What was you earliest memory of Graffiti, and who got you into it all?
I got in to graffiti after watching a film called Beat Street in 1983. I was hooked the minute I see trains being painted. It was a rough portrayal of 2 writers battling like SEEN and CAP, even though the real SEEN and CAP were tight. I first started bombing in 1984 and soon met up with a couple of writers who now write Essex Rockerz. They developed real style and were the forefathers of Essex graffiti.
What do you think about the London / Uk scene at the moment, and how has it changed over the years with internet, heavy buffing, more security and graff squad etc...
The graff scene has been ruined by the internet. There is no originality, no UK style per se'. Back in the day you had DDS style, strong violent letters that punched out from walls and trains. Only a few heads like OKER, DRAX and TORS had original styles without having to rely on looking at the internet for inspiration. The so called UK style is a mix bag of European wishy washy styles with no real thought gone in to them. The internet has also made the Graff squad's job so much easier now. You all put your photos on several graff websites, on facebook and twitter and expect the police not to be looking at them. Trust me they are looking at it all, building cases and bringing you down.
Painting yards, tracks gets you in some weird situations and takes you to some strange places...what is the weirdest thing that has happened to you painting?
12 years of bombing trains hard all around the world, yeah I have a few stories to tell but as Im now writing my book you are just going to have to buy it to read those juicy stories.
You paint banging walls and have also smashed the life out of trains over the years....is it important to keep that balance and do both??
At first I painted walls to develop style and understand the fundamentals of painting good. I had an opportunity to paint trains and took it with both hands. For me its aleways been about the trains.
Nothing gets you hard than watching one of your trains roll through the station and everyone staring at it. You just dont get that feeling with a wall, no matter how good it is, its just a wall that will be gone over by some rug rat in minutes. Over the years I have dropped productions on walls with some good writers but it will never be the same as painting hard cold steel.
What one night/mission sticks out from the rest, where you have gone at it, taken the piss and walked away with 'that feeling'...
That feeling was when we did a full colour, window down end to end burner on the #1 line at the 145th St tunnel lay up in New York City. My book will explain the mission and the scrapes we got in to but to watch that train pull in to service was the one for me. As IZ the WIZ once said "This is it, this it"
I liked all the countries I went to especially Italy, America, Spain and Holland but one spot I used to adore was in Lille, France. When a group of writers can go there, get pissed, tear up the pubs then paint 52 pieces in one night then that's a special place to me. We bombed those yards hard for years and took the piss every time without a whisker of trouble
You just spent 7 months inside for graffiti, what did the other people inside think of people being banged up for graffiti???
I was banged up with OKER, BICE, CERES, G MONEY, FAZE, KEMO, SCAN, POINT and HOOVER. Wormword Scrubs is full of murderers, rapist, gang bangers, villains dope smugglers, fraudsters and kiddie fiddlers. Being writers we were respected because we were doing more time than some of the other serious criminals. The prisoners and staff couldn't believe how long we had got and why we had been sent to prison in the first place. That's whats wrong with the justice system in Britain. Judges let off burglars, child rapists and Jimmy Saviles of the world but choose to imprison lads that colour in pretty pictures. I bet you will never see Banksy banged up.....god forbid, councils and politicians love his criminal graffiti but anyone else who does it needs locking up.
Yeah the book has been started and Im trying to put as much in to it as possible. The only issue is condensing 12 years of missions in to readable dialogue along with all the flicks that accompany it. Many have asked me over the years to write my story but I dont want it to be just about me. You have SKAG, ZIMS, MELON. DINE, NUKE, QUIR, TORS, NOVA, CURVE, PRIK, STER and CAFE with stories to tell about ATS. They are all part of the journey and its their story too. I think in reality its going to take about a year. Im writing each day so hopefully its going to be a bumper read. I have seen some other UK writers books and they were utter shite. Minimal writing and pictures of the same 4 spots they do. Where is the imagination in that and the UK expects and deserves more than a glorified magazine put together in a few weeks
What advice have you got for all the young hungry cats coming up in the scene??
Log off and live life. Work at your own style and forget what the latest craze is. So what if ROID is doing transparent circles, so what if BONZAI is using fades for letters. Go against the grain and be yourself. So what if your style doesnt appease some people at least you are being true to yourself and original. Most of all remember the authorities are monitoring everything you do on your computer. You think all this data protection is helping you stay anonymous well trust me it aint. This interview will be read by the graff squad as soon as it goes live so I say hello to the boys in blue.
Any last shouts out????
I'm retired now but this goes out to my crew who still rock shit, bomb hard and get things done. No one can stop us we are Addicted To Steel.
3 OKER, 3 BICE, 3 SIME, 3 DELS, 3 SMT