SOE - X MEN INTERVIEW
©1999, 2003 @149st Do not republish without permission.
Where and when did you start?
I first started writing during 1971-1972 while living in upper Manhattan.
Who influenced you?
I was influenced by the hundreds of first and second generation writers, primarily those who hit the IRTs (1-7) and the INDs - mostly the A, D and CC.(TEE 3yb, CHAIN 3, LSD, VINNY, PART1, KING 2, BLADE and ROGER just to name a few.)
Where and when did you first hit trains?
1976, motioning (Motion tagging) on the 7s on my way to swimming classes at the YMCA in Flushing.
What lines have you hit?
During my career, I have legitimately hit all lines, some heavier than others. The ones I hit the heaviest were the 2,4,5,6,7. Next were the A, B, C, D, J, M, LL, R, QB. Last but not least were the 1, 3, E, F, G.
Was SOE the first name you first started writing?
On trains, yes. I did experiment with a few other different names like come 1 and DZ. 2 (I don't know what I was thinking with that one) on notebooks, alleyways and bathroom before it hit me that "SOE" was it!
List all the other names under which you are known.
BIG 279, LINK 2, SAMPLE, AND SOCKS 181
Who were your best writing partners?
TATU, RAZE, MACE, KOOL AD (Angel Duster) r.i.p., FUZZ 1
Describe yourself as an artist:
Eclectic. Old school IRT roots with some old school Brooklyn accents and some modern, unique touches.
Describe yourself as a bomber:
I have legitimately done enough over a long enough period of time and with enough impact to be considered a top writer.
What crews have you written for?
TCP - The Crazy Partners, BW - Bad Writers, TOP - The Odd Partners, and of course, XMEN.
How did Xmen start?
TATU and I were looking to form our own crew, we floated some trial balloon crew names, TATU suggested XMEN, we discussed some ideology behind what XMEN would be like, and we went for it.
What made distinguished X-Men from other crews?
XMEN was more than just a graffiti crew. XMEN was a subculture. We were an organization. We had our own ideology, "language," dress and behavior codes. We overrode the existing value systems and provided our own style and structure for those down with XMEN.
Name all the original XMEN (writers of famous DJs)
SOE, TATU, RAZE, RES1, and the XMEN crews at Brooklyn Technical High School and the Wyckoff and Smith housing projects.
What was your favorite work that you did?
The BIG 279 and TATU top-to-bottoms on the 2 line.
What was your favorite paint? (color and brand)
Rustoleum ultra-flat, satin, and matte blacks.
What was your favorite ink? (color and brand)
The "XMEN Special" -- my own formula of super market purple or black mixed with Dykem steel blue engineers stain and Flo-Master black opaque.
Tell us about the Transit strike
It would have been better if I would have had access to a car. Since I didn't, I rode my bike to the 7 yard in Flushing and the J yard at Broadway Junction in Brooklyn, hitting both yards twice in broad daylight.
Got any good raid stories?
Only a couple, since the XMEN rarely got raided and apparently had a reputation among writers and cops of being "hard to catch." The only time we really had to utilize our survival skills (run for our lives) was at the Sheepshead Bay lay-up. We started by hitting the "short side" first. We then made our way to the main lay-up. We were running into nothing but clean cars. Our compliment of writers for that bomb was SOE, TATU, OB 1 and ANGEL DUSTER (Kool AD). After doing some clean, neatly filled in throw-ups on the outsides, we began crushing insides. About an hour later, the lights went on inside one of the trains we were hitting. Our first reaction was "stay calm," it's probably an MTA maintenance person making his rounds. As a precaution, we exited the car we were in and climbed on top of the train in ambush/lets get out of here mode (depending on what we saw). As the cleaning guy passed between cars, we saw he was alone, and we got his attention by saying hi. He acknowledged our presence by saying that he knew someone was around because he smelled the marijuana we had smoked. We asked him if he would like some, he declined, but did take a swig from the bottle of Don Q we had. He seemed to be content with just doing his job and not getting hurt by trying to confront us. so he went about his way, and we got back inside the train and continued to blast all the clean cars we were coming across. OB 1 correctly pointed out that we should be on the lookout because "This guy is probably going to tell his superiors that we're here." We overrode our better judgment and continued to hit whatever was layed up. About 2.5 hours later, as we were leaving, we spotted 2 cops at the very back of the downtown platform, who appeared to be waiting for us to come out. We stopped in our tracks and hid by the small workhouse on the railbed, located after the platform and before the main lay-up. At this point, we knew that they knew we were there. We had to think quickly. We thought about going back into the lay-up and out through the street. Just as we looked back towards the lay-up, we saw a cop car pull up under the underpass, and saw a youngish-looking white, blond haired cop come running up the stairs towards the overpass. At this point, we knew we had to act and pronto! OB 1 said "look, they know were here. Lets get on the uptown platform. Don't look at them (the cops). Just get up on the platform and run as fast as you can to the other end of the platform, we'll go out through the short side of the lay-up." We did just that. Incredibly, we ran from one end of the platform to the other end in what felt like just a few seconds. We reentered the tracks going towards the short side of the lay-up, found a hole in a fence, made our way down to the street, and followed a couple of dark side streets for a few blocks. We were ready to split up in the event that we saw the cops. Luckily we didn't see any cops, and didn't have to split up. However, in avoiding main/well-lit streets, we also got lost, and had no idea which direction to go in to reach another train station. (anything other than sheepshead bay) we finally found a 24 hour deli, I went in alone (in case the cops had alerted people to be on the look out for 4 kids) I bought a sandwich and a beer, told the guy that there was a problem with train service at Sheepshead Bay, and asked him if there was another train station around here. he then gave me directions to the f train a few blocks away (I don't remember the name of the stop). We finally made it there and made our way back to downtown Brooklyn, where we reflected on the evenings events and the upcoming reaction to our latest bomb (we had just blasted about 230 cars), lit up another XMEN special bombo-spliff (a large quantity of marijuana rolled in a large sheet of e-z wider unrolling paper) and went home.
When did you do your last piece?
On trains - 1985
What do you think of writing today (Clean trains, Freights, European movement.)
It's still alive, but it will never be the same. It took me a while to get used to, and finally accept the reality of clean trains. I never liked freights. Many of them are too big and awkwardly shaped. Their design lines and overall look are-in my opinion-not conducive to piecing. however, large, well-executed fat-cap tags with designs may work. to date, European writers have demonstrated superior technical execution and detail. but as we all know, graffiti is about heart and soul, and should have a certain level of fantasy-like qualities. anything that is too real looking just doesn't have enough of the raw, funky, visual-spatial elements to make it graffiti. However, I also think that the European writers have laid down a forceful challenge with their ambition and desire to write graffiti, and they have reawakened a lot of American writers to "not forget their roots."
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