Luke Thompson is bass player and backing vocalist of VOID MATTER - a five-piece band from Brisbane, Australia. Their melodies are fused with raw energy, influenced from many spheres of heavy music, and they creating their own blend of Metal. But our today’s topic is not the music but as always tattoos…
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?
Luke:My first tattoo was Korean characters on my ribs that say “Taekwon Do”. I was 18 when I got it done so I didn’t waste any time.
RoD: How many tattoos do you have? Could you please tell us their story?
Luke:I have five tattoos. The Korean characters on my ribs, a lion with dreadlocks on my calf, Avatar Aang on my left shoulder, owl eyes and a man with a deer skull for a head walking out of a forest on my left forearm. I’ll walk you through them in chronological order. First, I got my Taekwondo tattoo, I trained for 10 years in Taekwondo when I was younger and the things I learned there, really shaped me into who I am so thought that would be a good first tattoo. I didn’t have a lot of money at the time so I got it done in some guys’ garage, I don’t even remember his name. He did the whole thing with the outline needle as he didn’t have any others. Thick, solid black characters with an outline needle was an interesting first tattoo experience.
Second was the lion with dreadlocks. I have this friend who at the time was offering to pay for his friends to get his initials tattooed on them. Not 100% sure why he was doing this but hey - I’m not going to say no to free tattoos. I found this picture on the internet and thought it was cool. To keep my promise of getting his initials I had the artist add a crown and hide them inside some jewels. Third is a tattoo that was inspired by a producer / DJ that I idolized back in 2014 - Porter Robinson. I saw his live show which had the image of this man with deer antlers walking through a forest and I really connected with that. To this day his album ‘Worlds’ is still one of my favourite records to listen to. I got the tattoo done in two sessions, first the man, then the forest. The months in between were awkward because the man didn’t look finished at all, but now I’m very happy with it.
Avatar Aang is the main character from a Nickelodeon cartoon called ‘Avatar: The Last Airbender’. I find this show very inspiring and is my favourite cartoon. His character is supposed to bring balance to the world, and is very level headed, always trying his best to help people and I hope a bit of that rubs off on me somehow by having him on my skin. My most recent tattoo is a close up of some owl eyes. There isn’t much of a story behind this one, I just thought it looked cool.
RoD: Have you already got all the tattoos that you wanted or will you get some new ones in the future?
Luke:I definitely want more tattoos; I’ve just recently booked in for my next few to hopefully finish off my left arm. I’ve got very pale skin and want to be able to wear sleeveless shirts onstage without blinding everyone from the reflection haha. My solution is to cover my arms with tattoos.
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?
Luke:They have all been done by different artists. I was experimenting with different artists but my most recent one will be my main artist moving forward. We get along well and he is extremely talented. I generally get inspiration at random times and then bring in reference pictures I find on the internet.
RoD: Getting tattooed hurts, how do you cope with the pain during the sessions?
Luke:Deep breathing. I’m lucky that I have a pretty high tolerance for pain and through meditation techniques I kind of embrace the pain to a certain degree. Then again though, certain spots just hurt! Haha!
RoD: Do you regret getting tattooed sometimes?
Luke:Never. Give me more.
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?
Luke:Personally, I can’t really see myself getting my face or neck done. Mostly just because of the fact society treats you differently with face or neck tatts. Other people can do whatever they want to their skin, so I can’t really say I don’t like to see anything in particular but honestly when I see people with their eyeballs inked that kind of creeps me out (but I suppose that’s their intention, haha).
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?
Luke:I would agree more with “passion” rather than “addiction”. At the same time though I always leave the chair having already thought about my next ink session, and I don’t see myself stopping any time soon, haha. I suppose there will come a time when I have gotten as many as I’d like or I simply grow out of wanting more, but that’s a long way ahead, I think.
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?
Luke:I can only speak for myself and I have tattoos for both reasons. Some have a lot of significant meaning to me, and others I just think / thought look cool. I’ve never been one to tell the artist that they can’t do something, I’ll always let them put their bit of style into it or make adjustments to make the tattoo better - they are the professionals after all, i just tell them what I want and they make it happen in their own style.
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?
Luke:That mindset is definitely fading away with the people being born in that era retiring or dying out. Tattoo is seen as more of an art now than it was back when my parents were growing up. But here in Australia there is still a bit of a taboo when it comes to face and neck tattoos. A lot of night clubs have a strict policy of no face or neck tattoos because of laws passed to try to inhibit biker gangs. At the same time though, my friend with a face tattoo and I tried to get into a place but he was turned away because of his tattoo. We then went and bought some band-aids to cover it up, and the very same bouncer let us in. It’s all just politics really.
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?
Luke:Of course, go in and be able to say what you want, but don’t be so inflexible. The artist knows what they’re doing. So often you see people with their first tattoo not letting the artist have their say at all, the client is so picky that every detail has to be exactly as the sketch/picture they bring in. My advice is don’t be this type of client, give the artist some freedom and you’ll end up with a better tattoo.
TripleJ Unearthed: https://www.triplejunearthed.com/artist/void-matter
Band Camp: https://voidmatter.bandcamp.com/releases
Project by Daria Tessa and Daniela Vorndran, Interview by Daria Tessa
Pictures by Luke Thompson
Special: Artists and their Tattoos - Luke Thompson (bass, backing vocals) from Void Matter
- Written by: Daria Tessa
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