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Interview With Anonym
by Cactus/Oxyron/Padua

He's been around the scene for ages... He's been the leader & founder of one of the oldest groups in the C-64 scene... I would like you to get better with my friend and groupmate Anonym while reading this interview.

Interviewer: Cactus/Oxyron/Padua (C)
Interviewed: Anonym/Padua (A)

C: Hello Frank! How are you?

A: Fine, Pawel. How are you doing yourself?

C: Feeling great. Always wanted to ask if you'd be interested in getting interviewed in "Attitude". ;) Finally I caught you...

A: Glad I can be of service. :) I haven't been interviewed in a long time, so this might be interesting.

C: OK. How do you feel in the year 2005, being still an active C64 scener & founder of one of the oldest demo groups?

A: Well, I am not sure if I would call myself an active scener these days. We are expecting our first child to be born in March next year, and there are many things that are keeping me away from scene work these days. I would like to have more time to spend on C64 stuff, but at least I would like to spend more time on motivating our group.

C: Yes, I know that works perfectly. It's not a mystery that you're considered as one of the most valued group leaders in the scene. What's the secret for keeping your group's members motivated these days?

A: I am not sure if you are asking the right person. I think that even a small cell of active people within a group can help to keep things going. We never really had a lack of ideas within Padua, but the execution seems to be were the problem is. So where and how do you start a production and how do you make sure that it is completed. It seems more like a project management job... Once there is an idea you start with selecting the team members trying to recruit a graphic designer, musician and a coder - and now you need to make to work them together. And this is the spot were I hope that motivation kicks in and the dynamics between the team members lead to a production.

C: The latest serious demo project you were involved in seems to be "Scene News Network", released at the Role Party 2002. When could we expect another one?

A: Was it really that long ago? Very scary. Actually we have another production that was meant to be released last year and has been close to completion for a long time. I have been considering mentioning the members here that should work towards completion, but I don't think I want to mention names publicly. The problem with something that has been in the works for a while is that people might grow tired of it, and then don't feel like touching it again in order to add the finishing touch. And the more time passes the harder it gets. And it's not like there's more spare time available as you get old. Also priorities in life shift, etc. However there's one thing that I have learned over the years, and that is not to announce a production until it is released. So probably I should not have mentioned this demo at all - sorry, I got to erase the mind of all the readers now. But seriously, since this is a hobby, things take as much time as they do. And they are finished when they are finished. :) So I am hoping to be able to release some things, but I can't make any promises. I would also like to maybe get more actively involved in future productions once more - maybe even code a little. This is probably also the section of the inteview where I should thank those people within the group that have helped us remain active over the past years. So I would like to thank you, Alias Medron, LHS and Sad for keeping us going. If anyone feels left out in this list, let me know.

C: Yes, that's the very interesting fact that Padua has been around for such a long time. When founding a group, have you expected it will last so long?

A: Good question. But I think that at the beginning of something, you hardly ever think about the end. So probably not. But as long as there's something happening within the group we will stick around. I have notice though that things get harder as members are not local to each other any more. First when I moved from Berlin to Hamburg, I was not really able to meet the core group in Berlin as often. We used to have these coding sessions that often were more of a social nature, but did provide the motivation that we needed to keep going. It seems to be harder to maintain this momentum when you mainly work in a online environment and there's no real pressure from deadlines.

C: Padua was not the first demo group you've been the founder of, was it?

A: No, there were some others - but those are hardly known. I guess I also was one of the early X-Rated members, even though I was not a founding member. My force group was called TMF - The Magic Forces. And when we left X-Rated at one point we had a group called Elect, which then again became a sub-group of X-Rated and later on formed the core of Padua.

C: Looking at the CSDb we can see that Padua has got a lot of members. Do you think it's good for a scene group to have so many members? Which way of leading the group would you find better: an Onslaught-model (dozens of members, but many inactive ones) or a Booze-model (very small number of people, actively working on every new production)?

A: In the end it does not really matter who is listed as active or inactive, the productions and the social life in the group are what really matters to me. We have members that have been inactive for many many years, but some of them are still providing valueable input for new things we work on. Even within a large group one should be able to form small teams that work actively on a project. In general the risk of losing motivation seems lower in smaller teams.

C: I strongly agree with you that there's less spare time as you get old (I wouldn't imagine that when being a child). Though an interesting trend has been observed in the scene lately; people who were active in the 80's & the early 90's got disappeared someday, and now when they're settled, married and having a good job, they're coming back to the C64 activities again. Do you think it could work this way for the coming years?

A: So maybe I will have more time as my child is born and grows older, but I somehow doubt it. A lot of those people re-discovered the scene and some of them also realized that they left unfinished things behind. It's just great to see oldtimers come out with new productions nowadays. But I am not exactly sure how my future is going to play out - but I will do my best to stay involved where I can. What has helped us as a group is having small centers of activity in some part of the group. So this also might be a part of the answer to your previous question. Sometimes you need new blood in order to keep an old thing going.

C: As you've been on the scene for such a long time, you're able to more or less objectively compare all changes which occured during those years. What are the most important differences to point out from the old times in comparison to the presentday? Is there anything what you especially miss from the old days?

A: I miss the meetings and attending the parties. I truly enjoyed those events, being able to show a production to people on a big screen, seeing their reaction right in front of me. Meeting someone in person etc. As for the differences, from my perspective things have slowed down. People started have "real lifes" and spend less time on scene productions. Money plays a more important role in life, even if you'd prefer it to be different. Also from a technical point of view there seems to be less room for progress. So I miss seeing new inventions in demos, and no matter how tiring some of them were, I even miss seeing new "records". However some of the innovation today has finally moved to the "design" space and we have seen some interesting approaches. The evolution of the scene and the sceners over time is a very interesting process to watch.

C: You have just anticipated my next question. ;) So the C-64 demos evolved during all those past years, and you've been still there observing these changes from the old-school ones through the math-based demos to the conceptual products being released today. Which way of making demos do you find the most challenging? And watching what kind of demos do you now enjoy the most?

A: That is difficult to answer. I guess I asked for this one. I never really considered myself a very good coder. I ask for help with timing heavy coding and do not know too much about 3D routines. I normally go for the stuff that means a lot of work for the graphic designer, animations and stuff. And then I try to find an efficient way to translate this into code. As for watching, I enjoy things with a concept, some line that goes through the entire demo. I enjoy smooth transitions, smooth high-framed animations/3D calculations in high resolutions. I enjoy something that is original in one way or another.

C: Do you think there's a way for new demos to present something in the original way or rather we achieved the point when everything, what could have been invented, has already been invented?

A: There's always room for improvement. Not sure if there are many technical improvements left.

C: So why do you think we waste our precious time and spend long hours in front of the real (or emulated) C-64 instead of simply making money? What do you think is the inspiration for such a small community as the computer scene?

A: I don't think it is or was a waste to spend out time in front of the C-64. I would have never got into computers or the Internet, had it not been for the C-64 and the community. So by now, part of our inspiration is based on tradition. Making money is important, but your friends and hobbies are important too. One should never give up all of your hobbies for money. And while real life takes precendence over scene life from time to time, both are important components of my life. Granted family is playing an even bigger role, but all the parts of my life are important. And the lines between the parts blur from time to time. I work together with sceners on some commercial projects. Those projects used to be on the C-64, but now I am working on web projects. A lot of the sceners are my friends, and you don't just forget about friends, or the scene.

C: That's interesting... What's your job and what kind of projects are you working on?

A: I currently work as Senior Sales Engineer at Tucows - the famous Internet download website. However the largest chunk of the business is selling domain name registrations and other wholesale services, such as email, DNS, a blogging service, a website builder and digital certificates. I am still trying to get my own side-business going, which currently does a mixture of Internet Consulting and Web-Hosting.

C: You've been born and brought up in Germany, but now you live in Canada. What forced you to move permanently into the other side of our globe?

A: Nothing forced me to do so, it was by choice. My wife is Canadian and after we had been leaving in Europe for five years, we decided to move to her home country. I normally like to joke about how my 5 years in Canada are now up and how we should now move to some place warm, but I think we will be staying in this country for a bit longer.

C: While this interview is slowly coming to an end, I would like to ask you one more question... The very funny thing I've noticed on CSDb is that you were also a member of Genesis*Project as a cracker, but there were no your releases due to lack of time and low quality originals. How do you reminisce this?

A: You gave a pretty good summary already. In X-Rated and even into the beginning of Padua, I was exploring the world of cracking games. It was what originally got me into understanding a little coding. During the time, I was starting to be active on some of the BBSes in the US, mostly to upload Padua releases and to chat with friends. Somewhere along the line I was asked if I would consider coming back as a cracker, and I thought that I should be using a different handle to do so. I did get some originals from GP, but there was nothing that I could make into a quality release within the short time available. And the flow of originals had already started being rather thin at the time.

C: And now would you please give us your C-64 favourites...?

A: This is the most dreaded question, since I am soooo out of touch with the scene lately. I was hoping you would forget about this one... I might have to name several ones... While I might not be able to give any answers for some other categories... Is this an all times list, or for today's scene?

C: It's up to you to decide... You may choose, whether you would like to share us your all-time favourites or today's top sceners.

A: How about this: I will add the votes in sort of a timeline... Oldest, then the newer ones last.

Demo Groups: Abnormal, Horizon, Censor, Panoramic Designs, Crest, Booze Design.
Coder: Crossbow, HCL.
Graphician: Gotcha, Hein, Electric, Sander, Jailbird (uih, having a hard time to remember some of the names here).

I should mention that I am not naming any current Padua members in this entire list, just to be fair.

Musician: Steel, JT, Drax, Jeff, Reyn and many many more...
Cracking Group: Plutonium Crackers, Genesis*Project, Crazy.
Cracker: Snacky.
Paper Artist: Electric, Jailbird.
Mail Trader: Effy/Guardian Angels.
Disk Magazine: Mamba, Attitude (there were many others I used to read, but I hardly read any of those nowadays, sorry - can't even remember a lot of the old names).
Demonstration: this list could get very long, but I will just say that I like a lot of the demos by the groups named above and also "GraphixMania II" by Modern Arts was one of my favorites. I should also mention "Seal Of Focalor" and excellent demo by my friend Cycleburner and his friends in Megastyle.

C: Well, that's the end of this interview. If you would like to add anything else, to greet some friends or to say something to the whole community, take your chance and feel free to say anything you want...

A: Don't really have to say much other than thanks to the scene, especially to my friends in Padua - and let's see what the future brings.

C: Thank you very much for your precious time spent here and for this very interesting chat. Take care and all the best to You and Your family.

A: Thank you, Pawel!

Interview by...

On November 10, 2005.

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