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Interview With Jazzcat
by Cactus/Samar

Is this a person that needs any introduction? I don't think so... Jazzcat/Onslaught/Demonix is so famous person in the scene that I couldn't say anything new about him. Let's check what he can tell us about himself. :)

C: Cactus/Samar

J: Jazzcat/Onslaught/Demonix

C: Hello David!

J: Hello Cactus and greetings to the readers.

C: Thank you very much for your approval to this interview. At first tell us something about yourself.

J: Well I am 27 years of age and work as a consultant in Australia's largest telephone/Internet company. Outside of work I enjoy listening to hard music such as Dimmu Borgir, Cradle Of Filth and My Dying Bride. I also enjoy watching movies and going hunting with a group of local friends. These days in the scene I am one of the founding leaders of Onslaught and I am co-editor of "Vandalism News" and main editor of "Domination". Other jobs I do are original supplying (for game cracks) and collecting disk magazines and old unreleased games.

C: Nice to hear that there are still wise people on this world, who listen to the good music, not those techno and pop craps. Cradle Of Filth is also very popular here in Poland. Do you have any favourite songs of them?

J: Yes, I do have a lot of favourites. "Queen Of Winter, Throned", "Dusk And Her Embrace" and "Dreams Of Wolves And Snow". I own every LP, EP, VHS and DVD they have ever produced. Also have two autographed DVDs of their "Heavy Left-Handed And Candid". Eagerly awaiting their new 2 CD release which is a live album.

C: What about your favourite movies?

J: Too many to name here really, but some that come to mind, in no order: "Scarface", "The Godfather 1&2", "Ninja Scroll", "The Storm Riders", all Bruce lee films, all Jet li films, all Jackie Chan films, "ReAnimator", "Silence Of The lambs", "Hannibal", "My Sweet Satan", "lord Of The Rings - Fellowship Of The Ring", "Hellraiser 1&2", "Texas Chainsaw Massacre 1,2&3". Plus many many more... I have around 600 or more movies now. Mostly originals, but also copied and CD-Rom versions too.

C: How do you get old unreleased games? And what do you think about the new games on the C-64, which are being made nowadays?

J: A lot of e-mails. :) Generally I look at all the previews of games, the ones unfinished, who did them, then it is a matter of contacting them. Also chasing up on rumoured games that were in the making just before the commercial scene of the United Kingdom died out in 1991/92. I think it is a shame that some full and unfinished titles just gather dust, no one will ever get to see them!

I am proud I try and do something about this. I have supplied well over 200 "first releases" in my time, maybe more. So quite a few bits of software. :)

C: How did you get your first C-64 and when did you enter the scene?

J: In the mid-1980s I pestered my Father to buy me a Commodore 64 with tape drive. Back then it cost quite a bit, but eventually he got one for me and I started collecting and playing games, all day and every day this is what I would do. After laming around for some years I entered the HackPhreak scene and then discovered the underground C-64 scene, this happened between 1988 and

C: Why did you choose "Jazzcat" as your handle?

J: As a young person I was still into playing with toys, I loved the "Transformer" toys, one of which was called Jazzcat, so I chose that name as it sounded nice (I do like cats and jazz is also pleasant, hehe).

C: What was your C-64 scene career like? In how many groups have you been and what jobs did you try?

J: My entry to the scene was quite easy. I already had skills that other people in the scene had. Such as getting first release originals, hacking&phreaking and a lust for writing C-64 articles. I had my own local group at the time, it was called CPG and had members such as shades and grize (both coders) and we did some demos and rips and mainly collected games. In 1991 I got in contact with some local guys like Vengeance/The Force and helped him with "Vandalism News" (around issue eight). Shortly after this the group Bodycount was formed and I joined up with them. We released several demos, collections, disk magazines and cracks. This was a really good period of my scene life, as there were hardly any wars during my early years, but these were to come. I was doing graphics here and there, mainly logos and now and then some full screen pictures. One guy tried to rag on me and I released a disk note with logo called "He's Pissed Off" - this was my first "C-64" scene argument, I basically bashed him to a pulp.

After Bodycount started losing its appeal, all of the main members joined up with the old European group called Rebels. We helped with intros, their magazine "Newspress" and a demo called "Fear". After a while we lost interest there and most of the Australian members started their own group called Shazam. I joined Shazam under a fake handle as first release original supplier.

As I mentioned earlier, I was heavily in the Hack&Phreak scene for many years and had made quite a name for myself there. In the old days we used the American partylines as an easy way to have a conference. During one of these conferences I was chatting with Skinhead and Marc of AlphaFlight 1970 and they asked me to join their crew, so I did. I delivered quite a few "codes" for the group, first releases and "ragging" support for their wars. The most memorable war was the one between us and Hysteric (later to become Red Sector Inc). I was frequently arguing with CountZero, HOK and several others. I was even banned from one of their BBS'es called Forplay (at the time CountZero had a short temper and couldn't handle a little bit of old fashioned fun :)). AlphaFlight and RSI were the top two groups in the first release scene, but AlphaFlight kept fucking things up, not level packing their games, not NTSC fixing them and many other lame acts. So we lost to RSI on many accounts. So eventually I got sick of AlphaFlight and their inability and around this time I got a phone call first from Westbam and then from Powerplant, they wanted me to join legend. legend was one of my favourite groups of all time, so I decided to leave AFL and join up with "The Will Of God". Around this time a new group was born called Avantgarde, the leader Deff called me and asked me to join them but I declined because I wanted to be in legend more. This made him mad, and so the legend/AVT war started. Firstly they hacked into our BBS called The Shaolin Temple and buffered the private sub and released it as a file to the scene called "legend lies" (which you can download of the ftp sites), so we concentrated on stealing their games and first releasing them, one in particular really pissed them off, it was called "Firefox". They retaliated by making a "Fuck You legend" screen at the start of their intros. After months of war, it all eventually died down, and the other legend members such as PWP, Westbam, Atmos, Rebel, XXX etc. left the C-64 to go to the Amiga and PC. I remained in legend for a bit longer and traded with the USA importing/fixing group called TSM (The Shaolin Monastery). I did one more release under the legend lable to annoy my old lamer "friends" in AlphaFlight. This game was called "Mystery". Man, did it cause some arguments. AlphaFlight claimed it was a re-crack, when in fact the version I released was a pre-release that they had not even modified. AlphaFlight could only comeback with some 100% version that had nothing new in it and didn't receive points at all.

Things were getting boring once again, so I rang up Vengeance/Success and asked him how his group was going. He was also bored, so we both decided to start a new group, this group was Onslaught. After discussing some things we created a conference and called in Majesty/Talent and he was very excited about the idea. So the three of us planned for some weeks on getting members in, organizing intros, cracks and a few other things and launched the group in early 1995. Onslaught competed hard in first releasing games and in 1995 and 1996 made the top two groups releasing new games. This annoyed the older groups like Avantgarde, AlphaFlight, F4CG and Success. So many wars were created and we fought them all. As before with the fuck legend intro, they did an "Onslaught" intro for all their releases to try and insult us. We just kept releasing and kept dominating the market, eventually Avantgarde collapsed, AlphaFlight turned into nothing and died off (their last release was a game called "Direct Death Preview", ironic or what?) and Success slowed down their machines as well. As the years have passed our group has matured more and more and we have managed to do some really nice things on this machine.

I performed the following duties for the groups I have been in:

CPG - leader, graphician

BODYCOUNT - editor, megaswapper, graphician, original supplier, cover artist, modem trader, hack/phreaker

SHAZAM - under the handle THRAIN I was original supplier

REBELS - original supplier, megaswapper, cover artist, modem trader, hack/phreaker

ALPHAFLIGHT - original supplier, megaswapper, cover artist, modem trader, hack/phreaker

LEGEND - original supplier, hack/phreaker, modem trader, megaswapper, editor

ONSLAUGHT - founder, leader, editor, original supplier, hack/phreaker, modem trader, BBS sysop

C: What do you think about current C-64 scene form? What about its future?

J: As most know, it is dying and it is always dying. Just like a child that is just born, it is dying straight away as no one can control age. Nothing lives forever.

The scene has a long time left in it yet, what is the most sad thing is the lack of releases in-between the parties. These days people have to wait until the big events arrive before they can look at new demos, gfx and msx. This is very sad.

But on a more positive note, there are a lot of die-hard fans out there and together we can all keep our wonderful community alive for some years yet. The important thing we need to try and do is to attract new people into our scene and also reactivate some old sleeping sceners.

C: Here in Poland we can be somehow proud, because there are still new people joining our scene. Are there any newcomers in your country?

J: Not really, which is a great shame. Vengeance and myself always try and re-activate any old Australian C-64 sceners. Unfortunately, our people here are too busy on the lousy "wanna-be" scenes.

C: How did it all start with "Domination"? When founding the magazine, have you ever thought that it will become one of the best disk magazines?

J: "Domination" was started in 1993/1994. I had always wanted to do my own disk magazine, as the disk magazine concept was one I favoured very highly. During my time in legend, Skater and I were talking on reviving the "Shock" magazine, we did a lot of work on "Shock Unplugged" (a paper edition), but unfortunately real life took all of Skater's time. legend asked if "Domination" would be under their lable, I told them it was best it remained independent. After the first issue of "Domination" I received a lot of good reactions, so I continued and here I am today, the 17th edition in the works. It was not my initial aim to become the world's best magazine, but I am proud to say that it easily competed with the best magazines at what I consider the peak of C-64 diskmags (1995/1996). It managed to compete with "The Pulse", "Vandalism", "Relax" and "Skyhigh". The difference between "Domination" and the aforementioned magazines was that I was on the only editor and they all had multiple editors working for them. So basically a lot of effort was required. Something I am quite proud of.

C: How much work does it take for you to create an issue of your disk magazine? What are the main problems and reasons of delaying the release?

J: It takes a good few weeks of typing. Most of the issues of "Domination" and "Vandalism News" contain a huge amount of text. A good example is the two months work on "Vandalism News #32" (three disk sides backed) and then two months later "Vandalism News #33" was released with another three disk sides of text.

Sometimes this huge size can cause the delay of the magazine. But generally it is assembling the exclusive musics, chapters from people outside Wrath and Onslaught and the intro sequences. Other times we have to delay on purpose in order to produce quality output.

C: What are your plans for the future?

J: To continue with Onslaught, albeit in a more legal direction such as demos and collections. Also I am concentrating more on our group magazine "Vandalism News" than "Domination", but both will still arrive to shock their audiences. I am working on a disk magazine archive which will contain the largest collection of scene disk magazines ever assembled by anyone. It should be online later this year. Other projects are several big games, and I mean "BIIIG" titles. I cannot mention the names for certain reasons, but I am hoping to gain an extra programmer or two and a graphician to help with these special projects. If I were to mention the titles here it would cause hysteria in the scene, this is no joke.

There are other things I am organising too, such as the music collections "Speed" and "Past&Present 2" - these should turn some heads also.

C: And what do you think about "Attitude"? What do you think our magazine needs to become better?

J: "Attitude" is the best new magazine to come out in quite a few years. It has a lot of potential and is really starting to pick up some momentum. To improve any magazine, the best thing is to create a different type of chapter, try and do something that has never been done in disk magazines before, if this succeeds then you will gain a lot of interest and respect. Another thing I find lacking in every disk magazine ever produced is a consistent publication of coding, graphic and music tutorials. These are needed so we can pass on our skills to the newer sceners, so they can learn, so they can compete with us. The scene is about fun and competition. The disk magazine can act as an axis of both these fundamentals. "The More The Merrier" is a phrase I enjoy. Bring on the competition, try make your productions stand tall above the rest, throw out a challenge and get some action flowing!

C: Thank you for your advices. let's hope that one day we'll become as good as your "Domination". :)

J: It is good to pay close attention to the magazines people have loved the most in the past - see what made them a success and then follow the example. But as mentioned earlier, originality is another key issue. All disk magazines have room for improvement, even the best ones, we must continue improving for the sake of the scene and for our own pride.

C: Did Onslaught was always a solo group or have you ever been in cooperation with another crew? If so, what was the reason of cooperating?

J: We started off as a solo group, we eventually had a full cooperation with a new group based in Germany called Hardcore. Unfortunately, this cooperation split after around 4 months as the leadership of Onslaught discovered that the Hardcore members were trying to steal away our members into their crew and then divorce the cooperation afterwards!

C: What was the reason of unfair treating of Onslaught in "Propaganda #19"? Can you describe and explain those facts from today's retrospective view?

J: We were the new kid on the block at the time. Our group was young and there was a high intake of members to build the group up to a highly competitive level. In getting our name known in the cracking circles, we competed aggressively with the other cracking groups and some people attacked back. This whole spectacle was viewed by "Propaganda" as being a "scene soap opera", when in fact all we were doing was creating headlines.

Another thing to keep in mind is that magazines were sometimes used in the wrong way back then, as a weapon to attack enemies. A good example of this was the "Relax" magazine in its later editions.

C: What are your current favourites on the C-64 in following categorries...

Demo Group: Crest, Triad, Civitas, Booze Design
Cracking Group: Triad
Coder: Graham/Oxyron
Cracker: GRG/Nostalgia
Graphician: Dane/Crest, Mermaid/Crest, Joe/Wrath, Clone/Wrath
Musician: GRG/Shape/Onslaught/Blues Muz, Dane/Crest
Swapper: Derbyshire Ram/Remember
Cover Designer: Junkie/Extend, Mermaid/Creators/Crest
Demonstration: Royal Arte 100%/Booze Design
Disk Magazine: "The Beergarden" and "Attitude"

C: Is there anything you'd like to tell our readers? Maybe to greet some friends?

J: Well, a greets list would be quite long. But I would like to say special salutes to the fellow members of my groups Onslaught and Demonix. Also to all the other sceners who collaborate with me in friendship, projects and notorious activities. :)

C: Thank you very much for this nice and interesting interview.

J: A pleasure, look forward to the release of "Attitude". Long live the C-64! Keep the faith!

This interview was made in July 2002 by...


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