Metal / Zone 7,
The Atomic Freaks,
World Wide Expressive,
Added on July 13th, 2007 (5579 views)
Tell us something about yourself.
My full name is Torben Korgaard Hansen, although I'm more commonly known as Torben Hansen. I'm currently 34 years of age, born in Farsoe, Denmark (northern Jutland) on the 1st of september 1972. I was raised in a small town called Astrup. Today I reside in Ikast, Denmark (middle Jutland) where I work as a Section Manager of Maps and Geodata in the municipal government office (Ikast-Brande Kommune). I have a Master of Science degree in development and planning (charted surveyor) from University of Aalborg (I graduated in 1997). I have a wife and two kids.
What handle(s) did you use and how did you come up with it/them?
My very first handle was Wizzbone. I came up with that name after seeing the Beverly Hills Cop 2 movie. Very original. I can't really remember for how long I had it, but I think it was until sometime in 1988 when I changed to Timelock, which I got from a comic book (Splint & Co). Again quite original. Not long after that (still in 1988 as I remember it), I changed my handle to Metal, and the brilliant idea for this handle came from the fact that I at the time listened to a lot of heavy metal. In fact, my nickname in school was 'heavy (metal)' although I was quite skinny. I even wore a vest with Iron Maiden, AC/DC, and Slayer markers. An awful thing, really. I lost interest in heavy metal music not long after getting into making music myself, but somehow the handle stuck with me, and because people knew me as Metal, it didn't feel right to change it. Today it gets a bit confusing though as a lot of the friend requests I get on Myspace are from heavy metal (or worse) fans/artists, and it pisses me off because they don't even bother to check what I'm about before requesting friendship. Oh well, the troubles of the rich and famous. Hmm... except I'm not rich... or famous. Darn!
What group(s) were you in?
It all began with Zone 7 back in 1987. Zone 7 was almost like a school project as all members were attending the same school. Zone 7 was founded by my good friend Tiger, and he let me in when he thought I could do some useful coding (LDA, STA, that sort of thing). I'm not sure I remember exactly why, but we put Zone 7 to rest in 1988 and formed Deadline 4884 instead. Only difference was a couple of extra members. Then came the split where Tiger went to Noise and the rest of us joined The Atomic Freaks which soon evolved into U2.
Being bored with the life as a lamer, I started swapping and found a good friend in The Dark Jugde of World Wide Expressive (WWE). That kickstarted a long-time relationship, and we've had a lot of fun projects going on and off over the years. The amazing thing is that we've never actually met in person, which is a damn shame. Anyway, being the single Danish member of WWE was a bit boring, and I missed some of those chats I used to have with fellow Danes, so I looked for something different. During my time in WWE, I got in contact with Trap/Abnormal. I remembered him from his Razor Express days, and was a huge fan of his demos. I had begun to make some music that was actually interesting to listen to, and it was decided that I should join Abnormal. However, Trap, that doublecrosser ;) left Abnormal just months after I joined, and that left me as the only Danish member of Abnormal. Bummer. Anyway, HBH/Abnormal was a great chap and I felt OK even though they ditched the one and only demo I made for them – and I don't blame them. It was utter crap.
After the 2000 AD party in Esbjerg in 1989, Abnormal died, and I decided to concentrate on my music making instead of fooling around trying to be a coder. I had known Drax for a couple of years already since I knew his big brother Pet (from the Zone 7 days), and he had evolved into a capable musician. Since this was the dawn of the composer group era (with MoN, 20CC, FAME, and even The Vibrants), we decided to form our own called Unitech Designs. I coded some 2-3 music demos, all containing Drax's music. Then Drax got the offer from JCH to join The Vibrants. I got an offer from Drake/Contex to join their Danish division, which I at the time thought was a major step upwards. I met the Contex guys at the Trilogy/Upfront/Dominators party in Randers in 1989, and it was great fun. I met a lot of cool people at that party!
My time with Contex didn't do me much good. The demo guys ignored me completely, using only 20CC tracks and even Flex's own music. The end of things came when I had mailed a five track music demo to Flex who said it was below Contex standard. Ouch! It pissed me off, and I looked for something different – and wouldn't you know – good old Trap had recently skipped his Success membership and had re-created Bonzai.
Bonzai was a very special experience. Great people, great atmosphere, great meetings, and most important, we kicked some serious demo ass at that time. All good things end, and Bonzai died in 1991. Me, Zonix and Scortia had formed a little music group while we were still in Bonzai called Sacred Noise. We did absolutely nothing under that label and it was discarded shortly after Bonzai died.
After the demise of Bonzai, I joined Flash Inc. I can't really remember when exactly that I moved on and joined Camelot. All I remember is meeting Morpheus and Unifier of the Flash'ers at The Party in 1991, but I was hanging with the Camelot'ers, and ended up drunk as hell (thanks to Glasnost the powerboozer!). I almost ended up in a fight with some Amiga guy at a pub, but that's a different story. ;)
I more or less dropped my activities on the C64 in 1992 as I got a PC, and I had lots of work to take care of, both with university and a certain game me and Drax worked on for almost a year (Lollypop). It was also in 1992 that I joined The Vibrants by the way.
The years 1993-96 was a blend of many groups. I was in Regina for a short while, Avantgarde and even Crest. I haven't really been active since 1996, even though I've released the odd tune every second or third year.
What roles have you fulfilled?
I started out as a coder but found it was more fun to compose music. I've always enjoyed drawing, so I've done some graphics as well, but mostly in the early years. And finally, I've done some small-scale swapping with an exclusive bunch of people.
How long were you active for?
I was really active between 1987-92. After that, it's been on and off. I did something in 1993, 1995, 1996, 2000-2004... Very on and off when I think about it. I've been on IRC #c-64 since 1996, if that's being active. I was active in the PC scene for a great many years as well.
Tell us about those years and how you got into the scene in the first place.
One of my friends at school, Tiger, was the one that introduced me to the scene. It all started when we had a talk about swapping games. We then started talking about his group Zone 7, and he showed me some demos. I had seen these crack-intros in front of the games I played, but Tiger filled in the blanks with the info he had about the scene (which he had gotten from Drax's older brother Pet). Tiger also taught me some Assembler code, and soon after, I joined his group Zone 7. The first years, 1987-89, were kind of learning years. It was an exciting period of "lameness", playing around, trying different things, trying to establish a name, and trying to get some contacts to add to that ever-so-important list of greetings. And also, I'll never forget the fun I had together with Drax trying to keep up with his fast evolving talent. It was an impossible task, but a fun one none the less – and inspiring too! The later years were also a lot of fun, the Bonzai days in particular. We had a blast!
Describe a typical day for you in front of the computer.
I wasn't that much into swapping so I wasn't spending all my spare time checking new stuff, copying disks and all that. It was only about once every week that I would copy disks and send out packages. But ofcoz, in the 80's, I would rush home from school to check the mailbox for any incoming sendings. If there was a package there, I would spend an hour or so checking out the stuff. If I wasn't at soccer practice in the evening, I would be visiting Drax or Tiger. The early 90's were more concentrated on making music, boozing and dating girls. ;)
Did you personally invent any special techniques or tools to make things easier for you?
I never created a single byte in any self-developed tool. JCH provided me with the tools I needed to get the job done. Special techniques, well, I of course had my own way of composing. Whether it's special or not, is not up to me to decide. It was just my way of doing things. It wasn't all that different from what Drax did, which basically was playing around with a keyboard, coming up with chords and ideas that way. Drax always had more things in his head where as I had to hear it before knowing if it would rock or not. I had a crappy Hohner synth in the beginning which wasn't a huge inspiration to play, but when I got a Korg X3 synthesizer in 1995, I felt it was much easier to come up with ideas.
When you look at what you did back then, what are you most proud of?
I'm most proud of the tunes I did for Bonzai, no doubt about that. I'm also proud that I managed to make a name of myself, which was kinda what it was all about in the first place. It also makes me proud to experience that a lot of people remembers my work even today.
Who were your heroes on the scene and why?
There were a lot of scene heroes back in those days. I especially looked up to JCH, Laxity, Johannes Bjerregaard, Jeroen Tel, Charles Deenen, Tim Follin and of course Drax. I also admired the groups Upfront and Bones. They were very nice chaps! Actually, joining Upfront on the Amiga was a bit of a climax for me, as was joining The Vibrants.
What, for you, was the coolest thing ever invented on the C64?
JCH's NewPlayer system was and still is THE tool for me on the C64. There were lots of things developed which set new standards for the C64, and the Think Twice series spring to mind as one of the coolest things from the early years. I also remember a demo by Super Swap Sweden, but I can't recall the name. It had a 3D model of a space shuttle which was very impressive at the time. There were loads of other cool things invented on the C64, although I don't think digi-tunes was one of them.
Did you go to any copy-parties, meetings or tradeshows?
Yes, I was at the 2000 AD party in 1989, the DOM/Trilogy/Upfront X-mas party in 1989, Dexion X-mas in 1990, The Party 1991 and 1992. Then there were the legendary Bonzai meetings of which I especially remember the meeting at THA's place in 1990, and the one at Scortia's mom's place in 1991. Oh, dear...
In your opinion, what was the scene all about?
The 3 F's: friends, fun and fame.
What were the particular highlights for you?
The Party 1991 was the best party I went to. I met a lot of good friends there. Joining Upfront in 1990 on the Amiga was also a highlight, and of course, teaming up with The Vibrants was something special. The release of the Bonzai demo Crackle 'n' Cocio was a highlight as it was the first really good demo that featured my music. I think that was the main reason I got in to the music charts.
Any cool stories to share with us?
Cool stories? I have a most lousy memory, and lots of the old tales are lost in distant clouds of vapored braincells. Anyway, I remember one odd thing that happened. It was one night back in 1991 when I got a call, at 2:00 AM on a weekday, from a German member of X-Ray (as far as I remember). The guy was pretty stoned and he had a friend with him in the background, who I can't remember if he was in X-Ray too or if he was scene-related at all. There was also this girlfriend or something who didn't speak English. Anyway, this guy from X-Ray wanted to interview me. I mean, he was drunk as hell, but he wanted to do this interview sooo bad! We did the interview, and it was quite funny because he kept messing up the questions and he wanted to know sexual details about me and my girlfriend at the time. The girl in the background couldn't understand what all the giggling was about. However, I never saw this interview published anywhere. It would've been fun to read it. :)
Are you still in contact with any old C64 people today?
Yes. I talk regulary to Drax, Laxity, Jeff, MSK and lately even JCH, who has resurfaced. ;) I also chat a bit with the guys still hanging out on #c-64. I recently regained contact with my old friend Tiger, even though these reaquitances seem to tend to dry out pretty fast because we live completely different lives now.
When did you get your C64 and do you still have it lying around somewhere?
I have it stored in the attic with two 1541's, but it's not that functional anymore. I had hoped to salvage the contents of my disk collection, but I fear that's lost as well. Last time I had it turned on, my last known-to-be-working 1541 drive totally fucked up two of my old work disks. Since then, I dare not touch it.
Was the C64 really as special as we like to think it was?
Yeah, definately. There were other scenes at the time but none as big as the C64 one. It was massive during the late 80's and the early 90's. And who would've thought the C64 scene would outlive the PC scene. ;)
When can we expect to see some new C64 output from you? :)
Can't promise anything. Only time will show if I get the itch again. But it's happened before, so...
Do you have a message for your old contacts and/or anyone reading this?
It was nice to be a part of the C64 scene, especially at it's peak, which for me was between 1990-91. And of course, I would like to thank all the people I knew and still know from those years. For those of you interested in knowing what The Vibrants is about these days, you should visit www.vibrants.dk and listen to the releases, both past and present.
back to the list of available interviews