Desire, how an old Amiga group made a comeback to the Demoscene
Written by Magic of Nah-Kolor
Featuring Infant, Ramon B5 and Guy Frost
Desire is a Dutch Amiga group from the early 90's which got rebuilt in 2010. In the last few days before Hugi #36 was finished I got serious signals about the comeback of Desire. In fact I was so happy a Dutch group would be coming back I added this news to the news section of Hugi #36. This was practically the last work, if not THE last work I did for Hugi #36. For this issue, Hugi got into a conversation about Desire with Infant who is basically responsible for getting the old gang back together at the beginning of 2010.
Infant introduces himself: "My name is Rene van der Steen. I've been known in the scene under the names Rotox (prior to 1994) and Infant (1994 and after). I started programming, without any knowledge of the scene, back in 1987 or so. This was on the Commodore 64. Later on, around 1991, I learned about the demoscene, bought my first Amiga (an A500 Plus) and joined the C64/Amiga group Silicon Ltd. Since then I've been a member of way too many groups to mention, but Subspace, Session, Lemon. and of course Desire are amongst them. Today I am 31 years old (at least when typing this :)), married to my lovely wife Danielle and have two great sons, Dylan and Matthew. I am currently back in the Netherlands and work for a big corporation as a consultant; implementing anti-fraud and anti-money-laundering solutions at big banks and insurance companies."
Ramon B5 was the organizer of Desire in the (first half of the) 90's. He started like many others on the scene with a Commodore 64 and later he got himself an Amiga 500. Ramon B5 explains how he joined Desire and what he is doing anno domini 2011: "I actually do not remember when, but I founded The Lords as a demo group. We joined together with Justice and had some small releases in 1990. Then we met the guys from DESiRE at the Awacs, Pussy, Raf copy party and me and Coyote talked about joining. I believe most of the Lords joined DESiRE and I have been with the group ever since. In my real life I work as Compliance Officer at ASML, which is a provider of lithography systems for the semiconductor industry. I am the proud father of three (most of the time) lovely children that take up almost all of my free time nowadays." So much about the organizer. But how did Desire got founded before Ramon B5 joined up? In search for this answer Ramon B5 directed me to Guy Frost of Desire, who is "one of the founding fathers of Desire", as Ramon B5 tells me. "Somewhere in the early 1990s three guys (Coyote, Duck and Zorro) from the same school decided to become active in the upcoming demo scene. We called ourselves the Nerds then, in lack of a better name. We tried some coding, some gfx and got 'better' at it. Well... not completely suxxors anyways", Guy Frost comments and continues: "Then, in the summer of 1990, Coyote came up with a better name: DESiRE! From that day on he has been the founder, me (Duck/Guy Frost) and Zorro the first members of DESiRE. The major release from this period is the Biebel Story, which caused MLP Artworx (aka Pseudolukian - the German musician) to join as the fourth member.
In the first half of the 90's the most important Desire productions released were among others their Amiga demos Menace and Excile and the chippack ChipChop. They also released some BBS intros in that period.
Desire - How did they return?
Infant spent the most recent years of his life in the USA. In fact I would have almost decided to visit the NVscene 2008 party in the USA together with him, especially since my group Nah-Kolor had a demo for this party. But, unfortunately, real-life obligations stood in the way of this trip. For private reasons Infant temporarily moved back to the Netherlands. Once back he started being active on the demoscene again. I asked Infant to describe this process. Infant explains: "When we moved back, our first goal was to get our life back on track here – which is very important with two kids. I had to search for a job, we had to look for a home, we had to get our oldest son back to school – it was a lot of work, but we managed to do so quite quickly. After the first couple of months things started to settle down a bit and I had some spare time. Then someone, and I believe it happened to be you (it was me -ed), sent me a link to the Breakpoint 2010 website via e-mail. I went to the website, clicked on the registrations link to see who was coming, fully expecting to see no familiar name. It turned out to be different though; I recognized some of the names from a long time ago and, in particular, 'Sacha/Desire' stood out. I looked up his e-mail address and sent him an e-mail; his reply was that he had kept an interest in the demoscene and that his wife liked it too – and she actually convinced him to go to Breakpoint. I initially contacted Ramon, Sacha and Guy Frost. From there, Ramon fell in to his old organizational role and started contacting everybody. We set up a Facebook page and more and more old members are being found by Ramon every week."
Bringing the old gang back together with some fresh blood is one thing. But releasing new productions might just be a challenge. Especially after 15 years of inactivity. But the course of time proved it wrong. Desire released two Amiga demos and a PC demo in a very short period of time. Infant continues with his explanation on the return of Desire: "At that point I just wanted to do a simple Amiga demo. A one-off, so to say. I tried getting access to old graphics and music made by Desire members and along the way contacted a lot of the former members. Apparently the timing was right because a couple of them were very eager to do something, in particular Ramon B5 and Guy Frost. I also contacted an old group mate and friend of mine, Hammerfist, and had him join Desire (first new member in 15 years or so). I put 'Menace 2' together with their help. Unfortunately it wasn't shown completely at Breakpoint due to an issue with my code and the organizers not realizing it was a two-part demo. So I said, right away, I was going to take the core of the second part, spend some more time and effort on it and release it at Outline. That plan actually turned out to be two days of somewhat hard work – the result, the demo 'In Monaco', was quite satisfying though. All of this is just a little exercise though – the real big demo is still to come. And yes, everything will be new – no old graphics, code or music."
Desire Reunion party
When Desire got back together and active again in 2010 a reunion party was arranged. Some Desire members and close friends (including myself) got together in the building where THD/Desire has his own company called the Ambassadors. (A post production facility that combines some of the most talented and respected names in the edit, sound and visual effects industry.) THD got an Amiga 500 with a copy of Deluxe Paint as gratitude at the end of the party :) Hugi asked Ramon B5 for a lookback on this reunion. What did he think of the outcome of this party and will there be a follow up someday?
Ramon B5 told me: "The Desire Reunion party in Amsterdam was a spontaneous thing by several of the Desire clan. Of course it took planning to get a date and a location, but thanks to THD we had the superb Ambassadors location with BBQ. And getting back in touch with lost old friends was a good prospect for us. The reunion party in my view was a success, since we all had a lot of fun (that is the most important part) that day. If there will be a follow-up someday, only future can tell. To me it seems scene interest from DESiRE now is unpredictable, you never know who has inspiration, time and stamina to work on a release or plan an event. But well, it took us 20 years to get back together again, so you never know what will happen in the future. I can only hope we will meet again (soon)."
Most of the old members have been re-united through the Desire page on Facebook. Productions for multiple platforms were released in 2010 and 2011. Some are working on productions or just some logo, font or track and others are just hanging around. We have been informed that Desire is making some cool productions for Revision 2012. How would Ramon B5 describe Desire today and in the future? "Honestly, I see DESiRE as I saw it 15 years ago, just a bunch of friends sharing a passion, and in our case it is the Demoscene. It provides artists a platform to express themselves, a place where coders, graphicians, mucisians etc. can catch up, chat and work together on the things they like. I hope it will open doors for a next generation of sceners, so we keep that scene feeling alive", Ramon B5 explains and continues his thoughts on Desire's future: "If I knew, I would tell you, but I probably will be as surprised as any other person by what will come of DESiRE this point forward. Now we just muse about the past and the things released by scene artists these days. You can expect some fun releases by us, but most of the DESiRE family has other obligations in life. But you never know and we might surprise you all."
And here Hugi leaves another group creating another page in the scene history books, but not before the obvious last words to other Desire members and our
readers. Ramon B5 concludes: "When I looked into scene activity, the first thing I read was
the scene is dead. Well, I have been following it for a little while, and
in my opinion the scene is still alive and kicking. There are still many talented people around, and with current technology it is very easy to keep in touch with eachother. So I hope we can keep the Demoscene community around for a longer while and all have fun together. A memory lasts forever, never does it die. True friends stay together and never say goodbye."
If you want to contact Desire you can reach the Desire WHQ via e-mail.
Links related to this article
Desire Facebook Page
Desire releases at Pouet