When I originally approached Droid 907 about his latest zine, Sex or Suicide (Either Way You’re Fucked), it was described as simultaneously the most honest book about graffiti and a collection of lies. This inability to distinguish which stories are strange enough to be true or perhaps so outlandish that they must be fabricated heightens the experience. From tomes written on a buffed square of an abandoned facade to gritty, type-written pages, Droid explores the limits of his medium, in both graffiti and storytelling. Through these pages, the often enigmatic but ever present force of New York graffiti slowly peels back the layers behind his “Droid” persona, or perhaps adds more if the stories are in fact fabricated. With 40 pages of travels, redacted locations, and a cover silkscreened by Bushwick Print Lab, S.o.S. is Droid’s most visceral text to date.
Following a few month span in the artist’s nomadic lifestyle, readers are placed in media res, with no prior knowledge of the author’s relationships with those he encounters. You are suddenly left on the side of the tracks with no contextualization, in an anarchistic manner that mirror’s the text’s aesthetics. To help illuminate the backstories of a few of these individuals, as well as his own artistic practice in creating Sex or Suicide, Vandalog conducted a brief interview with Droid.
R: In the press release you write about your moniker, Droid, in the third person. What does this persona represent? A facet of yourself?
D: The synergy of art and lifestyle can be highly problematic, but also is a very important state to reach (as an artist) as far as I’m concerned. When lifestyle expresses an aesthetic truthfully, it is highly impressive. I have dealt with the synergy of both the third person character of Droid and the actuality of me being Droid for quite sometime. I grew up in a star wars childhood, “Droid” was what my friends knew me as. After toying around with some other words, I took on Droid. Until very recent, I felt the word Droid lived a separate life other than me, like a character in a Rap Gang song or the clown figure. I’m still toying around with the feeling that perhaps, ultimately I may be that character. It fucks with me really.
R: Were you channeling anything specifically when working on the layout? It seems to be anarchistic, but meticulously so.
D: Everytime I have produced a zine I try and elevate the aesthetic. I was sonned on zines from Avoid Pi and R2 907, so I feel obligated to create something different. I pride myself on setting some new standards, while alluding to some traditional concepts that are worth preserving. As far as being an anarchist publication, I do believe the content reflects a disdain for government and attempts to disregard adhering to certain laws.
R: How does the title Sex or Suicide (Either Way You’re Fucked) play into these off the grid, and often emotional, adventures?
D: I guess it’s a very dramatic title. It alludes to both a crew (S.o.S) that materialized last summer in Detroit, composed of writers from various crews from around the country. It also describes the state of mind I can get in- a bit manic and hostile and self destructive. In my experiences from meeting other writers, the majority of them kind of fall into that category. It’s a sad truth, but perhaps it’s what I attract as this kind of person myself.
R: Do you edit any of the content after the initial writing?
D: “S.o.S” is a book of lies. It’s also a transmission from my brain to paper. Everything that is expressed into a material form is an edit from its original idea.
R: This zine follows your adventures with a cast of characters. How did you link up with NGC crew? MTN and Fisho/Fishglue seem to play an integral part in in this most recent anthology.
D: One morning last spring, I woke up on the train tracks in Baltimore. I was traveling along the East Coast on freight trains to various places. I followed the tracks through a series of amazing galleries of graffiti (Baltimore has many) and met MTN and Fisho down by a river. They had hangovers like I did, so we got some beer and pizza and went and did a highway spot in broad daylight, with helicopters overhead. I was shook by the helicopter, but they just said to duck down and wait for it to pass, which it did, but returned over and over again til we finished. They are the true Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer of graffiti (doesn’t matter who is who). We got down on some spots in that town and met up in different cities to explore and see what new ideas we could express. NGC is one of the current hopes for graffiti. They will preserve important traditions and continue to trailblaze. It’s been an honor to know these individuals.
R: The other main character being a love interest, Amanda, whose name is often seen in your tags, stickers, rollers, etc. Who is Amanda Wong?
D:Amanda Wong is my best friend and lover. She is an artist, a tree house architect, and a curious magician. She has a very honest insight into life and has provided a much needed counterpoint of consciousness to my own. In a sense, she is my “Laylah.” I have known her for years, and hope to continue knowing her for many more.
R: What do you want to tell kids who read your zine and idolize/idealize these adventures?
D: I’m a bit pessimistic of youth culture these days I guess. Unfortunately, television and the internet will have reached the “kids” much sooner than a printed copy of “S.o.S” will. Too many kids are into a lifestyle in a fashionable sense- and many of them are already kind of branded from internet porn, Vice magazine and social media so deeply they don’t know the difference between reality and bullshit. I think KYT put it proper when they pushed the idea of getting off the television and into the streets. I think it’d a be a valuable lesson for kids to get off the internet and hit the road and see shit with their own eyes. That said, I realize this interview is being distributed on the internet, just as the zine is. I’m a hypocrite and liar like everyone else. That’s important too- knowing yourself and being honest about your faults.
Sex or Suicide (Either Way You’re Fucked) will be available table 37 at the Brooklyn Zine Fest Sunday, April 21st from 11am – 6pm in Williamsburg. Also available at the table will be releases from Carnage, Daniel Feral’s SIGNAL!, Noxer DOD, and SubCulture. For those not in the New York area, the zine will also be available online through Articlemethod.com.
Photos Courtesy of Droid 907