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MedavonDeRaje introOur today guest Medavon DeRaj’e comes from South Milwaukee. He is really multitasking, because he found time for three pretty different bands: LOCKJAW playing the hell Rock music, IN ORGANIC is a Gothic Space Rock band and MURDER LOVE GOD is all about sex, drugs and murder. I want to tell a little bit more about the last band. The band has released a new album, ‘The Quarantine Chronicles’, which was written and recorded during the Covid-19 pandemic/ lock down between March 15 and May 12, 2020. A personal documentation of ideas, feelings, fears and love through songs during the darkest of times. A good example that the current situation can bring some good staff. The new album is available on BandCamp, ITunes, Spotify, Deezer and CDbaby. And now let us talk about 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?
Medavon: I got my first tattoo when I was 19. My dad had been encouraging me for a while and took me to get it. It was a small Scorpion on my arm that represented my birth sign. I was kinda anti getting a tattoo for many years before that. But I was really getting into the RED HOT CHILLI PEPPERS at the time and they had mass cool looking tattoos. I blame them for the start of my addiction.

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RoD: How many tattoos do you have? Could you please tell us their story?
Medavon: I have two half sleeves, my forearms, chest and back. They all have some symbolic meaning to me. Many are Egyptian designs and symbols that were placed on the dead to help them in the afterlife. On my back is the “Angel of Death” holding a heart in a bowl which represents what one day awaits me. (And was payment for a tattoo show my band had played). I have a bleeding heart on my chest in front of cracked earth with a Scorpion on the right and a stitched X on the left. It represents not ever giving up in a world of constant decay and doubles as my super hero / villain emblem. I have three Scorpions, a Pushead (artist that did album designs for METALLICA, COC, etc.) bull, a fallen angel, a pentagram in a horse shoe on fire, Metastopholies, a skull and cross bones on my neck. One arm represents the light, the other the dark and both topped in flames. On my hand is the planetary symbol for Pluto. on my wrist the symbol for Neptune which is also my band LOCKJAW’s emblem.

RoD: Have you already got all the tattoos that you wanted or will you get some new ones in the future?
Medavon: I’d be fine if I didn’t get another tattoo because I feel pretty complete. A part of me wants to fill in my forearm space with some designs. Was considering a Northern Ontario tree line. I’d also maybe one day get a fishing related tattoo on my side or leg since it is a huge passion. But if I don’t id live and if the right moment comes then I will.

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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?
Medavon: I have had probably at least eight different artists for some work. I mainly went to two guys for the majority of it. Dan Hazelton did the majority of my sleeve work. Chris Burke did my chest and most of my forearm designs. Both are very well known nationally in the US and top notch guys and artists. Many of my tatts I have designed or drawn out. I’d say at least two thirds of them.

RoD: Getting tattooed hurts, how do you cope with the pain during the sessions?
Medavon: My chest took many sessions of excruciating pain. I did lots of yoga beforehand to prepare. The right music playing while I’m getting inked is also crucial. TOOL, NIN, CLUTCH, heavier music. As it is going on I try to think of all the things that has happened to me up to that point from my last work. Then I try to cleanse it all from my head. All the negativity, heart break, disappointment. One time I pretended I was being held prisoner and being tortured. And at no point would I allow myself to give in to what they wanted from me. I have a good imagination.

RoD: Do you regret getting tattooed sometimes?
Medavon: I never have regretted. But in certain situations when looking for a new job or at formal type occasions I feel out of place and judged. Many of my tatts are a little darker and to the average person they may come off as satanic or evil. But to me a pentagram represents the darkness and rebellion of music that was exposed to me as a kid by MÖTLEY CRÜE. Where someone else may just think I worship the devil.

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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?
Medavon: I don’t like tattoos that represent racism. I don’t like naked girl tatts unless on a girl and still it has to be really good. Not the biggest fan of silly tattoos but I’m not against them. Not a fan of words on me but on others can be fitting.

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?
Medavon: It is very easy to stop once your wallet is empty. :)

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?
Medavon: I find that people that go into getting a tattoo with no research of the design or meaning tend to carry themselves that way in most aspects of their life. They tend to be not as deep, often followers and just empty canvasses that are trying to say a lot without really saying anything at all.

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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?
Medavon: I feel society is more accepting of tattoos now then 20 years ago. Many people in high position jobs have tattoos. The problem and prejudice is more on the lower level of trying to get a crappy job like at grocery stores or places that make too big of a deal about nothing. I recently had to go to court for some things and I did suddenly feel more judged just from the two tatts I cannot hide. I do believe in situations like that, nothing has changed and there is a bias.

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?
Medavon: Find a design, symbol, piece of art that has deep meaning for you. Something you can picture yourself having in 20 years and still being proud of it. Research your artists work online or at their shop. The best way of finding a great artist is to see his work on others. Understand that it is a transformation from who you were before to who you are after. Often it is a reflection of growth, experiences and your life. Take it seriously and absorb the inspiration that a tattoo can bring.

Murder Love God: /
In OrgAnic:

Title picture by Baldii McGuiness Photography, first picture by Brick Wilson, tattoo pictures by Medavon DeRaj’e
Project by Daria Tessa and Daniela Vorndran, Interview by Daria Tessa

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