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This week's interview features the user HeavenDuff.
When did you find Newgrounds and why did you join? Why did you choose the username HeavenDuff?
"Well, I joined in August of 2004… and thanks to your interview, I now realised that I will celebrate my 10th year anniversary as a member of Newgrounds. But I knew about this website well before that. In 2004 I was 14 years old, but I already knew about the website since elementary school, so I’d say that was somewhere between 1998 and 2001. My big brother and his friends were talking about this website a lot, and so were some of my elementary school friends who also had big brothers. I finally joined in 2004, most likely to be able to access the most interesting features of the website, such as being able to have a profile page, increased voting power and of course, being able to post in the BBS.
I also just now realised, while thinking about what I’d answer to your question, that I created the nickname HeavenDuff specifically for my Newgrounds account. Duff was already a nickname of mine, based on letters from my real name combined together to form the word Dof, which doesn’t mean much… But I was a big fan of The Simpsons back in the days, so I changed Dof to Duff, which is Homer’s favorite brand of beer in the series. Duff was already taken, so I had to add a little something to the name for it to be accepted, and I didn’t like the idea of just adding a number to the name, I wanted something unique. I assume that Heaven was just that awesome of a word to my 14 years old self and it also referred to mythological, fantastic and imaginary universes, which were and still are very appealing to me. I also used to play a lot of Diablo 2 in the early 2000, so it might have also inspired me a little as well."
Do you think that you changed over the time you were here, as user, or also in real life?
"I sure hope so! I was a teenager back then, and didn’t know much about the world and what I wanted to do with my life. My first posts on the BBS pretty much show how much of a kid I was. Since I’ve joined, I have completed my high school, I’ve went to what we call CEGEP here in Quebec (which is a school between high school and university), I’ve completed my bachelor degree in political science and started my master’s degree in the same field.
During that ten years, I grew up quite a lot, I met my first girlfriend in 2005, went out with her for almost three years, broke up, then met my actual girlfriend, whom I’ve been going out with for almost seven years.
Needless to say, I’ve changed quite a lot. I also hope that it shows in my posting on the BBS. I’m much more confident as a person, I have a better self-esteem then I had as a teenager, I’m much less prompt to jumping into a fight and getting angry at other members of the BBS, and I’m all around more educated, more passionate about the things I do, much more nuanced and I put effort in what I contribute to Newgrounds. Most of the time, at least, haha!"
Are there any other users that you like, and how do they affect you?
"The boys from the Metal Hell are the users I like the most here on Newgrounds. Guys like Sense-Offender, Nev, Viper, Bahamut (who is now named Murray, I believe) and others of the Metal Hell were very welcoming and knowledgeable in terms of great music. Sense and I share very similar tastes in music, but also in various other artistic fields such as cinema.
A few years back, I was the leader and founder of the Call Of Duty Clan of Newgrounds, which changed name and changed location as the newer games came out and I had to figure new names out for the clan’s headquarter. But within this clan there were guys whom I’ve spent so much time discussing and playing great CoD games with. We kind of went apart since that time, but they’ve been a part of my life for a good three years or so. I’m talking about guys like TheUnknownVoice, TheRipper00, ShadowWest, BobbaQ, Torkelson.
Members like Dr-Worm also come out to me as very intelligent, well-spoken and all-around well-informed members whom you can easily have great discussions with.
There are other users that I like for the pieces of art they share with the community, such as Sexual-Lobster, Krinkels, Doki and TheWeebl for their amazing (and often very inspiring or humoristic) flash animations. I’ve recently also discovered a visual artist who works under the name of keepwalking, here on Newgrounds. I highly recommend his pieces of art, they are mind-blowing!
These are all users who affect me in the way that they are making Newgrounds a nice place to come and visit often."
Are there any users that you would consider enemies or that you just don't like?
"A few years back, a user named cellardoor6 was around a lot, and discussions with him would easily go down a slippery slope and become unpleasant confrontations. I know that a lot of other users feel the same about him, since I’ve read comments that were openly critical to his behavior and posting habits. I wouldn’t consider him an enemy, but rather just someone I didn’t like facing in a discussion.
Apart from that, members who troll or who are just all-around bad mannered are somewhat annoying to me, but I don’t consider these individuals as enemies."
What is your opinion about the forums? Is there one forum that you prefer? And is there another forum user that you want to see getting interviewed by me?
"I like the Clubs & Crews forum the most. Through the years, there have been a few clans and crews that I’ve been a part of. I’m still an active member of the Metal Hell, as you know, but I’ve been an important member of The Call Of Duty Clan Headquarters in the past (and The Call Of Duty World At War Clan, The Cod Modern Warfare Clan and Call Of Duty 4 Clan Headquarters, before that). Even before that, I was a member of the Quebec Club, which is now dead since the Mods and Admins came to the conclusion that it was too hard to moderate clubs in other languages then English. We were allowed to recreate it, but the members of the club never quite came around to doing so. I still like to pay a visit to the Cinema Club and the Last.fm Club every now and then, but I’m not quite active as I used to be in the C&C. It’s still my favorite forum, though. It’s the place to have thoughtful discussions and debates with users who are passionate about the things they are talking about.
The General Forum is pretty much hit and miss for me. Most of the threads don’t have much appeal to me, but I still lurk around and post whenever something catches my attention!
And is there another forum user that I’d want to see getting interviewed by you? Well… you’ve already interviewed most of my buddies and favorite users ( Natick, Dr-Worm, Sense-Offender, Viper). Maybe… if you could get some flash animators like Sexual-Lobster or Evil-Dog, that would be pretty awesome!"
I guess that you have an opinion about the moderators of Newgrounds. Do you think that they do a great job or not?
"They are doing a great job for sure! Even better than before, I’d say. I think that Wade might have come up with the best moderation team. This, or I’m just a better poster then I used to be and I don’t get banned as often as I used to be, haha! In fact, I don’t think I’ve been banned from the BBS in at least 2 years. That might be why I’m biased in favor of the actual mods, haha!
But in all seriousness, I think the BBS is a pretty pleasant place to be nowadays. It’s kept pretty clean, and I don’t see overtly acts of heavy verbal violence or intimidation. It’s an internet forum, so it’s bound to see some shit happening every now and then, but all in all, the moderators are keeping this place pretty clean! Not to mention that most members are pretty cool people anyway!"
Would you like to become a moderator on Newgrounds? If so, what kind of moderator?
"I’d like to, sure! For the prestige and to be able to flaunt it at other users’ face! Haha!
If I was to be a moderator, I’d like to be a BBS moderator. It’s the place where I spend most of my time, and I always like to contribute to the communities I like. And seeing how Newgrounds as pretty much been my Internet house for the last ten years, I’d be more than happy to help making this a better place for everyone."
You were a member before the redesign 2007. Tell me how you experienced Newgrounds back then and what changes you liked about the redesign
"To be quite honest, I don’t remember much of the redesign, except for the fact that the website looked very old school and that it had an awesome 90’s website feel before the redesign. If anything, the redesign gave it a more modern look, which is all cool by me. I don’t remember even hating anything about the 2007’s redesign."
The last redesign happened 2012. Tell me what you think about it. What do you like and what is not so good?
"Most of the redesign I agree with. I’m pretty happy that the members obtained a more customizable space for them, like with the news posts, the profile pictures, the BBS icons, etc. It was a pretty nice add to the website. Only thing I didn’t like about the redesign is the level icons designs. They don’t look as good as the previous ones, and I also am not quite fond of the new auras. I liked the neutral, light, dark auras of the pre-2007 redesign. Even the post-2007 redesign with two more auras added (Fab and Evil) was kind of nice, but I don’t like the auras now."
Back in 2009, you had a series called "Song of the week", reviews of songs on your userpage that you released weekly. Why did you start making those and can you imagine to continue this series?
"It was a little project that I started doing, mostly for myself and in hope that maybe others would like it. But it didn’t get very popular, and I’ve pretty much abandoned the project and focused on writing album reviews for the website Metal-Archives. MA is a much more specialised platform for these kinds of reviews and they attract much more readers. If there is a way for me to contribute to a music fans community on the Internet, I think it’s the best way for me right now. It’s not too serious, I can do it whenever I want, and I don’t have any contract or deadline to follow. I just do it whenever I feel like it. I don’t think I’ll ever continue the Song of the week series."
Above the Earth, Below the Sky by the band If These Trees Could Talk is one of your most favourite albums. What makes this album great in your opinion? Which songs of that album do you like the most?
"If These Trees Could Talk is in my opinion, one of the greatest post-rock bands out there. They stand among the greats like Mogwai and Godspeed You! Black Emperor. Above the Earth, Below The Sky is their first full-length album and it’s amazing from the first second to the last. It’s instrumental post-rock at its finest. It’s immersive, emotional, passionate and it resonates in your ears and brain. It combines elements of very melodic and smooth post-rock with the more aggressive elements usually found in post-metal, but that are slowly sneaking inside post-rock to create dynamic and powerful albums like Above the Earth, Below the Sky.
I couldn’t pick a favorite track from this album, but I’d say the first half is definitely making this album stand among the greatest albums of our era. So tracks like From Roots to Needles, What's in the Grounds Belongs to You, Terra Incognita, Above the Earth, and Below the Sky are all tracks I would recommend. But listening to the whole thing would make the experience much more interesting."
Metal seems to be your favourite music genre. What was the first metal band that you became a fan of? Which aspects of metal music do you appreciate the most? As member of the Metall Hell club, which bands did you discover through recommendations from other members of that club?
"In high school I was introduced to metal music by some of my friends through bands such as Edguy, Kalmah and Children Of Bodom. Before really digging into metal, I was quite a big Slipknot fan. The first legitimate metal band that I became a fan of was most likely the melodic death metal band from Finland, Kalmah. But I also owned the first four albums of another Finish metal band named Children Of Bodom. So it’s definitely one of these two that really got me into metal.
Metal is an umbrella genre, really. Which means that just like Jazz, and Rock, it’s pretty hard to explain what I like about the “whole genre”. If there are elements that are found throughout most of the subgenres and within the music of the best bands of these genres, it’s most likely the sheer emotions and creativity that flows through it. Metal is a rollercoaster of emotions… it plunges into the abyss of dark and sorrowful emotions, but it can also be uplifting, promoting courage, hope and freedom through creativity and self-accomplishment. Metal music also manages to be at the avant-garde of music exploration. It pushes the boundaries further and further all the time!
As a member of the Metal Hell, I discovered at least half of the metal music I listen to nowadays. Through discussions, recommendations and endless debates, we share stuff, discover new things and learn all the time. It’s a collective effort that pays off for all of us. Some notable discoveries I’ve made in the Metal Hell are bands like Agalloch and Boris, which are now two of my favorite bands, and all avant-garde stuff like Sigh or Arcturus, which were recommended to my by Sense-Offender."
I think that you are a fan of Tim Burton. Which of his creations do you find to me the most fascinating?
"Somewhat, yes. He’s not my favorite director, though. I still like his style in some of the movies he worked on. Edward Scissorhands, his Batman movies, Beetlejuice, and A Nightmare Before Christmas were all movies that I really liked. I also think that 9 and Sweeney Todd are rather overlooked when people discuss his work. 9 was particularly interesting in the mood of the movie, the atmosphere and the main character had a pretty interesting development.
Let’s just all forget Planet Of The Apes though…"
Back in 2006, you stated that Chrono Trigger is your favourite RPG of all time. Tell my readers what you like about this game. Also, which RPG's that have been released since then do you like the most?
"Chrono Trigger was released in 1995 on the SNES and it was amazing back then, and it’s still amazing today. It’s a flawless game. The soundtrack by Yasunori Mitsuda complements the game and characters very well, as all the main characters and member of Crono’s team have their own theme. As a kid, I just loved Robo’s theme and Frog’s theme. And with the exceptional character development, you feel so much more immersed in the story are you start to really care for these characters. The fight system is also very cool. The different attacks are all great to look at, and the fact that the different characters all have special attacks and moves they can perform together, makes it all that much more interesting to decide which characters you want to have in your team and at which moment. The game also allows for the player to decide what to do at some specific points in the game, and with the New Game + option, you get the chance to replay the game with all your gears and levels, but chose when to fight the final boss, offering a multitude of different specific endings for when you decide to fight the final boss and with which characters.
Since Chrono Trigger, there have been other RPGs that I’ve loved. I might disappoint some of you, but my other favorites are the Knights Of The Old Republic games on Xbox. I just love the Star Wars universe, and these were great adds to an already fascinating story.
Another game I love is Earthbound, but it came before Chrono Trigger. I’m still allowing myself to mention it here, since it’s probably a close second after Chrono Trigger."
Every person has secrets. Can you tell one of yours or something else that we didn't know about you yet?
"I did that interview in my underwear. Also I think that Lady Gaga is a pretty good artist, at least by pop standards."
What can we expect from you in the future, HeavenDuff?
"On Newgrounds? Same old, same old. I’ll keep posting, hoping to share a little of my opinions and knowledge with others, and hoping to learn some new stuff myself. And maybe eventually, I’ll be one of the greats of Newgrounds. But it might take some time."
Now you are filled with more knowledge about HeavenDuff, dear reader.Feel free to leave a comment here, saying what you think about the interview, requesting users to get interviews is also appreciated. Tune in next week :3