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maxtestory1I am very excited about our guest today. Marcus “Max” Testory is not only a vocalist of DIE KAMMER (Die Kammer = The Chamber); he is also a songwriter, composer, actor, person with many fascinating facets and a very interesting conversation partner. Die KAMMER is not only the sole dark acoustic band in the gothic scene; with each new release they create another small chamber to show us a small part of their own world. On July 1st it will be possible to see band live again at Owl's Bats Festival in Detmold. Until then, we would like to tell you a little bit about Marcus' great head tattoo and reveal a few other things.

Reflections of Darkness [RoD]: When did you get your first tattoo and what was it? Did it take much time until you decided to get it done?
Marcus: In spring of 1988, at the end of May to be exact. It is a tribal, a stylized dragon. My dragon! I discovered its basic form in the winter 87, and I knew it is a part of me, on my head. But after that I thought about it a bit longer...

RoD: How many tattoos do you have? Could you please tell us their story?
Marcus: I have only two. However, both have sufficient importance for me to completely cover me. The dragon on my head is my guardian, the tribal on the leg his opponent, the destroyer and the new beginning. It has been with me since 2004.

RoD: Have you already got all the tattoos that you wanted or will you get some new ones in the future?
Marcus: There will be no other. Actually, leg and head should be connected but hey, I have already imagined how it should be and it’s enough. Everything has already happened in my head.

RoD: Have all your tattoos been done by one tattoo artist or by different ones? How do you choose the tattoo artist? In addition, who draws your sketches?
Marcus: Bernie Luther from Vienna has made my head. I was his first head tattoo and we were both a bit nervous. I knew Bernie because of my former bassist Issy, in whose occupied house he had his studio. Bernie became a very famous and successful artist later and his work attracts many international stars. He has also drawn my dragon. The tribal on the leg was made by Steffi (Aniccha) from Frankfurt. I had been friends with both for a long time already before they actually made my tattoos.


RoD: Getting tattooed hurts, how do you cope with the pain during the sessions?
Marcus: Not at all. Pain is a necessary evil and belongs to it, but I could also live without it. When my head tattoo was done I have bitten on wood... and I broke a tooth and I even made the mistake of drinking on the previous day. Alcohol inhibits blood clotting. Not good. Steffi has touched up the dragon about 15 years later, because he slowly lost his blackness... Thank you pain memory! Not a hundredth of a second after the beginning I thought I had to die...

RoD: Do you regret getting tattooed sometimes?
Marcus: No, why should I. I decided after a long thought.

RoD: What is your taboo in terms of tattoos? What kind of tattoo would you never get done and don’t like to see on other people?
Marcus: Gang, gangster and Nazi stuff, pink fluffy unicorns and other perishable senseless things. I am purist.

RoD: Some people say that the drive to acquire body art is addictive while others say it fails to meet the true definition of an addiction, simply calling it a passion. Is it really impossible to stop?
Marcus: No. You can stop any time. If you only want to... :-)

RoD: Currently, tattoos are a new trend; many people do not care about the meaning, they just want to have something coloured on the skin, to be in trend. Those people often just go into a tattoo salon and ask which drafts they have. Tattoo artists are not artists any more, they produce consumer goods. Not all of them, of course. How do you feel about this situation?
Marcus: The only reason to regret is when you are thrown into a pot with all the fancy tramp stamps, “Böse Onkelz forever” and other crap tattoos. As always and everywhere, culture is turned into commercial crap, and when I look at the new trends of body shaping, I can only shake my head. People want to be something special at any price, and they will do all for this but, of course, only on the surface, as everywhere in our society. Tattoo artists are service providers, such as hairdressers, beauticians and the like.


RoD: I would like to talk about the social aspect of tattoos, too. Previously, many people believed that if you have a tattoo, you will be never be successful and will not find a "good" job. Have this state of mind and people's perceptions changed or are these prejudices still alive?
Marcus: Well, just because the smart banker looks like the former punk now it does not mean that it’s not antisocial. On the contrary, the banker is certainly more antisocial in his basic live position than the former punk. Neither are people who look great and cool are in most cases better people. Of course, the perception has changed, already by the mass phenomenon "Tattoo". It has become an industry, like the music, entertainment, etc. Because if this it has become profane and irrelevant, just pretty pictures on skin. Like shirts, just not so easy to change.

RoD: Which advice would you give to people who are going to get their first tattoo? How to choose a tattoo artist? Colour or black and white? Any practical advice?
Marcus: Basically, I won’t give any advice. Everyone has to do this with themselves. For me, colour never came into question, but for me it was also never a "jewellery tattoo". Look at the shop: is it clean, does the artist have much work? Principally, I personally would only go to the two artists I know already for nearly my whole life and whom I blindly trust. The act of tattooing connects the two affected people for a life time. This is an incredibly intense and powerful ritual. One that goes literally under the skin... Probably more powerful than most people are aware of.

Project by Daria Tessa and Daniela Vorndran, Interview by Daria Tessa
Pictures by Daria Tessa (

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