Natas / Super Swap Sweden,
Added on December 2nd, 2017 (2787 views)
Tell us something about yourself (e.g. full name, age, place and/or date of birth, where you live, your current job and/or interests, etc.).
Hi, I'm Fonzi Bolin. I was born on 11th June 1962 in Stockholm, Sweden, where I still now live and work as an actor, singer, rock karaoke host and masseur.
What handle(s) did you use and how did you come up with it/them?
My handle was Natas, it is the same as that of a graffiti painter in Toy Co, which was one of the first hip-hop crews in Sweden.
What group(s) were you in? (Please include full names and the order in which you joined them)
I started Super Swap Sweden, and when we wanted Mastermind to join us, we changed the name to Horizon.
What roles have you fulfilled (e.g. swapper, coder, artist, musician, organiser, etc.)?
I was at various times a swapper, artist and organiser.
How long were you active for?
I got my first C64 back in 1985, and left the C64 scene in 1991.
Tell us about those years and how you got into the scene in the first place.
I had friends all over the world whom I swapped with, and eventually they started asking me what group I belonged to, so I came up with the name Super Swap Sweden (SSS for short). Within a short time, SSS grew to include some awesome coders and crackers. We made a slew of ground‑breaking demos in SSS, and also went on to arrange some awesome coding/copying/cracking parties.
Describe a typical day for you in front of the computer (in the 1980s/1990s, that is).
I would go to the post office to send off a lot of disks all over Europe, to all the people I was swapping with. I was also in almost daily contact with the other members of SSS and later Horizon, and speaking to folk all over the world, trying to download the latest software for us to crack or swap. After I moved to a really big house in Norrskedika, many of our unique demos were crafted there.
When you look at what you did back then, what are you most proud of?
Once, I was sat in front of the TV, looking at it – it wasn't on, I was just staring at the Salora logo. It consisted of three diagonal stripes in red, green and blue. This got me thinking: even the TV only has three colours. I went into the room where Kjer, Zagor and Mastermind were at their computers coding, and I presented my idea: if you take two sprites and slide them over each other very quickly, you get new colours, and if you then take three sprits and slide them over each other very quickly, you get even more colours. That's how we came up with Extended Colour with Interlace (ECI).
Who were your heroes on the scene and why?
Initially, it was Eagle Soft, 1001 Crew, Ian & Mic. Later, once I'd become friends with awesome guys from all over the world, I realised that we were the heroes.
What, for you, was the coolest thing ever invented on the C64? (e.g. a tool, routine, etc.)
I'd have to say our very own ECI, which gave us 127 colours on screen at the same time.
Did you go to any copy-parties, meetings or tradeshows?
One of the first parties I went to was an event in Huddinge, Sweden. At the time, SSS was huge and at the peak of its fame, so we got to sit with the big boys. That was where I met Kjer, Zagor and Bagder, who were in Confusing Solution at the time. I was blown away by what they had done, and I convinced them to join Super Swap Sweden.
In your opinion, what was the scene all about?
It was about having fun, chasing zero-day software in order to be the first to send it off, and making incredible routines to put in demos.
What were the particular highlights for you? (e.g. favourite event, demo, etc.)
When we were at the top of our game – king of the hill, so to speak: seeing our name high on the greetings list, and being invited to parties all over the world.
Any fun stories to share with us?
At one of our own parties, I went around with Elric from Agile, looking in the other rooms, and in one room there was a bunch of tape muppets (people trading games on tape with each other). One of the guys asked me whose daddy I was; the guy next to him went pale and said: "That's Natas of Horizon". The first guy took his stuff and ran off. We at Horizon had a terrible reputation for "snaking" (whipping people with rubber snakes), so he was justifiably scared.
Are you still in contact with any old C64 people today?
I'm still in contact with a few of the guys from Horizon, Triad, Fairlight, and Censor Design. More recently, through a retro channel on Facebook, I've found a lot of friends I'd lost touch with years ago.
When did you get your C64 and do you still have it lying around somewhere?
I got my first C64 in 1985. I still have two bread bins, and I've acquired the ultimate tool: the 1541 Ultimate-II+.
Why was/is the C64 such a great machine?
The C64 had it all, as shown by the guys and girls who squeezed the shit out of that processor and made so many cool things that are still impressive to look at today. Even now, some skilled folk are making incredible new hardware for the greatest computer of them all, and there are even new games being made for the old bread bin.
When can we expect to see some new C64 output from you? :)
You never know!
Do you have a message for your old contacts and/or anyone reading this?
I miss you all so much. It was a really good time with lots of laughs and really great memories.
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