Angel of Death / Stage 4,
Wiseguy Industries 2015 Inc.,
The Subversive Elements
Added on September 22nd, 2007 (9895 views)
Tell us something about yourself.
Here goes... Name: Anton van Deurzen. Born: 27-08-1973 in Hoogvliet, The Netherlands. Residence: Hoogvliet/Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Job: Industrial and maritime electrical technician. Interests: Music and computers and all sorts of combinations of the two. Marital status: Single, but pretty much in love with iT-m.
What handle(s) did you use and how did you come up with it/them?
I could quote myself from the Remix64 interview but, then again, I won't. When we (The Beast and I) got our C64 back in August '84, there was no need for nicks and handles because we didn't have any contacts as such back then. (You were happy if you had one tape with cracked games.) A year or so later, we made a demo in which I used the handle Maniac (probably after the German Heavy Metal band). Later on in 1985, we made an anti-demo against someone and for that occasion I thought up the handle Demolition (after the WWF team), and somehow that stuck. I was a member of The Car with it, and when we got around a bit, I found out that a lot of other people used the same name. Problem. So one evening The Beast and I sat down with some Heavy Metal record sleeves (yes, vinyl, yes), and actually the very first track on the very first album we looked at was Angel of Death (from Reign in Blood by Slayer). That's the (simple) story, and I have been called this ever since. The odd spelling of the three letter version of my handle is an ascii rendition of the graffiti tag I used in the skool-daze.
What group(s) were you in?
In 1985, The Beast and I made one demo under the name Stage 4. The Car was actually founded in 1985 but I became a member in 1986, and the group officially never dissolved. The Car later joined The Artworx that included some German folks and the subgroups Madness and HCS 5005. I co-founded Wiseguy Industries 2015 Inc. (1987-) and the group never officially dissolved. The name Subversive Elements which can be seen in The Hobbits has very little to do with the C64. It is the name of the music group consisting of The Beast, Tron (who made the original version of the song) and me. See my interview on remix64.com for further information.
What roles have you fulfilled?
In those days everyone did everything. You had no regular coder, graphician or musician. Someone made a routine, a logo, a font, and from there it started. Music was ripped from games and such. I for one was someone who did everything, but there was a time when drawing fonts and doing scrolls were my speciality.
How long were you active for?
As you could read above, The Beast and I started fiddling around in 1985. Serious programming started in 1986 when teaming up with Mr. Mad. In 1989, and a few cracks and a nice set of demos later, Mr. Mad decided that it was time for him to go into the big wide world. And when Bone (our spreader) decided to make the big leap across the great puddle to The Wanderer Group, the WGI-well pretty much dried up. I personally never stopped mucking about on my doorstopper. I got myself the task of archiving all The Car, WGI and Mr. Mad stuff. For my own enjoyment, I did some fine cracks of games that never was properly cracked. It was as late as 1999 that I got my first PC (with Winamp being the first application and CCS64 the second) and I retired my C64. Wiseguy Industries did a rather spectacular comeback in 2006 at the x2006 party in Holland and we are already planning something for the next one. You can almost say we are active again.
Tell us about those years and how you got into the scene in the first place.
I got into the scene by meeting Mr. Mad. He was ambitious and it didn't take him long to get a lot of contacts. Being a lot younger than the rest, I wasn't really allowed the all-nighters yet and so I did most of my work when the others were out or sleeping. It's not that it's all a blur, but it's hard to put a time-stamp on the vast amount of loose memories I have of that time. It sounds silly, but that little computer was the pivot on which all our youths turned. It was our way of having fun, our hobby – and as a lot of people found out – the key to the future. I can't say I did some really special on the C64, but I am happy with the fact that I was one of the thousands of people that build the scene.
Describe a typical day for you in front of the computer.
I was the one, I think, who took school a bit more seriously than others. So I went to school, stayed awake, and did my homework, and consequently passed all my exams succesfully in one go. But when I got home, I too played my games, ripped music, and made stuff. I watched a lot of movies too, and of course, the most work was done on the weekends. But working on my own and not being that good, even the simplest of routines could take me up to a day to get working like I wanted it to. Production was low. I know it sounds blasphemous, but I have always been more of a party guy. I was always more interested in getting together to party than getting together to do C64 stuff.
Did you personally invent any special techniques or tools to make things easier for you?
That was not really necessary. Mr. Mad had programmed a few nice routines and found a few good applications to work with. He also made a very good cruncher-combo that could pack almost anything. I did start with a scroll-editor once based on the Starion-editor, but it never got finished. As I said, I was and am more of the partying type.
When you look at what you did back then, what are you most proud of?
Being lazy and unambitious I never did much worth mentioning on the machine. But, then again, as I said earlier, there was a time that scrolls and fonts were my specialty. I developed some nice slender scroll routines which took less resources than conventional ones. At one time, I did make the longest swing ever that was 256 chars long. I could have made it longer, but it would have been unfit for the demo it was made for. In the same demo appears a 19 line high DYCP which only takes 240 bytes including tables. So I guess staying out of trouble all my life and most of my friends still liking me for who I am should be the thing I am proud of. However, keeping my original machine, diskdrive and monitor in one piece could also be seen as an achievement.
Who were your heroes on the scene and why?
At the time, blissfully ignorant of the different techniques, I thought every game that worked for more than 80 percent was cool and every new effect was amazing. But later on, contemplating, some things were more amazing than others. I admired Sodan because he programmed an entire game being an amateur, as I would call him (and, ofcourse, Datastorm on the Amiga was an amazing feat). He also made a cool demo called Blocks Free. ABC because they were f@cking famous in Holland and because they made the ABC Tape Turbo. And then Triad and Mr. Z for the great cracks. But it was The Judges that I admired the most. New slick routines, arrogant and funny, well written scrolltexts and, above all, flawless, unorthodox programming.
What, for you, was the coolest thing ever invented on the C64?
Perhaps it sounds like a cliche, but it must be the opening of the side-border. Not because of the open border itself, but because it showed people that with a little timing and a lot of patience, the VIC-chip could be fooled into doing almost anything including FLI and a lot of other effects with unpronouncible acronyms.
Did you go to any copy-parties, meetings or tradeshows?
Not really, no. I read a lot of reports in diskmags and such, and went to Venlo only once, so there isn't really anything I could tell you about that. About x2006, however...
In your opinion, what was the scene all about?
Doing stuff together, creating something that looked and ran better than what other groups made. Operating on the edge of the law by copying cracked games or cracking one yourself, or by blatantly breaking the law by phone phreaking and so on. And all of this with a medium and hardware your parents didn't understand jack bollocks off! That was just great! (I'm really trying to keep up with technology and terminology nowadays in case of having children myself.)
What were the particular highlights for you?
Finishing something. That was always a highlight. Starting a demo or a crack was easy, but actually getting to the point that the packer had finished writing to disk and it all started up and worked OK. Those were the happy moments no matter where or when.
Any cool stories to share with us?
There's a lot of good memories lying around. There's for example the case of the WGI demo, Swing Crazy. The demo was programmed in about three weeks by Mr. Mad and me but not finished until two months or so later when The Beast finally submitted the graphics. I remember it took Mr. Mad just two or three hours to completely finish it after that. Then there was WHTDAAOL, which is just a nice demo in itself, but it has the most curious name (the meaning has been a closely guarded secret within WGI ever since its' release). And lots more, but I have to drink some Bacardi/Cokes to remember and tell those stories.
Are you still in contact with any old C64 people today?
I actually know more C64 sceners now than I did back then. I still see the WGI guys and The Car guys regularly. And through the remix scene, I see a lot of other people.
When did you get your C64 and do you still have it lying around somewhere?
I had to share my first C64 with my brother and that one is not around anymore. In 1985, I got my own and that one still lives.I had a connector resoldered and the SID chip replaced, but that's it. All the stuff is stored in boxes in a storage room.
Was the C64 really as special as we like to think it was?
Somehow I think it was. When you look at it from a technical point of view, it was just a bunch of third party stuff held together by some timer chips and somehow it never got out of the experimental stage. Every damn timer and pointer was in RAM enabling you to control the little bugger on a cycle level. But then again, it's probably a Playstation-like story. There was a rumour that there were a lot of games and products for the machine which boosted sales, and the rising sales persuaded games companies to produce a lot of games. And when it was known that it was easy to play copied games, the machine really took off.
When can we expect to see some new C64 output from you? :)
Doing more stuff with remixes nowadays, but the success with The Hobbit tune at x2006 inspired me to get something going for x2008.
Do you have a message for your old contacts and/or anyone reading this?
Get together. Join the fun and waste some time just like the in old days.
back to the list of available interviews