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Rave The ReqviemOur guest today is the amazing vocalist of Sweden’s Industrial Metal band RAVE THE REQVIEM - The Prophet. 2020 seems to be very busy year for the band, in April they will come to the small tour to Ukraine beginning from 24 April - three days - three cities. Some festivals as M’era Luna 2020 and HRH Goth in London and Sheffield are planned too. And parallel to all this RAVE THE REQVIEM are working on their 4th album. So, I was really happy that in-between all this, The Prophet has found time for us and now I can share this interview with you and make your waiting time until the next show and the album even better.

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?
The Prophet: I got my first tattoo when I was 20 years old. It was a tribal sun around my belly button. The design was simple yet effective. It’s nothing special, but it was the start of a lifelong devotion to tattoos. I just wanted to get a tattoo, so I found the design pretty quickly and didn’t think much about it.

RoD: How many tattoos do you have? Could you please tell us their story?
The Prophet: Most of my upper body is covered in tattoos, so - except for a few distinguished designs - it’s difficult to tell them apart. In total, I’ve had around 15 sessions. My tattoos are primarily inspired by history and ancient religion. I’ve got Polynesian tribal tattoos on my arms, Greek / Roman letters and numbers on my chest, ancient Egyptian art on my lower abdomen and an Ethiopian orthodox cross on my back. And most importantly, I've got the Numbers from Lost - the best TV series in the history of mankind - tattooed on my chest in Roman numbers.

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RoD: Have you already got all the tattoos that you wanted or will you get some new ones in the future?
The Prophet: I doubt I’ll ever be satisfied. It’s just who I am. I’m already having plans on tattooing my legs. I’m still not sure about the theme, but I’m leaning towards continuing down the Polynesian path.

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?
The Prophet: Every single tattoo has been made by Robert Rueborne at Evildesign Tattoo Art Studio in Kalmar, Sweden. I usually find various ideas online, and then I print them and bring them to the tattoo shop and let him figure out the rest.

RoD: Getting tattooed hurts, how do you cope with the pain during the sessions?
The Prophet: Physical pain usually does not bother me much. It’s almost a catharsis for me. It’s like I’m draining dark energy from my soul. However, if I ever feel like a cry-baby, I just imagine myself as Jesus on the cross and accept the pain for what it is. Then I feel like a martyr, and that’s pretty satisfying.

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RoD: Do you regret getting tattooed sometimes?
The Prophet: I regret a lot of things in my past, but strangely not my tattoos.

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?
The Prophet: I don’t bother talking about what other people can and can’t do. Every man is a free individual who can do whatever he or she wants with their body. But personally, I’d never get tattoos above my neck or below my wrists. I don’t want to be stigmatized. I want to be able to dress up in a suit and cover up all of my tattoos. Some social and professional occasions require a clean look, and I don’t have a problem with playing by the rules from time to time.

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?
The Prophet: Since I’ve been working with alcohol- and drug addicts at a 12-step program centre, I’m having a hard time seeing myself spending my last money on illegal tattoo needles and tattoo myself in a public restroom until I pass out. Haha! That would be an “addiction” in my world. Seriously though, I’d say that it’s all about the purpose behind your decision. If you’re getting tattoos because it adds something to your life, then you’re doing it for a good reason. However, if you’re getting tattoos as a means of self-harm, you’re trying to get rid of something. Then it’s no longer about the tattoo itself, it’s about running from yourself. Ink on your skin won’t heal your broken soul.

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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?
The Prophet: I prefer style over meaning. I can’t stand people who keep bragging about tattoos of their pets and their children’s ugly signatures. Not to mention those who keep shoving it down other people’s throats and criticize others for being shallow. Beauty is a purpose in itself. I believe any good tattoo artist would stand up for himself or herself, and don’t do anything they didn’t want to. I mean, seriously, would a pretentious sob story make their work day more interesting?

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?
The Prophet: As I said earlier, I wouldn’t want to get tattoos above my neck or below my wrists. My tattoos are my personal choice and a representation of my personality, and I’m not automatically entitled to put them on show all the time just because I want to. As long as you’re able to adapt, then you could do anything in the entire world. If you’re not willing to cover up your tattoos for a good job, then I think you’re not worthy of it. However, getting visible tattoos - such as face tattoos - is a social statement in itself. I don’t think you’re aiming to become a respectable, modest citizen if you make that choice.

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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?
The Prophet: Always look through the artist’s portfolio to be sure that the style matches your preference. Be prepared for intense pain. Relax, meditate and learn to control the pain. Personally, I’d go for black tattoos. They heel easily and look good for a longer amount of time.

Project by Daria Tessa and Daniela Vorndran, Interview by Daria Tessa
Title picture by Daniel Lindgren