Exclusive interview with DERA, by Christopher Kubick.
All photos by SMOG
Carpazine: DERA, where in New York are you from and what neighborhood did you start bombing first?
DERA: Flushing queens is where I worked from.
Carpazine: Who are your top 5 favorite writers of all time?
DERA: I don’t really have a top 5 because I really don’t follow what others are doing. But Ghost RIS has to be in the top and Saint Tmr. CAP MPC has always been a favorite since I saw him in style wars as a kid. Rent and KA Spd I’ll throw in there because nobody ever gives them credit.
Carpazine: Where is your go-to spot for a slice of pizza.
DERA: Best pizza is this place in Whitepoint in College Point by far.
Carpazine: Who were some of the better new writers in the last few years to come out of the woodwork?
DERA: I’m the wrong guy to ask who are the new writers. I can’t keep up with them because they all seem to stop as soon as they start, and there’s to many. I see shit I can’t read but I see it all over. I’m not in NYC much anymore so I wouldn’t even know who’s out there now.
Carpazine: Who is the wackest writer you've seen?
DERA: I’m not gonna comment on what writers are wack or not. I like what I do most of the time. I don’t care to much about other writers anymore, everyone’s kinda wack…
Carpazine: Sometimes graff writers have beef with each other. In the 80’s who would you describe to have the biggest graff beef? Also, have you ever had beef with anyone and if so can you describe a story from your memory of that beef?
DERA: I didn’t really have beef . Everyone either jocks me or is in love with me. If there was a problem with other writers it got handled.
Carpazine: Are there any secrets or tidbits that you would like to share with up-and-coming writers on bombing?
DERA: Dera’s tidbits for the kids. Innocent, until you're proven guilty... Deny everything... Deny everything!
Carpazine: SO TDK, BAKER TDK, and DURAN TMR Have all passed away. You knew all three of them. Is there anything you can tell us about them to keep their memory alive?
DERA: SO TDK gave me my name, taught me to be a criminal . Passed down TDK to me. At the time I thought that was a big deal, I only threw up TDK and still mostly do.
Duran was also a mentor. More of a graff mentor. A big brother until his passing.
Carpazine: Have you ever done an upper decker?
DERA: Never did a decker although attempts have been made.
Carpazine: Who's the last live band that you saw?
DERA: Last live band I saw was White Trash: A band from Queens I went to high school with. They got popular back then but recently did a free show at Blackthorn on Queens Blvd. Not the band or my favorite by far, but they put in a very fun show.
Carpazine: Do you think New York will ever relive its graffiti-heyday? Subway cars bombed inside and out, graff on all the walls?
DERA: Right now trains are being bombed more than they ever had in the last 20 years and it will never come close to what it used to be like. You wouldn’t even know there was graff on a train as most of the time it doesn’t run. But graff evolved into a different thing . Who’s to say we are not in some sort of heyday now.
Carpazine: Is there any strategy to not get in court when racking cans?
DERA: There are many ways to steal paint. I’m not gonna tell my secrets on how I do it. I would rather take the delivery truck that has more than just paint though.
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