Monday, December 20, 2010
Haeler interview on Skate all Cities.
What do you write and what crews do your represent?
I write HAELER, HAELONE, HAONE, HAELISM and I rep TNT, OTR, AL, MSK, LOD, DMS and the mobb BTM.
Which part of LA are you originally from?
I’m an Eastsider (Boyle Heights), East Los, Downtown LA. Born and raised.
You came from a couple generations of graffiti writers that have called it quits, so what keeps you going?
Yeah, I came from the Bus Writers, Bombers, Tag Bangers era and back to my roots again – straight bombing.
To answer the question, “What keeps you going?” My boy SKILL UTI put it best. Ten years ago he asked me, “I see you’re going hard right now, but when are you gonna stop? Eventually the gas in your tank is gonna run out.” Well I just seen him recently and after ten years he told me, “Damn I see you’re still going.” I said, “Yeah, I still got gas in my tank.” SKILL replied, “You know you’re the last of our bus mobbers generation that’s still going hard and you’re doing what I was doing when I stopped. I see you in me.” For him to say that to me coming from a good friend who inspired me growing up is what keeps me going. The whole AL squad and the rest of my crews from coast to coast is what also keeps me going as well. They all inspire me as much as I inspire them!
When will you or can you stop?
I’ve been asked this question alot over the years and most recently too. I can’t really say. Maybe when I get caught bombing in Iraq or Thailand and they chop my hands off, LOL. As long as we keep pushing bombing to the next level there’s no telling when I’ll stop and honestly this is all I know and this is what I do. This is what I live for. I’m on that get err done, keep on pushing, go-time mode all the time!
Do you think that it was easier to get up back then or now?
Definitely back then. There were no heroes, cellphones, buff or internet. Now it’s just wack. You gotta go out and get yours!
What major differences can you tell me between the writers of this generation compared to when you began?
This new generation of writers today bugs me out. They have no sense of direction and don’t know their history. Kids today start out backwards. They want to start piecing first before they learn how to get their tag down or a throwie. When I started the most important thing was perfecting your handstyle before anything. Then you moved onto throwups, blocks and pieces. My generation is the last of a dying breed. They don’t make them like us anymore. We didn’t have graffiti shops and online stores. Pssshhh, we went out and racked all of our supplies, made our own markers and even made our own buspasses. Busdrivers were getting socked up left and right for their transfers, LOL! We got around for FREE. Shit, I can’t even remember when was the last time I bought paint…NEVER. Boost That Merch, Always Looting. Kids got it easy these days. Grab your mommies credit card and go online to buy all of your supplies.
In your opinion, who do you think is getting up right now in LA?
Nobody worth mentioning. I don’t live in LA anymore, but I dip in and out all the time. All I see is a toyfest everytime I come back. I guess all the real niggas that were crushing are chilling right now, but that AL BYRDGANG gets it in on some real shit when I roll around in LA. Other than that ask me, “Who gets up around the country or worldwide?” and I could answer that easily. LA is done. It’s a burn and a buff. Honestly if you’ve never left LA, nobody knows who the fuck you are out of LA. There’s a whole other world and scene out there so get your travel on niggas. Get your passport and catch up.
I remember back in the Mid-2000′s you had a huge fucken white/black roller down in the LA river. How long did that take you to do?
Hahaha, all I did was draw a sketch, projected it off a projector from across the river and 2 little homies picked up the supplies and hired 5 paisas from Home Depot to bang it out over 2 all-nighters while I was chillin at home sipping on some Hennessy & Coke. See what I mean by next level bombing?
Didn’t you do that for a friendly battle between one of your crew members “OBCES” or something like that?
Yeah, it was a friendly battle, but it was more of a battle for the biggest roller between the West Coast and Midwest for 200 cans. Let me just state that I won and never seen any of that paint, but I’m sure TOOMER enjoyed it.
You run a crew called “At Large”. How many people are in it?
Nah, I don’t run no crew. That’s just a myth, legend, and internet rumors. The crew runs itself but I will say one thing, “Everyone in AL is a mothafucken boss.” As for how many people are in, let’s just say I don’t need 100-200 motherfuckers to make my crew dope or hard. Our squad is tight and small, but that’s all we need. Everyone knows their position and job in the crew. Everyone in the BYRDGANG is with it and gets err done!
How do you manage and keep in touch with so many members?
I don’t. I got a personal assistant and secretary that handles all of that for me.
If I was a young kid that wanted to get down with AL, how would I go about doing it?
You just don’t, plus the crew is locked. Sorry kids.
Beef and Violence always come within the territory of graffiti. What’s your opinion on it?
I mean it is what it is. It does come with the territory and it’s part of the game. But like Biggie said, “Fuck Beef, that shit is played out.” I’ve been dealing with beef for over 20 years. I can sit here all day and tell you war stories and probably even write a book about it, but I ain’t cause I’d rather not mention any names or give any of these niggas props. I’m getting older and kind of over the beef, but still got alot of heart for this shit. If you’re gonna bring it, then bring it cause I’ll come harder and get you where it hurts. You dissing my shit doesn’t hurt or bother me one bit, so please diss my shit and give it your best cause I’ll come back and will be seeing you one day! I actually get off on this shit. It pumps me up to just do more.
On top of a becoming a well-known graffiti writer you are also a father. Has it ever crossed your mind while bombing one night that someday you will have to quit and become a normal person working a 9-5 job?
A normal person? I don’t know how to be a normal person and this is my job. This is what I do. I’m married to this life. I don’t wanna sound like a scumbag, but I’ve lost family, countless girlfriends, and even my kids over the “G” life. So yeah I’ve thought about quitting and getting a normal 9-5, but why stop now? I feel like I’ve already lost everything, plus I’ve been grinding and hustling all my life so I’ma keep on pushing.
You and I both have traveled to Barcelona with The Seventh Letter heads in 2007. Was that your first time out there and what was the experience like?
Yeah, that was my first time out there and was one of the best experiences of my life. The women were dope, the beaches were the shit and completely nude, the nightlife and parties were always crackin, beer around the clock, the coke was wack, and as far as the graff scene – I’ve been to a lot of places but Barcelona was definitely one of the dopest places to paint. Shit is grilled and it runs.
How fucken funny was it when we were at a nude beach in Barcelona talking about some random girl’s tits not knowing that she understood everything we said and spoke English?
That shit was funny as fuck. We were all staring at her tits and saying, “Damn she got some big ol’ rockets!” and she’s like, “I understand everything you guys are saying.” and just smiled. She wasn’t even tripping. The funnier shit that day was when we kept strolling the beach and kept seeing hot bitches for like a mile, then all of a sudden we hit a stretch of nothing but naked fools and were like WTF? I think we were at the wrong beach and turned around real quick, LMAO.
You were out in the East Coast (New York) for a good couple of years. How is the lifestyle different over there in comparison to California?
I’ve been everywhere in the East Coast and it’s more fast-paced over there. Everyone’s on the move not giving a fuck, catching tags and spots in the daytime, etc. Out in the West Coast, everyone is more laid back and chill, but also trying to be heros. People mind their own business out in the East and as long as you mind yours and don’t fuck with their money, they don’t give a fuck. Out here in the West niggas are quick to get on their phone and call it in. Our politics are way different, they don’t really politic out there the way we do. Oh, and the bitches out there in NYC got the fattest asses I’ve ever seen!
I usually ask all of my interviewees this question. Did you ever use to skate?
Of course I used to skate. Some of the best times of my life. There were alot of dope skaters in Boyle Heights. I remember niggas were sponsored but everybody that were dope in those days either started gangbanging or writing. That’s the reason why I stopped. I got deep into writing so skating went out the window. I remember skating Lance Mountain’s halfpipe in Alhambra, skating Venice with the Dogtown homies, and the homie Natas Kaupas from Santa Monica Airlines. Man I can go on forever.
What board(s) did you use to have?
Well first and foremost I started with Powell Peralta. That’s who I looked up to when I was growing up. Then I had a Mark Gonzales (Vision), Eric Dressen (Dogtown), Jeff Kendall and Rob Roskopp (Santa Cruz), Natas Kaupas (Santa Monica Airlines) and of course the whole Bones Brigade with Tony Hawk, Lance Mountain, Steve Caballero, Tommy Guerrero, and Mike Vallely.
What tricks were you able to do?
You know I was riding halfpipes early on and just grinding on the coping. I was never able to catch air, but I was definitely an ollie master. I think before I was done with the skating game I was ollieing and kickflipping school benches.
What is your relationship between Estevan Oriol and Mister Cartoon? How do you know them?
I’ve known them for a minute now. Very good friends of mine that I met through TRIBE and TOOMER. They’ve always looked out for me, especially Estevan.
A lot of your peers have been going the artshow route. Are we ever going to see a “HAEL” artshow in the near future?
I’m happy for every single one of them doing it, god bless em, but as for me I’m not ready to take that route just yet. When that day comes it’s gonna go down hard but for now my shit is going to be in the streets and the streets don’t lie.
You’ve traveled all over the world before and I don’t think you’ve ever been to college? How do you do that? Do you have a sugar momma giving you money or something?
Hahahahahaha, LMFAO! If you were born to mack and know how to scheme, it ain’t too hard. Yeah, I got them hoes in a few area codes that look out. Bitches Love Haeler. Fuck College. I was raised in the streets and that’s good enough for me.
Here’s my “Quickie” section where I give you a word and you tell me what you think.
Cocaine = Love it, Snort it, Smoke it, Drink it, Sprinkle it on my food, and Bitches love it. BYRDGANG BITCHES!
Throws-Ups = Over Everything!
Los Angeles = Born and Raised. My Heart. There ain’t no city like my city in the whole wide world. GO DODGERS and GO LAKERS!
New York = The shit and my second home.
Legal Beagles = Don’t give a fuck about them.
American or European Paint = American all day of course. I’m a RUSTOMAN. RUSTOLEUM over anything. Oops, there goes my Montana sponsorship.
Any last thoughts or shout-outs?
First and foremost my family, my kids, my girl who holds me down. All my friends, homies, and crews: DMS, MSK, OTR, AL, LOD, TNT and BTM. All my sponsors and niggas that look out: 10 DEEP, DTA, JOKER, SEVENTH LETTER, THE WILD ONES, EXPENSIVE TASTE, FAMOUS, and ESTEVAN ORIOL. One last thing, for all you bitch ass niggas talking shit saying that we’re cocky and invented stickers and throwups, FUCK YOU! We just took it to the next level. For every one sticker you got we got a hundred and throwups over everything! TAR, KERSE, POKE, SACE, OVER, ENEMY, WEE, AZAZ, & RACK forever RIP. Wherever you go I go! Byrds make the world go round! BYRDS UP, HOES DOWN!