An Excerpt From Our Interview With Mind Detrgnt

To read the full interview pick up issue 5, a thing you can do by clicking this link! Wow! HTML!

KP: What's Memphis like for graffiti?

MD: It's an awful place for graffiti. The biggest crew there is UH crew. I don't really like their shit, but that's what I grew up around. I didn't do shit like theirs. They do all that weird *makes ninja noises* crazy you know, complicated, illegible pieces and shit like that. I was never that into it. Me and my homie, we were both runaways and we would do shitty tags on Lexuses and shit like that. Me and him both wrote MIND DETRGNT. He never really got that into graffiti. He ended up getting more into music. He still plays music as MIND DETRGNT and he still makes collages that are MIND DETRGNT collages that are really cool. I used to do collages but I don't any more.

KP: When did you run away?

MD: I was 16 or 17. Something like that. Me and him used to squat in this underground parking garage. There was a door to a boiler room that we popped open and we would just sleep in there with our sleeping bags and burn candles and listen to the radio and skip school. If it wasn't raining we'd go across the street to this park and there was this big fucking tree that was all overgrown but the inside was kind of hollowed out. We dragged a picnic table in there.

KP: Damn that must have been a big tree!

MD: It was a huge tree. It was all over grown. We dragged a picnic table in there and one of us would sleep on top and the other one would sleep underneath it. It was all trashed. We would cross-dress a bunch and shit in high school. So we had all these heels and weird clothes laying around.

KP: I can't imagine squatting in the snow. Must be horrible.

MD: It can be. For the last month I've been in Detroit because I have a squat there that I've had for four years. It's just a squat that I'll never get kicked out of because Detroit is so blighted. Nobody gives a fuck. Four years ago I went there and gutted this whole place. Threw all the trash out the window. I painted all the floors so it wouldn't be so dusty. I started screwing wood everywhere there was raw, exposed beams. Every year I would come back and work on it a little more. I came back this year and there was this hole where raccoons were coming into my room. I'd wake up in the middle of the night and just start chucking 40 bottles at raccoons, screaming, and they would run away. I boarded up the spot where the raccoons were coming in. Then my window broke and it got hella cold so I ended up staying with a homie down the street. I'm just talking really fast. I'm in a good mood. Are you in a good mood?

KP: I see a lot of rollers and characters from you. How did that start? You said you were surrounded by a lot of piecers in Memphis.

MD: Well I didn't hang out with them. That's just what I saw. When I started tagging in high school I just did juvenile ass shit – just fucking shit up. The word MIND DETRGNT means brainwash. So if I saw something that I thought was brainwash like a billboard or a fancy car or some shit, that's what I would write on it. Just to call that shit out. The word stopped meaning so much to me after a while. I got into acid for a while and that was kind of part of it. I kept being like, "Yeah, MIND DETRGNT, let's cleanse ourselves!" You know? Shit like that. I'm not as much of a hippie anymore but I still like the word. After Memphis, I moved to Chicago. I was kinda into music for a while and not doing any graff really. I started riding trains. I rode down to New Orleans and then back through Alabama. I started getting into train riding and went back to Chicago. That winter I decided to get into graff more.

KP: What's your favorite city to paint?

MD: Detroit is the chillest. Chicago's buff is worse than any town I've ever been to. Really bad. Mayor Daily had a war on graffiti. He's not the mayor any more and I thought the buff would lighten up a little bit, but it hasn't really apparently. I talked to the homie in Chicago today and I asked him how the buff was and he said it's still pretty shitty. He doesn't really care if it gets buffed, he wants to keep bombing. 

KP: It's hard to keep your spirits up when everything gets buffed all the time.

MD: True. That's why in Chicago you just gotta do stickers and little marker tags and shit will run. ORFN and PANDASEX and them will do shit where they disguise their tags as something that's like a friendly mural or something. Have you ever seen the downflow US where the U is a smiley face and the bottom of the S starts the next smiley face? BRITE was showing it to me. PANDASEX would do pieces on a wall next to a bunch of murals but it would look like some little kid playground shit but it would run! People who knew would know what it was, but people that didn't know wouldn't buff it. I've never really tried to do that. My shit has always been BLAAAHHAHAHA! FUCK IT!

Wow! Insightful stuff! Read the rest of the interview in issue 5!