Yo Fam, The Message is back with a new interview with one of our favorite graff champs, Mr. RYZE!

We are stoked to delve into the world of RYZE, a fine writer who’s been bombing the streets of Madrid since the mid-90s. Buckle up for a deep dive into his journey, from witnessing the Madrid scene booming to forging connections and styles across the globe.

RYZE doesn’t just paint walls – he embodies the Madrid’s graffiti scene, bustling with crews and raw talent. He’ll share the stories behind his crews, the evolution of his style, and the experiences that have shaped him as a writer.

Get ready to be inspired by RYZE’s style, attitude, and dedication for the craft.

  1. Thanks for taking the time to chat, RYZE. We heard you’ve been leaving your mark on Madrid since the mid-90s. Can you tell us a bit about what the city and its graffiti scene were like back then? What sparked your interest in writing in the first place?

Well, first of all, thank you for having me here as is not a common thing for me to do this kind of stuff so it’s an honor to share a bit of the little knowledge I can.

Madrid has always been a very competitive and very active city, so back in the 90s it was a place thriving with style, both in trains and walls, with a lot of tags everywhere, and many writers around… It was a transition time though, many pioneers were already gone or not as active as before, but their legacy remained, and the second generation of writers from the city was already in full force, also with more info than in the late 80s, so it was a fantastic time for graffiti in Madrid, it was still unknown for general public but well established, so that made it even more attractive to my eyes. 

I was interested in graffiti early in my childhood because I saw a couple of great walls by GLUB and ARS near my neighborhood and I just freak out, was like an instant falling in love with something, and I just wanted to do stuff like that as soon as possible. There was not much information like nowadays so you had to see graffiti live and take the risk of being robbed as a teenager with a camera, it was a city with a lot of heroin and a lot of problems in the streets. You needed to be aware of not getting caught up in the middle of some shit in a hood not friendly as an outsider with a camera, hehe!

Luckily enough I met my good friend LUNA when we were 12 and he had the same passion as me, so we started crafting our markers and rackin’ TitanLux paint and it became a full-time job for us: taggin’ all day and spotting graff all over Madrid. Nothing was too far or too scary for us.

  1. Over the years, the Madrid scene has seen some legendary writers. Who are three people you’d say pushed the boundaries and shaped the city’s graffiti?

It is very difficult to say 3 names in a city with so much history and so much style, but I could say who, in my opinion, have been key figures in Madrid and are still relevant today.

I would say that BUNI must be the most active writer I ever met, and in my eyes of course, one of those persons who really understood the essence of graffiti and took it to the fullest, and still does today with the same energy that he had back in the day. His dedication has no equal.

POCHO is another writer from the earlier days that has been active since I remember (and previous to that also) and still has the same energy, the same power, the same dedication… It is admirable for me, a life fully dedicated to doing what you like, graffiti. Nothing but my biggest respect for his writing career.

KAMI is probably one of the writers that had done more for graffiti in my opinion in Madrid. He brought a lot of information from the US and built a bridge between Madrid and New York, brought to Madrid the TFP influence that you can still feel today in many Madrid writers, and making a list without naming him out would be nonsense in my opinion, just for how much he has contributed not only to graffiti but to HipHop in Spain I would say.

As I said before, just 3 names would be very difficult so I would like to include MAST in this list, he is another writer who was there from early on and took the style to the next level, back in the 90s everything he touched was magic for me.

I would mention also the Alcorcon-Mostoles areas as well, some of the meccas of Madrid graffiti during the 90s. From Cuatro Vientos to Mostoles I would say… JES, ALK, ZETA ,CHOP, TROMPE KLUB, QSC, ABC, MOST, SEMS, WENDY, JUEZ, 091´s…. A lot of heritage back then and some of them still very active today.

I also could not make this list without saying that some of the best walls I have seen in Madrid were from CEX CREW ( BEMS, BESDO, RHED, FASI, RAYO, YAONE). 

Also, I have to mention people like WAINE, DEON, BUDA, SHAS, BLIZE, POSK, JACE, THOR, DKB CREW, ZANT, TNT CREW, SPOK, KNOW, REYES DEL MAMBO, TLY … they were a big influence for me back in the days.

  1. How has your graffiti journey unfolded over the years? How has your style evolved throughout your career?

Well, I started doing tags and some throw-ups from time to time, but we were more focused on the track sides and anything train-related than streets. We destroyed our hood but quickly moved up to highways and track sides, slowly but steadily making our way to the highly anticipated trains, which I could say I enjoyed the most for some time in my life, while also trying to develop my style painting walls with friends.

  1. Crews are a big part of the culture. Can you tell us about the crews you’ve been involved with? What’s their story, and how did you become part of them?

I was influenced at first by what I would call Madrid-style, especially by crews like CEX or KR2, with deep TFP influences but also from some other crews like AOK, TC5, RIS, or FBA among others, and also had some European wild styles influences too early on. I’m constantly trying to develop my style, and improve and reshape things but trying to keep the essence of my letters during the journey. 

About my crews, I’m part of the DKB crew, which has been like a family for me, although we don’t see each other as much as I would like to when we see each other no time has passed, and that’s something not easy to achieve in graffiti world. I’m also part of GBS, I made very good friendships with some brothers from the Basque country, and one day they offered me to join the family, and I could say the same thing, we live in different cities and stuff but every time I see any of them I feel like we still on the same boat no matter what, and that makes feel very happy.

Last but not least, I’m part of UG and it goes further than being a graffiti crew, it’s more of a family that enjoys graffiti but also some raw prawns and good wine or a coffee at Gennaro’s bar…

Being part of a crew means being part of a group of friends that share more than just a style or a passion for graffiti, I do understand internet crews that never meet each other but I don’t share those values.

  1. You did a lot of walls but in your career, you have also painted a lot of raw metal. Can you share with us some good train stories?

One of the craziest things that ever happened to me was painting freight trains in Mexico in a yard in the middle of nowhere inside the country. We were trying to do a few pieces in daylight in the middle of a desert area and we were surprised by some crazy private security that came in a quad. Two guys, one of them pointing at us an assault rifle and the other one with a shotgun.

They approached us very nervously, one of them was holding his shotgun pointing straight at his feet, finger on the trigger. I was hoping that he would shoot himself on his feet but despite their aggressive arrival, everything went ok and we left the spot after a heated conversation and an attempt to bribe them with some spare cash, something doable in México but not even corruption worked out in our favor.

I had so many occasions when I have been chased around and stuff, almost died from hypothermia in a French yard many years ago, but I was never aimed at point blank for a fuckin’ freight train before. 

  1. You’ve built connections and painted across Europe and beyond. Which journeys and collaborations have left a lasting mark on your artistic evolution? 

One of the best parts of graffiti is that you can connect with people that you wouldn’t meet by other means, and it is a very strong bond to begin with. When you meet the person behind the writer, this connection can be reinforced and can become a good friendship.

With that being said, every travel that I have done to different parts of Italy in the last few years ( Bari, Sardegna, Milano, Bologna, Pisa… ) are the ones more memorable for me. For the friends that I made along the way, for their approach to graffiti and style, and also for their amazing food and charming hospitality.

I did a couple of Interails with my old crew TNT and it was an eye-opener for me when I was 17-18 years old, many of the convictions that I have around graffiti were forged in those travels.

From every travel, I keep a bit in my heart and many friends along the way in places like Morocco, Mexico, or Thailand that would be impossible if graffiti wasn’t the icebreaker that got me there in the first place.

I enjoy traveling and puttin’ my name in places while doing so, so being able to travel and paint is like heaven on earth for me.

If you were talking to a young graffiti writer ready to make their mark on the world, what advice would you give them?

The first thing that I would say is that if you haven’t started yet, think twice. 

This might be the romantic part of graffiti and it looks cool when someone tells you, but there are also many backstabbing, broken friendships, hateful thoughts, jealousy, penalties, problems with family, shoplifting, and eventually even jail time if things got really heated, and so much dirt and shit to deal with the more places you write your name on… keep that in mind.

If that does not put you away, do it for the right reasons, and don’t change those reasons along the journey. Enjoy it, develop your own style, live for it, don’t let internet fame or trash talks get to you, and keep your head up and write your name, write your name, write your name… And never stop writing it. 

I would like to thank you again and send a lot of love to my crews and family, JEOSM, THOR, NOVI, BLUEP, NOMB, RISE, SARA, MAMON, BEMSO, RHED, BESDO, COSA, ZOXE, KEANT, DUNE, IZEAL, SKEY, TBEOS, HINAK, TNT CREW, TEKI, VEIST… My UGEES Fam WHAT4, KING ALAMO SOAP, PATCH, DOTTORE MOSHE, PROTEN, PERK, GIOSE and MOVE, SEME, BEAST, ASTER, MIND, FRA32… For my bros LINE, GEAR, BROSH, ZARE and BRK in the UKs, DOBA, LAMA, to my GBS LIMBER, OMEGA, DEROK, SECK, OKIS, galiza calidade ASTEN, TRISTE, CREME and to so many others that I forget right now that shared this way with me in some point or form…

R.I.P LOSE, HOUSE, SPEEK, SNAZE and so many others that passed away lately and were part of Madrid graffiti and are not here anymore.

Follow Ryze on Instagram @ryze.1

The Message @the_message_zine

You can read the interview in Chinese here: https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/rkK2h7omrF9nq_pkAU61kw