Interview with Razorback

    by NdK (July 2000)

    One of my favourite groups in the Amiga demo scene is Tulou - I like Tulou demo's so much because they are so incredibly thematic and Tulou really knows how to create the correct atmosphere for their themes. Their demo's Pusherman, Life? and Mortality are among my favourites. So you can imagine I was pretty happy when Razorback, a Tulou graphician, agreed to do an email interview with the GFXZone. His dark graphics are responsible for a large part of the atmosphere of the Tulou demo's and his pictures always make chills run down my spine...

    Can you give us a description of yourself and your current situation?

    My real name is Kristoffer Frisk and I was born in 1978. I live in a small town in northern Sweden called Harnosand. I have two sisters, one older, and one younger than myself (I've got two parents too... :) At the moment I live in a small student room in a building not far from the Mid-Sweden University in Harnosand. I have two sets of friends here, on one hand the "computer freaks" of Harnosand, and on the other hand the more "normal" friends who I go to school with. Not many sceners here, but I'll always have my friends in Tulou on the net :)
    Hobbies... well... eeerh... the only thing I do in my spare time is drawing and pixeling, because that's about the only thing I'm good at (exept partying and running around naked, drunk as hell, in the local pub :)
    The music I listen to is mostly metal, and that's my main source of inspiration when I draw stuff. Doom-, black-, and gothmetal just give me the right mood for creation. Mainstream crap-music just doesn't have the emotional content that I need to get creative.
    I just love horrorfilms... mostly splatter, but any old low-budget film from the sixties and seventies will do. Cannibal Holocaust, Zombie Flesh-eaters, Return Of The Living Dead are some of my favorites, even though they are "almost" new :) Other films I like are: Platoon, Jacob's Inferno, The 6th Sense, Starwars (triology), The Crow, the Conan films with Arnold :), and Hellraiser.

    I also dislike mainstream 'music' and I LOVE horror. I guess people should make a movie starring some hero with a very big rusty chainsaw and Britney Spears as the virgin victim! What do you think of cult-classics like "Evil Death" and "Army of Darkness"?

    Erhmm... I've never heard of "Evil Death", but I think you're meaning "Evil Dead"? :) I think Evil Dead 2 is better than the first one, because of the humour involved. And "Army Of Darkness"? Oh man... this one's just superb... funny as hell :)

    Yes you are absolutely right, I just checked the original tapes over here. Ehhhh..... I just wanted to check if you were paying attention ?! :-) Please continue your introduction.

    At the moment I study nature-science at the Mid-Sweden University, but next season I will probably study some information technology stuff...

    Information technology? Does this mean you see your future not as a graphician but as a programmer?

    I see no future... hehe... no, but I still find programming fun. I want to work with graphics, but if I can't do that, I, atleast, want to work with computers.

    Any more hobbies we shoud know about?

    I also draw CD-covers in my spare time, and have recently got hired by a computergames company from Sweden. At that company I will draw 2d gfx to a REALLY brutal game... my kind of gfx will fit perfectly into the atmosphere of the game =) It's still under development at the moment, and it's called Swordsoul.

    Click the thumbnail on the right of this page for a preview of the kind of graphics Razorback is drawing for the game Swordsoul. This picture is not available elsewhere on the net, but the GFXZone has exclusive permission from Visionary Minds to use the picture for this interview!
         A picture from the game Razorback is working on. Used with permission from Visionary Minds

    Do you have a long history with computers?

    Hmmm... my first memory of a computer is from when I was 9 years old. A friend of mine had a Vic64 that we played a lot of good games on (the only one I remember is the game "Girls" though :P ) Later that year my big sister bought a Vic64 of her own, and I started learning Basic on that one. I got so attached to the 64 that I bought my own the year after. Basic programing was my one big interest back then. 1990 my sister bought a diskdrive and a TFCIII from a scener. Included with the diskdrive was a collection of about 100 disks, packed with demos and intros. About then, I started to get my eyes open for the demo scene, sitting there in front of the C64, watching demos for hours and hours...
    Later that year I bought the diskdrive and the TFCIII from my sister. I started to code ML, but never got any good at it. I also tried to pixel in "The Art Studio" and "Coala Paint", but it was kind of hard to make anything look good, due to the hardware restrictions.
    Then, in 1993 I think, after a long time of saving money, I bought an Amiga 1200, which I still use to pixel stuff, 7 years later =)

    So many other graphicians have gone to Photoshop and the hardware that comes with it. What makes Amiga so special for you?

    Hmm... I've had my Amiga for about 7 years now and it has become somewhat of a friend to me :) It works so great and I never have any trouble with it. Now, about that Photoshop crap... I've tried to be creative with that software, but it kind of kills all the joy in pixeling. I don't feel as "close" to my work as I do when using Deluxe Paint.

    What type of Amiga are you using?

    It's an A1200 with a Blizzard 1230-IV accellerator card and two HD's, 2.1GB and 420MB. I've got 16MB of fast ram on the Blizzard card and 2 PSU's to get enough power to run the CDROM. It's all built into an Eagle Tower with lots of home made hardware hacks :) I also have a M1438S monitor.

    Which graphics programs are you using on your Amiga?

    DeluxePaint5 ofcourse, and sometimes PersonalPaint7.01. I also use PhotoGenics2 to colour the greyscale pictures to 24bit.

    What inspired you to be a graphician, do you have a graphician you admire?

    I've always liked to draw stuff. I also like coding very much, but I'm not very good at it, and pixeling have always come first. I don't really know any other graphicians. Those who are famous often just copy artists like Valejo, Royo, and Bisley, when they pixel. They are the ones that I admire. I just love Bisleys evil art :)

    I am more a Royo person myself. This love for evil art you have, does your religion have anything to do with this?

    Well... I am a satanist, but satanism is more of a philosophy than a religion. I believe in all that exist around me, and I am my own God. I live by the rules set up by nature, not by man. This belief is kind of hard to explain in just a few sentences, but the basic thing is that man is just another animal, and should not violate the laws of our existence. Survival of the fittest should be the only rule to live by. This might sound cruel, but nature IS cruel.
    I do not preach my belief onto others, they have the right to believe whatever they want as long as it makes them feel good. Forcing religion and political views onto others is something that I really dislike.

    Is this philosophy the reason for the satanic theme in your graphics?

    Well... when I was a kid I was very afraid of the dark, and had horrible nightmares. I guess I tried to cope with my fears by drawing really evil stuff, trying to get used to the horrors. That's how it began :) Now, when I'm older, I use my art primarely as a way to let off steam when I'm angry and full of hate. Instead of running off and smash my enemies heads in, I draw brutal pictures of death and violence. I kind of get all calm and cosy when I'm being creative :)

    ... Please help me remember never to piss you off!

    About your graphics. Which parts of a picture do you like to do best?

    Hard question this... ...I like to draw pictures with lots of shadows in them. Shadows give a picture more depth, and it looks great too :) I guess demons is my favorite motive, because then I don't have to be restricted by the laws of nature :) If I find a part of a body a bit too dark I can just put a muscle there even though no such muscle actually exists. The beginning of a picture is always the funniest to do. It can be really hard to come up with a motive, but when the work actually begins it's just fun. The finishing touches are the hardest I think... It's very hard to stop at the right time so that the picture won't get too crowded with detail and stuff.

    Your gallery has a lot of 8bit graphics. Do you still create a lot of pictures in 8bit?

    Always :) I draw all of my pictures in 8bit greyscale, and when I'm done I colour them in 24bit with Photogenics.

    Why don't you start in 24bit right away?

    Ehumm... having a small palette gives me greater control over what's on the screen when I paint. I think it's just great :)

    Lamia - Perfect skin tone

    The Slayer II - Our razorback gallery also has an 8bit version

    Vampyr - She used to be completely naked, but Razorback had to 'cover her up'...
         In your image Lamia, did you use a photo for the female body and retouch it digitally, or have you drawn the body from scratch? How did you manage to get the skin tone, highlight and shadows to be so real?

    Well... That one is based on a photo actually. While surfing around on the internet (hehe, guess what kind of sites? :P ) I found a picture of a woman doing a really nice pose. The problem was that the picture was in VERY low quality because it was taken in the 40's, and it also had much grain and the lighting in the photo was from a weird angle, and she was sitting on her knees. To fix this I converted the image to 256 colours greyscale and smoothed it out using the excellent "shade" tool in DeluxePaint. I then altered the angle of the lightsource in the photo and made some shadows and stuff... added wings... coloured it in PhotoGenics2, and then it was done :) Doesn't look much like the original, but the pose is almost the same... :D

    What is your favorite technique for putting highlights and shadows on muscles as in Slayer II?

    Well... the only thing I use when drawing is the "shade" tool in DeluxePaint. I use it combined with at 256 colour greyscale palette.

    How long did it take you to draw images like Slayer II, Vampyr and Lord Arawn?

    The time it takes to draw a picture varies very much from picture to picture. It can take everything from a couple of hours to some months...
    Slayer II took about 3 months to finish, Vampyr took about 1 week, and Lord Arawn took only about 4 hours.
    If you look closely, you might see that the wings in Vampyr are originally from the picture Jezebel, and that I forgot to colour one part of the picture. (under her right arm :)

    Which of you images are you most proud of and why?

    Magog - I just like this one because the demon looks so damned sinister :) Don't think even one of his muscles are right, but they look good anyway.
    TheSlayer - Aahhh... This dude looks bad as well. He really radiates power, supremacy, and strength.
    Shadowbreed - The light settings on this one is really great.
    Solitude - The colours are good here, and most of the picture consists of shadows.

    Magog - step 1 - Early stages Magog - step 2 - A lot more detail... Magog - step 3 - Main object lighting

    Note: You can view the fullsize step pictures by clicking on the thumbnails!

    How do you start your pictures?

    I usually begin with drawing a silhouette of the main object in the picture so that the proportions will get right. I then just fill it using the shade tool in DPaint.

    You make it sound so simple... What do you do when this initial state is done?

    When the main object is done, I draw the background and the surroundings and paste the object into the picture.

    What do you think is the most important when drawing an image?

    Hmmm... everything is essential, but I find that atmosphere is the most important. I use a lot of shadows to get the right feeling in a picture. I prefer my original artwork in greyscale, but most people like colours, so I often colour it.

    Do you have any good tips that might help a starting graphician?

    I've just recently found out that almost every graphician has some sort of special technique when drawing. Some draw a sketch on paper first, scan it, and then paint on it in a program. Others use "layers" and weird stuff like that (don't even know what it means). I don't have any special tips to give, don't actually have any tricks to make a picture look good. The only thing I usually do, is to make an outline of the main object at the beginning so that I get the proportions right at the start, and then I just let the creativity flow :/

    And judging from these in-between pictures you send, you are very adept at this! What is the "Magog" picture about anyway?

    The picture shows a demon marching into battle against christianity at the judgement day, and was made for the swedish blackmetal band Magog as a CD cover for their demo. I'll get 800sek for it (about $80) and a copy of the demo. I know it's not much, but since they're not especially famous or rich, I cut down the price a bit :) The picture took about one month to finish. From the beginning it was supposed to be a demon standing in a battlefield with killed angels and christians all over the place, but it got kind of boring drawing all those bodies, so I cut down the motive a bit :)
         Magog - step 4 - Background

    Magog - step 5 - Finishing touches. Check our Razorback gallery for the 24bit color version!

    Can you give us a description of your scene-history?

    Hehe, well... I don't have any scene-history :) My first real contact with the scene was in 1997 when Musli of Tulou called me and wanted me to join them. I had never owned or used a modem until then, but Musli found a cure for that and sent me a 14.4 modem. Since then I have been a member of Tulou, pixeling things for demos etc..

    Which Tulou productions have you worked on?

    I've only been personally involved in two demos: Mortality and Life?, but some textures and pictures of mine can be seen in other productions as well.

    Do you have any special behind-the-scenes stories about Tulou demos we should know about? :-) Tight deadlines? Artistical disagreements? Relations between members? Silly stuff?

    Tight deadlines? Don't think we have ever held a single deadline... :) Hmm... the graphics in the credits part of Mortality was not finished when the demo was sent to the The Party crew. I had the final gfx, but wasn't at the party. I tried to get hold of Tulou on IRC, but they didn't show up :/
    Silly stuff? Hmm... at a Tulou internal party, our organizer Musli stole a beer from a chick in Stockholm and almost got the living crap beat out of him by two bodybuilders :P Btw, there's a hidden part in Mortality that's kind of disgusting :)

    A disgusting hidden part?! I want to see it! Any hints on how to reach that hidden part?

    Hehe, I myself have never found that hidden part either :) I had to ask Altruist what to do when I got this question, and here's the solution: When the demo is completely finished (when the ground is fading out to black in the greeting part), press the left mousebutton and then press the joystick button. There you go!

    Yep, you were right. That sure is disgusting! Are there any plans for a new Tulou demo in the near future?

    I ain't gonna tell you! It's top secret!! :) No, to be serious, I don't really know... I've been kind of away from the scene for a while due to school and work. But I've heard rumours about a couple of interesting projects that will soon be released... :)

    Do you watch many Amiga demo's?

    It's been a while since I watched any demos, because of my slooow CPU. But once every while I sit down and get all amazed by the new productions being created. But I want more oldschool stuff! What the hell happened to the glensvectors, rasterbars, and sinus scrollers? :P

    Do you have favourite Amiga demo's?

    I really like NerveAxis demo "Relic" and The Black Lotus's "Tint". But also old stuff like Kefrens "Desert Dream" works fine for me :)

    I still watch Desert Dream occasionally! When the alien ship in that demo has been shot down there is a very cool moment with a picture by RWO. In this picture you see the skull from the alien that was shot down and a lizard wearing sunglasses is crawling over the skull. Now where did I store that demo :-)

    Have you ever released a picture of yours in a party compo?

    NsDHack Magog Disqualified because I did not pay the entrance fee :P
    Remedy'99 Lilith 8:th place :/
    Hackerence 19 The Slayer 2:nd place
    Hackerence 18 Adonai 1:st place
    Assembly'98 Centaur Not shown
    Hackerence 17 Whargoul 1:st place
    Midwinter'97 The Grim Reaper 1:st place
    Hackerence 16 The Magus 1:st place
    AmiTech'97 Azrael Invoked Placing unknown, did win a CDROM though :)
    Hackerence 15 Astral Explorer 2:nd place
    Hackerence 14 Master & Servant 1:st place
    Hackerence 13 Divine Touch 1:st place
    Hackerence 12 Evil 1:st place

    How did you come up with your handle 'Razorback'?

    Many years ago I saw the Australian crap horror movie "Razorback". It really did suck, but I thought that the name was cool, so I took it :)

    Any last thoughts you want to share before we end the interview?

    Hehe... I'd like to send greets to the following:

    My family     For nice comments like "Your pictures are sick!" and "Can't you draw something nice??" :)
    Tulou     You guys are the greatest! Keep boozing on, topaz rewls! =D
    The staff at VisionaryMinds     For giving me a job!! Thanks!
    Johnny Spelqvist     My best friend. Kom upp och fiska i sommar! :)
    Left Hand Solution     For making really good music.
    Henrik Andersson     You ARE the master angler!
    Anna Bjorkman     For keeping me warm at night ;)
    The dudes at     Beer and metal, what else does a man need?

    Thank you very much for your time and success in your future plans as a graphician!

    Visit our Razorback gallery.

    Razorback can be reached at this email address or you can visit his homepage.

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