Eight Years of Glory *sic* a.k.a. How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Scene a.k.a. Babehead 2: A Tracker In The City by Basehead Hi there -- This is a personal memoir of my art/music/demoscene involvement that I was inspired to write after doing some searches several years ago for BBSing history online and found some other scene people's writings. In the 3 1/2 years since I wrote it, my scene involvement has been extremely limited, though coincidentally as I'm preparing to submit this to The Product 3 (what?! we're only at 3?!?!), I've been getting back together with some people to make a demo, since the North American demoscene has been so stagnant for years. In terms of scene gatherings, the success of NAID was never repeated. Some people formed a sort of NAID Jr. (called Coma) in 1999 which ran for 3 years, and I attended Coma2 in September 2000 and submitted a demo with Gz (aka Gonzo/ex-Surge) and Dr. Zachary Smith (a.k.a. Lord Pegasus, ex-Kosmic/Noise) called Fuck Modesty. Being in Montreal, many of the same locals from the NAID era were still around, including Da Cheeze Brigade members and several of the NAID organizers, and they all attended, so it was good to see that group of people again. Though the parties peaked at about 150 people, and had questionable venues (a church basement?!), a good time was had by all. The next party is called Pilgrimage which is in, of all places, Utah. Find out more at pilgrimage.scene.org - I'm not going, and I don't know why you should either, unless you're in Utah anyway. However we may try to submit our demo to it if we can maybe bribe a BYU student to join our group for a weekend. Incidentally, this group of ours is called K-Rad Productions, and no, that will never get old. As for me, I work full-time at a recording/production studio in Connecticut, and do some game work still along with Jake Kaufman a.k.a. Virt of VGmix.com fame. I'm still on scenenet #trax if you remember me and wish to chat me up. Replace my handle's 's' with a 'z' and put it @ yahoo.com and you have my email address (spam avoidal the old fashioned way!) A hasty congrats is in order to those troopers over at ACiD, and Mr. Christian 'RaD Man' Wirth, for surviving this long. Sure, iCE STILL hasn't missed a pack to my knowledge, but this is YOUR time to shine! I told him I would correct a small error (!) in the material below. In the file I state that I was told that Gothic was merging with ACiD, but found out later that it wasn't true. I take this back and now admit that the merger did happen, though many people did not end up moving over, and various bad words and bad blood i witnessed at the time probably swayed my opinion in the direction of thinking the 'merger' had been a bit of a misnomer. You have my apologies! I also want to apologize for the dry, didactic tone of a good part of the file. I wanted to treat it more as a real history, and not another textfile where I just go on and on about how 'totally awesome!' everything was back then. I diverged into more anecdotal style as it goes on, but hey, I tried. I hope you enjoy it. I'm sure you will be able to get more information than you've ever wanted to know, in the historical texts section of this mag. Take care, hip hoppers. Signed, Dan / Basehead (iCE inactive, ex-everything else) June 29, 2003 ================================================================================= My Scene History - Written on 18 October 1999 --------------------------------------------- This is cliched, I know, but I thought I'd take some time to write about my own history in the scene. Hopefully it will be interesting and some of you will also relate. My initiation into computers came in 1984 with the purchase by my father of a Commodore 64. Sometimes called the mother of all scenes, and rightly so. It's the first platform where not only was there cracking going on, but a community developed around it, and the demo scene came from that cracking community. I recall my mother not wanting me to get into 'games' right away so I was forced to deal with this edutainment game called 'Addition Magician.' It was boring at best, but it did introduce me to the basics of using the computer. I played witness to the situation of a coder staying up all night working on projects, as my dad programmed games on the C-64. He wasn't really a programmer, by trade, but he did it to pass time- basically learning from scratch from the C-64 Programmer's Reference Guide. He made some fairly astonishing things, most of which I still have on disk. Also, he typed in a fair amount of those games where the code came out in Compute! Gazette and magazines like that. I never quite got what the big deal was, and I played games; that was about it. My first real exposure to modems/bbs-ing/demos/cracking and such would come not long after. In 1985 and 1986, I used to receive disks of programs from my cousin Ray Serafini. There were games on there, and the occasional application, but they were all on these disks that were obviously not commercial releases. I took this for granted back then, and was just glad to have the programs, but it turns out Ray had been on BBSes in Pennsylvania and he and his friends had traded and occasionally cracked their own games. Stuff like Zaxxon II, Starfire, Star League Baseball- these were what I started out on. Names like Synapse, Bad Brothers, the Penna Pirate- all flew across the screen and I had no idea that these were cracking groups or people. It would be another 10 years before I would think to contact Ray about all this stuff and see what he could remember, but, approaching 30 with a wife and kids, he barely could tell me what had happened to his computer, let alone details about the scene back then. QuantumLink was the online service for Commodore users, and was, as I hear it, quite successful. I had gotten a disk for it, but I never did have a modem for my Commodore, and my father didn't seem too interested in the prospect. I used to load the QuantumLink disk, and it would say that it was dialing out, and it took me awhile to realize that this wasn't a game of any sort and that without something to connect to the phoneline, it wasn't going to do me much good. Incidentally, QL is what became America Online, though it was quite a bit smaller then. The first I saw of demos and bbs-ing was in 1987. A kid who my mom used to hire to come over and watch me, named Matt Hibbard. He was apparently very much into the pirating scene, except this time it was in my local area in Connecticut. He never quite explained anything to me, as he probably figured I wouldn't understand. I recall him playing a lot of games at my house, bringing over boxes of disks of cracked games and such. A few times he tried to give me some things as well. He copied a few programs such as Burp! Con Set, Top Gun Demo ][ by Future Projects, Stooge Demo by WASP, and Abstract Reality by Death Demon/FBR. These were all quite new in the summer of 1987, and I guess he thought he was giving me some fresh warez, but I obviously didn't care at the time. The one that struck me most was Abstract Reality. I guess I thought it was a preview for a game that would come out later, which is what I thought all these demos were. There were some really nice SID tunes (though I didn't know what they were at the time) and some screens of raster effects- you got to the next screen by pressing the spacebar. The second main screen of the demo is the one that sits in my memory the most. It had a box at the bottom with a flashing font that said 'Call these FBR Exchanges' followed by two names 'The Nimitz' and 'Ninja's Realm.' Little did I know these were the first BBSes I'd ever heard of. I don't recall what I thought at the time, but I don't remember being particularly interested. I would get into the Amiga as well but it would be a long time before I would come to be actively interested in any sort of scene, or take part in it. Sometime in late 1991 or early 1992, I was in a band with a fellow named Jason Magness. I used to spend a fair bit of time at his house. He had a twin brother named Chris Magness, who I always thought was the more nerdy of the two and he used to get picked on quite a bit. One day I wandered up to his room to see what he was up to, and lo and behold, he was on his computer. I saw this very silly looking color screen (ANSI) and the word Skyland. Apparently, he was a BBS sysop, logging in locally to his board. I don't quite recall if I was hooked that day, but it was some time very near then that I became incredibly interested in computers and especially this online community of BBSes. They had cool, dangerous names. Illegal stuff was available there. There was an attitude, a sinister nature, and a sense of mystery about the whole thing. Above all, it was just something new, and it sounded fun, and I dove headlong into it. My father now had an 8088/XT in our basement, which I'm not sure he used for much besides some spreadsheets. He was already using a 386/25 for work and probably considered it puny. Hell, it was puny. But it was my opportunity so I took it. I got a disk with Telix v3.11 on it, from Chris, along with a few BBS numbers to start out calling, already in the phonebook file. My dad found a modem for me at work, a Practical Peripherals 2400bps, and a modem cable as well. A few days later, I was calling out. There was a certain excitement in applying to these boards. Some were PD, they were no big deal, but some seemed to want me to prove myself. Of course, initially, I didn't get on to these but I didn't really care. I was having fun just perusing all the aspects of the places I did get on. It was early 1992 now, and it was a rather golden period for BBSes. There were tons in my local vicinity, well over 100 that I could call free of charge, and I would download BBS lists from all over the place, just to see if there were any I had missed. I believe the first board I actually applied to was called Green Acres. It asked for a 'handle' and I didn't really know what that was. Off the top of my head, I decided on 'The Mystic' - I'm not sure why. I liked the sound of it, and I believe it was the name of a character card from an AD&D Gamefolio called Mertwig's Maze (a game I was heavily into at the time- it was more of a boardgame, not an RPG). I would use this name until the middle of 1993, when I chose 'Basehead.' A lot happened during the next year. My parents became both sick of me using up their phoneline all the time, and sick of me spending so much time on the computer. Before I had been really active, played almost every sport, and was always doing something social. I was not the typical loner kid. This stuff just happened to swallow me whole for awhile, and it's over 7 years later as I write this and I still haven't gotten it totally out of my system. Spending a lot of time calling BBSes, meeting sysops (not in person), becoming a cosysop, posting, playing doors, trading files, and what not. It was also later in 1992 that I put up my first board. Kevin Ring a.k.a. Weird Ed, the SysOp of one of my favorite BBSes (The Pharaoh's Tomb) who was a year younger than me and extremely bright, helped me set up my first board. I called it 'The Masquerade' and although I'm not sure why, it might have stemmed from the Phantom Of The Opera song 'Masquerade' as I had just finished being the piano accompaniest for the local high school's version of the musical, so the titles were fresh in my head at the time. I had the board set up and for a few tentative weeks I attempted to make it a 'night-time only' board on my parents' phone. As you might guess, this didn't go over so well, and that was sort of the last straw for them. I got my own phoneline finally, and that set me free. It was at this time that I was really no longer a 'newbie' and was getting a bit more into the dark underbelly of this whole ordeal. I revamped my BBS, called it The Crack'd Mirror (loosely after the movie 'The Mirror Crack'd' which I don't recall anything about, nor do I recall liking it) and taking on a different approach. I now had sections for pirated software, and met two older kids named Walter Schweitzer and Todd Johns who ran The Dark Gate and Pirates Plunder, respectively. Todd a.k.a. James Bond, would come to be a rather good friend of mine, but it was through them that I got my first taste of scene bullying and the 'elite' vs 'lamer' attitude. They had 386's, 9600 baud modems, VGA monitors, and tons more harddrive space than I had. I started out with a 20meg MFM harddrive in that XT, and when I upgraded to a 65meg RLL that I got for my birthday in order to run a bigger BBS, I was more than pleased. To them I was lame though, and although it didn't bother me near as much as they probably expected it to, the taunting did become annoying. At some point though, my BBS did attract some very interesting users. A few users from Todd and Walter's boards liked what I was doing with mine, and uploaded some games and such. I eventually became one of the better boards in the area, despite being 2400 only. It was around this time that I became good friends with a guy named Danzig, who ran White Nights. He would later become known as Kinayda, a member of Nemesis, then Gothic, and then ACiD where he was a staff member. My relationship with him was one way I was dragged into the scene. In late 1992, we came across some iCE and ACiD packs and were astonished by the ansi art, which was miles ahead of anything any local board had in their setups. I tried to draw some, and being a horrible visual artist of any sort, I was terrible. Dave (Danzig) had some talent, as did my other good friend at the time, Crackerjak (Pieter Van Winkle). We decided to start our own group, called ORB (named after the band I had gotten into at the time, and which remains my favorite). We only released one pack, but we really put our hearts into it. This was also around the time I called my first out of state BBS, Eve Of Destruction in 201, run by Scatterbrain. It was a distribution site for one of the fairly big art groups at the time, UAA (United Ansi Artists), and Scatterbrain agreed to be a dist site for us. Kinayda had been trying to run a serious BBS now, and as I let my own BBS slide, I sort of took on the role of second sysop to his board. Two things happened around this time, simultaneously: my reintroduction to demos, and my first real initiation into mods. In very early 1993, I also was met with another nice surprise: my dad's purchasing a decked out 486/33 with an SBpro. It was supposed to be a family computer, but as I slowly moved it into my room, it was obvious who's it was. In some old ACiD packs, it turned out that there was a viewer program that used the MOD-OBJ .MOD-playing code and could play mods. I had gotten some smaller demos, like Ultraforce's VECTDEMO, Cascada's Cronologia, stuff by the Space Pigs, and one who's name I can't recall, by Otto Chrons' group VV and that used ODYSSEY2.MOD for it's background music. These had reintroduced me to the kind of demos that Matt had shown me 5-6 years before, but I'm not sure I made the connection. It was also around this time that I got the Renaissance demo, Amnesia. It had come out a few months before and had circulated to the decent boards all over the country (as well as europe). The first time I saw it, with the beautiful digital+fm music and, at the time astonishing effects, I was truly blown away. I remember sitting there staring at the ending ansi screen, which listed the Renaissance BBSes, and literally being in awe. I had to get in touch with these guys, and I did. A new friend of mine at the time, Majesty (Patrick Jordan) would also become obsessed with all this new stuff we were finding, and we would make many calls to The Sound Barrier (Renaissance's WHQ in New York) in 1993 and 1994. At this point, a rather huge thing happened: we found the internet. Pieter (Crackerjak) called me up one day and told me that he and his friend Cory (Cory Visi aka Merlin) had found a way to get on to the internet. I had heard of it, but still wasn't quite sure what it was. The deal was that through Tymnet (a gateway network that many business, research, and educational establishments worldwide took part in), we could get access to the frontend BBS to the NES (National Education Supercomputer, a Cray mainframe), a machine called NEBBS (hotsun.nersc.gov). It just so happened that, as long as you could convince the sysop upon login that you were a teacher in the public school system, you could get an account. You got an account based on your last name, and in a rather hilarious test of stupidity that could've rendered this whole thing useless for me, I chose the name 'Dan Mystic' and so, my first internet email address was in fact firstname.lastname@example.org. With my ACiD Viewer in hand, I listened to several other mods, those by Pianoman (from ACiD packs) and others. I soon found 'Music/Mods' sections on other local BBSes and began my collection. I also spotted the first DMP version released (which also happened to be by that same Otto Chrons) so I had the best player around at the time, rather than MOD-OBJ which was utterly horrid. I found a tracker to make these modules, called Whackertracker (by the swedish group Codeblasters) but I found it to be impossible to use, as was Modedit. Being a more traditionally trained musician, I thought that a tracker with notation would be my best bet. I found one, KingMod, and in what would become a great source of hilarity for other people I would meet who tracked, used it up until Screamtracker 3 was released in March 1994. Majesty supported the music I was doing with this tracker thing, no matter how awful it turned out. Indeed, the first thing I did was load up ODYSSEY2 and the complexity was so ludicrous, I didn't understand how someone could create something like that in this sort of environment. Looking back at it today, it still does look ludicrous in KingMod, but so did the things I'd eventually create with it before giving it up for a 'real tracker.' Upon completion of my first module, 'Out Of Time Again' I signed the sampletext as 'Basehead'. I knew it was a turning point for me. I was no longer just a BBS dork, I wanted to be a musician, and felt a name change would do me good. It was taken most likely from the Public Enemy song 'Night Of The Living Baseheads' and it would be the only name I would ever use from then on. Kinayda was at this point (June 1993), involved in a few local groups and I was sort of attempting to get in with them by contributing some music. I wasn't too insistent about it, because I knew the stuff was crap, and I basically gave up trying to get involved with them. As it turns out, another local friend who was a regular on my BBS, Aaron Marasco (a.k.a. Hacker I) would use several of these early songs in his amateurish but well-meaning diskmag, Virgin. Around this part of 1993, I spotted an ad on a local BBS for 'Paradigm Communications, the first internet provider in the state!' and told Majesty about it. I didn't have money at the time, and being about 10 years my senior and with a steady job, he paid for a PCnet account, and we both never touched our hotsun accounts again. He would become entirely immersed in the internet, becoming a sysadmin and networking type, and would run Linux from nearly the very beginning, while I stayed away from the nuts and bolts and concentrated on composing. I had used IRC a bit ever since we got our Hotsun accounts, since it had a client.. but mostly I would ftp around looking for songs and demos. I email contacted several of the addresses I found in modules, seeing who would respond. The first two mod trackers I really ever spoke with through email were The Finn/VLA and Jester/Sanity, the famous amiga musician. I found AmiNet, and the amiga composers would become a huge source of tracking inspiration for me over the next few years. Of course we were introduced to Future Crew and all the big names, and I did kind of like what Purple Motion was doing (certainly the multichannel S3Ms that nobody else could create yet were intimidating and impressive), but they did not influence me like the amiga composers did. I would download stuff from The Party '92, The Gathering '92, and artists like Dizzy, Audiomonster, Heatbeat, Moby, Mr.Man, Vinnie, Lizard, Sidewinder, and Lizardking would be the ones who inspired me musically. Sometime in fall 1993, I completed the first song that I really was proud of: Transflux. I thought it would be good enough to get me into an art group (most of which had a MOD composer or two at the time), and indeed it was. I joined the art group BAD around August, simply by calling their WHQ Board (Chasm of Doom in Florida), and sending the song to Black Knight, head of the group. I joined up and until December or so, was composing modules for them that were coming out in packs attached to a sort of viewer/intro that accompanied them every month. It was a good time, and they were great people to work with, but I was improving and I wanted to move on. I quit BAD on Kinayda's suggestion and joined Gothic, one of the legendary art groups that was unfortunately short-lived. In Gothic is where I met someone who I considered to be one of my better scene friends for awhile, a very talented yet odd musician named Timelord. He would 'go solo' after Gothic died, and did quite well for himself just distributing his music on the net. As far as I know, he still does to this day. Almost at exactly this time, I was desperate to be in a more demo-oriented group where I could play a more important role. I joined TNCS (The Northstar Coding Syndicate), run by ex-iCE VGA artist DarkSider. They had high hopes, but nothing ever came of it, so after releasing two of my last KingMod modules under them (Euthanasia and Shades Of Night), they died. I was told that Gothic merged into ACiD, although I would find out later it really had not, and so I joined ACiD. The year 1994 was well underway now, and with a real internet account under our belts for about a year, Majesty and I had trolled IRC for a good long while, myself inparticular. I hung out in #ice and #coders since in 1993 there weren't many other channels related to what I was interested in, and that's where I met a lot of people I would become friends with: ShadowH, Necros, GodHead, Khyron, Charlatan, Maral, Maelcum, and others. My relationship with ACiD was basically nonexistent as they never had anything for me to do, and I was never really treated as part of the group. I continued to compose though, now with the newly-released Screamtracker 3. Psi/FC had been a regular on IRC for quite awhile (keeping in mind EfNet was the only real popular network at the time, all the european servers were on it as well) and one day, before my very eyes (and partially due to my relentless prodding), he dcc'd me Screamtracker 3 for public release. I believe I was the first person to get it beyond PM, Skaven, and Edge so I feel a tinge of pride to this day. I was so excited by the prospect of multi-channel tracking, that I got off the internet, added a 'No Joke' bit to the file_id.diz saying that I had really legitimately gotten this from Psi on IRC, and called The Sound Barrier to upload it. God knows how many places that thing got in the next few days, but as anyone who was around knows, it became the standard for awhile. Around the time ST3 came out, the musicians among us in the demoscene-channel #coders realized we were beginning to takeover the channel, and it was starting to bug some of the coders to hear music chat all the time. This led to the formation of the famous/infamous #trax, where the musicians of the scene still reside today (albeit on several different nets). I kept on improving, doing about a song a week. To me, this seems rather ludicrous, since I don't even remember composing taking up very much time, but it must have. Being on IRC, being introduced to other people with the same interests, I was bound to have other opportunities, and I did. Being around other KLF members (the group that would later be known as Kosmic, or KFMF) on IRC, I began to like the idea of a group that was focused entirely on music. Probably, this was a response to being in a group like ACiD, where they could care less what I was doing. So, in the summer of 1994, I was united as a member of KLF, and for the next year and a few months, I'd release 10-12 of my most known and most distributed modules under the group, even though I don't think they are some of my best work, looking back. I tried to quit ACiD around this time, but somehow this was impossible, and it would be another 8-10 months before I would be removed from the member list, with the info/news saying that I had been 'kicked out due to inactivity'. The summer of 1994 was another turning point for me, musically. I had always been scared of the traditional trackers, and even though I knew ST3 was an important step, I still didn't think I could ever get used to it. I had tried Tran's Composer 669 and just was too intimidated by it to begin. Slowly I worked my way into it, and got used to it. A few weeks in the middle of the summer in 1994 were really when it all clicked. I don't quite recall what happened, but I lost internet access for several weeks. I tracked up a storm and composed 3 songs in 2 weeks that I thought were the best I'd done up until then (Nostalgic, High Velocity, and Hologram Rose). I came back on the net rejuvenated and ready to share what I'd done and I was glad to get good feedback from them. IRC was a good chance to meet the european crowd and I became good friends with several including Darkness, Zodiak, Fear, and others. I had gotten some recognition, musically, and it seemed like my hard work and practice was paying off. Zodiak even greeted me in the sampletext to his music for the Cascada demo 'Holistic' at the same time complimenting my KLF release 'Shades Of Night ][' and crediting me for some samples from it. I briefly joined Mental Design (a mostly Finnish group which at one point consisted of Dune, NiK, Fear, and others) but it was another case of high hopes and low output, and that group died as well. I also joined Imphobia/Cascada (not surprisingly, a combination of the magazine group and the demogroup) on Darkness' request and it would be much the same situation, something that pretty much permanently soured me to being part of a demo group. I did contribute a song to a Wired party report (perhaps two of them, I can't recall), an small ImpCda BBS intro chiptune that was packed in with files on the BBS, and I did two songs for Imphobia magazine, only one of which was used (Cloud Nine) since the player was for 8-channel .MOD and could not support .S3M yet. Several demos and other projects were planned, including a more advanced remake of the game Sokoban, coded by Walken/Impact Studios and with graphics by PL/Imphobia. This would not come to pass, of course, so my song for it (Sokoban-main, or CDAGAME) became just another song I'd later release. Even so, I met a great many people through my involvement with the euro side of things, and I was thankful for the opportunity. As 1994 came to a close, a famous milestone in the scene came about: the Epidemic musicdisk. Combining coding, design and art from Renaissance, art and music from Future Crew, as well as music from several of the both more prominent and up-and-coming musicians at the time (including myself), it was a sort of monolithic achievement of organization, follow-through, and quality. Looking back, it's lost it's appeal, as the music has gone out of style steadily, but I was still proud to be a part of it, and I contributed my tune 'Forever' to it. I also joined iCE in November, which would be the last art group I'd ever join, and I'm still part of it to this day, despite never doing more than a few chip and adlib songs for small intros, and helping out various members with sound effects and music for their webpages. Something extremely important was now on the horizon, as 1995 dawned. The North American scene was fairly large now, the Hornet archive was moving gigs and gigs of files all over the world, Demonews was reaching a great many people (if not by direct email, then by BBS spreading and such). Renaissance may have been a sleeping giant by this time, but things were at a boiling point. There were lots of parties: Assembly, The Party, The Gathering, tons of smaller ones all over Europe. But where were the US parties? How about Canada? No, we still hadn't had one. Enter: NAID. North American International Demoparty. It had been planned since somewhere in the middle of 1994, but it wasn't until just a few months before it happened, in the middle of April 1995, that people had an idea of how big a deal it would be. As the scene gradually found out about the party, held in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, plans were made, carpools and caravans were formed, and competition entries were begun. It seemed a sure thing, and the tension in the scene channels in the months before the party was palpable. Also in these months before NAID, my good friends Mellow-D, BigJim, Necros, and I formed FM (then Four Musicians, a name suggested by BJ) which would go on to be the group under which I released what I consider to be my best work. This group also exists to this day, although we are a lot less active than before. I was really glad that I'd finally get to meet some of the people I'd been talking to all this time. It turned out that the party was not all that big, but it was several hundred people, almost all dedicated sceners, and a good portion of whom I had conversed with at some point. People came from all over the US and Canada, from literally every corner. I was extremely excited to meet the Renaissance guys, who had really been the people I looked up to starting out. I wasn't quite sure how I was going to get there, but it ended up being rather simple. My father was nice enough to drive me up from Connecticut, and stay there at a hotel over the weekend, working on some things for work via computer, while I was at the party. It was not that bad a trip, maybe 6 hours, but it was snowing at the partyplace and quite cold. Eventually I found my way in, and found the KLF/FM/Renaissance classroom that I heard was going to be set up. I wish I could remember who I met first, but I can't. Among the first however were Maelcum and Necros. Myself and many others found NAID to be a very surreal experience. There's something very profoundly strange about taking our 'online world' with all it's strange friendships, groups, rivalries, etc. and being thrown face to face for the first time. I sort of felt like I was floating in a dream world most of the weekend. There were a lot of strange experiences. I met some people I thought I'd get along with and then didn't get along. Also vice versa. I dealt with even more surreal things like randomly passing by a group of people surrounding a computer, listening to Shades Of Night II and complimenting it, wondering if I would be at NAID. I was so horrified and embarassed by this that I ran away instead of introducing myself, and I would run away in a similar fashion a few other times before I realized how silly I was being. It was odd being treated as sort of a 'celebrity', as were many KLF members, but everyone has people they look up to, including me, and I kept my distance from Kenny (C.C.Catch) and Ray (Mosaic) because I didn't want to make an idiot of myself saying what I really meant. Overall, NAID was simultaneously one of the best and most bizarre weekends of my life, and I'm really glad I experienced that 'first time' (there can never be another, like Snowman said in the final issue of Demonews). I don't expect anyone who wasn't there to fully understand it, but trust me, it was a trip! The aftermath of NAID was also something else. It spawned a huge rush of interest in the scene, with people starting more groups, becoming more active. IRC channels filled up with more North American sceners, and very few of the old ones seemed to have left or been soured by the party experience. I pushed ahead with FM, and in a week of inspiration very similar to the one I had the summer before, composed three of what i thought were my best songs to date: Freedom At Midnight, Steppin' Out, and Smooth Operator. I released Lotus Position, my first musicdisk, in September. Necros and I got our first game work, with Origin, doing the music for 'Crusader: No Remorse'. A lot of things were happening outside of my 'scene life' that made me feel the need to be done with it. I wanted to move on, and I wanted to do other things with music, spend more time on academics, relationships, and the like. So I released that disk saying it would be my last and that I was basically out of the scene. I quit Kosmic. I became an 'honorary member' in FM. I got a lot of flack for not really doing so, later, but I don't care. Sometimes things just don't work out like you plan. There were three months of mixed feelings about a lot of things, and brought on partly by really great response to that disk, I finished up other songs for another disk (Oddities), and released a large disk of 'oldies' that I'd never been able to get widely spread (Basement Material), and I really did figure that would be my last. Once again, it wasn't. By this time, FM was my only scene responsibility, if you could call it that, and it remains so. My old SBpro was finally replaced, thanks to Guitar (SysOp of the scene bbs The Whammy Bar), by a Gravis Ultrasound MAX, so I got the urge to track once again, and released another disk, Soul Elements, as well as worked on the second Crusader game. All my disks had been well-received, which I was glad for seeing as I put a lot of work into them, and I really found them cathartic. Combined, they say a lot about me if you listen carefully, and they say a lot about what I was going through. At this point, Impulse Tracker was all the rage, and I couldn't deny that it was the logical jump to make. A few weeks after Soul Elements and fiddling with IT, I released Indigo, my first IT under Hollywood's group Mono as a guest release. It was around this time that the year-in-planning followup to last year's party, NAID '96 happened. I spent a good bit of the time pre-judging for the music competition, dealing with a lot of different people, and generally not getting to have a very good time. It was a much bigger party, and I knew that was a good thing, but frankly I was not much into the whole thing anymore. Later, in October, I released the all .IT disk (my first) 'Sleight of Hand'. This was the point at which I was releasing less and less. I would only complete 9 songs in the latter half of 1996, and I came to the realization that musically I had less to say than ever. In what would be my last (to date) musicdisk, in a familiar one week rush of inspiration in April 1997, I completed 5 songs from scratch for my musicdisk 'Heavy Shadows' and after that felt completely ready to give up tracking altogether. Apart from a pair of coops with fellow FM member Hunz, a single release 'Wisdom Pearl', and a pair of coops with long-time friend Dr. Zachary Smith (formerly Lord Pegasus) I didn't put anything else out into the scene after that disk. I was now working on game-related projects and although they paid money, they weren't fulfilling me creatively. My biggest creative gap came when I finished no music between November 1997 and March 1998. This was due in no small part to not having a working computer (not a reliably working one anyhow), going to college, and having a very serious relationship going on at the same time. A host of commercial projects came my way during this few year period, and I got a chance to work on a handful of games, including Unreal. Necros and I started out composing for Origin under the name 'Straylight Productions' and that name exists to this day as the name under which Alex Brandon (Siren) and I work. The advent of MP3's, the blindingly fast explosion of the internet and accompanying internet culture, accompanied of course by the rise in amount of people using all these technologies, have combined to essentially get rid of the scene as I knew it. Many people moved on into their lives, getting married, having kids, getting jobs in the private sector working with computers. Lots of 'groups' are around now, putting up webpages, trying to get exposure, trying to make a buck even. There's always someone new making music, and it's just too much to keep track of. The european parties have turned into LAN-gaming Quake-fests, and although demos still come out (and are still impressive), something seems to have been lost. I see it as the end of the scene, as the people who knew it the old way warily hand all of it over to the culture at large, the global culture spawned by the internet. I don't know if I'll release again to the massive worldwide scene that now exists, but I'll continue to hang around, and see what's going on, talking to old friends, making new ones, and moving on with my life as well. One thing is for sure, I won't forget the scene. It played a big part in shaping who I am, as silly as that sounds. And as Snowman said in his final interview, maybe these are the words of someone who took it too seriously, but none of the above and none of the current 'scene', in all its vastness could have been possible without the work of people who took it all too seriously. That's it for me. You can catch me on SceneNet #trax, where I will be on and off until it ceases to exist. Ciao. -- Dan/Basehead
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