***Exclusive to keyseventeen**^
Noir doesn’t need any introduction one of the most busy train writers Britian has come across. I’m going to leave this interview to speak for itself because he’s lived a life that you could honestly write a film about. Speaking about champaigne, cocaine, ladies, football violence and trains what more could be said…
Firstly, how long have you been writing and what made you start?
I first picked up a spraycan in 1984, but started to draw outlines and put pieces together in 1986. I met up with a bunch of local guys who were to become the infamous Essex Rockerz. We dropped serious productions and put Essex on the map rather than being in the shadows of London’s then famous writers like Non Stop, Chrome Angels and AWE. With the craze of hip hop fading in 87-88 i carried on wearing my addidas with fat laces, dropping outlines and listening to electro, for me hip hop was a way of life.
Did you have any particular influences at that time?
For me it was the weekly treck to Ladbroke Grove to see Non Stop art and the West Ham hall of fame to see works by Chek. I loved full colour productions with a theme and characters that complimented the productions. Of course the masters of this style was The Chrome Angelz . Covent Garden used to be a place that writers met up, swapped stories and showed their flicks. I guess the whole scene was new and Spraycan art had only just been published so we all marvelled in Goldie, South East vandals and Vulcan.
When and what made you get into smashing steel?
For me graffiti has always been about the steel. Its how it was first brought to the masses and will always belong on trains. No matter how good you are, you put a huge masterpiece onto brick and it will never look as good or get any admiration like a panel, e2e or wholecar will get. I still write my pieces today about the same size as a window down panel, nothing looks better than the size. I first came to realise this ethos in 1999, I met up with the LDS crew and we danced the lines every week non stop.
Growing up outside of London did you feel you had something to prove being classed a bumpkin?
When writing on walls i was schooled in Essex and was proud of that fact. We had many fantastic artists like Zee 3, Metso, Keen, Chek, Shot, Busk, Skire, Sime, YesB, Izer, Snag, Urge n Freehand, ERZ and many many more. London was about beef, robberies and and bullshit. In Essex we could meet up, paint and spread our styles across the county which made London realise graffiti wasnt just a London thing. We were dropping styles and productions that lasted in halls of fames for months or years rather than days or hours. Being a bumpkin had many more advantages especially when it came to painting trains. Remember many tube and train yards are not in London they are based in Essex, Hertfordshire, Surrey and Kent. So with these yards on our doorsteps we took care of the yards and watched our burners roll through the centre of London with the writers taking notice of us bumpkins.
I’ve heard a rumour that many years ago you were involved in West Hams ICF?
That is true. Graffiti, ecstasy and fun on the terraces all seemed to go hand in hand around the late 80’s to mid 90’s. Running with the under 5’s I travelled the country with a toe rag crew causing mayhem and meeting some interesting characters along the way. My experiences led me to realise us younger ones were having many more tear ups than the top boys in each firm. The top boys got all the recognition with all these book deals now coming out weekly but it was us troopers that got things rocking and got the reputation of being proper top boys. It was good fun at the time and i got to bomb plenty of cities round the country whilst repping West Ham. Good days always come to an end and with informants and police infiltrating the terraces my days were numbered. Im now no longer allowed to visit any football stadium and associate with any of my old buddies so graffiti still allows me to bump into some old foes and faces which is nice.
Back to graffiti…
You fall in the rankings in our opinion as one of the top 10 steel writers in UK, and I’ve read elsewhere that you were ranked in the top 3 wanted by BTP you’ve certainly made a massive impact, but is there anything you wish you’ve done differently?
Top 10 more like number 1….no im kidding top 10 is a massive accolade for me. Top 3 on the BTP wanted list for 10 years now, they keep on chasing but no luck yet. They have arrested a few writers I know and have accused them of being me. I guess one day they will give up as im a myth, a ghost a bogeyman. I only wish I could do more thats what i would do differently. The Europeans live, eat and breath writing on trains. This is something no UK writer will ever be able to do. We like booze, drugs and women too much and all these things distract us from being focused.
Who do you rate at the moment who are busy painting steel at the moment?
Well we seem to have a huge influx of spanish, polish and toys wrecking our yards. UK writers find it a struggle to get decent things done these days. I dont rate any of them.
How about walls? Who do you rate painting walls and productions?
Blimey this list could be endless….Trans1, Shye, Kemef Inc, Tors, Jasik, Sorn, ERZ, Ster, Brave one, DanK, Soker, Vodker, Skore and you boys of course.
How do you feel about the divide between legal writers and illegal writers?
You will always have these issues. Bombers want to get up and make a name for themselves. Do it and get up but why then go to a legal spot and do a wanky chrome dub. Halls of fames are for writers that like to showcase their talent and bring style to the masses. What is the purpose of a shit chrome dub in a hall of fame. Bombers have their place in graffiti and i do love a dub and tracksides but keep it away from HOF’s.
How do you feel about the custodial sentencing for writers?
Its a joke is what it is. There are sex offenders, nonces and crack heads committing crimes that get less of a sentence than kids for doing graffiti. Terrorists, hate campaigners and fraudsters get protected against being sentenced to time in jail as its against their human rights. For a writer you get 21-27 months in jail no questions asked. Judges dont have a clue on what sentencing guidelines are and how the common public react. I mean how can the upper class which include judges and magistrates revel in Banksy and call him wonderful and talented and pay silly money for his toy work and then send to prison real writers for causing the same damage but call it vandalism. In Banksy’s book hes done panels on tube trains…….dont hear the public calling him a vandal!
You know a lot of places in the UK, what’s the most satisfying and worst moments of the times you’ve painted steel?
hahaha that would be telling. Lets just say i know a place that lays up trains all weekend with no security, ladders laying around and a pub next door which is open 24 hours.
I’m sure you’ve accumulated story after story as any writer does, name your favourite 3 moments?
I remember painting in NYC. We went out boozing with some of the local girls who wanted to show us a good time. We frequented some of the celeb hangouts and caused mayhem with drinking, snorting and pen bombing all the toilets, tables and bars. Three os us were going to a yard that night in a juicy underground lay up which housed the 1’s. After realising we were cutting it a bit fine the girls offered us a lift in their limousine back to our hotel. With fun and frolics in the back of the car with champagne corking and bj’s a plenty the girls decided their driver would be more than happy to take us upstate to the yard and wait for us whilst we painted. Its got to be one of the sexiest missions i have been on with drinking,. fucking and snorting coke of each of the girls tits and bare arses on route to a yard. Needless to say we rocked a full colour window down e2e and got driven back to our hotel to finish the party off. The graff game dont get no more pimping than that.
A couple years ago you did an interview for ‘Aerosol Planet’ mentioning the figures of panels you’ve painted stating ‘I have painted 278 commuter trains and over 300 tubes. I have done 15 whole cars, 1 whole train on London Underground. On commuters around, 25 wholecars.’ What’s the figure now, 2 years on?
Ooooo that would be telling. Lets just say i keep a regular up date to things and keep my toes in the water.
ATS – Addicted To Steel
How long have ATS been going?
Its was formed in 2000 so 12 years now. Some writers have come and gone but they have all earned my respect and respect of others in the game.
It seemed ATS exploded again a couple of years ago bringing in new fresh talent like Diner and Melon etc. What are your favourite moments with the crew?
Diner, Melon and Quir were massive bombers so it brought a whole new era with the crew. Those guys hit hard and will always be in my heart.
Who do you like to paint with? I.E. Walls/ Steel
I paint with Sorn, Tors and Trans1 mainly
A lot of people have been and still are sceptical about managing to paint the subway trains in NYC and the ATS as usual smashed it by painting full colour whole cars, and certainly proving everyone wrong. We also asked Noir about New York.
Firstly how long did you spend out there?
We were there for 2 weeks only, but I had been a few times before shopping and sight seeing.
How many trains did you paint out there?
In total around 6
It seems you had a mental time in NYC, I’ve heard stories about when you going to yards in limousines accompanied by strippers? Tell us a bit about your time there?
as fore mentioned….. We had a crazy time out there. We smashed the yards and hooked up with SEEN and the FX crew for some laughs. SEEN asked us what we had been upto and I flatly told him ” smashing your yards”
What other places have you visited to paint? Anywhere next on the agenda?
I feel like a Lisa Stansfield record ” been around the world ” Im planning on getting a ride on Richard Bransons new venture. He’s gonna drop me off at the moon so I can blockbuster an ATS outline for the whole world to see.
What are your future plans?
Keep fighting, keep fucking and keep painting till I die. Remember Hero’s never die they just get stronger.
Any shout outs?
Sorn, Diner, Trans1, Shye, Tors and to all the girls ive ever loved before