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Interview With Dane
by Cactus/Oxyron

Well, I don't think Dane needs any introduction. He is surely well known C-64 scener, great composer, not bad coder and fine graphician. Let's get to know him little better.

The interview was made in October 2002, I hope it won't become to outdated after publishing it in "Attitude #5".

That's it. Nothing more to add here, I hope you'll enjoy this article and find it a little bit interesting.

Who is who: "C" - Cactus/Oxyron, "D" - Dane/Crest.

C: Hello Dane! How are you?

D: Well, to tell you the truth, I'm a bit tired today. Work is, as always, taking its toll on me. Sometimes I wish we could get paid for doing demos - what a dream job that would be!

C: True. But I hope you don't want to say that I've chosen the wrong moment for an interview?

D: Of course not! I'm ready as ever to tell you a bit about myself and what I do.

C: Could you please introduce yourself to our readers then?

D: Right now I feel like the odd man out in Crest, being the only Swede in the group, despite my handle. It's also a bit lonely to make music pretty much on my own nowadays, as I had a really great co-op going with Mitch, but I suppose that's life.

For those of your readers who don't know my background, I'm the scener who became a graphician who became a musician who started coding and became pretty hard to define. Apart from scene activities, I'm a regular guy. I work at a local school, teaching languages to teens who couldn't care less...hehe! No, seriously, I like my job, a lot!

C: Why your co-op with Mitch splitted? Do you know what is he doing nowadays?

D: Both me and Mitch sort of drifted away from the scene 2-3 years ago. We had delivered a couple of disks with music for Crest and others, and suddenly reality caught up with us both. I've managed to find some time for this favourite hobby of mine. Mitch hasn't. So, to make a long story short, it's a matter of time and priorities.

C: Have you ever had something to do with composing music before joining the C-64 community?

D: Actually, no. I took an amateur composing class a couple of years back, but that was mainly for fun. I don't read note sheets, and I have no idea what the chords I use in tunes are really called.

C: I would never expect that. When did you get your first C-64 and what was the time you started making fun with music?

D: I think I got my first C-64 back in 1988, but it wasn't unitl Twoflower introduced me to scene activities in 1992 that I grasped what could really be donw with it. I think I started playing around with music sometime in 93-94, and it was at Tribute-94 that I released my first tune ever.

C: What was your first music that could be called a successful one?

D: Oh, tough question. The first tune I released was called 'Imaginary Visions', but it wasn't really successful. At that party, Tribute-94, I met Mitch for the first time and we started swapping worktunes. One of the first tunes we worked on together was 'Most Wanted'. At TP-95, we released our first coop-tune, 'Listen and Learn'. I suppose that was the first 'successful' tune I ever made.

C: Since composing your first music, how many tunes have you made? Do you have any favourite ones?

D: I think I have released about 150 tunes. But only a half or so of my worktunes ever reach final stage, so... Where my favourites are concerned, I'd have to say that they are...

- Gloria, for the positive buzz that I get from listening to it. I actually use it as my cellphone signal too. A bit lame, I know.
- Cryogenic. This tune has one of the coolest, most laid-back beats I have ever made.
- Neurotica. I'm actually not that comfortable with the final released version of it, but the main lead still gives me chills.
- Stars In Her Eyes, for the charming melodies. It's the kind of tune you hum along to, that stays in your head for days.
- Mountain Breeze and Pools of Poison. It was just such a thrill to convert these and to finally be able to squeeze them into 3 voices. And I'm so proud over the fact that Jeroen Tel himself congratulated me on the effort!

C: What about your favourite C-64 composers? Whose tunes can be the biggest inspiration for you?

D: That's easy. The tunes I keep coming back to are all by Jeroen Tel, Drax, Scortia, Deek and Danko. Those five simply rule, combining great technical knowhow with some fantastic melodies.

C: As Pole I need to ask you: do you know/like any Polish composers?

D: Shogoon is Polish, right? I really like his stuff. Wizard has done some nice tunes as well.

C: Have you been CREST member since its beginning or have you tried membership in some other crews before?

D: No, CREST was not where I started. As Twoflower introduced me to the scene, I started swapping a bit and joined Unity. I don't know what happened to that group. I then formed Twilight together with some of the members from Orbs and Twoflower. After having released a demo and a magazine, we joined Triad. It was when I decided to drop most of my pixelling and make music instead that I joined Crest along with Mitch.

C: You have made heaps of tunes together with Mitch. I have no idea how you were composing them. How was it looking step by step?

D: Well, it differed from tune to tune. What happened normally is that I would send Mitch a disk with the worktunes I had going, and he would do the same. As we received those packages, we would just instantaneously plunder and ravage the other ones tunes for cool ideas and instruments. Very often Mitch would get new, cool ideas and take my tunes to the next level. Every so often, I would do the same to what he was working with.

For examples, 'Listen and Learn' was a worktune that I had done most of. At Mitch's place, the night before TP-95, we made the last part of it (the slow stuff) but as I was sort of tired from my trip that night I remember Mitch did most of that. As for a tune that Mitch did most of, most of the chord progressions and leads in 'Gloria' were his. But the problem with his worktune was that it was about 30 seconds. From there to the 3:00 compoversion it was my doing, adding breaks and polishing instruments.

C: How much time do you spend composing one single music?

D: That really depends. Some tunes are really fast stuff. I did 'Dazzler', the intro tune for Krestology, in 4 hours, since Crossbow had said he was in a hurry to get it. Other tunes, like 'BlackOut', which was more complicated technically, took a couple of days.

Most often, I tend to let my tunes lie around and collect dust. Every now and then I will load them and add some tracks. Working that way, it takes some time to finish a tune.

I think my record is 13 minutes or so, for the tune 'Sit in my underwear, drinking Pepsi'.

C: Do you do any music on other platforms?

D: No, I don't. I sometimes make musical sketches in XM-format, but that's about it.

C: How is CREST doing these days?

D: I don't know - you tell me? We're trying to do what we can to produce demos and stuff to keep the c64 demo scene rocking. Whether or not we're succeeding it up to the rest of the scene. I can't tell you much about future projects - I suppose that's something you'll have to stick around to see!

C: OK. How many active members of CREST are still around?

D: Ok, tough question. I'd say some people had written me off as inactive right before the summer and the release of Digital Magic. So, please, I don't want to say active or inactive about any of the members on the memberstatus - as shown in the X-Fli slideshow - because any old day we might just surprise you, not being as inactive as you'd think we would be!

C: "Digital Magic" was simply great (that's not only my opinion). How did you come with the idea for this demo?

D: Thanks! I'm glad that you and others have expressed yourselves and told me that you liked it. As I wrote in the note, I'm the kind of person who needs feedback in order to move on and create new stuff. But, unfortunately, I get mad when I read about the things that people have disliked! Maybe it's because I did so much of the work in that demo by myself. I suppose it's easier to take criticism personally then. I also have to confess it was pretty nervy releasing my first demo ever, being in the same group as superb coders like Crossbow and Graham. I knew people would expect something in Krestology quality, no matter what was on my release disk. And even though I don't feel Digital Magic is up to that kind of standard, I thought it was ok, considering it was my first real production.

To answer the rest of your question, Digital Magic wasn't really an idea or a concept to start with. I just felt a need to put out some of the stuff I'd been working on for quite some time. Iopop and Twoflower motivated me to do it in time for LCP, when we had a meeting at my place in June this summer. At that point I had nothing but a couple of finished pictures and some routines. There were no finished parts. I pretty much spent most of the summer making a demo out of it.

I suppose I could have done a better job - and I have to confess I'm annoyed watching the demo myself now, because I only see stuff I should have improved or changed, but it feels great to finally have released something, even if the end result feels a bit rushed. Maybe that's the way most coders feel. I don't know. It motivates me to do something even better, though!

C: Well, that sounds promising. I hope to see more from you in the future. Do you plan to develop yourself as a coder?

D: Yes, definitely. I have many ideas that I want to be able to pull off. I suppose everybody wants to make the perfect demo. I know I do. It just requires lots of skill and creativity. And time, of course.

I already know a couple of great coders, and I know what kind of questions I want to ask them. I just hope they'll help me out along the way!

C: Have you made any other demos excepting "Digital Magic"?

D: Hmm. I've been a part of a couple of demos, mainly as graphician/musician, and I did one of the screens in "Deus Ex Machina" (The Deus Ex logo with a plasma behind/inside it), but I've never done another demo, no.

C: Do you have any future plans concerning the C-64 activities?

D: Yes. I want to put out really great stuff. :)

C: Can you unveil some secrets?

D: They wouldn't be secrets if I could! :) No, seriously, I don't want to spoil the fun. But it involves a new take on music. And graphics. And some original code ideas.

C: OK. We're waiting for them. Do you plan to cooperate with someone in your future projects or will they be one man productions like "Digital Magic"?

D: Good question! I'd like to cooperate with people, but liked the creative freedom working with Digital Magic gave me. If I were to work with someone, it would be with someone I could communicate well with, like Iopop, or maybe HCL.

C: What's your opinion about today's C-64 scene?

D: Today's scene is too docile and inactive! Whatever happened to the nailbiting tension of competitons a couple of years ago? Why do people spend more time chatting than they do coding? I think there is great talent on today's scene, but I wish I got to see more stuff from them more often.

C: Any ideas how we could change it? What to do to make people producing wares instead of chatting?

D: I'd like to see more competitions and more cooperations! And someone please kill that #c-64 channel! :)

C: You don't like it? ;)

D: People waste their time away chatting about sweet little nothings instead of activating themselves. Fun as it is, that is the cancer which is slowly killing us.

C: How long do you think the C-64 scene will survive yet?

D: No clue whatsoever. But I'd give it at least another 5 years.

C: What's your opinion about the C-64 scene in your country? Sweden is seen as one of the strongest scene countries in the world.

D: We have a great tradition, but I don't know how active the C-64 scene in Sweden is nowadays. So many great people have faded away. Most of Sweden's active sceners were at LCP, and that wasn't a major party. That, sadly enough, says it all.

C: Parties... How many of them have you visited during your scene time? Which one was the best in your opinion?

D: I've been to a couple of parties, ten or so, I think. The best one was without a doubt TCC'93, if only for the fact that everything was brand new and larger than life. It was so fun to finally meet lots of sceners.

C: Anything special you remind about that party?

D: Censor Design. Meeting those guys and the releases they put out in the competitions.

C: This is the question I always ask when interviewing somebody: what do you think about my disk magazine "Attitude"?

D: It's oldschool and fun to read, in a Brutal Recall sort of way. Keep on improving!

C: Thanks. What's your favourite diskmag in the scene then?

D: Ever heard of the mag Arise? :) No, seriously, I don't have a favourite diskmag at the moment, but I've always been fond of Domination. Maybe it's to do with the logos from me that Jazzcat has used quite frequently...hehe! Or perhaps the intro for the next issue...

C: Being an English teacher at school, you have this advantage over other editors that you know English perfectly. Why didn't you become a well-known diskmag editor then?

D: I used to be a diskmag editor, you know. :) Well, nowadays I would never do such a thing. Work is one thing, this hobby of mine is something completely different.

C: You were mainly a demo scener. What was/is your opinion about the cracking scene?

D: I never really got into it, so I don't want to say that much about it. I suppose active crackers thought of it like a competition, just like demo sceners did.

C: Have you ever composed a soundtrack for a game?

D: No, I was approached once about it, and I actually have 2 worktunes lying around from those daya, that both only use 2 channels and no filters, to make place for cool sound effects. But nothing really happened from there.

C: If asked today by someone, would you compose a game music?

D: Positively. If I had enough time to do it, I'd definitely be interested.

C: What about playing C-64 games? Do you have any favourite titles or ain't you interested much in this topic?

D: I was a sucker for Defender of the Crown, although I could never finish it because of a stupid bug.

C: Let's say it clear... Dane's "all the time" favourites of the C-64 scene...

D: Demo Groups: Crest - I've been hooked ever since Avantgarde.
Cracking Groups: Triad. Of course.
Coders: Crossbow
Crackers: King Fisher
Graphicians: Electric
Musicians: Right now, Drax.
Swappers: I wouldn't know. I don't swap anymore.
Cover Designers: I know too little about this to vote.
Demonstrations: Elysium/Origo, The Last Reactor/React, Altered States/Taboo, Deus Ex Machina/Crest
Disk Magazines: I don't really have a favourite...other than Arise! :)

C: Well, that's it. Would you like to say something in the end of this interview?

D: I don't know. I'd like to thank the few people brave enough to still be reading it, of course. And remember to keep an eye out for new stuff from me and Crest in the future!

C: So, thank you very much for this interesting interview...

D: It's been a pleasure. Good luck with your magazine!

C: Thanks. Bye!

Interview by CACTUS/OXYRON.

Done: October 2002.

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