Cop / USS,
Dark Science Inc.,
Added on January 9th, 2004 (8392 views)
Tell us something about yourself.
My name is Akos Varga, born in Pecs (Hungary) in 1975 where I still live. My interests? Gosh, I am open to almost everything! All in all, I did two architect degrees. I only want to use creativity and freedom to express myself. It doesn't matter what type of occupation I deal with. I work as a DJ, read books, do interviews and musical articles for a magazine, I still love doing graphics with a Wacom tablet and ink, take photos and I used to compose music.
What handle(s) did you use and how did you come up with it/them?
In 1988, I chose Cop because it was short (most high-score tables allowed only three chars :)), easy to remember and easy to write. I still love three- and five-letter words!
What group(s) were you in?
In 1987, I learned about the scene from a local guy called FRK. Just one year later I was invited to join USS, a local crew with members Trisch, Louie, Blaise and Taki. In 1989, the FBI Crew asked Trisch (code/graphics) to join and so he did but he also brought Louie (music/graphics) and me along. In January 1990 we joined Dark Science Inc. for just two months, a group originated by a mate, before we joined the upcoming Faces in March 1990. I had a great time in Faces and some of us are still friends today. After Faces quit (in 1995 I think), I was asked to join Chromance. After that I was in Atlantis a couple of months.
What roles have you fulfilled?
I saw a guy, Jeva/Muffbusters (comm+4), who was a great drawer. His pictures were the reason I started drawing on paper around 14. Later Trisch showed me some basic pixel techniques and so I became an artist in 1990. I also became a cover designer and a year later, a mega swapper.
How long were you active for?
Between 1989 and 1996. Beside that, I joined the music and the graffiti scene. :) Not to mention the Amiga scene as I was partly an outsider there.
Tell us about those years and how you got into the scene in the first place.
It was a virus. There were always more talented people or wilder solutions that made you think and work harder than ever before. It was not commercial, so we were 100 percent controlled by emotions and success. Today everything is about cash.
Describe a typical day for you in front of the computer.
In the eighties, I was just playing games. In 1987 I realised that there were groups who did those trained cracks and soon I got interested in graphics. After joining Faces, I did my swapping things every day (duplicating disks, packing, stamping), some pixel work, played games and watched tons of demos and stuff from fellow artists. I was also doing freehand graphic work almost every day with my beloved pen. This took a lot of time but I still had enough for school, mates, BMX and a lot more. Man, it's unbelievable! How did I manage my free time?
Did you personally invent any special techniques or tools to make things easier for you?
Not really, just the usual self-invented techniques that differ because they are part of a personal method. In cover design I had my own style and never copied anyone. I loved pen and colour pencil combination although only my pen drawings were spread.
When you look at what you did back then, what are you most proud of?
Hmm... I don't know, but I remember when a guy from Australia wrote me a letter going: "Hey Cop! Everyone in the scene is talking about your covers and I haven't seen one single piece! Please let's swap!". I was one of the known cover designers in the scene, although in my school there was a guy sitting beside me who was much better at drawing than me. :) That's why I never felt I was an elite guy. This diverse feeling made me practice a lot though. It was cool to get more and more contacts and to climb the cover charts. Seeing those covers today makes me smile. :)
Who were your heroes on the scene and why?
Again there's just too many to mention, but I must mention Scorpie, Morpheus, and people with an elite nick and an outstanding personality. Also Gotcha (pixel), Electric (paper) and several others for being talented. JCH, Drax and Jeroen Tel for their unbelievable music. There's too many to mention really. I always respected people like Neotec who became elite because of their normal and friendly character.
What, for you, was the coolest thing ever invented on the C64?
The FLI Graphic Editor for sure (we also had a program called Facedrawer which was awesome as well). JCH's Editor and Rockmonitor were the best music tools. Maybe also Facenoter and another note-maker I've forgotten the name of that was cool for swappers. Routine? I loved plasma, vector stuff and strange routines.
Did you go to any copy-parties, meetings or tradeshows?
Definitely! Sadly we didn't manage to take a trip abroad, but I was going to six to nine parties every year. Wicked memories!
In your opinion, what was the scene all about?
A bunch of outstanding and innovative people doing extremely wicked and legendary stuff.
What were the particular highlights for you?
There's just too many. Mentioning all good groups would take too long, so I'll just mention some of my former heroes from the cracking scene: Legend, Ikari, Talent, Paramount, Alpha Flight, Tera... and 20CC for my first shocking demo scene experiences.
Any cool stories to share with us?
I once had 140-150 contacts and I had been sending out stuff for years. One day posted 30-40 sendings at the same time with cheated stamps, and the next day I found them all in front of my door. Had the post office figured out that I was cheating? After that incident, I thought over the whole swapping business. :) We did tons of crazy things with Faces in real life. Talking about the scene brings mainly personal memories to my mind. It was fun seeing how I became so called elite and dropped the first interview live in a party for some German guys. Seeing my name in the top three cover artists charts was a thrill, always having little skill fighting with Electric/Extend for the first place. Getting sendings from Legend and Talent and others.
Are you still in contact with any old C64 people today?
I have a close friendship with some of the group founder mates. Hail to the Fantasy brothers, Clairvo, Greg, Trisch, Louie and all the others! Outside Faces, I lost all my contacts except some like Kevin/Triumwyrat (who is a good mate now on music scene) and Inside/Cadgers.
When did you get your C64 and do you still have it lying around somewhere?
In 1985, my father borrowed a C64 for me four days every month or so, and later I got my own (in 1987 I think). Of course I still own it. It's from the second series with Action Replay MKVI.
Was the C64 really as special as we like to think it was?
It was the best machine of its time and needed a lot of creativity to rock its boundaries, and this could be done by some of the very talented people who used it. So yeah, I think the whole community and generation had something special. The pioneers of new media arts, the nest of hacking and cracking, kind of new generation that lead us from BBS to FTP, Internet and so on. We had something in common and this stuck us together like glue. I love that era, with every split seconds and bits, really.
When can we expect to see some new C64 output from you? :)
Hehe, I fear never. But who knows? We'll see.
Do you have a message for your old contacts and/or anyone reading this?
Greetz to all friends from the golden era! I would like to hear your voices, so feel free to drop a mail to email@example.com. Hopefully I'll have some time in the future to upload the few hundred covers to http://cop.underground.hu. To the newcomers: Keep the spirit alive! And at last: thank you for remembering and finding me!
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