Subway / Core,
Added on February 15th, 2006 (6851 views)
Tell us something about yourself.
My name is Chris Martin and I am currently 31 years old. I was born in Erlangen/Germany on 23.06.1974 and currently reside in Nürnberg/Germany (only about 25 km away from my birthplace). I work in small print shop near Erlangen, where I am in charge of all the computer shit (I guess one could call me system- and network-administrator, but looking at my monthly paycheque I am definitely not paid as one ;)). However, my interests haven't really changed over all these years... I am still a heavy computer nerd, I do love Open Source and my several Linux/BSD boxes here in my room. When I don't sit in front of a box, I rock out with my band, the Beef Barons.
What handle(s) did you use and how did you come up with it/them?
Oh man, I've had some handles in my life. I think I started out with the handle Mortal Slammer, which I came up with because I loved to slam-dance at punk rock concerts, and I guess the Mortal part was just added because I liked the word for some reason... Hahaha! I pretty quickly got rid of that handle and changed it to Away, which was also the handle of Michel Langevin, drummer of the Canadian space-metal-band Voivod which I was a big fan of back in those days. After a few years, I changed my handle again, this time to Subway. This was definitely inspired by my first London trip, constantly listening to the song Subway to Venus from the Red Hot Chili Peppers on my Walkman.
What group(s) were you in?
Core, Radius, and Pulsar.
What roles have you fulfilled?
In Core I pretty much did everything, but that group was lame as hell anyways, so skip that. In Radius, I was in charge of swapping and some graphics. And in the German off-shoot of Pulsar, I was in charge of swapping, did some graphics and I the editor of Condom, a mag I did with Rough/Success. I also did some small minor cracks for Pulsar, but I think that doesn't really make me a cracker. ;)
How long were you active for?
From around 1988 to 1993.
Tell us about those years and how you got into the scene in the first place.
Just like everybody else around that time, I loved to play games on my C64. What was different to most of my buddies at school was that I was always more interested in the cool crack-intro rather than the game itself. I read every scrolltext because they were so funny and cool in a way. However, I eventually got in touch with some people at school who were just about as crazy as me, and one guy even had a modem. I was more over at his place than at home in front of my own machine. We started responding to ads we had found in computer magazines and later started sending disks with stuff to certain traders from more or less well known groups. We eventually had enough contacts to also get access to certain BBS's, which was cool in one way because now we were able to get 0-2 days releases. For some reason, our parents didn't like it as much as we did because our phone bills did rise to extraordinary heights. So, we had a problem there, but it was solved pretty quickly by getting hold of a working Bluebox-program. It was much easier... and errrr... free. ;)
Describe a typical day for you in front of the computer.
I got up, I grabbed the approximately 50 envelopes filled with disks with the latest releases, and then went to school. After school, I went to the post office to send those envelopes on their way to the most exotic places in Europe, I picked up all the disks that arrived the day before, got lots of ten cent stamps from the stamp machine, and then went home. I fired up the computer, checked out the stuff on the new disks. I compiled the next sending with stuff from the disks I received or stuff downloaded from some BBS. I faked and prepared stamps and envelopes for next day's sending. I copied around 50 disks with two 1541 floppy drives, put them in the prepared envelopes, and finally went to bed.
Did you personally invent any special techniques or tools to make things easier for you?
No, not really. I perfected stamp-faking to fit my own needs, but I surely didn't invent it.
When you look at what you did back then, what are you most proud of?
Dude, I cannot even explain why I did the stuff I did back then! But I guess what drove me back then was the fact that I was a part of a subculture that didn't accept any technical given boundaries. If people would have believed the manufacturer, this holy machine that is the C64, would have been dead a long time ago. The scene kept the spirit of this machine alive, always coming up with new routines, new ideas, making the impossible possible. I am proud of being part of that entire community even though I never broke any records myself and just helped spreading the stuff around.
Who were your heroes on the scene and why?
I didn't really have any heroes back then. If I would have to drop any names though, I would say Fairlight and Triad because they were already around when I started, and they are true C64 legends in my eyes. I also appreciate Snacky/G*P's work, but I guess that is mainly due to the fact that he lived only a few kilometres away from my place. He always had something like a local hero bonus attached to him. We swapped but never met... crazy, isn't it? I also really appreciate the work of Crest and Black Mail. What they squeezed out of that little 8-bitter was just amazing! Not to forget: the tunes from Reyn Ouwehand. Some of them will stick in my head forever, and I guess that is a good sign of a quality song.
What, for you, was the coolest thing ever invented on the C64?
Who am I to judge? Well, I think the coolest thing was when somebody managed to let the borders disappear and let sprites fly around in this area. I am not a coder so I cannot judge whether this is hard to do or not, but because of the fact that the manufacturer said something like that would be next to impossible, I knew there were lots of potential the scene and the C64.
Did you go to any copy-parties, meetings or tradeshows?
No, unfortunately I never made it to Venlo. The only party I ever showed up at was the Success/Dominators Party in 1991 in Papenburg/Germany.
In your opinion, what was the scene all about?
To me, it was my playground. I considered most of my contacts my play-pals, even though I didn't manage to meet that many of them in real life.
What were the particular highlights for you?
What pops into my mind spontaneously is the So-Phisticated 3 demo from Black Mail, Red Hot Chili Pepper from Crest, and The Last Ninja which was one of the few games I played all the way through.
Any cool stories to share with us?
Well, dunno if this is considered a 'cool' story, but a funny thing happened when Rough/Success and me showed up at the before mentioned Success/Dominators-Party. Before we showed up, we decided to fool the organisers there by introducing us as Polish Cracking Group named Parados and gave ourselves really lame sounding handles like Dr. Basic and such. And what more can I say... We showed up and introduced ourselves speaking with this heavy Eastern accent. The organisers started to sweat as they didn't have any Polish group on their invitation list. After a few minutes, I burst out in laughter because I couldn't hold back no more. ;)
Are you still in contact with any old C64 people today?
Not really. I made an attempt to contact Rough/Success a few years ago, and we exchanged some mails and swapped contact info, but never made contact after that since he is not a big chatter and I am not a big phone fan. The only C64 person I am in touch with is Tranziie/Triad who tracked me down thru ICQ this morning and who also sent me the questions for this interview. ;)
When did you get your C64 and do you still have it lying around somewhere?
I think I bought my C64 around 1986 after one year of saving money for it. I remember my cousin introduced me to it in 1984 and since my dad was always somewhat anti-technology, we made the deal: I would save as much money as I could for one year, and he would pay the rest. After a year, I didn't need his financial help and I was finally able to buy my first computer in early 1986. And yes, I still have the good old grey breadbin in my basement. Haven't fired it up in years, but all the stuff and disks are still there in a huge bag.
Was the C64 really as special as we like to think it was?
Oh, yes, it was. If you ask me, the C64 had soul! Some might say early MAC's and PC's had soul too, but frankly it is not the same kind of soul the C64 had.
When can we expect to see some new C64 output from you? :)
Holy cow... not anytime soon. But I got my VICE emulator installed on my workstation so I can check out the new stuff you guys do. Keep up the work if you wanna make an old man happy. ;)
Do you have a message for your old contacts and/or anyone reading this?
Guys, why didn't we manage to prevent Bill Gates to happen? *g* No, seriously... I'd like to greet all my old contacts from back then. I hope life treated you all good in them past 15 years we haven't been in touch. And if any of you creeps should feel like it... I am always down for a nice chit chat about the good old days. Peace out!
back to the list of available interviews