JLD / Warriors of the Wasteland,
Added on February 21st, 2023 (530 views)
Hello and welcome to the interview! It's a pleasure to be able to talk to you, Johan. Please tell us something about yourself.
The pleasure is all mine. This is very exciting for me, now I'm back on the scene after a long hiatus, so let's get this started! My name is Johan Danielsson, I'm 47 years of age, and I live in a small town in the middle of Sweden called Grängesberg. This little town has a big brewery that I reckon many Swedes will know, they make beers including Norrlands Guld, Mariestads and Melleruds. I work in the IT department at the brewery and beverage firm Spendrups Bryggeri and am responsible for their network and security.
When I am not at work, my main interest is music. Once a year, my friends and I would go to a festival somewhere in Europe. It started with Sweden Rock, which we went to for about ten years in a row. After that, we wanted to see other festivals, so we went to the Download Festival in Donnington (eight times), Download Paris and most recently to Rock am Ring in Nürburg. This year, we're thinking of going to Nova Rock in Austria.
When did you get your C64 and from whom?
My brothers and I got it as a Christmas present from our parents. I think it was 1988 or 1989. We shared it at first, but they lost interest later, so I then had it all to myself.
How did you get into the scene in the first place?
Well, I remember a series of music rips called Zynapz Sonics by the demo group Zynapz. It was music ripped from various artists like Laxity, JCH, Rock and Jeroen Tel. One of the rips contained an address for Erik Sennebring (a.k.a. Grapple). I was just blown away by the cool music, so I sent him a letter and asked if I could get more. He replied and asked if I wanted to be a swapper. At the time, I had no idea what that was, but I said yes anyway.
What handle(s) did you use and how did you come up with it/them?
Unfortunately, I can't remember the first handle I used. The first one I can remember using is KLF. I was a huge fan of The KLF at the time, so I just took that as a handle. The next handle I used is one I am very ashamed of: Orgazm. What was I thinking? Well, I was 15 years old and full of testosterone, but even today, when I look at CSDb and see my previous handles, I regret that one so much. My current handle is JLD, which is just my initials (Johan Lars Danielsson).
What group(s) were/are you in? (Please include full names and the order in which you joined them)
The first real group I joined on the C64 scene must have been Warriors of the Wasteland. Before that, it was just me and my best friend Tommi (a.k.a. Re-Animator), we did some simple stuff and released it under different group names. I remember using names like Bazooka Heads, The Gathering and Spetznas. On the Amiga, we had a small group called Bad Taste, and I later joined Sator and then Rage. As of 2022, I'm serving as a musician in Finnish Gold.
What role(s) have you fulfilled (e.g. swapper, coder, artist, musician, organiser, etc.)? What attracted you to the role(s) and/or did you gravitate naturally towards the role(s)?
Musician all the way! From the first time I heard music coming from a C64, I fell in love with it. I remember copying the music to tape so I could listen to it on my Freestyle. Once I got Future Composer and could do my own tunes, I was in heaven, although when I listen to them now, I realise that most of them are crap.
In your opinion, what was the scene all about in the 1980s and 1990s?
For me, it was all about friendship and having a lot of fun. We certainly had that at the local copy-parties we arranged.
Do you have any fun stories to share with us from those days? We were after all teenagers and they do all kinds of fun/stupid/crazy stuff. :)
Once, my youngest brother attended a copy-party we had arranged, and he fell asleep on a table, so we got some sticky tape and taped him to the table.
We once arranged a party at my school's lunch room, where of course there were plates and cutlery available for anyone to use. The only problem was, we didn't want to clean them off afterwards, so we took them outside and used the plates as frisbees. The next school day, we were sent to the principal's office to explain why there were plates all over the playground behind the school.
Describe a typical day for you in front of the computer (in the 1980s/1990s).
I remember watching a lot of demos and listening to music. I would often put on a demo just to listen to the music. Naturally, I also sat down with Future Composer and tried to make some music myself.
What were your go-to programs (for programming, drawing graphics, composing music, etc.)?
Future Composer, Voicetracker and DMC.
Did you go to any copy-parties, meetings and/or trade shows? Tell us about any internal meetings your group(s) had too!
I never went to any of the bigger copy-parties, just local ones.
Who were your heroes on the scene and why?
I have so many heroes who made awesome stuff, but I want mention Sami Seppä (a.k.a. Rock). My first music program was Future Composer, and the demo tunes that came with it are so good. Sami is a true SID legend.
What, for you, was the coolest routine ever invented on the C64 (e.g. sideborder sprites, FLI, sampled sounds and effects)?
This is tricky. I have very little knowledge about who did what or not. I did like the DMC music editor when I made a comeback attempt in 1996, so I'll say that.
What were the best demos and games released in the 1980s/1990s?
I always loved Censor Design's Wonderland demos. As for games, I would have to say The Last Ninja 1 and 2.
When you look back at your time on the scene and what you created, what are you most proud of?
I must mention here that one of my SID tunes got released on vinyl. I was contacted by a guy called Jan Gleichmar (a.k.a. Disrupt) and his record label Jahtari. They had made a tune from my SID Reggae 2 and wanted to release it. The tune was called Dirty Money and was by Soom T. This was in 2009, and the EP sold well in that genre. Actually, I want to clarify something here: Jan asked me for permission to use the tune, and I said yes. Unfortunately, it still ended up on a webpage about plagiarism, because of a post I left on CSDb. That wasn't my intention, and I'm sorry about that.
How long were you active for and what caused you to leave the scene?
I want to say I was active from 1988 until 1993. In 1993, I met my beautiful wife, and my life took other turns. I had ambitions to make a comeback in 1996, but I only managed one new SID and nothing more came of it.
You returned to the scene many years later and are now active again doing demos. How did that come about, and what was it that drew you back into the scene after all?
Almost my whole life, I've been active in bandy and that has taken up a lot of my spare time. Just as the Covid pandemic started, I had quit bandy and suddenly had a lot of spare time for other things. I bought myself a new PC and started to make some music again. It was a slow start, and I struggled to come up with my own melodies, so I decided to get things going by doing a remix of a SID tune. It was so much fun that I ended up doing ten remixes. This led me to get in contact with more and more people on the scene.
By this point, my own music was starting to get better. I decided to resurrect my old band name Cybernetic Destiny and release some music that way. The first single was City of Dust, then I released an EP called The Chase. I had the idea of releasing City of Dust as a SID tune, but I didn't know how to do that, so I reached out to Rock and asked him if he was interested in helping me with that. He wanted a few days to decide. The City of Dust SID never happened, but Sami contacted me one day and wanted to do a collaborative remix of Geir Tjelta's Smile to the Sky. It was a true honour to be able to do this together with Sami, who is one of my all-time favourite SID composers. After that, we chatted on Discord quite often and developed ideas for more exciting collaborations. My interest in making my own SID music had now started to grow, so during one of our chats, I just straight up asked him what he thought of me joining Finnish Gold? His answer was: "Do some SIDs, and we'll consider it." I've now been a member of FIG since December 2022.
A little over a week ago, you ended up at third place in the music compo att Fjälldata 2023, and this was your first comeback SID. Congratulations! Please describe the feelings you felt when you found out and did it spark your interest to compose more SIDs now?
Yes, it was very unexpected. I didn't think that I had a chance amongst so many great musicians, and to end up at third place felt unreal! Actually, my intentions were not to compete; it was more an oppertunity to release my first tune for Finnish Gold. Of course I am super happy and proud that people like it and voted for me. Many thanks! My confidence got a boost to make more, so stay tuned!
In terms of tools, developing for the C64 is much easier these days. What tools are you using now?
I use Goattracker, though I'm still learning the ropes.
In your opinion, what is the scene all about today and how is it different from the 1980s/1990s?
I'm still quite new to the current scene, but people are so kind and helpful. I feel that we all want the same thing: to keep the scene alive and show what amazing stuff can be done on the C64.
What are your favourite C64 demos and games from, say, the last 10 to 15 years?
Ooh, hard question. Lifecycle by Offence is different and so well executed. It's the most cinematic C64 demo I have ever seen. I also like the latest FIG demo Artificial Intelligence. Saddens me to say, but I haven't played any games on the C64 since about 1992.
Do you still have your old machine and is it in working order? Did you, like many of us, start collecting all things C64? I suppose, what I'm really asking is: are you a hoarder? ;)
Yes, I am a hoarder, and I kept all my stuff. It's been a while since I tested any of it, but I hope that at least the disks still work.
Who are you still in touch with from the original scene? Is there anyone you still like to talk to? And have you made any new scene friends? Feel free to drop as many names as you like!
From back in the day, it's Grapple whom I chat with now and then. Rock has become like a best friend to me, we chat several times a week. Proton, Pal and Alpa, to name but a few others.
Thank you so much for answering all these questions! Before we end, do you have a message for your group pals, old contacts and/or anyone else reading this?
Yes, I have. Thanks guys so much for letting me be a part of FIG. I will do my best to contribute, and I look forward to meeting you guys IRL someday. Cheers!
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