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jankorbach titleToday Jan Korbach from the Berlin Instrumental/ Doom/ Post-Rock Band NEÀNDER is our guest. A band without vocals is a rather rare phenomenon, but therefore the musicians are already under more pressure, because musically every tone, every note has to sit and work quite differently. But the guys from NEÀNDER do this very well, and that doesn’t only concern the recordings, but also the live shows. On 21 February 2019 the band released their record of the same name ‘Neànder’ on Through Love Records. If you want to convince yourself and see the band live, there are a few more dates this year: 6.12. Rostock - Subset Fest and 21.12. Berlin - Zukunft am Ostkreuz. But let’s not deviate too much from our main topic, let’s talk about the 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?
Jan: I got my first tattoo in my mid twenties. It was a cartoon character. As it turned out to be a very spontaneous session with one of my best mates, I couldn’t overthink it too much.

RoD: How many tattoos do you have? Could you please tell us their story?
Jan: To be honest, I don’t know. I guess more than a 50 but I never counted them. Most of my tattoos are related to music. After releasing our debut album with NEÀNDER this year I decided that one of those bugs that were inspirational for the song titles would be a good choice for a new ink. The story is that one night I found 4 or 5 ‘khapra’ bugs in my room. I never found out where they came from but it gave me the inspiration to name our songs after those visitors.


RoD: Have you already got all the tattoos that you wanted or will you get some new ones in the future?
Jan: For sure. The last one I got was a scorpion on my solar plexus. The next one might be a chest piece but I don’t know exactly what motive it will be. There’s a lot of free space on my back too. I have to say that I don’t follow a plan. It’s more like one tattoo comes after another.

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?
Jan: 90 % of my tattoos were done by two friends of mine. One is Sara from Iron Cobra and the other is Katze from True Blue Tattoo. Both live in Berlin and are really talented. ( /

RoD: Getting tattooed hurts, how do you cope with the pain during the sessions?
Jan: That is so true. It hurts a lot. I always forget about the pain. But when I get my next tattoo it’s like “arghhh”. I think the best way to do a session is to be rested and healthy. When you’ve got a cold for instance the pain is much more intensive. I guess everyone has a secret to deal with the pain. I always try to breath real deep. That helps me a lot. Besides that, we talk a lot during the session.


RoD: Do you regret getting tattooed sometimes?
Jan: As I said before I got my first one within my mid-twenties so I’m lucky that I can answer this one with a “no”. In my mind it’s important that tattoos are not trendy so they stay timeless to me.

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?
Jan: I totally reject any form of racist or discriminating tattoos!

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?
Jan: In my mind it’s very reasonable to get a tattoo because you want to be “cool”. Maybe that’s the main reason at a young age when you’re searching for recognition. But you need to dig deeper into the scene. Learn more about the art of tattooing, culture and lifestyle and figure out what’s best for you. Maybe a lot of artists from the tattoo scene are in the same situation as musicians? Until they have reached a certain level, they have to do jobs that doesn’t fit their aesthetic vision 100 %? I think everyone has to do some jobs from time to time just to keep the wolf from the door.


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?
Jan: It depends on the social environment of a person. I live in Berlin and besides being a musician I also work for a record label called Glitterhouse Records. For me it’s pretty natural to see tattooed people.

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?
Jan: The main thing’s to be patient. Talk to friends and trusted persons about your plans. Do some research about the studio and tattoo artist. Then set up a meeting and find out if you got a connection. I think it’s important to build confidence.


Project by Daria Tessa and Daniela Vorndran, Interview by Daria Tessa
Title Picture by Alina Köster, Tattoo Pictures by Basti Grim

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