25 Years in the Making: An Interview with Matt & Rolf, Founders of The Chronicles of Dr. Zammsy
We sit down with these seasoned creatives to discuss storytelling, Star Wars, and how a lifetime of ideas, sketches and world-building has led to their groundbreaking NFT collection!
As 2021 has progressed, the quality of talent attracted to WAX has only increased.
From enthusiasts and artists to fully-fledged developers, many experienced heads are popping up to embark on their own NFT project journey – but not many have the expertise held within the team behind The Chronicles of Dr. Zammsy.
From Hollywood and AAA games to some of the worlds largest EDM festivals, you can count several seasoned heads amongst the roster for Dr. Zammsy, including two individuals I got the chance to speak to recently – Matt Gaser and Rolf Kvalvik.
With the project, which started over 10 years ago as a bunch of sketches, gaining in size and hype, now seemed like the perfect time to get the lowdown!
Scroll to the end of the interview for our Dr. Zammsy Interview Card, dropping tomorrow at 18 UTC!
Keep an eye on our Twitter for an exclusive mint #1 Dr. Zammsy giveaway!
Pssst… there’s three hidden claim links within this article. Happy hunting!
Hydro: Hey! Could you tell me a bit about yourself, your background and how you got into NFTs?
Matt: Hi! I’m Matt, and I’m the Co-Founder of Fabricated Madness – the company behind The Chronicles of Dr. Zammsy. I’m a graduate of the Art Center College of Design, and have 20 years of professional experience in the art and entertainment world.
My talent as a lead concept artist and designer has been accessed by film, animation, video games, television and more, including working for Lucasfilm in the production of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, The Angry Birds Movie, World of Warcraft and League of Legends, as well as stage design for major events such as the Daydream Festival in Europe.
My business partner and fellow Co-Founder Rolf Kvalvik reached out in the fall of 2020 and opened my eyes to NFTs. I described the Dr. Zammsy world and basic storyline to him, and showed him all of the artwork from previous developments. We knew this would work perfectly as an NFT trading card set, which started April 2021. It’s been a total success so far!
What would you consider to be the origins of your artistic nature? Do you remember your first inspirations?
I remember the origins of my artistic nature very well. I grew up in Northern California with a backyard filled with a redwood forest. Playing in the woods, building forts, and pretending to be a Jedi was a regular thing!
It wasn’t until I found a childhood friend that loved to draw that my passion for art kicked into high gear. We’d make up characters, draw them and our moms would make costumes so we could act out our imaginations.
I continued to draw throughout my grade school days and into high school. Every Christmas and birthday my mother would gift me art, sci-fi and fantasy books that fuelled my inspiration. Visions by Robert McCall, Expedition by Wayne Barlow, to name a few.
I had another buddy whose Dad kept a huge library of movies that we weren’t supposed to watch, like Conan The Barbarian, Aliens, Krull… These types of movies really shaped my influence as well.
What led you to the creation of The Chronicles of Dr Zammsy?
As a student, I got into collecting antique medical tools and supplies, just because I thought they were cool. This led to my first sketches of a doctor in some sort of otherworldly setting.
For one of art assignments, I created an acrylic painting of “Dr. Zammsy” with other strange characters in a narrative setting, and when I finished the piece, my colleagues kept telling me; “Gaser! You should develop this guy, turn this into something!” From that point on “The Chronicles of Dr. Zammsy” was born.
In 2010, some friends from the mobile gaming industry needed a new world for a storybook app project. I pitched them Dr. Z. and they loved it! We spent the next 3 months illustrating concepts and developing the app with their team, but unfortunately they cancelled the project – it was too risky for their startup.
Everything was put on a shelf until I published my first artbook in 2016, where I added a chapter showcasing the artwork from the failed Dr. Z app project. The overwhelming response from fans told me that Dr. Z. still had potential, and now, Dr. Zammsy has been reborn into NFTs and animated shorts, with two games now in production.
Over 25 years in the making has led to this point! For those unfamiliar, could you tell us a bit about the story and characters of the Dr. Zammsy universe?
When a mysterious virus infects his beloved community, the quirky Dr. Zammsy desperately quests across his fantastical world to find the cure. He soon discovers the illness was engineered as part of a sinister inter-dimensional plot threatening not only his world, but all existence in the multi-verse.
Dr. Zammsy, busy solving a mysterious migraine issue for a half-giant patient, is summoned as a medical expert to investigate a curious substance. A strange goo is infecting the forests of Gallagan and poisoning the local population of Orgaton giants.
Upon study, Dr. Z finds the goo is a highly sophisticated army of nano-soldiers that are quickly multiplying and will soon take over the entire country… eventually spreading to his own home!
Dr. Z’s research does yield a clue: a unique genetic signature relating to an ancient Age’ed Youngling myth about a spurned witch-queen delivering vengeance from far away. He reports this to the High Council of Halobridge Hospital, but they dismiss the doctor’s warnings as superstition and write him off as a loony.
Frustrated by the council’s lack of sense (or abundance of corruption), Dr. Z sneaks back into the forest to administer his own vaccine to the ailing giants and trees. But it all goes terribly wrong as his vaccine strengthens the infection and it spreads exponentially quicker, consuming the entire forest and setting he and his team on the run.
Dr. Zammsy must now redeem himself by finding a cure, solving an ancient mystery, and saving his world.
This is going to be some house call.
I’m a massive lore junkie, so to have an in-depth story behind the collection is a big plus for me! Do you have any implementations in mind for the cards, beyond being wonderful NFTs to own?
Every NFT in Dr. Z Series 1 and Series 2 has a back image with a full page of lore. We’ve recently hired a writer to help us formulate a story for a 10-part animated series for a streaming network. We hope to pull the best parts from all the stories on the backs of our NFTs into one grand adventure!
Season 2 is already planned too. The writer works for an animation studio so we feel that there’s a good chance you’ll be watching our show within the next year.
Our animator John Helms – who animates all our Dr. Z cards (and supervised the animation of Yoda in Revenge of the Sith) – had the smarts to create a documentary about our Series 1 launch, and the trailer for that should be available soon.
Our main goal has been, and always will be, to create high quality original art and stories. People really want something new as opposed to endless sequels and copies.
Were you aware of, or were you involved in, crypto prior to embarking on Dr. Zammsy?
Matt: Yes! After watching a TV show back in 2016 – Morgan Spurlock‘s episode about Bitcoin – my wife and I bought our first cryptocurrency. We’ve kept this ever since and have invested in many other cryptos over the years. It’s the wave of the future and it’s here to stay.
Much has been said about the future of gaming, and how NFTs and the blockchain will play a large part in it. How close, or far away, do you feel we are from NFTs in gaming being commonplace?
I think it’ll take some time for the big players to realize what people want.
I remember talking to Malcolm CasSelle a few years ago about how people pay a lot for their skins in games like Fornite and PUBG, but they want to be able to sell them outside of the game. The WAX blockchain facilitates true ownership of virtual items.
It may take even longer for the true value of NFTs to be understood, but once NFTs become the new normal, that’s when we’ll know that we’ve hit mass adoption.
Utility is often touted as a crucial aspect of any NFT project. What is your opinion on this, and do you have utility functions planned for the Dr. Zammsy collection?
Rolf: We are very happy to be working hard on various utilities for our NFTs.
The first of these is the ability to stake Dr. Z NFTs on whenstaking.com. Dr. Zammsy is the first non-Onessus-related project fully integrated into WhenStaking.
Another utility is related to our trading card game. Holders of our Series 1 and Series 2 NFTs will be able to link their wallets to access these cards in-game.
We’re working on a play-to-earn system with WAX, VOID and possibly a Dr. Z native token, but we’ll be launching a free version of the game first for everyone to play and to work out bugs and strategies before adding NFT connectivity and P2E aspects to the game.
What are your favourite blockchain projects, WAX or otherwise?
Rolf: My #1 favourite project on any blockchain is Celsius – an honest crypto bank. It’s a safe place to store cryptocurrency and receive a fair interest rate, and you can also take loans out on your crypto at competitive rates.
Without Celsius, there would be no Dr. Zammsy. I was able to use some of the gains from their CEL token to launch the Dr. Zammsy project. It gave me the time needed to work on this full time and gave me the ability to quit my regular job.
Secondly, I love the WAX blockchain. Malcolm CasSelle convinced me in early 2018 that blockchains and WAX were the future, and I went all in.
I became a member of OPSkins and made my first NFTs on the WAX testnet – back in the ERC-20 days. It was fun supporting the first projects to hit the chain, such as the very first GPK Series 1 cards and the Shatner NFTs.
I was one of the largest collectors of Bitcoin Origins NFTs, and we’ve certainly taken inspiration from them when it comes to high-quality art and stories.
It’s been quite a wild ride in the NFT space so far, and it’ll be interesting to see where we are one year, five years and ten years from now. We’re looking forward to the ETH Virtual Machine, and to partnering with ETH-based projects to introduce them to the benefits of WAX.
What can we expect to see from Dr. Zammsy in the next 12 months, and where do you see the project by then?
Within the next 12 months; our trading card game will have launched – and we’ll be working towards our first expansion, our 3D adventure game will have its first level fully completed, our Dr. Z animated series will be in full production, and we hope to have shown off our documentary at a festival or via a streaming service. It’ll be a very busy time!
What about WAX? Where do you think WAX will be a year from now?
We’re hoping WAX will be interoperable with multiple chains. I estimate the price will be $10-15 per WAX and voting rewards about $1 a year per WAX.
Is there anything you’d like to add? Anything you’d like to say directly to the reader?
Matt: We’ve worked super hard to produce original content of the highest quality. Story is our passion and the world we are building is unlike anything else in the NFT space. We’ve built something unique here – our biggest hurdle is the number of eyes on the project. The art and story will do the rest – we’ve seen this happen again and again as we keep growing.
Every week we’re so grateful for this opportunity to share this new creative space that’s changing the world. Together, Rolf and I want to build entertainment for a whole new generation and share our dreams with the world.
It’s time for the quick-fire questions!
What fuels you?
Story is the driving force. Human beings need stories. Humans love new stories. What fuels me is being able to share high quality art and stories to people to possibly inspire them to do great things, create their own story, or feel something emotionally and connect with a character.
We’re a species that learns from watching others. That’s why it’s important to do great things so that people see these heroic efforts and want to do good things too. We hope our stories help viewers see the rewards of helping themselves and others live a happy life.
One unusual fact about you?
Rolf: Matt’s best friend from High School, Mitch, was my track athletics teammate at the University of California – that’s how Matt and I met to form Fabricated Madness.
If you could give one piece of life advice, what would it be?
Adversity creates opportunity. Recognize that the negative is just as important as the positive. Everyone who has ever treated you poorly is just doing their job to push you to do better and find the people that treat you well. Understanding that the good and evil do their parts can relieve a lot of stress.
You can invite three people, real or fictional, to dinner. Who do you choose and why?
Leonardo Di Vinci, Bruce Lee, and Jim Lee.
One of my favourite quotes from Leonardo da Vinci talks about original ideas vs old ideas
“If indeed I have no power to quote from authors as they have, it is a far bigger and more worthy thing to read by the light of experience, which is the instructress of their masters. They strut about puffed up and pompous, decked out and adorned not with their own labours but by those of others, and they will not even allow me my own. And if they despise me who am an inventor, how much more should blame be given to themselves, who are not inventors but trumpeters and reciters of the works of others?
Those who are inventors and interpreters between Nature and Man as compared with the reciters and trumpeters of the works of others, are to be considered simply as is an object in front of a mirror in comparison with its image when seen in the mirror, the one being something in itself, the other nothing” – Leonardo da Vinci
Bruce Lee has a similar philosophy. If you read his book on martial arts, he says throw his book away once you’ve read it and create your own style based on what you’ve learned.
Jim Lee is the best comic book artist of all time, and very influential on our young minds. His comic books of the 1990s have contributed to our love for producing high quality art and stories.
What is your purpose in life?
To make other people happy and inspire them to reach their full potential.
How can we follow you and your work?
Dr. Zammsy has come a long way since their first drop way back in April of this year, and it’s clear that the team is hard at work putting their multi-disciplinary vision into action – across NFTs, documentaries, animations and more.
If you haven’t already, I highly suggest watching the trailer for their Series 2 drop, as it’s a fantastic demonstration of Matt’s artistic flair and really draws you into the world he has crafted.
As with all projects in the NFT space, time will tell if what they are working on will be a hit or a miss – but with a mass of talent and experience behind it, Dr. Zammsy could very well become one of the WAX blockchain’s shining stars.
To mark this interview, we have our Dr. Zammsy Interview Card, dropping tomorrow at 18 UTC!