talking with eerie - ansi artist / hirez artist formally
with relic, union, shiver, acid and mistigris to name a few..
Start: Wed Apr 29 17:55:23 1998
First of all, i'd like to say I would have interviewed you
sooner, except you vanished from the known world for some
I know, irc had become a major pain in the ass to me and
i was exhausted from drawing ansi..
Ok, first question: The entire world, well, only me actually,
wants to knwo about the real you.. What's your name, age,
sex, habitat, hobbies, etc?
David, 22, male, i live in quebec city, canada. Nowadays
i like reading & writing--i do some music too, although
nothing that you'd like, i'm sure :) I'm not a man of many
very into philosophy these days, i bought two wittgenstein
books in the past 2 weeks.. It's very hardcore
What sort of music?
I play mostly experimental music. i try to make pop music
but it always comes out wacky & deconstructed.
So, you started out around 1994 if im not mistaking in Imperial,
what was the scene like then when you entered it..? Good
for a 'newbie' ?
Haha, the vice-president of imperial back then, the night
prowler--he was later in grip/ad--told me my pics were not
bad, but i should let other people do my fonts.. I had a
cartoony style back then, although it was kind of personal,
i didn't even know jed, i had just decided out of the blue,
"i want to draw ansi". I mean, i had drawn for pd boards
forever & all, but i had never been in the scene..
I have to say be looking at some of your early work, it
was quite good for someone just entering the scene, had
you had mushc experience drawing ansi elsewhere, or indeed
in art school?
I've been drawing since i was 7, on paper, that is, mostly
comic books.. So the first thing i tried to do when i started
ansi was, of course, cartoons..
It must be indicitive of a lot of the better artists out
there, take toon goon or lord jazz -- they have had experience
drawing before.. Especially the 'comic book' pics
But i was totally amazed at how "realistic" these guys in
acid & ice could make their ansis look like
Yeah, the overshading style was what was big back then,
that, & the classic toony style, so even my toons were pretty
off in style.. Only a handful of people liked them
So after Imperial, which died for some reason, you join
Relic, and Mistigris too, what can you tell us about both
of the groups.. A good environment to release in?
Imperial died out of internal quarrels.. I joined relic
because jaydee, who's local to me, was in it. I thought
the atmosphere was much friendlier, less competitive, imperial
was striving to be in the top 5..
eventually got in 5th place, but that was mostly from having
dedicated artists who got better as the months went by..
And Mistigris, still going strong it seems..
I was in mistigris when it started, it was a bunch of friends
releasing together, who i had known from being in imperial--they
were posting on the nets & all.. Cthulu was actually in
imperial as a lit artist.
then, i didn't want to release in too many groups at the
same time, so i concentrated on relic for my ansis, & released
a few hi-rez pictures with mistigris -- that was my most
productive period, on the first month in relic i released
over 30 pieces..
Did you expect Mistigris at the time to keep going for another
Well, i didn't think much about that.. I mean, it's almost
impossible to rightly think of how long a group can last..
Especially these days :)
...What i can tell is that cthulu is extremely dedicated,
so i'm not surprised it did last..
problem with relic is that eventually everybody had a second
group to release in..
Is that why you'd say Relic eventually died?
I think it's one of the causes, people decided not to care
so much about the group dynamics & go for their own dreams..
I was guilty of that too.. At that time, for example, union
was the big thing, because out of some quarrel, lord jazz--who
was _very_ big at the time--, terminator 2 & the clone had
all left acid to join union, i decided to join to be part
of the fun & much to my surprise, neurotic accepted my application..
asking him on irc : "so, what would you say if i asked you
to join union?" & he said : "welcome in union."
is another thing, it's back when the guardian was a nice
person who you could actually have a decent conversation
with.. My dcc was broken & i asked him to upload me some
new pack that had just come out--i think acid--& half-jokingly
i said that in trade i'd join shiver, he took me seriously,
so i joined for 2 months..
radman, after seeing the union success--the 0195 union pack
is a must-see, btw, even now--decided to just go & recruit
everybody in sight
What do you remember most about your time in those two groups..?
Who were the inspirations?
Hmm... good question, i didn't stay long enough in union
or shiver to know, those were probably the 2 groups i was
most uninvolved with.. What i can say about union is that
they were always a favorite of mine--at one time neurotic,
nailz, kool, that was like the holy union trilogy to me..
about acid-- So i get this call from radman, & i'm like,
"whoa, my childhood dream finally comes true", so of course
i join up, not knowing that at the same time, everybody
else does too.. So union loses all of their best men
So, radman can be liked to Bill Gates on this front :) 'Buy'
up the rivals :)
Yeah... that's always how it's been with acid.. Anyway,
what i should have mentioned, also is that since the first
days of relic i had started an emag called "undergrown",
specializing in small groups, with mostly reviews, so with
me joining union, & then acid, there were some talks that
i had sold out, & all that..
I've never heard of it..
Man, i released 12 issues of that, you have to have heard
Are they on artpacks.acid.org? I'll get em later if so..
Yep, they're all there
plug - go get them..]
Anyway, you were saying
Well, it ended in 1995, & i made 2 more issues in the summer
Anyway, because of that, radman appointed me to a position
of editor of what is now called "acid press", so i made
one issue of the acid newsletter, though my english was
pretty bad back then, so most of what i wrote got edited
i got to write an editorial litterally trashing a group
called "paramount" that basically had 2 artists, the rest
being in ice & releasing there part-time. It was just to
me the most absurd excuse for a group, the 2 other artists
were devine styler & bay..
Good old bayfield..
& the funny thing is-- after i left acid to form spastic,
again out of the blue paramount disbanded & both ds & bay
joined up with spastic..
spastic was an interesting experience, but it didn't turn
out as i wanted.. I wanted quality art, yet people who have
fun doing what they do, but the wizard insisted on having
many of his friends join the group, who weren't too skilled,
in my opinion.. For example, we could have an argument with
him saying : "i want a toon artist in spastic!" & i was
: "there are _no_ good toon artists in the scene, except
maybe toon goon"
I noticed you released lit with spastic, how did that come
about? Influences from your time in Mistigris or?
Haha, i released two lit files ever. . One in mist, & one
in spastic, the one in spastic was more of a joke, the one
in mist was actually something i had written, not for the
scene, but i decided to release it in an art pack..
The spastic one was done in "22 seconds" i believe ;)
Yeah, it did take 22 seconds
there was some good & some bad to spastic, the good parts
was that i got to work with some old friends of mine, like
young, zoltar, or zircus (who was at the time known as "kerplunk")..
But on the other hand, there was a lot of bad politics &
then we had one guy rip an ansi in our first pack, which
didn't help much & because of the lack of quality, we didn't
get much respect from the scene, we were regarded as equivalent
the group because i was sick of running it, & i didn't see
myself being even an artist there, there was a sense of
failure from the spastic experience, so i decided to join
integrity, who i thought were the most skilled artists in
the scene at the time.
have to remember that radman hated my guts for leaving acid,
& nobody in ice really liked me too much, except supposedly
aphex twin, so i couldn't really join either of those..
i stayed till the end of integrity... i believe the artists
got lazy & lost interest eventually.. I didn't like everyone's
personality in integrity, but we had some of the best artists.
darkforce, grimlock, inquisitor... i was feeling small next
to all those..
Close: Wed Apr 29 18:45:13 1998
Session Start: Sun May 10 12:17:36 1998
It's great seeing you again man.. Last time we spoke you were talking about integrity, and how you felt small next to all the other *big* artists.. Any other comments on your time with integrity?
Well, my goal was, as it had always been, to be a great ansi artist. So, to "confirm" that i was "good enough", i tried to adopt the realistic style that integrity was sporting at that time, but i quickly realized that, even though i had the basics okay, i wasn't a true realist ansi artist..
At the same time integrity died, i moved out on my own, & i was devoid of a decent computer, all i had was a 286 with a monochrome monitor, so obviously i couldn't draw much
For the time when i didn't draw much, i was officially with fire, because i knew most of the people in it, especially halaster..
On the summer of 1996 i moved to philadelphia to live with mogel in an apartment & this other kid called morph, that was basically a zine gathering, 'cause in the meantime i had started contributing to this zine called doomed to obscurity, which mogel ran..
Anyway, during this summer i had access to a better computer & i had a new encounter with the ansi scene, out of nowhere i met rza & we decided to form a new group named samsara.. The group was formed almost as a joke, with 6 members including fluor & defiant who both left ice for it, which also gave a new reason for ice to hate my guts..
" Samsara went from becoming a 'joke', to being the most talked about group in the scene.. "
With Samsara - Was it your intension that the group be 'experimental' and fun, as a lot of the art was quite 'out there' for the time the group was around?
The thing with samsara is that it allowed us to put into practice the principles & aesthetics of phunk, which had previously been laid out by mca/hlecter & minor threat.. It didn't only mean "random coloring", but rather originality, willingness to try new things, openmindedness, etc. Although i know for a fact that the random coloring played a great role in some of my work of that epoch, but this was more of a homage to those who i consider the masters than just mimicking, or at least that's how it was meant to be..
I mostly wanted other artists to be given a chance to express themselves in whatever way they wanted, for once.. Of course, they had to be good in what they did. i think that's a prerequisite for anything..
Your art looked like it took on a halasteristic approach around this time, by looking at some of your art.. --> Was he a source of inspiration?
Halaster wasn't around when i began, & actually, he was influenced by me a whole lot. i know, however, that i have been inspired by a lot of artists during the samsara era, including halaster & iodine. That style, in my view, was fresh & fun, which matched the spirit of the group..
It's interesting that you say that.. Because I could definately see a link between the two styles..
There is one... i suppose you could make some sort of a "lord jazz offspring" scheme with halaster, iodine & me... not that we drew like lord jazz, but i think he's the one who started the whole style in the first place.. We only adapted it to our personal aesthetics..
Halaster's style has always been clean, & iodine's even more so, with also a touch of toonness that toon goon would use a lot also, although you could trace toon goon's later style to magnetic m also..
The same can be said for many artists guess.. For me, reanimator and gunthar played a part in my style, as well as halaster and others.. Early on, Baltazer too..
As good as he is, i don't think gunthar brought much to the creative process... i'd rather talk of someone like grimlock, who adapted the style to a more realist vein, even more so than lord jazz himself, but then again, i'm not very familiar with the new breed of ansi artists... i've been away for too long, sadly..
What i see as a problem with the new artists is that, even though they don't lack the new ideas, they don't expose them largely, in an ambitious manner, but somehow, it's as if nobody believes in ambitious projects anymore...
Only gunthar's fonts in a sense got me -- but that was when I was just seeing outside packs in Australia - So I hadn't been exposed to the variety of the scene..
Anyways, back to the life of eerie -- So Samsara died -- Why?
I killed samsara as a choice, for a simple reason : instead of being the underdog kind of group which i had planned it to be, it quickly became the victim of its own hype..
Too big for its own boots?
It was a phenomenon, literally, so people were talking about it a lot, making it something it wasn't meant to be. I don't blame anyone for it, as i suppose that's how it was meant to happen.. But it still left me bedazzled. i wasn't prepared to run a "big group", & as i saw the hype coming, i wondered if there was going to be a difference between samsara & any other group anymore..
Yeah.. That was something I also wanted to touch upon too.. That Samsara went from becoming a 'joke', to being the most talked about group in the scene..
I just wanted to remain honest as possible, I also saw the artists losing faith as the group gained more notoriety. I killed it to keep the "perfect picture" : 4 packs that still amaze me even today..
Nowadays i'm not so sure i should have done that, but what i know is that with only 4 packs, the good art that characterized samsara wouldn't be diluted in an ocean of suckiness, like what happened to spastic, for example..
And well, after that i stopped caring about ansi..
So what the hell happened to you after Samsara -- I know your name was still on the credits at DTO?
I rejoined fire, then rile for a short stint, then released the rare ansis i did with fire.. Yeah, i kept contributing to dto, I just recently left dto because they were going in a direction that i didn't agree on..
Yeah, any comment on that direction?
Namely, oprah-style writing... you know, "hi, this is my life"... it became pathetic.. I figured, dto had been going for a few years, with its writers becoming more & more skilled--yet they'd sit on their asses & produce nothing.. I decided they were a waste of my time..
I don't want acheron heading in that direction -- I want writers who want to have fun -- who have spelling mistakes, etc :) But acheron is different anhow..
Dto was concentrated on writing. the act of writing itself therefore had to improve. If you write about ansi, then it's mostly your knowledge & ability to analyze ansi tht has to improve..
I understand you are involved with web design, as is quite apparent on the excellent DTO design, any other projects?
I tried my hand on some commercial design, although that's not really my cup of tea... i do it mostly for the money.. Trying hopelessly to get a job, also... :)
I'm working on my own site, which will be called "no type", it will include, among other things, a record label releasing exclusively in mp3 & realaudio format.. This thing is in heavy preparation & it should make some noise in the cyber-community, so to speak.. I want it to be a very serious & well-ran site..
I hope it takes off
We'll make press releases, organize the content professionally, etc., but the whole thing will remain free. I have good hopes it'll take off... it's an ambitious project, but it's also a first... nobody has done this yet.. mp3 & ra are both popular formats, so it won't be obscure or anything..
Fire Production's 33rd pack -- You were obivously touched to get an invite?
Well, i suppose it was obvious i'd get an invite in the first place :)
... with the "33" thing :)
Actually, it annoyed me a little, because i hadn't drawn in a while, but thinking back, i figured it was flattering that they decided to make this a "special pack"..
Godlice & nail want fire33 to be a great pack, there will be an article by me in it also, some sort of an "answer" to "revival articles" & you might want to use it on acheron..
Yeah, i'll have to talk to gog among lice about it..
Ok, when abouts did you say to yourself, "I'm going to start a scene page!"
i think it was at a time when i felt the scene needed one, but, one that had more than just snippets of group information... i wanted a real, live page with reviews, commentary, etc.. But i couldn't keep with it because i had other things on my mind in other areas & wasn't so much into ansi anymore.
I'm pretty glad however to see that the new pages, acheron for example, are following that idea as well
yeah, around this time there were a few others still 'producing', or at least still online, such as TASH and SuperUnknown -- tho slowing down..
yeah, they were more or less dead when i started ampersand
Ok, man, its been great talking to you about your life and times within the art scene.. Anything else you want to say before we rap this up?
I have a message for all aspiring ansi artists: Do it for the hell of it, there's no other valid reason to anything.. that's it :)
Session Close: Sun May 10 13:24:01 1998