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Dakota ReyesToday our guest is Dakota Reyes from Metal / Hardcore band CLOSE TO NOTHING coming straight from the Upstate NY Capital Region. There will be no big introduction today, because Dakota can tell us much more interesting stuff about the band as me. So, let see.

Reflections of Darkness [RoD]: Could you please tell a little bit about story of the band? When you have created it and how you all have got together?
Dakota:At first we did the most sketchy kind of thing possible, our first drummer,(didn’t play a show or record with us) and our current guitar and backing vocalist Cole Anderson met through a craigslist ad I had put up looking to start a Hardcore / Metal band, myself being the vocalist, Cole responded to me saying he and the drummer wanted to do the same thing. So we started our first “practice” with awkward conversation and doing covers of songs we discussed, I then recruited our first bass player who has since tragically passed away Jake Kipling(R.I.P), Cole brought in our second and final piece Nick Mauro on guitar.

That was CLOSE TO NOTHING originally, our first drummer had left within a month or so to peruse another band he was a part of and we parted ways, full heartedly understanding his other passion for his project. I then put out a Facebook post where we were looking for a new drummer. In comes our drummer Rick Rukkus, this guy is a musical genius and master on the drums. Unfortunately we had to part ways with Jake, and on short notice Cole brought in his younger brother at the time 15 Haden Anderson to fill in for a show, he learned our set in a week and from there he’s been with us since. So, our current line-up is:

Dakota - vocals
Cole - guitar / backing vocals
Nick - guitar
Haden - bass
Rukkus - drums

RoD: Who come on idea of the band name CLOSE TO NOTHING?
Dakota:We had gone through so many ideas, they were silly names that just didn’t hit what we wanted to relay with our name. Our old short time drummer is a fan of the band TO THE WIND and they have a song called ‘Close to nothing’ we all liked the name and it stuck.

RoD: At February 28 last year you have released ‘Root of all suffering’ - what idea is behind this album? Where is the author of texts and music?
Dakota:Wow, where to begin with ROAS, pretty much it starts out with the first song we ever wrote together as a band called ‘My Mask’ I primarily write the lyrics, that song is about hiding all the pain in your life and having to go out in public and pretend like everything is ok, put on a fake smile because you don’t want to burden people with your issues. The second song, ‘Perpetual Pain’, was written about the passing of my father, the pain my mother and I deal with losing him so quickly and myself at a younger age, and it was rough. The song ‘Spiderwebs’ is a shot at my own brother. I don’t like him and we will never be close or see eye to eye, no need for detail, the lyrics speak for themselves. The rest I had written in a state of depression, the guys in the band did an amazing job at translating that pain from my lyrics into these heavy hitting songs. Don’t let our diy sound throw you off, come see us live, you won’t regret it.


RoD: What are your plans for 2020? Any new tours?
Dakota:New music is absolutely coming early 2020. No tours, a couple one offs but hopefully we’ll be hitting the road this year, fingers crossed. Any bands want to tour with us, hit us up, haha.

RoD: What do you like most in live shows?
Dakota:Energy, nothing but chaotic energy from a band, I love seeing bands really enjoying their music and just feeling it, giving it their all no matter how big or small the show is, that emotion relays into the crowd, myself in my band as the vocalist, I jump around, I dance, I’ll get in the pit during breakdowns, I’ll find something to climb and jump off, I like to have fun and if your stiff and dull on stage, like you don’t want to be there, why would I want to watch you play? Have fun, enjoy life, and mosh hard.

RoD: And we are going back to our main topic. When did you get your first tattoo and what was it? Did it take much time until you decided to get it done?
Dakota: I was 16 years old, in my state I wasn’t old enough to get one, but I convinced my parents to sign off on one in a different state. I had gotten a “cliché” tattoo of my last name down my forearm, as a child I always was infatuated with tattoos so when I could get one done, I had the opportunity, I took it.

RoD: How many tattoos do you have? Could you please tell us their story?
Dakota: I’ve lost count after about my 10th session, I’m not completely covered but I plan on it. So the left side of my body is dedicated to my heritage (Puerto Rican) where as the right side of my body is dedicated to my passions in life, things that inspired me, bands, movies, spooky stuff, and my career as a barber. I also have a dedicated tattoo on my face to my late father who passed quickly and was my best friend, by far the smallest tattoo I have yet the most important to me.

RoD: Have you already got all the tattoos that you wanted or will you get some new ones in the future?
Dakota: If you’re someone who constantly gets tattooed you know there is no stopping or having all the ones you want, I do have a bunch that I’ve already wanted but life goes on things change and people change so new things will come into my interest that I will want, I also like to give my artist free reign a lot of the time, I’ll give them a vague idea of something and say “do your thing I trust you”. Until I’m completely satisfied with how covered I am I will stop but as of now it’s far from over.


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?
Dakota: A majority have been done by one artist however I now kind of bounce around 2-3 artists, each has a style that they absolutely crush so if there’s something I’m looking for in their realm that’s who I go to. I choose my artist based on previous work I’ve seen and cleanliness, people who are seriously passionate about art, the sketches I let the artist do, I’m by no means picky (unless I want something specific) but I’ll sometimes let the artist pick their own work, something they’ve wanted to tattoo that they haven’t yet and usually knock it out of the park.

RoD: Getting tattooed hurts, how do you cope with the pain during the sessions?
Dakota: I used to listen to music, now it’s become a sense of relief, I also look at it like this, “Yea this shit hurts, but in 2-3 hours to the next day it’ll be done and I’ll have a new beautiful piece of work on my body”. Physical pain is temporary. And if tattoos didn’t hurt every pussy in this world would have one.

RoD: Do you regret getting tattooed sometimes?
Dakota: Maybe when I was younger, getting tattoos on my neck or hands and being like, damn should I have done this, but then 5 minutes pass by and I love it and never look back or regret any, they all are special to me as they prove to myself, I can withstand pain.

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?
Dakota: I’m not big into Japanese traditional work, it just doesn’t relate to anything in my beliefs or ways of life so I don’t think I’d get anything like that done, I’m more into spooky, evil looking tattoos. And as far as not liking a tattoo on someone else is not my place to say, if they are happy with it then let them enjoy that why bother being upset and uptight about what other people are doing, focus on your own life. Unless you’re a racist then fuck your tattoos.


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?
Dakota: I wouldn’t necessarily say an addiction although there are times I’m just itching in my seat to get a new tattoo however it costs money, time, etc so yes it is a passion but also some people enjoy the release of that pain so it could be an “addiction” as well. I use quotations on that because an addiction to me is more on a drug and alcohol abuse level.

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?
Dakota: To each is own, my biggest thing is go ahead and get tattoos, by all means even if they mean nothing, it’s your body. True artists know they are true artist which is why they don’t fall into that category of doing flash tattoos all day, those true artists spend hours on pieces, perfecting every line, detail, shade, and colour.

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?
Dakota: Now a days who doesn’t have a tattoo? Even a tiny little thing, ya know? I’ve been cutting hair for 10 years, no it’s not a fancy white collar job but I have the freedom to be me in my workplace not some robot, although honestly I find tattoos aren’t really taboo anymore, like I said, a majority of people have at least one.

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?
Dakota: I don’t care what you want to get, I don’t care colour or black and grey, make sure it’s something you truly want, because once it’s there it’s there so make that choice wisely. Do your research on artists, social media now a days is a huge way to find artists in your area to your liking, one key thing to remember, cheap tattoos are not good, good tattoos are not cheap.

Project by Daria Tessa and Daniela Vorndran, Interview by Daria Tessa
Pictures by Dakota Reyes

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