IN CONVERSATION w/ LUCIANO ZERACHI: NORTH LONDON, SOUTH AMERICA, WEED BROWNIES & ‘VEGAN RUDEBOY’

Highbury North London born and bread. Luciano – from growing up in North London to travelling South America. Running a football school to running a weed brownie “business” to make ends meet while living in Colombia has taken all these experiences and channeled them into a his latest venture.

I caught up with him discuss his life and the journey that lead him to the street food brand and business ‘Vegan Rudeboy’.

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T: So, I always like to talk about going down the route of learning about the person themselves (personally), rather than just what do. So, where are you from?

L’; Highbury, North London. But, my Dad’s from Italy. So half Italian and Mum’s a mix; Scottish, Irish, Welsh.

T: So, they both came over in the 80s?

L: Well, my Mum’s always been in the UK, but my Dad come over when he was young – like 2. In an attic above a restaurant in Camden…

T: And it must’ve been mental back then…

L; I mean yeah it was London back then (70s). And they were in an attic where his older brother couldn’t stand up coz the ceiling was so low. They were poor man. It was hard times…

T: Anyway, you’re from Highbury. But you didn’t go to school in Highbury did you..

L; I went to primary school here – at the end of my road, Joan of Arc. Then we ended up going to secondary school outta the ends which was surprising for us. We ended up going to ‘London Orentory’ which was an all boys school in Fulham Broadway. So trekkin’ everyday.. I mean it was a good school, a lot people did well out of it. But for me it was a bit too constrained – too many rules.

T: And when you say Fulham. Is it Chelsea Fulham, or working class Fulham?

L: It weren’t a private school, but it was very hard to get in to. It was Catholic commitment. So doing the alter service and all that stuff. We were “practicing Catholics”, but we didn’t particularly fit in there – my brother or I. We couldn’t get into other schools that were more suited to us coz of catchment area’s and all that stuff, and the other option was going to ‘Highbury Grove’ in ends *laughs*.  I weren’t lookin’ to do that. Them times it was a rough place man.

T: Yeah and unless you’re from the Estate you weren’t linked it…

L: Yeah, well we knew people from the area from playing football and stuff – and we could handle ourselves – but know one would’ve expected us to. So, it would’ve been a lot of bullshit.

T: You would’ve had to earn your stripes in mad ways. And in them schools earnin’ your stripes is a risky business…

L: Yeah, coz you’re dealin’ with people from your area as well. I’m glad I didn’t go there coz going there could’ve lead you down the wrong path I think…

T:  Yeah yeah. Anyway, let’s switch lanes here, coz we got a bit of the back story now. So, at what point did you get into the Vegan ting?

L: It was only about 4 years ago, at 25. It wasn’t long after starting my Football school – a bit more of the background. I had a kids football school that I started with my brother when I was 22; which is relatively young to start a first business/. It was a great experience. We ran that for about 4 or 5 years…

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T: And was there any link to this that lead you to becoming a Vegan?Or was it just timing coinciding?

L: It was a lot to with my brother and his girlfriend went away to Spain and come back. But I’d already been thinkin’ of it previously and he come back he was like ‘We’re thinkin’ about goin’ Vegan’ and I was like; ‘You’re doin’ it, then I’m doin’ it as well. It just makes sense init’. I always talked about how much I love animals…

T: Yeah people do it for different reasons. Some do it for the climate, some for health reasons etc. But for you it was…

L: It was a combination of loving animals and the environment….

T: So health was secondary or even the third thing?

L: Yeah, I can be honest, I party, and I’m not even the most healthy. A lot of the food I cook is relatively junk food – now Vegan junk food. Which I think is important coz it’s a good way of transitioning people from non-vegan. I mean when we were young we used to hang around in the chicken shop. That’s one of the reasons why I’m doin’ seitan chicken as my meals init. After kickin’ ball in ends we’d go chicken shop, hang around there, fuck about, have banter – it’s for the average person init.

T: But particularly in London. Linking it to the ‘Vegan Rudeboy’ ting. So in some regards – not that it was at the forefront of your mind – this ‘Vegan Rudeboy’ ting is almost bridging the gap between those people that would never consider it…

L: Exactly. I don’t think I’m what you’d consider your “average vegan”. When I tell people they’re very shocked – generally – and I think that’s a good thing.

T: So let’s get to the point where ‘Vegan Rudeboy’ (the business) was starting to become a clear route…

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L: It was really when I went travelling. I was had this massive desire to travel. When I was young I was always saying “I’m gunna travel the world!”. And I used to think “I’ll do one more year of the football school”, but it was going on and on. Then it was comin’ up to the end of the season and I said I’ll do one more year, build up the finances and then I got a message on Facebook from my Colombian friend – I’d been doing the Football school on my own at this point coz my brother had left it….

T: So, this forced you to really consider whether you really want to be doin’ this…

L: That’s it. He’s gone now and I’m choosin’ a different career path..

T: Okaaaay. So now it’s like my thing. “This is my life now..”

L: Yeah, “This is what Luci’ does. He’s that guy who’s got a football school”. And I was thinkin’ “Oh really”. My brother  was the one who was more interested in football than I was. So, at that point people were sayin’ if this is not what you want to do – you’ve built up an amazing thing and we don’t want you to give it up – but if it’s not what really drives you, don’t do it…

T: And did it end then?

L: Mentally yeah – to some extent. The season was approaching the end and I got that message from a friend I grew up with who was living in Colombia and he invited a load of us out there. So I spoke to my Dad about it and he was sayin “Colombia’s really dangerous etc”. Then I was talking to him on the phone and he was like “Luc’ c’mon man. You’re a 27 year old man, you make your decisions.” and within’ 15 minutes of gettin’ off the phone to him I’d booked the flight.

L: So I went away and I was with those guys for a couple of weeks – but I travelled for a year in total. It was a few months in and I met these Colombian guys who were Chef’s…

T: Oh seeen. So, there was food influence on this trip?

L: One hundred percent. The whole time I was travelling I found myself around people that cooked a lot and Chef’s.

T: Okay, some inspiration in that travelling experience that you didn’t foresee…

L: I was staying with a Chef for a couple of weeks in his apartment, and ended up staying there for a bit without him…

T: So you were forced to socialise now…

L: Exactly. So, I ended up meeting this guy and he was a good cook man. We’d be in the evenings smoking some nice weed and cooking really nice food; with a lot of veg and where he knew I was Vegan at the time – he was like “Alright I’ve got to be more creative” because they have a very meat intensive diet.

T: And they’re (culturally) really on their food deen. So he had to work some magic for you *laughs*

L: Yeah, and there was another Venezuelan guy. These guys were kinda trained Chef’s – I mean they’d worked in a lot of kitchens. Anyway, they weren’t too knowledgeable about Veganism themselves. I’d go to restaurant and say “No meat.” and they’d be like “Okay, Pollo” meaning Chicken. And I’d have to say no again. And they’d be like “Oh, Pescado”and I’d be like nah nah nah – so you’d end up in a restaurant with Lentils, Chickpeas and Rice! And a bit’ah Plantain.*laughs*. Don’t get me wrong it was still nice, but…

T: The culture was alien to them…

L: Ah man… But surprisingly there are some restaurants in the more cosmopolitan cities…

T: Yeah coz there’s enough tourists to inform and support the demand. But really it was these individuals you were forced to meet when you weren’t with your mates, who made the effort to cook you something nice that didn’t have meat in it and that played a profound role in this journey…

L: Exactly. They were having to adapt recipes and be “Ah we can’t use egg’s or milk?” and would be like “Nah man”.

T: Was that like a challenge for them?

L: Yeah yeah, to some extent, I think they probably enjoyed it. It was wicked man. So I was with them for a little while, stayed in this flat for 6 weeks, I was doin’ Spanish classes there. Then I thought I had to move on. So I went to Santiago Di Cali coz I’d heard about a work opportunity there. I stayed in a hostel and really liked the people there. One of the guys I lived with before told me that he done batches of food in a hostel and sold it to other guests in the hostel. So they’re gettin’ to eat nice home cooked meals, I’m gettin’ to eat for free and make a little earnin’ back. So, I thought while I’m travelling I might as well make some food, learn to cook and make a little money. So initially it was a load of pasta dishes *laughs*..

T: And couple of things you picked up from the guys you lived with…

L: Yeah, but then it was difficult coz I doin’ shifts in the bar in the evenin’. So, me and Jono – the guy I was working with on the food and in the bar – decided that all of the food we make we put together, we keep everything, we won’t spend any of it and we’ll go on our little travels together afterwards. So, the food starts to get quite creative man, but we have to factor in budget…

T: Okay so now you’re in the “academy of food entrepreneurship” (so to speak)…

L: Yeah. So we’re alternating shifts and then it got a bit deeper than that *laughs*. We started making weed brownies *laughs*. I don’t even know if I should be sayin’ that, but we wanted to make more money. And people wanted it and liked the idea. First we just made a batch for people just stayin’ in the hostel.

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T: And these are Vegan brownies?

L: Of course!

T: So this is kinda where it started!

L: 100%! Initially though the weed brownies weren’t mean’t to be a business thing. It was mean’t to be for the hostel, coz we had a big film night with a big projected screen on the block next to us. So, we thought we’d make weed brownies and watch some cool classic films. By chance we’d met a guy who was a chef, but also a shotta and gave a cookbook dedicated to weed edibles. But we ended up puttin’ an ounce of weed in the brownies; which was not the best idea coz them brownies were strong! So everyone was fucked up! *laughs*

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T: So, you slew’d off the whole hostel *laughs*…

L: Yeah and the owner of the hostel came back and was like “what have you done to my guests?!” *laughs*. Everyone was scattered around the hostel, asleep on staircases, the lounge, the garden… *laughs* Then we got people turnin’ up to the hostel from other parts of Colombia are they’re goin’ “Yo, are you Jono and Luci? We heard about the brownies.”

T: Oh shit so your names ringin’ on da streets now!

L: *laughs*  Ringin’ on the streets across Colombia!

T: And this really validated your ability to make good Vegan food that people are gunna enjoy, and that was like your accidental PR stunt *laughs*

L: That was it. So, we thought why don’t we make these for when people are goin’ on a coach trip – coz when your travelling it’s like 12 hour trips – and people are taking Valium to go to sleep. So, I’m just like “let’s go natural man!”.

T: You’ve had a lot of pivotal entrepreneurial moments in your life…

L: Yeah, but I always like to have someone to work with. I got the idea’s, but I need that little push, and That was Jono at that time.

T: At what point does this madness that’s goin’ on here – that has really interesting aspects with regards to how you upped your lev’s with the vegan cookin’, and how you developed your hustle a little bit more. But how did that travelling experience end? Leading to the ‘Vegan Rudeboy’ thing? You had a really long vegan related travelling experience and it wasn’t planned. You would’ve met other vegans, bonded and there would’ve been a level of camaraderie over the adversity of the lack of vegan food?

L: Yeah and it creates initial conversation.  And the hostel that I said I was living in before. That’s where the ‘Vegan Rudeboy’ name actually started…

T: I could see how someone could be like, coz you’re from London and would’ve possibly been actin’ up a bit. Well, enough to get the nickname…

L: Yeah and the general mannerisms. *laughs*, I think it was a Canadian guy called Jay. And he would buy my food all the time, and he would say “Shit, your foods so much better than eating some Dominoes bullshit.” So, that’s how the name occurred. But then I’ve gone to a vegan restaurant in Cusco (Peru) – run by an American woman. I was like “Any chance you need volunteers here?”. And she said “Actually I really do. I’m quite desperate…”.

T: Once again your sharpenin’ your “vegan culinary sword” so to speak…

L: Yeah. So, she said come in Monday morning, I worked a week, but I was mean’t to carry on to Bolivia. And she said If you come back round you can have a full time job here. So, I did Bolivia for about a month and came back to Cusco, and worked in the restaurant for about 6 weeks. And it was a relatively new restaurant so it enabled me a lot of time to spend one on one with her…

T: So you had another mentor. You had friends who were skilled chef’s who would adapt their food for you and now you’ve lead up to meeting a person who’s now teaching you Vegan cooking.

L: Yeah this is where I learned about Kimchi, vegan cheeses. Originally I thought “Alright I’m never fuckin’ eatin’ cheese again!”. But had this amazing Cashew Cheese. It was a great learning curve.

T: So, that 6 weeks was a really profound part of the journey that lead you to where we’re at now.

L: Yeah I wasn’t just cooking. I was engaging with customers and they liked me, so they were coming back – so she was happy. It’s a food establishment, you need to be able to talk to people.

T: So, you developed your recipe repertoire and validated your ability to build rapport…

L: Which is required specifically in the street food industry.

T: So, you realised I can cook, I got the business acumen – proven from the football school and the weed brownie hustle. I got the people person personality and also I got the edge to be a credible “Vegan Rudeboy” which is an important part of your brand.

L: Yeah coz I didn’t wanna change who I was with anything I do. It’s gotta be myself.

T: Yeah, you can confidently call yourself that – not because your off some block somewhere and you’ve shanked bare man…

L: *laughs* Yeah. And to establish the idea that I’m the average man and not your stereotypical person who went vegan.

T: That’s a better way to explain it. “I’m not some upper-middle class, champagne socialist wanka who became vegan put up Facebook statuses it.” You became vegan for your own reasons, but you’re not cut from that cloth. And you want more people from your social sphere to be able to engage with veganism…

L: And make it more accessible.

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T: Yeah, that wrapped it up perfectly and ‘Vegan Rudeboy’ is a brand name that would work for that type of person. There is that gap in the market that isn’t being stimulated because of the connotations associated with veganism, and what your trying to offer is veganism for people who aren’t cunts…

L: *laughs*

T: You know what I mean. To put it bluntly. Doesn’t mean coz you’re a vegan you’re a cunt, obviously. But you can still be the type of person that the word ‘Rudeboy’ represents and be vegan without being the type of person that ‘vegan’ represents.

L: Even from working in the fruit and veg game, and working with guys from a much older generation, giving them accessibility to even knowing what veganism is and understanding what it is.

T: Yeah they’re staunch working class geezers…

L: They would’ve just been thinking “Tossa’s, animal rights protest mugs!” *laughs*.  And now they don’t think of it as some weird thing. I’ve made food for them that they never would try otherwise, and they’ve liked it.

T: And because of the type of person you and basically what your mission is with this brand, is to engage a different class of society, and introduce them to food that has broader benefits to the environment. You almost doing a duty to society, there’s not a lot of vegans out here doin’ that.

L: I’m like Robin Hood! *laughs*

You can listen back to our full hour long conversation below:

POSTED BY: @TIMI.WATSONROSE

#ACTIVEBOYS VOL. 42: ROLLIN’ WITH THE VEGAN RUDEBOY

Linked up with my boy Luciano, head chef and founder of Vegan Rudeboy – a street food vendor that’ll be launchin’ very soon. He enlisted me to be his PR Manager so I span down to discuss the progress of the site, the food and the marketing strategy.

I’ve got an interview with Luciano droppin’ later this week so you can learn more about him, his story and the vision for the Vegan Rudeboy business. But for now you can check the visuals from the day below:

POSTED BY: @TIMI.WATSONROSE

GLASS, GOLD & SHAPING THE MOULD: IN CONVERSATION W/ ALEX MAY HUGHES

Gold Fanatic, Simpsons Enthusiast, Lager connoisseur, battle cruiser peruser, Ealing Native, Sign painter and me old friend Alex May Hughes’ been puttin’ in the graft with her distinct style of Gold based artwork for a hot minute. From her humble beginnings pumpin’ out premium products from her bedroom to being a fully fledged and full time certified sign maker. Commanding widespread accolades for her synonymous style and chracteristic creative direction.

Alex has taken a desire to do what she loves into a respectable career with out compromise. Affordable sentimental commissions for a lovers gift to their significant other to independent and large scale art exhibitions in the corporate sphere. Her work transcends the world of artistic commerce, while vehemently retaining it’s artistic integrity. So much so that I decided it was about I caught up with her to chew the fat about her early life, entry the Art world, the transition into to her full time career, her attitude towards and interests in the broader realms of Art – and the culture that surrounds it – and a general otherwise deeper insight into who she is and what informs the work she does.

Here’s what we discussed when I span down to her studio in West London:

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T: When you consider that most young people pursue creative endeavors of this kind are in east or south. Why did you decided to stay in West – more specifically your native borough of Ealing?

A: Yeah. Well, I did my degree at LCC and I lived in South London; which was really fun, and good, and cheap. Close to school, close to everything which I enjoyed. And then the guy I was going out with at the time went and lived in North – just off of Green Lanes – Which was wicked; amazing Turkish food which was absolutely bangin. You wake up in the morning and it smells like the most incredible Lamb and think “yeah I’d eat that for breakfast” *laughs*. So I lived up there for a bit and that was good, but it didn’t pan out so I moved back home….

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A: …I thought oh my life’s a mess what am I doing… But, what it did mean I could do was not have to worry about rent, I didn’t have to go and get a shitty job that I didn’t want to do. So, I just started painting signs and I could go just do that non-stop for like 16 hours a day working out of my bedroom.

T: So this all started in your bedroom…

A: In my small bedroom; which I’m still in now,… *laughs*. I use quite a lot of chemicals and stuff like that, and thought ‘ah yeah this is fine…’ and then after a year and half I started to lose my mind a bit. *laughs* Those chemicals give you a really bad headache and I never stop working..

T: So you were feeling the effects *laughs*

A: Eventually yeah! *laughs*. Then I started to turn down work because I ;literally didn’t have the space to make it, and it occur to me that maybe I could work in a studio or something like that. But I didn’t think I’d have enough money for that, and didn’t really have a grasp of what it might cost. In West London it’s prominently residential – people wanna live here. Where as in East, South or even North there’s more artist communities. But I typed it into Google and in North Acton there’s some artist studios but they’re about 8 or 9 hundred pounds a month. But they were in beautiful community building with parquet floors, but I thought ‘I dont’ need that… I’m gunna ruin that!’

T: But that would’ve the quote unquote “artist community” that you were looking for…

A: Yeah they had screen printing facilities and all this other stuff, and in theory that would be great… but who are the people that are there that can afford to pay £800 rent and £800 on there studio… Like how do you a make living off that?! And then this place came up which is with a place called ACAVA and they have places all over London – and now outside of London because they recognise that empty buildings in London aren’t really a thing anymore. They basically just wanna make it really affordable for people to do this as they job.

T: So, that’s there mission?

A: Yeah it was setup by this guy Duncan Smith in the 70s – he’s a proper old man artist.. Long white pony tail…

T: Is he balding??? *laughs*

A: Errgh… *laughs* He always this grey baker boy hat…

T: So yeah probably balding then… Sorry I’m just trying to put an image to the name init… *laughs*

A: Yeah he’s proper artisty. But yeah, in the 70s there all these empty buildings in London I think they just thought ‘Let’s just start putting artists in them’. Anyway, this building came up and I thought I’d check it out, and I literally walked in thought ‘100% yes!’. A big room with big bright windows..

T: And a durable floor.. *laughs*

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A: Yeah a floor I don’t have to care about, a short bus ride away from where I live. And now I’ve been here 2 and half years. Fingers crossed it doesn’t get shutdown, or taken away from me, or nobody burns it down…

T: For insurance purpose.. Duncan get’s a bit fuckin’ desperate *laughs*

A: Nah more people are careless. Health and Safety in Perivale industrial estate is not a priority. I’ve guys park where they shouldn’t and I guy with a forklift will come and pick their car…

T: Rah, they’re ruthless round here! But that basically explains why you stayed in West. Cheap and close to home.

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-The lawless streets of the Perival Industrial Estate. Mind ya motors folks…

T: So let’s roll it back… Where you into Art, or typography or Comic Books as I kid. Obviously deeply into the Simpsons.

A: Heavily into Simpsons. From the get go always…

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-Two-Two Simpsons Selections from Alex’s archive

T: Did you have the books. There’s on in particular that I had but I can’t remember what is was now…

A: Bart Simpsons guide to life?

T: Yeah!!!

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A: Yeah that was the shit that I loved which was cool.

T: Cartoons in general or were you just a fanatic about the Simpsons?? Biker Mice from mars fan??

A: Nah Cartoons in general. And Yeah, really into Biker Mice From Mars. Really into Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles… I had an older brother and a younger Sister so it was all spanning all the time. SO had to watch what everybody wants to watch…

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-Classics. If you don’t, I beg you get to know at your earliest convenience, still…

T: Were you drawing stuff.. Where you that kinda kid?

A: Yeah I think so, always drawing stuff and in school that was my favourite thing to do.

T: Where you good at drawing coz I always have this discussion about Art and School and whether you bothered doing in year 10 and 11 when you chose your subjects was pretty much determined by how well you could draw. It’s pretty narrow. I’m not sure if that’s changed…

A: I guess so. But there’s lots of people who were like ‘Argh I can’t draw…’ But there’s different types of drawing and Artistic drawing is different to just being communicative…

T: But don’t you think that in school what more like...

A: Tracing shit…

T: Yeah there was no abstract Art in year 8 and 9…

A: No, well… maybe unintentionally *laughs*. But yeah I think I had good teachers and I enjoyed it so i put an effort in and kinda snowballs.

T: Do you consider what you do as “Art”? Coz you do Typography for the most part…

A: It’s a weird place to be. I mean when people ask me what my Job is I don’t go ‘ Oh I’m an Artist’… Who the fuck does that?! *laughs*.

T: Wanka’s! *laughs*

A: *laughs* I just say go ‘I’m a signpainter’ because ultimately in it’s truest form it’s just a trade – you’re just providing a service for people. But I also do a lot of private stuff. So it’s weird. It serves a different purpose to lots of different people… I really don’t know because even within Sign Painting I do such a narrow bit of it. I mean I only really work on glass and with Gold Leaf and that’s just a really small aspect of it….

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-One of many gold leaf signs from the earlier end of Alex’s the archive…

T: Staying on the topic of Art.. Are you actually into “Art”? Firstly like, contemporary Art – do you go to exhibitions and genuinely go to see the art? And if so what type? Coz, I mean it could be photography, Fine Art or whatever…

A: Yeah absolutely.. I went the national Gallery to see the Ed Ruscha exhibition coz his paintings are amazing and I’d never seen them in real life. I really like doing that a lot… And if I really wanna see the Art I won’t go on the opening night coz I’ll just get really pissed, talk to all my mates and not look at anything *laughs*.

T: So you do genuinely care about Art…

A: Yeah but I can’t stand the really protentiousy things that I don’t understand. I’m quite a literal person. I mean signs have got words on them, so you can read them and understand what it is.

T: Yeah there’s a lot of pretentious shit out there; particularly Photography exhibitions…

A: Sometimes I just don’t get it. I try to understand it, but if there’s no context with it so you can’t even try to work it I just get bored and go ‘I just don’t care what that is’… which is probably appalling. But sometimes someone will explain what it is and i’ll go ‘Ahh, that’s fuckin’ sick’. So, maybe I just need to spend time doing it, but also there is some really pretentious shit out there that I don’t care for much.

T: Who are you really rating though?

A: I mean the Ed Ruscha that I went to yesterday and his attitude towards it is kind of like the tradesperson thing. He doesn’t believe in prentencious shit or any of that stuff, and anybody that calls their artwork “peices” can just get the fuck out! *laughs*

T: *laughs* He’s anti!

A: Well he just does these massive paintings that have a historical and social context. And they’re usually just landscapes or an image with text on them. So they’re kind of literal, but abstract in their meaning.

ed ruscha work

ARTISTS WHO MAKE

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– Two-two artwork by man like ‘Ed Rucsha’

T: So like to being able to see it and take something away from immediately. Rather have someone give you an epilogue...

A: Kind of yeah. Maybe that’s just the terrible ‘Instagram Scrolling Syndrome’ where if you don’t get it you just keep scrolling…

T: Yeah, but I suppose some people like that. Like being able to peel back the layers, or the aspect of talking about it. So rather than the piece itself they primarily like the discussion… Like, those socialite art types…

A: Oh noooo *laughs*

T: Let them live obviously.. But that’s not you…

A: I just want people to come to my exhibitions and just like the way it looks. I mean sometimes I’ll have an idea or there’s a place where the words came from and if you wanna read into that that’s cool and you’ll get something from it hopefully. But also you just wanna look at the picture and go ‘That’s a nice picture, I like the way that looks’; I’m not gunna make you work hard for it *laughs*

T: Rolling on. Where did your obession with gold come from? Did the #GOLDPATROL predate the Gold Leaf work? Were you always you just deeply into gold??

A: *laughs* I was always really into it. But that’s not a new thing that’s like an Egyptian (hertiage) all spanning the history of the planet thing. It’s just deeply within you.. this finite resource which is just so attractive for so many reasons. So, I was always really into it and also when I was younger it was kinda fashionable – or maybe it kinda always been fashionable. I can’t make the call on that…

T: It comes in and out of Fashion…

A: Maybe it does, but the crassness kinda appealed to me when I was younger. I think it kinda had a renaissance for being cool or whatever. But the Gold Patrol, was before I had Instagram. So I was using Facebook as a fuckin’ blog, finding these random pictures on the internet and sharing them…

T: So you are deeeply into gold. This goes beyond the norm…

A: *laughs* I mean kind of. I got non-stop spam on insta of people sending me stuff. The people on instagram no! That and car number plates… You gotta be careful what put out there on the internet because people are non-stop sending me stuff.

T: *laughs* Well they must send you some stuff you like..

A: Yeah sometimes I get stuff and I’m like ‘yeah thanks’ and post it up *laughs*

T: So, back to your craft. What’s your favourite commission? I was reading some prior interviews and there was one the came up. But we’ll see if that matches to your favourite to date..

A: Was the drunk fish?

T: Yeah, is that still the one?

drunkfish-213x300.png-The Infamous and aforementioned Drunken Fish..

A: It was a really fun one… and it was a drunk fish. *laughs*

T: What was the reasoning behind that? The fish did look really drunk…

A: *laughs* Well it was for pub called ‘The Anchor Tap’ which is owned by ‘The Dark Star Bewery’ who also own my favourite pub in London ‘The wenlock’ in Old Street…

A:…Anyway, it’s on the way to Brighton and it had a sea theme, so they got another guy to do a big anchor and some other signs and stuff. Then Adrian the guy who was doing the design for it sent me that image of the fish and I was like ‘fuck that’s so sick,’ So it made a lot of sense it was really cool… Also, that was when I was still working in my bedroom and that was the biggest thing I’d made in there; I nearly didn’t take on the job, but I made it happen. I was like sleeping like half underneath it *laughs*. It was hard that one. But when I made it was yeah, now I need to go get a fuckin’ studio so I make something this big all the time…

T: So it came at a pivotal moment in your career…

A: Kind of, I mean coz it was so big I made more money. So I thought maybe this can be my job. It helped me to take it more seriously I suppose. But I finished a sign for an exhibition with 30 other sign painters from around the world and it’s based off a catalogue of a sign painting exhibition in the Victiorian times in London and this Meredith in American who’s a sign painting historian. She has a catalogue of what all the signs were of. So she put them into a spreadsheet and said all of you can pick one sign and you get to make whatever you want and I chose one that said ‘All The World and His Wife’. All of where really fuckin’ cool. Mad puns and really filthy shit.. So, I just finished making that and I’m really pleased with it.

T: I see what you mean about making stuff that looks good but has a theme that’s easy to digest. It ticks all the boxes. So if you had your own exhibition…

A: Yeah, I’d put that in it. I mean every two years I try do an exhibition and I’ve got a list on my phone; so if I see a cool word, or think of something cool or a song title, or whatever it might be… And after 2 years I got this fuckin’ long list that I haven’t made. So I just think shit, If I put on an exhibition I can just make stuff that’s on that list.

T: So when’s the next exhibition?

A: I mean I’m due one coz my last exhbition was like 2 years ago now. But i have to not take on commisions for a couple of months which I find very difficult; saying no to people. Some people it means a lot to them. When they’re like ‘My girlfriends loved your work for years’ and they wanna get them a present. How can I say no? I’m so grateful it’s my job…

T: So this exhibitions gunna be a while then…

A: We’ll see. I feel like if I had a month of just solid work I could do it this year…

You can check the full unedited and in depth 45 min audio podcast version available to down HERE and listen below:

POSTED BY: @TIMI.WATSONROSE

#ACTIVEBOYS VOL. 41: THE PERIVALE PAINT SHOP

Headed west to Perivale to link up with artist and sign painter Alex Hughes to do an interview which’ll be touchin’ down soon. Check out the visuals from the day below, and hold tight for interview piece, still!

’til the next time

POSTED BY: @TIMI.WATSONROSE

TURFA – THE RWD EP & A DEFINING ERA IN GRIME

‘The RWD EP’ is a selection of beats produced by my friend and bedroom beat maker ‘Turfa’ way back in 2004 when were in Year 9 and 14 years old. RWD Forum, Pirate Radio, Channel U and Bluetooth circulated the sound in those days. And it was a golden era for me and many others it was a golden era for Grime.  Turfa went on to produce the original riddim that lead to a collaborative production with Fusion that created the Channel U classic ‘On The Block’ read the full story via Comple UK here.

Turfa – Megaman Freestyle ft Slyson (Original Riddim that lead to the beat for On The Block – 2004):

In those pre-soundcloud days the website ‘Soundclick’ was where like minded producers would upload and share the products of their creativity. And for Turfa this was the home of his catalogue of sublime selections as I – and our peers – remember clearly. 14 years on, I decided that with Grime music being where it is now, and the platforms available today I felt it was necessary to put together this project to highlight not only his talent at such a young age – considering it was 2004 and the non-existence of YouTube tutorials and Google searches mean’t that he taught himself to use FL Studio. But to also spotlight his distinct style as homage to the music he made and the sound of Grime music of that era.

Image result for soundclick

The RWD Forum era, with the Skippy, synth driven, melodic, grimey, rough and ready style is and was significantly different to the sound of today. Individuality and a focus on rhythm and melody was the driving influence on all producers. No one was trying to make a tune for the clubs. So mixdowns and mastering took a back seat. Making a beat that had swagger and steez took precedent. Which is what made it and the music Tufra made so special. And like many other producers who were a part of the online RWD community, Turfa played a role, put his piece in the puzzle and pushed the creative direction of the scene in defining and championing the sound gave Grime another dimension and a more musical quality.

Image result for rwd mag

At the time the beats were nang. But now, the beats have a higher level of appeal, because not only do they sonically represent the era, they have a quality of muscianship that can’t be mistaken when listened to retrospectively. That’s what informed this EP and inspired me to get a selection of his old productions and present them for a generation who remembers the those days and for a new generation who may not familiar. That was the initial intention, but in completing the project it became clear that, although these tracks are old. In some regards they were ahead of their time. And because of that, can be appreciated for what they are; great Grime instrumentals and had they’ve been made today, would stand up against the contemporary sound.

Turfa - The RWD EP ARTWORK

This “Time Capsule” EP  includes old skool vocals and classic bars from Kano, D Double E, Tinchy Stryder, Riko Dan, AJ Tracey and Flirta D that I sourced that rigorously sourced through the internet to showcase the music in a way that would affirm the quality and enhance the listening experience by creating songs that – if they were released at the time – may have gained the notoriety I believe they deserved. But, in some ways, to have them as they are today, possibly achieves the same goal with am additional nostalgic quality that gives them a deeper level of appeal, significance and greatness. They’re not polished and pristine; they weren’t meant to be. As Jammer put it in conversation on the #HALFCAST podcast “I don’t think Grime instrumentals are the same anymore… the beauty in the unfinishedness…” Rough and ready with the beautiful imperfections of the old skool era the beats came from. There’s nothing wrong with mixing and mastering. But when music can resonate in spite of it generates a nuance that enhances it’s distinct appeal.

On top of the 5 bootleg vocals, there’s also a couple original freestyles from 2004 by virtually unknown MC’s who were also popular in the forum at the time that are also reminiscent of the time and have – on the part of the MC’s – really exemplify what Grime is and how it’s done. You can check out a couple of the vocal mashups below and download the full Free EP HERE.

Turfa – Frontline Frost w/ D Double E

Turfa – Vodka & Speed w/ Flirta D

Turfa – Can Do Antics w/ AJ Tracey

Turfa & Mr. Slash – Stormy Nights w/ Riko Dan

Turfa – Alize Rink w/ Kano, Riko Dan & Tinchy Stryder

POSTED BY:   @TIMI.WATSONROSE

#SPELLCAM VOL. 1: E1 SPLASH GANG

The first installment in a series of lifestyle videos I’ll be droppin here on the site. Expect two-two antics, the usual suspects and a slice of life. Holdting for Vol. 2 and plenty more to come…

#SPELLCAM VOL. 1: E1 SWIM GANG from WATSON ROSE on Vimeo.

POSTED BY: @SPELLMAN_BNTL

END TO END: THE PAUL INCE PIECE

My latest run of tee’s has landed. Featuring an iconic English Football imagine that the only the real ones will appreciate.

s/o Mabel on the cameo…

Hit me up on insta or head over to END-END.CO.UK to cop. Otherwise keep it locked for updates and more.

POSTED BY: @VINCENTBENSON_