Ders of SOE [Glasgow] and TIC of
britishhiphop.co.uk we came across a couple of writers from Northampton and
Glasgow and thought that we had better give them an opportunity to chat and let
us in on what their thoughts are about the graff scene and what is going on in
their respective areas. Read on to hear what they had to say...
For all that donít know please introduce yourself and let the readers know a
bit about your crew, i.e. what do the initials in your crew name stand for and
what are the areas you paint?
TIC: Well, my name is (haha) ******** n I write TIC, TICO, TICA, TICS, TICZ,
PULSE (old), Iím in 2RA (2 Rude Artists), but more like 10 now. And NMW (Northamptons
DERS: I write Ders. I put up SOE (State Of Emergency) and FBR (Fat Boys Return).
SOE is a Glasgow based crew that paint in and around Glasgow, the crew was
created by Arch and Daze. FBR is a Glasgow based crew created by Oska. Its
mainly Glaswegian but has a lot of writers from other areas putting it up as
As individuals what do you write? What are your tags?
TIC: TIC, OBSE, AIME, MOK, SOUL, SWITCH.
DERS: SOE = ARCH, DAZE, SECK, TURN, MOMS, and myself. FBR = too many people
putting it up to name all of them but OSKA, AKME, EJEK, DAZE, SECK, JUST, RAED,
CHE, ROULE and myself are all representing to name a few.
How old are you?
What was it that got you into graffiti and when do you think it was that you
would have started drawing on paper, maybe keeping a pad?
TIC: Just seeing random stuff round about got me into it really, started
sketching a while ago, and then wanted to take it to another level.
DERS: I started sketching about 5 yrs ago after being influenced with a lot of
early Pane and KLA shit.
What was it that got you onto the next level and actually throwing up on
TIC: Being with mates helps, because you donít do it on your own, just got bored with
sketching all the time, needed wallsÖ
DERS: I got older and wanted to paint.
When and where was your first piece? What was the feeling you got after
putting it up? Was it what you expected?
TIC: My first piece was at back of sum school in town and I wrote PULSE back
then, I thought it was ok, and not as hard as I had thought it might be to do,
but I couldnít get the hang of shading..
DERS: My first piece was with Arch and Mase at the bench in Glasgow. The actual
piece wasnít too hot when I look back on it but for a 1st piece it was cool.
So, by now you must have done a few pieces. Which one was your favourite
piece? Where was it and when would it have been done?
TIC: Ermm, I donít really have a favourite piece I like Mosta them. Probably
sommat at lockup, deffo a colour dub.
DERS: Iím not sure if I have a favourite one. There are a good few that Iím
pleased Iíve got under my belt but I couldnít tell you my favourite.
What has been your craziest or worst writing experience?
TIC: Ermm, having me and my mate filmed bombing sum garage round and about and
having sum man leg us and catching it all on film was well funny.
DERS: My craziest experience was probably out doing dubs with Arch and Daze a
while ago. We ended up getting chased by two police cars and a police van. Had
to run across motorways and shit to get away from them.
Are there any other crews or artists in your area who you know or whose tags
you see all over?
TIC: Yeh, many graffaís in CFC, CWF etc, shout to Disa n Det..
DERS: I know quite a few writers. Glasgowís not exactly massive so itís easy to
mingle with other crews and shit. Iíve always wanted to paint with Pane but
never had the chance.
So you have built up a bit of knowledge about graf in the UK and more
specifically around your manor, can you break down, for a bit of perspective,
how graffiti filtered into UK culture? I mean who would have been the first
people to bring it over from the US, or developing native artforms that already
existed, maybe stemming from Punk etc.? Maybe much of the early roots had been
laid by the time you came on the scene?
TIC: Yeh, much of it was already going down before I came to do stuff, but Iím
happy to add sum new stuff to the scene round my area.
DERS: Well Iíve always related Graff to hip-hop. Every writer I know loves
hip-hop and is part of the culture. In Glasgow I think a lot of the writers that
are about nowadays started out putting up ďmenchiesĒ (a style of lettering
exclusive to Glasgow stemming from the word ďmentionĒ. Means when people write
there name on the wall and big up their mates. Just a thing a lot off wee kids
do when they are bored and get hold of a marker) as kids and then progressed
onto more creative and colourful lettering as they grew out of putting up
ďmenchiesĒ and started being influenced by hip-hop.
OK, for a while there, as the popularity of Hip Hop grew in the UK, so did
graf. Can you tell us a bit about some of the big names who got over? I can
think of the Artful Dodger and some people may not know, but Goldie started as a
graffiti artist didnít he?
DERS: Yeh he did, he is featured in Spraycan Art. So did KRS one and Big Juss (Lune
TNS, from Company Flow) to name a few. Its good to be able to listen to hip-hop
that is about Graff because you can relate to it and it gives what your doing a
better sense of meaning and purpose.
TIC: Can't say I know mate, respect to any fresh new hip hop tho..
How would you describe your style, is there anyone you have based it on?
TIC: Not really, everyone develops their own style over time, and if you get
good you get known for itÖ thatís what every artists wants..
DERS: I donít know man, Iíve learned a lot since I first started out. I just
started to perfect my own style on paper and now Iíd say its kind of different
from what it was back in the day. It used to be based around a lot of Panes shit
but now thatís long gone.
What do you make of artists like Banksy who are tying to take it to the next
level and can sell prints of their work for more than £1000? Iím sure you would
like to command income like thatÖ
TIC: Hell yeh, grand a print, lol, nah respect to that if theyíre good enough
for that then do it, its all good.
DERS: I think thatís cool coz if you have style and can make cash from what you
love doing, then fucking do it. I know a few people that done Graff workshops
and stuff and they said that it was easy money so itís cool. Just as long as you
donít give away the tricks of the trade to all the people that donít deserve to
know them! Haha.
Banksy is keeping it real though, he makes sure that there is some serious
message in all his work. I admire thatÖ
TIC: Yeh, stuff without message is crap really, everything good as a meaning so
yeh, heís keeping it real.
What do you make of the whole stickering phenomenon? Do you think it is just
another way of getting over, or do you think it is a bit of a cop out?
TIC: Nah, stickers are good, slap it onÖ and goÖ I donít really do much of it,
but I can see how people see it as a cop out, but anyway of getting your stuff
around is good ennit..
DERS: Nah its cool. I tend to use them for travelling when u might not have the
chance to get up with paint or pens all the time. Iíve got stickers in New York,
London and Paris so Iím quite chuffed with that but I donít use stickers in
Glasgow, just pens and paint.
Why do you think that Graffiti artists are so demonised in the media? OK, you
have to admit what you are doing constitutes criminal damage, but often times
you are brightening things up and you arenít hurting anyone.
TIC: Yeh, many people think is messes stuff up, but we could be doing worse
things, they should concentrate on serious stuff not youths painting, its pretty
petty and itís all about getting your message across and there ainít many ways
in which you can do that now.
DERS: Because a lot of people look at the down side of Graff and thatís what
sticks in their minds. They donít look at Graff the same way as us writers doÖ.
At the end of the day we are all vandal bastards with an artistic touch, thatís
what Graff is. LOL.
Similar to the stickering, what do you think of Etching? Is this connected to
graffiti in your eyes, or does it give more conventional spraycan artists a bad
TIC: Nah, anything that adds to the overall Ďwritiní scene is good, canít say its
at the front of my mind tho..
DERS: Nah, etching is good, it gets your name up and cant be buffed.
Did you hear about Enzo having to go on the run after there was a major
campaign about him in London?
TIC: Yeh, herd bout that, respect to him for keeping it upÖ
DERS: Yeh, thatís what the hardcore writers will have to face soon, jail time
and massive fines. Just the way things are looking these days.
What do you think of the zero tolerance policy many councils are now having
on graffiti, will this make your lives more difficult?
TIC: Yeh, course it will, but no matter how much they try stop it, people are
still gonna break da mould, thatís the buzz, what its all about.
DERS: To a certain extent but overall it will just show the government that they
canít stop Graff no matter how hard they try.
I ask everyone about politics, because I think it is important that we have
knowledge of what is going on. Do you have anything to say on that? Any issues
you think people need to open their eyes to?
TIC: Yeh, keeping that zero tolerance thing away from NorthamptonÖ Haha.
DERS: Graff has been around for years and it wont go away, this is what people
need to open their eyes to. In 100 years Graff will be completely respected as
an art form because people will have realised the effort and artistic talent
What is your opinion on the Hutton inquiry into the death of Dr David Kelly?
Do you feel we are getting the full story and is there a conspiracy or shady
dealings behind this sad story? What is your perspective on this?
TIC: Well, I think were not getting full stuff here, there behind the scenes
stuff we donít hear bout so I donít want to make a judgement..
DERS: Ohhhhhh rite ayeee, that death? Lol. Right over my head.
If you could change something about society, what would it be and why?
TIC: Ermm, paint should be cheaper, to stop burns in out pockets..
DERS: I would wipe out all the Neds in Glasgow because all they do is fuck
people about. They are the scum of the earthÖ. I would also wipe out ignorance.
Overall then, do you have an opinion on whether the graffiti scene is getting
better or worse? And why?
TIC: Better, cus there are many new and fresh writers cumin through, so
everything is getting better, except for the beefÖ. Cut it, stick to the graff
DERS: Hmm, I have mixed views. There are nice styles shooting about but too many
wee toys as well.
Would you consider doing legal pieces and getting paid for your work?
Sometimes artists who do this are frowned upon by the underground artistsÖ
TIC: I would consider it, cus if youíre good enough then its ok, and getting
paid for it, which is better, I could see how it could b looked down at, but as
long as you donít give your tag away then I think its ok..
DERS: Yeh, of couse I would. Iíd still do illegal shit too though.
Are there more opportunities for legal work these days, or have those days
gone and in fact the council provided walls are coming down?
TIC: There are barely any legal spots nowadaysÖ More are neededÖ
DERS: There are no legal walls in Glasgow at the moment. But there is the odd
piece to be done or mural to be painted for people.