Danko / Shadi Software, Science 451, Sphinx, Agile, Phenomena, Censor Design
Added on July 24th, 2004 (14348 views)

Tell us something about yourself.
My name is Tomas Danko. I'm 30 years old and I was born in Stockholm, Sweden, on the 16th of September. I live and work here running my own music store and studio. When I'm not busting the asses of my staff, I enjoy sleeping, drinking beer or mucking about with music. It's always nice to cook a great meal or working out at the gym.

What handle(s) did you use and how did you come up with it/them?
Initially I used the handle Gaunt, but eventually settled on my last name, Danko. I decided to use my real name instead of an handle since I wasn't really doing anything illegal anyway.

What group(s) were you in?
Shadi Software, Science 451, Sphinx, Agile, Fairlight, Phenomena, and Censor Design.

What roles have you fulfilled?
I was mainly a musician, even though I did the odd coding, graphics and running a BBS.

How long were you active for?
It's all a bit hazy nowadays, but probably from 1984 or so to 1993.

Tell us about those years and how you got into the scene in the first place.
If you get into computing on Commodore computers you eventually end up in the scene one way or another. I was lucky enough to meet talented people and I surrounded myself with their creativity. As with life, one thing leads to another, and the next thing you know - you're among some of the best doing their thing together with you.

Describe a typical day for you in front of the computer.
It was always the same old logging on to BBS's, ploughing through the latest disks I copied from friends with games and demos, listening to all that cool music, and then have a stab at trying to make something myself.

Did you personally invent any special techniques or tools to make things easier for you?
I started out by programming music in Basic, later moving on to Machine Language and then Assembler. Eventually I got in touch with talented coders doing music editors and players, and I teamed up to help out with the design as well as using them for composing. Other than that, either I dabbled about in the editor or wrote something on the piano first and implemented it later.

When you look at what you did back then, what are you most proud of?
I believe I managed to make a handful of nice songs every now and then. Other than that, what makes me the most proud, is the fact that I was a little part of pioneering what we today call multimedia. Always be proud of your C64 heritage!

Who were your heroes on the scene and why?
Being a musician it was the usual suspects of course; Martin Galway, Rob Hubbard, David Whittaker and the likes. Neighbor Zoltan with his pyjama intro screen had to be an act of heroism too, of course.

What, for you, was the coolest thing ever invented on the C64?
The coolest thing was invented FOR the C64, by a guy named Bob Yannes: The 6581 SID-chip.

Did you go to any copy-parties, meetings or tradeshows?
Oh yes, a lot of them!

In your opinion, what was the scene all about?
It was about pushing the boundaries within the C64, showing off your creativity and share it all with people doing the same thing.

What were the particular highlights for you?
There are too many to mention I'd say. The Party in Aars was cool, as was the Horizon Easter parties in Eskilstuna, VĂ„rby and in Huddinge. I recall Dutch Breeze by Black Mail being an eye opener, as well as The Judges demos and the first 1001 Crew border letters. I also feel the Wonderland series by Censor Design somehow put out a mark of it's own, though I was involved in some of that myself.

Any cool stories to share with us?
Many, but then again I would have to kill you afterwards. :) Karl XII's expanding foot at the Eskilstuna party springs to mind. Burning down a huge furniture warehouse during a Censor meeting, barfing on the fitted carpets at The Party in Aars. Even more so, Gleric barfing through the open window of the car while we drove real fast down to the party. Stuff like that. And then the entire ordeal with the secret police, NASA Jet Propulsion Institute of Marshall and VISA. We had lots of fun back then.

Are you still in contact with any old C64 people today?
Several of them are still my best friends, others I speak to over the Internet every now and then.

When did you get your C64 and do you still have it lying around somewhere?
I have a bunch of C64's in various conditions disassembled in pieces in the basement. I have a working one, borrowed from Ratpoison of Noise, laying in a wardrobe here too. I don't remember when I first got the C64, but it was about the first year it came out or one year later.

Was the C64 really as special as we like to think it was?
It sure was, but furthermore, the scene that developed around it was more special than any computer.

When can we expect to see some new C64 output from you? :)
I don't think you ever will. However, I do tend to incorporate it in small projects by singing about it in bad German language or using the sounds from the 6581 SID-chip. I've also been using it visually in music videos, and will most definitely keep doing that in any upcoming future video that may be produced.

Do you have a message for your old contacts and/or anyone reading this?
Jawohl mein baby, pudelschlacht!

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