Interview by Brian Beavers (www.beaversdesign.com)
BS: How are you doing Audio?
Audio 57 : I'm well. thank you. maybe i should have takin this opportunity to say something witty or funny but ill pass. how are you feeling?
BS : Good, thanks! Where do you hail from?
Audio 5 7: I was born in and growed up in kansas city, mo. the heartbeat of this mutha.
BS: What’s the scene like there?
Audio 57: Id have to say in all honesty, its shit! its definitely had its ups and downs throughout the past 30 years. many hard hitting vets have come from this city or have come through and moved on. ive been here since the beginning as a young buck spectator to the days of being called an "old school" writer. much historical work and events have been born here in kansas city. if youve been in this game for a long time you would know what kind of change A.T.T. CREW made on the graffiti world. this innovative team has definitely left its mile marker in the vandal world and the came from this turf. those dudes were my graff dads. without them id be a whole different can of caterpillars. along with many other writers to this day. as for the more popular guys we all tend to know now, such as RIME, POSE, VIZIE, EYE, ELK and our fallen brother NACE, they've all either lived here or came through and paid their respects.
as for the scene at the moment, its a toys world and im just watching them all come and go. some of these kids put in work and have been for a few years but NEVER get any better. its bitter sweet for a guy like me.
i love to see new shit but shit is exactly what it is. basically, if you like freights, we got'em. thats about the only thing worth doin out here.
BS: Who were your major influences and what drove you into writing?
Audio 57: Well, i guess some of this is obvious from the last question but ill expand. A.T.T. basically raised me in this game. to be more specific, QUISP, EAST, AND KRIE. these were the k.c. ground breakers. they hatched the egg that gave birth to any little shit-head, black book, back-pack wearing writer that came up back in the day. other than those fellas, when i was a kid id owe alot of my drive to COPE2, GIANT, TWIST, FELON, DREAM, & BLES-AWR. i think the next generation i was catching onto was LOOMIT, SWET, DARE, BATES, TOAST & DAIM…who could disagree with that one. he changed everything for everyone in those days. i remember thinking "FUCK THIS GUY! GOD DAMMET!!" HEAVY METAL crew from Minnesota really started to impress me too. they were held responsible for making me fall in love with freights. MUCH, KAHN, MBER, SPELL, EWOK & MONK, get the fuck outta here. that gang made me fail in high school. i just couldnt think of anything else but crushing freights. thanks guys. and of corse after some more years and growing up a little more, SEVER, REVOK & SABER took the cake but my absolute favorites at that time were EWOK (in the days of his reas influence), DIEGO & ABUSE. i think still till this very day, that ABUSE was thee most original dude to hit planet earth!!! i love how he came and went too. came hard and left harder.
thats the only way to do it in my eyes. so there you have it. in those days, graffiti dudes inspired my graffiti and that in its self was my drive.
BS: Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Audio 57: These days, a fart in the wind could inspire my next body of work. on the real, mother nature and catastrophic events really fuel my fire. all in all, there isnt much that doesnt pluck a string with me. seriously, a spiral in my dogs butt hair pattern makes me say hhmmmmm. i just absorb everything that surrounds me and at times its even a curse. one idea after another can drive a man mad at times. sometimes i need to hit the reset button on my life or i just lose it mentally. sweet huh?
BS: Are there any artists outside writing/tagging that you admire or look up to?
Audio 57: Oh man. this is seriously a bad question. i have to honest here. i dont really find much graffiti to blow my mind anymore like it did when i was younger and a little more wet behind the ears. it really kinda bums me out. i will say, and im sure most would agree..ROIDS took a humungous shit on the way things were cruising along. dude is on fire and i think its great but already everyone is starting to morph into his style of things. its like when GESO took over and everyone became him. thank god he created something new that is unmistakably his. this is exactly what bums me out about graffiti and im guilty of it myself. inspiration can be poisonous at times. graffiti becomes a consistent hum intel someone comes along to the frequency. new is nice but new only becomes old so i find other influential outlets. fine art is a big one to me. i can only advise others to be involved with art not just creating the same'ol letter combo over and over again.(not to say that isnt art). i think it can only help structure a letter form or even an understanding for a light source and shadowing concepts. people that get me gassed up to create is a fella named PATRICK ROCHA. actually there are two of them and both are fuckin smoking. its a father/ son combo and they seriously give me a hard-on…..no lie. james jean is another dude that boggles my mind. guy does anything and everything and its all a huge motivator.
travis millard is another bloke doin good on earth. its pretty fun to look at. im pretty sure you can peep him at fudgefactory.com. goodies all day. shit, throw a .com after patrick rocha and collect one free mental skeet fest.
BS: What is your overall message? Is there something you’re trying to convey?
Audio 57: I dont really have a message. thats like asking a meth junky what their overall goal is. my goal IS in-fact, that of a junkies. im just chasing that high. really, i cant explain why i must do what i do, i just fuckin do it and dont ask questions. im hard wired. its kinda funny. me and my boy COOKS… (which i must say, would be that frequency adjuster for all graffiti writers. no one knows but this dude is a sleeper. silent but deadly. too bad he wont shake the ground for us all. its seriously sad but dude is into bigger and better things.)…were kicking it with POSE as we did every night and we were kidding around with new and different names to write. COOKS and i always changed up our names. first off, we didnt want to be caught up with a pile of crimes. second, who gives a shit. we didnt want to be "famous" we just wanted to be creative. POSE gave us shit for not taking it seriously and said "you guys will never get anywhere in you graffiti careers!!!". we just laughed and said "careers?" you gotta be fucking kidding me! "we are vandals. what career do you plan on having?". well look at him now. he has a career. a can of spray with his graffiti on it and i even used it thinking wow, good for him i guess we all have a different goal in this thing. mine is fun……mission accomplished.
BS : What makes your writing different from other writers?
Audio 57: Hummmmm…thats a good question. honestly, i think thats a question i should be asking you. i dont know. i know im guilty of picking up some influences here and there. i really try not to but thats impossible. im not even sure if i do have anything that makes me stand out over anyone else. sometime when im really in the groove and im blood thirsty for this shit, i knock out a few that im really feeling. other times im not really in the mood but still have to quench the thirst and i make some real booboo. i truly dont know how to answer that. whats you opinion?
BS : How do you develop a piece from start to finish?
Audio 57: Well, ive never been a big believer in using a sketch. i tried that crap alot when i was younger only because i thought that was the way i was "supposed" to do it. i could never get it exact so i felt like everyone i did was wrong. not to mention, it felt like everything i did, i actually did twice and to only make that second time a complete turd.
kinda dampened the whole process. sooooooooo.. id say from about '97 i started free-styling everything and of course you win some, you lose some but i felt like i had freedom to do whatever the hell i felt like.
that was great. besides it really developed my style in those days.
thats when i wrote NYSE- ASH- AM7. you probably didnt know that (some knew that name well, i guess.) but consider the beans spilt. i found my "style" when i was involved with that name. ever since i just approached a wall or train and started to scratch some lines up. in the end it was always a surprise. i never knew what would come of it. just recently i tried to do a couple little pre drawn things on a freight or two but it never gets the movement i like. it doest show the creative freedom that would normally be pretty apparent in a freestyle.
BS : A lot of times artists can lose their way or get a block on some creative processes, and need to get their juices flowing. What keeps you hungry, what keeps you going?
Audio 57: Man…i lose my hunger all the time. i have so many damn hobbies that i stay busy with everyone just at different times. when im burnt out on one, i move to the next. i actually have this ferris-wheel tattooed on my knee to represent that. one hobby might be at the opposite end of my current passion but it always comes around to replace the current. i believe in breaks. and that might be because i have no choice. sometimes i wish my flame could stay burning for one thing but my desire always bounces around. too many things in life inspire me to explore other avenues. i truly do feel like too much of one thing gets boring. if you give something time to evolve while your back is turned, youll always have something to renew your love for it when you turn back around. in a nut shell, i need breaks. i think trying to play catch-up is motivation in its self.
BS : Do you do research on particular styles before getting to work, or do you just go with the flow?
Audio 57: I wouldnt say research. its kinda like when youre a kid and you watch a kung-fu flick in the theater, all you want to do is kick some serious ass. i kinda do the same thing i think with graffiti. i tend to check out some freight in some old mags of mine to give me wood. then i bust nuts. ha ha.
BS : What do you think is your greatest strength?
Audio 57: Shit man! youre really bringing the heaters. im gonna "text" my boy TREDE and see what he says. 😀 oh shit! this is funny. he says."thats a tough one. i would say that your greatest strength as a person is your comedic personality. as a worker, youre business smart. your ability to run a business well." aww.
thats my dog. ill tell him you mean graffiti stuff. try #2. trede for the final answer…ok. this is it word for word. "ahhhh, lol. thats funny. ahhh lets see, thats even tougher…probably your pure artistic talent. no matter what you do artistically, its gonna be great! but boring graff! (smily face inserted.) besides your can control, your ability to be inventive and make new graff……no, this is it. i would say your flippin tagging skills! they are like no other. too many graffers out there that bypass the art of tag. even the one that has tags cant come with new, hot shit every time they tag. what are you interviewing for?) well, there you have it. now how could i just go and tell you that shit with my mouth. thats my dog. this dude has come a long way in his "graffiti career" since ive met him. a real freight killer! thanks trede.
BS : What do you think is your greatest weakness?
Audio 57: Ha! figures. ill leave trede out of this one. i guess if i had to come up with something, id say maybe my drive to write one handle. alot of people dont get that with me. it comes up alot but i find it fun to connect the dots with people that dont know me completely. dont get me wrong, fame is cool and fun but its very damaging to ones personality.
im a straight up dick as it is. very forward. owning a business makes you that way. im a cut to the chase kind of dude now because of it. im sure youve probably experienced someone go sour due to the graffiti ego.
thats the biggest bummer of it all. my personality doesnt need that. id feed off it. maybe my worst strength is hating everything that goes with graffiti. assholes, that "gangsta" wannabee approach to everything, crossing each other out because of jealousy somewhere down the line, no respect, having to prove something to look cool or tough, taking pictures and posting them on your flickr account that consist of a collage of weed, guns, money stacks, expensive designer crap, mops and naked "bitches" to prove something (too many rap videos in ones life), the unspoken marketing that goes into graffiti these days. hating all that shit is my strongest weakness! BAM!! IN YA FACE!!…or is it?
BS : Do you have any advice for other writers or artists that are struggling to find their own style?
Audio 57: I would say if there is a struggle finding your own, just stop looking at graffiti. chances are youre just biting someone elses shit because your inspecting it way to much. i bit the fuck out of QUISP, EAST and SCRYBE when i was a kid because i feasted on their skills. one day i went through all my sketchbooks that had their shit in it and locked them up. every magazine that had stuff of theirs in it, i put stickers over it. i vowed to never look at that shit again!! then, i started some beef with them so my only drive would to be better than my teachers. it worked. with a little time and some withdrawal, i started to develop my own workings. it was the best thing ever. i think i even grew my first mustache after that.
BS : Wh at sort of upcoming projects do you have in the works?
Audio 57: ummm. upcoming? ive been working on an 82 el camino lowrider for a few years now. thats my HUGE project and will hopefully be done one year from this very date. i just dropped an ls1 corvette motor in it. this thing is fucking crazy! im talking painted belly, gold and chrome everything! gold and engraved handles, gold gas tank. gold driveshaft, gold and chrome hydraulic setup, im talking EVERYTHING METEL= GOLD AND CHROME. ill post a pic on my flickr when its close. as for art shows and crap, theyre a dime a dozen. im kinda tired of that shit too. same ol'thing. its always one giant circle jerk. other artists stroking each others egos while all the dirty little hipsters come to get popular and socialize around the free beer keg and nibble snacks like they know something. i guess my biggest up and coming event is me QUITTING! art makes me bitter. its really a true test to see if you do it for self or for someone else. in the end, im a selfer. …….is that sad?
BS: Thanks for taking the time to answer some questions.
Audio 57: hey, thank you. its been fun. id have to say, this was my favorite one yet. seriously. so many people make an interview set up for a reply they wanna hear. i had some real freedom here to kinda bullshit around with you. i guess thats the difference with high brow art gallery interviews to low brow. were (unfortunately) low brow in their eyes. they dont know shit! peace out.