New York's Adam X-"Techno and Graffiti Go Side-by-Side'
Friday, May 18, 2001As one of New York's best known graffiti artists AND techno DJs, Adam X is uniquely placed within American alternative culture. The younger brother of techno DJ Frankie Bones (with whom he co-runs New York record shop Sonic Groove Record Shoppe) he's long been one of the East Coast's most influential figures in electronic music and, at 29 years old, remains at the forefront of the scene. Shortly releasing a new mix CD ('On the One and Two') and a new artist album (Creative Vandalism) he chatted to Mezz this week about graffiti, New York and the future of the world.
Mezz: You recently performed at East Side clubbing institution the Pyramid, how did the show go-
Adam X: "The Pyramid gig was actually not that amazing, the turnout was quite low. It's a strange club, lots of people in New York tend to go to the bigger venues like Twilo and Limelight, so on a Saturday the club's been struggling recently. It's a weird scene in general here in New York. There's a Monday night thing that goes on at a space that used to be called Save The Robots, which is now called Geurnica and whenever we play there, it's packed out; I played there two days after the Pyramid gig and it was jammed."
Mezz: Wasn't Save the Robots an infamously sleazy after hours club in a really run down part of town-
Adam X: "Yeah, but it's different now, it's like a restaurant bar with a space upstairs and it's really nice actually, really upscale. And downstairs, it's different too and is also pretty nice."
Mezz: New York clubland appears to under increasing attack from authorities with Twilo in particular taking the brunt, how's the overall scene-
Adam X: "Things are quite loose, there's definitely lots of things happening every week. Some people complain and say the scene sucks here but I travel around America regularly and I think New York has a good scene compared to elsewhere. In other cities, the alcohol licences are usually until 2am in the morning, whereas in New York they're open until 4am and you can still stay open later as long as you're not serving. Nightclub life in other cities is pretty weak and normally dominated by the rave scene, which is attracts a younger crowd. I wonder what happened to all the people that used to listen to dance music, because the scene's been going on for between 6 and ten years in these places. I rarely see anyone over 21 at the raves and I've always wondered where the older ones go. New York is pretty kicking, though there are more small parties and live acts performing in venues. There are loads of one off loft parties, and personally when I'm in town, I'll often go out every single night of the week."
Mezz: You've called your new artist album, Creative Vandalism, how did you apply that to the music specifically-
Adam X: "I was one of the most wanted graffiti writers in the late 80s and I still paint here and there. One thing that always confused me about graffiti was that it was always considered as a part of hip hop, but if people look back to the 70s, lots of the writers were listening to all kinds of music. Rock, soul, funk whatever was out. I actually know most of the famous graffiti writers who used to write on trains and when you meet them they'll be talking about Black Sabbath and Jimi Hendrix. For me techno and graffiti go side-by-side. When you're underground in a train tunnel painting on a train that whole experience is techno. Techno could be the soundtrack to the whole experience."
Mezz: how well known are you in the graffiti world-
Adam X: "I've just been featured in a graffiti magazine called Mass Appeal and I think I'm more known on the graffiti than techno scene, because I go to a lot of the shows and I meet a lot of the new writers. After the trains became clean here I was one of the first writers to start writing on the new trains and set off a whole new standard."
Mezz: Are the New York trains covered in graffiti again then-