British magician Steve "Dynamo" Frayne picked up the tricks of the trade from his grandfather. These days he can often be found wowing the celebrity world with his trickery, captured for audiences on his high-ratings television series Dynamo: Magician Impossible.
Q: At what age and how did you get involved in magic?
I think I was 9 years old, a while back now, and at the time it was never to be a performer, it was a way of getting myself out of trouble on the estate that I grew up in. It made me stand out and when guys would pick on me, I'd just do some crazy stuff to distract their attention.
Q: How would you describe your magic?
I love to perform and if I try anything new, I'll always take it to the streets first. It's the most natural reaction; people on the street will tell you straight if something's bad or good. It's the most honest crowd in the world - they're not paid to be there and I'm not being paid to be there.
Q: How did you come to name yourself Dynamo?
I was performing in New York in 2001 or 2002 and it was a big commemorative event on behalf of Houdini. Lots of people had been invited; David Blaine, David Copperfield, all the top magicians and I was very up and coming at the time. While I was performing, I ended up getting a big crowd in, including lots of top magicians and one of them shouted out, "This kid is a dynamo." From that day on, I was referred to as Dynamo. When I decided to turn professional, it stuck as a stage name.
Q: You've performed for some of the biggest names in the world, who has been your favourite?
I liked performing for Pharrell Williams, that was cool. I think he's one of the coolest guys in the world, style-wise he's such a trendsetter. In every interview you see with him, he's super, super cool but I managed to break through all that front and really got to see a guy genuinely amazed, and the genuine Pharrell that people don't often see. He respected what I did enough to show his true colours which meant a lot. I've performed for Rihanna a few times and she always gives an amazing response. She's just so random; I can never guess how she's going to react. Sometimes she runs around crazy, sometimes she's just gob-smacked. There have been times when I've performed and she hasn't said anything, and not everyone can manage to keep Rihanna quiet. I've got millions of experiences where people have just given amazing reactions.
Q: Who's been your most cynical?
I could probably go back to Pharrell because he was really cynical and he's a really intelligent guy. He was really watching everything I was doing closely and then to actually break through that and get the respect from him - it was really rewarding.
Q: What are your career highlights so far?
Making this TV series that I'm doing right now has been one of the highlights. I'm finally getting to put all these ideas and all the hard work into creating a show that fits the vision that I want to show my magic in. I've had a lot of offers over the years which I've turned down and they could possibly have made me a household name, but I've had to hold out for that right moment. For me, it's never been about becoming famous or becoming a celebrity; it's about creating experiences and sharing wonder with the world.
Q: What's been your favourite magic trick you've performed?
The favourite piece of magic I've ever performed myself was the thing I did with Tinie Tempah and his album cover. I'm quite good friends with Tinie now, I was a fan of his work long before he became well-known. He's known famously for always wearing sunglasses, as he is on his album cover. I went to his concert and he gave me a signed copy of it but I wanted mine to be a bit special so I got him to take off his glasses and he put them on his forehead. I basically gave the cover a shake and made his sunglasses in the image move up on to his forehead so you could see his eyes on the front cover of his album, and that photo has never ever been taken. The reaction from him was amazing because he'd never taken a photo like that before.
Q: If you weren't in magic, what do you think you'd be doing now?
I'd probably be behind the camera. I love making short films; documentary-type pieces following me around. A lot of my friends were in the music industry or trying to get in the industry, being musicians themselves or making music videos, and one of my best friends is now doing what I probably would have been doing - he makes some of the best music videos in the world for some of the biggest artists. That was always one of my biggest passions.
Who: Steve "Dynamo'' Frayne
What: Dynamo: Magician Impossible
When and where: 7.30pm Mondays and Tuesdays, One.