PEOPLEText: Nicolas Roope

On Fournier Street, Just off Brick Lane outside FUEL HQ. Been here longer than Brick Lane be trendy. I come in. COOOL offices!! After a nice cup of English tea with milk we talk stuff.

Hi, Damon Murray, Peter Miles, Stephen Sorrell, or FUEL. I ask about recent project for Japanese client.

S: Music Link. We were involved in the naming process and logo.

D: It was good fun going to Tokyo which is always nice but they had tight deadlines so they were receptive to our ideas. There wasn’t a lot of umming and arring.

S: It was not like anything we’d done before. We intentionally devised this character rather than a typo logo.

P: We didn’t do characters before. It squeaked and spoke like a four year old.

D: They’ve got a tradition for that kind of thing.

S: It could be a POKEMON character.

D: No it needs a special character for that. As a logo and a character they liked it a lot. I don’t know how it goes as a station (music station on Japanese interactive TV platform.)

P: We did about 5 versions that’s not a lot usually, but that worked.

S: It was all done via email.

D: In the animation the egg turns into the character.

P: The guy running it was 55 but could have been 30. It was good working with him because he had a young outlook.

P: It was through a producer in Japan called Miki Noako. She works with Tomato too.

D: Running a school in Japan is not the top of our priorities. Not until we’re 50.

S: Through the visit to Tokyo we made some links with people who ended up getting involved with Wow Wow book/magazine.

P: Here’s one of them –

(they show me image in book about a site found at www.kt.rim.or.jp/~khaosan, an image of dead alien.)

What was the concept with Wow Wow?

D: It started with a frustration on the art part; not being able to find interesting web sites. So from there we had this idea put together a review of websites that concentrated on the content. We weren’t interested in the design at all.

P: I think people want to know what’s going on online without having to do it. The web side of it is being thought through at the moment.

D: We found a lot of magazine sites replicated the magazine and we don’t think that’s what the internet is about.

P: The writers in Wow Wow weren’t actually reviewing a site as they would a record, saying whether it was good or bad, rather discussing the content, talking about the issues which arose. Even in an uninteresting site there might be something really interesting. Often these sites look better presented in book than as a site. The intenet hasn’t developed enough, hasn’t developed a unique position unlike TV, or even CD rom.

P: The interactivity is the unique bit and it has to exist because that’s the unique offer. We chose the sites for the subject matter, not for the way that they worked. Some of the contributors couldn’t quite get there. You know when it first started and there were people moving things in the other sides of the world. What happened to all that?

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Chih-Yang Chen