A guy called Archmage
In my everlasting search for vital individuals, I took my spaceship and left the Milky Way to visit Andromeda, a galaxy not very far away. Inhabited only by the flower of the scene, it has become a guiding light for all mistrusting sceners that are longing for colourful experiences on which to rest their eyes.
In the earthly lives of these Andromedarians, they take shape in Norwegian youth. And though they are very hard to distinguish from the mediocre crowds, judging from the surface, they immediately stand out as soon as they express theirselves, whether they do it in form of demos or simple words.
Ad Astra Ad Infinitum, they say. But their motto is not a description of their own aims, but a piece of advice to all fans searching for the eternal truth. The Andromedarians need no legend - all their legends are already fulfiled.
The leader of the Andromedarians is Archmage, or Hakon Repstad as he calls himself in his earthly life. He has been lightning up this planet with his pure existance for 19 years, and his handsome dark hair bear witness of his wisedom and spiritual equanimity.
You're now going to meet this Archmage, and I cannot say how proud I am to present this essential young Andromedarian in my very own magazine!
After an article in a certain, known magazine, the `Stalin of the scene` decided to stand one step back and leave the organization of the infinite force over to a new guy, namely you.
Tell me Archmage, is there something wrong with this opening question?
- Yes, there is. Calling Hydra `Stalin of the scene` is in my opinion an alteration, if not pervertation, of the plain and simple truth. Hydra was the best organizer any group could ever wish for. He always did his job properly and heard everybody out! Without Hydra there could never have been an Andromeda, but that does not mean that he wielded supreme power. In Andromeda everybody has a say, and our rules about not making packdisks, not having foreign members and so on are the results of democratic treatment of these subjects.
Thus, the lies stated in our beloved diskmag, RAW, enjoy no support in reality whatsoever! The titulation he received there is nothing but a product of Lord Helmet's immature imagination. It is true, though, that Hydra has passed the job of organizing on to me. When it comes to the reasons for this, he must speak for himself. He has now decided to put more efforts into his coding, and he is still an appreciated member of the group.
As the new leader of Andromeda, you are in charge of one of the most powerful groups around. Tell me, what will Archmage do, that Hydra didn't? Will we be able to read more about your coming productions and your internal problems, or will the galactic silence be continued?
- As an organizer I will probably try to pursue much the same line of administration as that of my predecessor, Hydra. I will try to keep a good look into all our activities, and furthermore try to encourage our members into working as hard as ever. Apart from this my job will consist in making an internal update on the things happening in the group, the scene and beyond just to keep everybody informed. In time I'll also try to grab hold of some new coders in order to release more. As for our public relations, we see no point in making our internal affairs a matter of enjoyment for the public. The galactic silence will indeed continue.
Hardwired, 9 Fingers and Love are all examples of demos with new, stunning effects, that have shocked the scene. Andromeda has released a lot of nicely designed demos, but except for Nexus 7, they have never contained those revolutionizing routines. Yet, Andromeda has released more highquality demos than any other still existing group, and managed to stay alive for a very long time. Is there any main reason, or secret, behind this undeniable fact?
- Andromeda is a group which puts an emphasis on quality productions, and we try to do our best when it comes to the much (ab)used term design. Making hardhitting new effects may not be our strongest side, but we would rather make a beautiful, yet old effect than an ugly new one. Andromeda have a lot of members that favour the old school Phenomena-style instead of the new hardcore-style. This do not mean, however, that we dislike the demos by groups such as Virtual Dreams and Complex. We just have another style, that`s all. There is no particular secret behind the fact that we have been around for a long time, other than that we enjoy each other's company and that we still have a lot to show the scene.
While Razor 1911 and other seemingly strong groups tend to fall apart now and then, we have never had the opportunity to read any scandalistic gossip about Andromeda. Is it because you have managed to keep the problems inside the group, or is it just because there are no problems what so ever?
- My impression is that the members of Andromeda get along far better than members of most other groups in the scene. This may be because our members have known each other for several years, and that we actually have grown from being a small group into becoming a well-known one together. We have not permitted people to use the group as a fast train to fame and glory on which they may jump on and off as they please.
There is a relaxed atmosphere (almost too relaxed at times), and truth is, there is virtually no trouble in the group whatsoever. If this was not the case, however, we would probably not have gone about bragging about our internal problems to the diskmags, as they have a sad tendency of twisting the facts about just to get a scoop. The practice of such `Helmetjournalism` is getting more and more common even as we speak, and it scares me silly.
The closest I can get to an Andromeda crisis, is when a couple of talented members decided to leave and join Lemon. in the middle of 1993. Did this departure shake the group, or was it just a drop in the ocean?
- The departure of these members came unexpected, but I cannot say that it harmed the group much. It rather served as a healthy awakener and an encouragement to continue to work even harder to maintain our position. When Lemon. Norway was formed, the Norwegian scene got much more interesting (for a short while, that is). The only member that we truly miss is Blazer, as he's one of the very best coders in Norway ever. He has now gone off to work for the curse of the Norwegian scene, Funcom, and I doubt that he had continued to make demos even if he had continued as an Andromeda member. He is still a good friend of the group, though, and he is always welcome back.
What is your all time, favourite Andromeda demo (question asked before Nexus 7)?
- I must say that `Mind Riot` is my favourite demo of all times. I know that others think that it is a bore and lack new effects, but to me it means something very special. The thing is that the demo displays all the effects on which the Amiga-scene was based in a perfect manner. I think that the demo sums up the creative era of the A500 in just a few wellpolished minutes of demonstration. Look and learn, freshmen!
I have recently felt a stagnation in the scene, not only concerning the productions, but the friendship and the lively discussions. Nobody seems to bother about anything anymore. There are three or four groups releasing good demos, but where have all other people gone? Do you understand what I mean, or is it only I that have become paranoid?
- I know what you mean, and I agree that the scene is not what it used to be. I have been active in the scene for about five years, and in that time I have experienced a lot of ups and downs when it comes to the things you mention. There is a tendency of not blessing the scene with one's releases in between parties, and this is indeed sad. At the present there is a lack of good, productive groups. There are only three real elite groups in the scene that bother to do anything, and those are Stellar, Virtual Dreams/FLT and Complex. This stagnation is boring, but things can on the other hand only get better. I am fairly optimistic about the future of the scene. True design is not dead after all, and the most recent proof of this is the 40k-intro by Stellar called `Darkroom`. This is the most beautiful production I've seen in ages! A new breed of talented and nice people and groups are at hand. Just take a look to the east, and you'll see...
The scene has undeniably affected the lives of people that have been a part of it for a long time. It has not only enlarged their views of the world, but given them friends and experiences that would've been impossible without it. The scenefriendship is not always what I would like to call friendship, though, as it mostly concerns computerlife and not life in general. Not everybody is willing to agree with me in this matter.
Do you think that any of your current 'scenefriends' outside Norway still will be your friends in ten, or even five years? Or that even your Norwegian groupmates still will be there, when we write a '2' instead of '1' in front of the year?
- I have very few scenefriends outside Norway, and I don't know whether my contact with them will continue for ages. They will always be my friends in spirit, though. As for my groupmates I can tell you that I will stay in touch with most of them for a long time to come. Some of the Andromeda members are my very best friends in `real` life as well, and such friendship does not wither at all.
Is there anything special that keeps you active? Like seeing your names on different charts or in diskmagazines? Or is it just your artistic ambition and urge to create that keeps you putting those pixels on their right spot
- I draw to get girls and loads of easy money... Nah... The thing that keeps me going is the nice feeling of actually accomplishing something along with my friends in Andromeda. There is no better rush than hearing your work being applauded when displayed on the bigscreen. That certainly chills my spine and leaves me hungry for more! The charts do not interest me much anymore, as I realized that I can never be numero uno a long time ago. I simply do not make enough graphics to achieve a decent placement.
It's always nice to get attention, such as this, in diskmags. Diskmags tell you much more about people than charts do, and to achieve compliments in diskmags feels much better than being made into a number in a pointless chart. I certainly wish that my artistic ambitions and urge to create was bigger, as I recently have had problems with motivating myself into making good graphics. This will surely change, though, as we all have our ups an downs. I most certainly will win another Gathering!
The Amiga 1200 has obviously taken over the scene. Nowadays even the magazines demand AGA. Are you happy about this evolution, or do you think that Commodore should have included something more in their new computer
- Musicians tell me that the Amiga 1200 ought to have more than four soundchannels, but I am not very much into hardware and I simply do not know what more they could have included! I am happy about the AGA-mode as it provides much more challenge when drawing. More colours means more beautiful graphics, and the 68020 enables the coders to enter unexplored country when it comes to effects. I think the scene simply needed the 1200 to maintain it`s creative existance.
People have stated that 'the scene will probably die next year' for ages. What do you think, will it carry on until it finds a more proper scenecomputer, or will it fade away
- I honestly do not know. The doom prophecies of the scene have been around in diskmags for as long as I can remember, and I really don't read them any more. I believe that most scene-members have still got a lot to prove on the Amiga 1200 - at least we do! However, this does not imply that I am active twelve months a year. After every party there is a period of some months in which I do not bear to turn on my computer at all. I have these past few months after the party gone through such a period, but somehow there always comes a time when I feel like doing something again. I am certain that I will continue for as long as there is a scene, even though the scene of today tends to be a drag.
Writing articles about the death of the scene won't help a bit. Why moan and complain in a destructive manner when you can do something about it? More parties, less prizemoney - demos just for the fun of it! I get inspired when I see great graphics by such talents as Ra and Facet. Although I know I will never be as good as them, there is nothing wrong in dreaming. I also feel a wicked sensation when I see cool stuff such as the intro for RAW 7. The RAW intros are usually great! As for the stuff attached? Hmm. Heatbeat, I honestly hope that you will make it through your puberty complexes. Thou suckest.
Why not join the PC-scene to get some real speed
- No. How talented you are only depends on the amount of money you spend on hardware. Besides, I have better things to do than killing people with chainsaws or standing in front of the Future Crew table trembling in a sweaty state of August.
Are you interested in real art as well
- Yes I am, but I'm no expert. I enjoy the work of H.R.Giger, and I am really fascinated by some Norwegian and Danish painters. I simply love cartoons and I am quite astonished by some of the pieces you can see on your average suburbian streetcorner. I have quite a few artbooks in my bookshelf, but they are not very helpful when it comes to drawing on this wretched computer. I draw a lot by hand myself, though, but whether you can call that 'art' is another matter.
What is most fun drawing - logos or pictures - I find good logos very hard to draw, and I've not managed to come up with one that I'm totally satisfied as yet. They are the funniest to draw, though, because they are such a challenge. Pictures take a heck of a lot of time, and they require a lot more boring work like preparation of colours, perspective, motive etc. I find the colour part extremely difficult, as I am colourblind (I gather you all had that one figured out already ;) (I am impressed! TRX).
Now for the obligatory question. As a graphician, what is your opinion in the 'copy' discussion? Is it right to copy pictures and say that they're ones own, or should everybody draw their own pictures? Does a picture change originator, just because it changes medium? How does the current situation look like in Archmage's case
- I was forced to write an extensive article on this rather worn out subject in Upstream 9, so instead of repeating myself to death twice, I will recommend you to read that one. If you against all odds are interested, that is. It ought to be said, though, that I do not have any strong opinions when it comes to this. People may draw whatever the like as long as they add their own touch to the work. I do not think, however, that there are many sceners that have accomplished anything when it comes to the so called 'no copy' pictures. Ra, Facet, Fairfax and Devilstar are the only ones that have really bought my eye so far.
Is there any special scene artist that you really look up to, and could you please tell us about your dreamteam
- Ra of Sanity is certainly worth looking up to. His birdie is the best, but even more I admire his ability of making great speeches! I also enjoy the work of Uno, because he was the pioneer.
The last question, then. Will Archmage still be active in a year
- Yes! The realm will be ever expanding...
Ad Astra - Ad Infinitum!
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