After speaking to GESER, RATHand BACON a bit, now it´s time to have a quick chat with SOTEN from Copenhagen, read the interview after the jump!
What’s up Mr. Soten? How have you been the past months?
Hey Molotow, its been some busy months or actually years, I been doing a lot of travelling, painting and working so I could pay the bills and paint some more.
Basic Question: What does it mean to you to be a graffiti writer?
I paid very little attention in school when I was young, sorry mom! Shoes, pants and jackets with paint on it, never enough sleep, a lot of running, adrenalin, ending up in strange places lte at night like in South Africa, a still growing collection of scars like in Sofia. Also traveling, feeling loved, getting hated on, freedom, angry girlfriends and meeting some of the greatest people. These are just a few things, I could write many pages about the subject. Graffiti is the love of my life and after 15 years it never felt better.
What is the most important thing you like in doing graffiti?
The most important thing is all the great friends I have meet over the years, without them graffiti would never have been the same
You are travelling a lot, any favorite destination so far?
I have been trying to travel as much as I could trough the last 7 years or so and every place has a special place in my heart, most of the time its a combination of the people I have been lucky to meet there and the whole atmosphere. So to name just one as an all time favorite would be to hard, but eating pizza and burning with my brother Brus in Rome, adrenalin rush in South Africa with Toe and Sure, big beers and all nighters in Stockholm with Kaos, and good times with Slider, Omsk, Serk and the lovely Mad C in the east of Germany are definitely some of the places and people where you will see me again in the future.
How are things in Copenhagen? Is there a graffiti tolerance?
When I started out painting, the city had a really low tolerance on graffiti and all the halls of fame where more or less closed down. This changed through the following years, thanks to the big work of a smaller group of writers and today you see more and more big walls in the city and with a increase of halls of fame the general public are getting more and more tolerant towards graffiti. Of course people will hate on stuff like trainbombing, but I guess it will always be like that and it’s a part of that game. The biggest tolerance problem in Copenhagen is these young no brainers together with a closed group of oldschoolers who have left the game years ago or maybe do 2-3 pieces a year, that with the bible of righteousness in the hand try to preach bullshit about how graffiti should be kept illegal thing. Instead of letting the whole movement grow they try keep graffiti down for the sake of they can sit and reminisce about when they where the boss. If you only belong to one side, that’s fine, but don’t come and try to preach to me or destroy my stuff because you don’t like it, I mean there should room for all of us and I embrace both legal and illegal graffiti, I have been painting everything from trains to 5 day walls and I will continue to do so.
How do you feel about graffiti and it´s development these days? Do you feel a big difference to back in the days and also between graffiti in Europe and graffiti in the United States or Australia for instance?
Graffiti is under a constant change both in positive and negative ways, but that is also the beauty of it, kings come and go, the internet changed everything, the police get more and more knowledge about what’s going on, it’s easier to travel and get contacts, we have better paint, graffiti is entering the art world, wider caps and the list goes on. It’s all a matter of taste, so there is not much to do other than live and accept these changes. The different countries are changing to, some that used to be in front of the whole style game have now besides a handfull of people lost it and the other way around. Two good examples are my own home ground and the English scene, here in Copenhagen the quality are really dropping and not many new people come up with nice styles, its more about being trendy and do ugly shit on purpose. England, in my mind, had a long time with a lot of silver and black but these days the scene is really blooming with good people coming out doing interesting stuff.
What´s your favorite color?
Browns and greys are the friend of everybody and will match with all other colors, Mad C Psycho Pink or a Cliff Green can always spice up the boring colored piece… To be honest I don’t have a favorite color, I can hardly name any color or tone from Molotow that I don’t like. Then again, maybe black since I more or less always end having that on the wall
Do you believe in a carrier as a graffiti writer? I mean, you want to earn money with what do you do on walls or canvas?
Sure!!! This what I do, this is my passion and education so why shouldn’t I use it and build a carrier? If other people like what I do and want to pay for what I enjoy doing, I don’t see the big problem!
What´s your vision, is there a dream that have to come true one day?
Graffiti was never really about dreaming to me, but more about hard work, surviving the hard times and a bit of luck. So no dreams, but more things I’m working towards, and this I will keep as a surprise to you.
Sponsoring and support by brands is a big thing these days, do you think that helps the artist?
Ah, always a good question, and indeed big thing because everybody has an opinion about it and everybody feels it’s their duty to state it, especially if they belong to this group that don’t like it. I think that it’s really cool that various spray brands want to give something back to one of biggest costumer groups by supporting artist and events with some spray. I don’t see the “big” problem as long as I’m doing what I always been doing. If you are like me, trying to live an artist life, where you paint as much as you can and work as little as possible, you know how big a struggle it is to pay bills and so on. So for me to work with Molotow have really helped a lot and I’m happy I have been able to also give them something in return.
Anything that we can expect from you in the near future?
It would be a shame to blow it all here, so the details are a secret but I’m always up to something, so for sure a lot of new pieces in new places with old and new friends.
Anything to add? Any last words?
Thanks to Molotow and everybody else who have been supporting me over the years!