Rambones / The Supply Team,
Added on May 1st, 2004 (7504 views)
Tell us something about yourself.
My full name is Jan Diabelez Arnt Harries. I was born in Nyborg, Denmark on January 12th 1969. Today I live on an island in Denmark called Fyn. I'm looking for a job in either IT-administration or programming, but at the moment I'm studying to become a Data Engineer. I have also studied to be a IT-assistant. My interrests are music (composing and listening), programming and ripping SID music for the High Voltage SID Collection (HVSC), a project I've been working on since 1991 (however HVSC wasn't born until 1996).
What handle(s) did you use and how did you come up with it/them?
The first handle I used was JDH (my initials) and I used it when I first got my C64 back in 1985. I then changed my name to Rambo. One day my friend Frany/TST said I was nothing but skin and bones – which I was – so he suggested a name change to Rambones and that's the handle I've used throught out my whole C64 carrer. In 1995 I came up with the acronym Nmioaon, which is based on a secret formula that tells exactly what I'm about. I've used this as my artist name since then.
What group(s) were you in?
In 1985, I wasn't in any group, I just swapped and played games. In 1986, I joined The Supply Team (TST) one or two days after the group was founded. In 1998, I decided to join Flash Inc. to compose some music, but I never actually made anything, so that kinda faded away.
What roles have you fulfilled?
I first became a swapper. I then developed my own music style using Soundmonitor by Chris Hülsbeck and Rockmonitor by the Dutch USA-Team and became a musician. A little later I started programming my own demos and I also did some graphics.
How long were you active for?
1985 to present. I was on the C64 between 1985-89, on the Amiga between 1988-96, and from 1996 to present on the PC. It's funny actually because people kept sending me disks with stuff even though I'd left the C64. The last time it happened was in 1999 and the people who sent the disks had sent it to an address found in one of my old demos. Today I'm active working on HVSC and I'm also composing music on the C64 and on the PC. I hope to release some C64 music in the future that is far better than what I did in 1986-88.
Tell us about those years and how you got into the scene in the first place.
One of my schoolmates Per was the first in my area to get a C64, and so we played a lot of games at his place, mainly Boulder Dash and Falcon Patrol. He constantly got new games but I didn't know from where. One day I held a firm grip around his throat and demanded him to let me know from where he got the games. :-) He told me he got them from a guy named Torben and the next time he went over to Torben's place, I tagged along. We played several games that evening and I in particular remember The Dambusters. Per went home as soon as he got a tape filled with games (for which he payed money), but I stayed and played games with this Torben guy. I was there half the night and it was obvious that there was some chemistry between us. I started to visit Torben on a regular basis, mainly to get more games, but Torben (TSN) was into BASIC programming and as he taught me, I got really interrested. After a while, a guy named Karsten came to TSN's place while I was there and he was also a programmer. But Karsten used machine-language and produced effects that couldn't be done in BASIC. Almost a whole year went by and our biggest coding heroes at the time were Sodan and 1001 Crew.
Karsten (Kaze) had made a stunning intro with a scroller in the upper and lower border (Kaze Demo #1), and after that, he and TSN decided they needed to start a group just like 1001 Crew. Kaze started coding Kaze Demo #2 and suddenly we had a group called The Supply Team. The demo got well-spread and we got many new contacts, like Triad from Sweden. Triad supplied us with so many new games that we got a lot of new contacts from all over Europe by just passing on the cool packs we got from them.
Kaze met a guy named Mark (Wizz) in school and he joined TST. Soon after this, Kaze and Wizz made the best demo TST ever released, It's the Best. What happened after that demo is now history. Kaze developed his side-border scroll which first was two, then three, then six, and finally seven sprites high. The effect was featured in New Limits and was released at the Danish Gold copy-party in 1988. For a period, TST was the biggest and best there was in the Danish scene – and we were proud!
I forgot to mention that I was swapping with a lot of guys from day one and in 1987, when TSN wanted to hand his contacts over to me, we had over 200 contacts all together. Swapping was a heavy burden upon me because it costed a lot of money – which was something I really didn't have.
Describe a typical day for you in front of the computer.
When I got home from high-school, I didn't do much homework. :-) Instead I saw what was in the mailbox that day and usually there were five to eight packs with disks. I went through the stuff and copied the best of it on to two disks. I sorted the files, did a little directory-art and then mailed the disks to my contacts. After dinner, I went to TSN and we swapped all the stuff we both had recieved. We then either played games or coded demos. When Kaze or Wizz also were there, we always wrote damn long scrolltexts. When it was time for the greetings list, we always argued about who to greet, in which order and so on.
One of the most exiting moments was when we linked and crunched a demo we just had finished. We literally sat there staring at the screen that said something like "crunching - xxxxx bytes remaining”. I know we waited up to four hours on some demos! After the crunching was finished, we tested the demo to make sure it worked properly. All this took too much time and I often didn't get home until one or two o'clock in the morning – and I had to go to school at six! Many times I didn't sleep at all before going to school because after getting home from TSN, I started to compose music and I programmed my own demos. As a result of this, I always slept on the bus to school and sometimes even fell asleep during class.
Did you personally invent any special techniques or tools to make things easier for you?
I maintained a principle of always ripping the music from the games I got. For this I made a series called Ripped Off #xxx and I was the first one to do this. Later on, other people did the same thing, but they stopped after making approx 20-30 rips. I made 130. In 1995, I made a universal music-player called PlaySID on the C64. It uses a text-file to store play info and credits, just like on the Amiga and PC. I first and foremost made it to be able to manage my extensive collection of ripped music better.
In the demo Hysteric I made a sprite that had different x-position at every raster-line. That was the first time I saw that effect.
When you look at what you did back then, what are you most proud of?
I'm proud of my music and scrolltexts. For me, the C64 was where I began to compose music and my scrolltexts became a mirror of who I was growing up. I'm also pleased with the fact that I swapped with so many people. That helped me to develop my tolerance and knowledge of other cultures, and that's something that never would had happened in the real world as I didn't travel that much.
Who were your heroes on the scene and why?
Wizz and Kaze because they did the first mega-demo ever (Cool as Wize) and because they're good friends. Sodan because he's Danish and a cool coder. He made Superwriter and that was just one of his many great inventions. TMC because of Game-Music #1-9. I learned to rip music by ripping from his demos. He made some nice graphics too. 1001 Crew because they made many great demos and their scrollers were especially cool.
MC of The Dutch USA Team because of his music. The Judges because of their nice demos, scrolltexts and music from Red. Banana of TEK – the best Soundmonitor composer who also did nice digi-routines with polyphonic drums (he was the first one to do that). Laxity, the best composer I knew at the time, did music directly in the assembler-source (Come on! No one does that! :-)). Jeroen Tel was maybe the best composer of all and Drax also became really good after he worked with Jeroen. He sort of beat his master.
What, for you, was the coolest thing ever invented on the C64?
The coolest thing... That's really hard to say because each year had its own highlight. But if we go back to the very beginning, 1001 Crew did ESCOS and used all the rastertime for that. Kaze/TST did a sprite-scroller that filled the whole screen plus rastercolours and music+digi (that kind of showed 1001 how it should have been done in the first place :-)). Graham/Oxyron made some new graphic-modes that were amazing! The best tools I had were probably EXDOS and Disk Maintenance.
Did you go to any copy-parties, meetings or tradeshows?
Yes, we (TST) went to some parties. The ones I remember are the Danish Circle party, the Dexion meetings in 1987-88, the Danish Gold party in 1988 and the Upfront party in 1989. I remember that some guy sprayed fart-gas in our sleeping-bags at the Dexion party and it smelled really bad! A 2000 A.D. member poured cola into someones C64 and I think it died. At the Upfront party, Blitz/2000 A.D. resetted a guys' computer while he was drawing a logo for his group. The logo was in my opinion much better than what Blitz ever could do, and I think that was the reason why he resetted the poor guys' machine. At the Dexion party, Laxity made Depressed in his Assembler and he hardly listened to it while making it. He simply knew in his head how it would sound like and kept punching in hex-numbers. At the Danish Gold party we were 100 guys in a hut made for 20. Lucky for us, DG found a nearby building that we could move to. I also met Stormshadow from The Shadows at this party. We were sort of competing who the best music ripper was.
In your opinion, what was the scene all about?
First and foremost it was about who made the best looking demos. By reading scrolltexts, you discovered there were real people behind them, and it was then that friendship got more important and swappers started sending home made disk-covers and longer letters.
What were the particular highlights for you?
Every time TST released a demo was a highlight. We worked on them quite a lot, we put our souls into the scrolltexts and we learned something new every time. Another highlight was when I inherited Wizz's disks in 1993. On them was an almost complete collection of Laxity's tunes, including the un-used ones.
Any cool stories to share with us?
Look again at the copy-parties section. Apart from that, there's one story I'd like to mention. In 1986, I got a new friend called Martin. He was very good at drawing on paper but wasn't very good with Koala Painter (I had the same problem). He pointed at a well-drawn C64 picture and asked me: "Do you think I can do that?". I said: "No, only experienced programmers can". Boy, was I wrong! Almost a year passed and we released The Fourth which had two of Martin's pictures in it. In my opinion, Martin (Hagar/TST) was the best graphics artist in 1987-88, closely followed by The Sarge/Triad.
Also, Hagar was not a coder but he wanted to learn how to rip music. I said that's impossible if you don't understand at least some code. He loaded up Eagle's Nest and said he wanted to rip the music from it. “OK, find the games' IRQ setup first”, I said. I told him what commands to use in the monitor and soon he found some $0314/$0315 stuff. Then I asked him which JSR commands that were there and if he thought that the music was mixed with the game code or if it was in the memory separately. It didn't take long until he located a particular JSR and said that it might be the music. He looked further down and found another JSR. "This JSR is close to the other, so this might be the play-address", he said. He got the music to play with my help and after that we decided how much RAM to save to get the music out in one piece. After this, he ripped a disk full of tunes on his own and I was proud, for the both of us.
Are you still in contact with any old C64 people today?
Yes, my friends from TST are all pretty close to me. My first scene-friend TSN, well, he lives three kilometres away, so I see him and his family many times a week. I see Kaze one or two times a month. Wizz lives seven kilometres away and we communicate by e-mail. Imagine if we had known in 1986 that Internet would come!?? :-) Due to my work on the High Voltage SID Collection (HVSC), I have many friends in the scene. I also frequently visit the IRC channel #c-64 and I go to the CSDb to get the new releases.
When did you get your C64 and do you still have it lying around somewhere?
I got it in 1985 and it's standing right here next to my PC. I often load new demos on it and see what new tricks the coders have come up with. I also enjoy browsing my collection of ripped music and I often stay up late listening to it. I'm also working on a new demo and I'm trying to compose some tunes for it. It's hard today actually because after being used to 32 channels, now suddenly (again) there is only three.
Was the C64 really as special as we like to think it was?
It's safe to say that it was the first computer that spawned a real demo scene. The scene was invented on the C64.
When can we expect to see some new C64 output from you? :)
In 2005 for The Supply Team's 20th anniversary? Actually, I hope to do something before that.
Do you have a message for your old contacts and/or anyone reading this?
Get all demos from The Supply Team from http://hjem.get2net.dk/nmioaon/TSTDEMOS.zip (1,3 Mb). In there you'll find the texts written by us TST boys in our teens. To know who you are, understand your roots. And finally a message to all my contacts, old and new: I'll be back!
back to the list of available interviews