazing comradery! The current active members as well as Sailor (who to our delight keeps coming out of retirement) are like family to me!

So, King Fisher, Cash, Twoflower, Tao, iopop, ne7, dalezy, bepp, Romppainen, Lynx, Houbba, Icon, Abaddon, Vent, Ilesj, DJ Gruby, Nith, Moloch and MtnBuffalo - let's see if we can do another 30 years, shall we?!

With those words we conclude this chapter and extend a special birthday greeting to TRIAD, Genesis Project and Software of Sweden. May you live forever!

TAPER/TRIAD

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