Chris Dougherty is vocalist and guitar player of the young Metalcore, Screamo, Punk, Rock, Metal band WORLD HELD HOSTAGE from Stockport / Manchester. The band was founded in 2019 but the guys have already released a single, ‘Bunker Zero’, and made the video for it. Now, the band is working on the first album, ‘The Collapse’; the cover to it was already presented on the band’s Facebook page. Chris’ story is not ordinary, as his band’s is too, so let’s look in it.
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?
Chris: I actually don’t remember getting my first tattoo. Due to some unfortunate circumstances I lost 26 years of memory which is a whole story in itself. I do know though that my first tattoo was the Wyvern on my chest. According to my brother I got it when I was 19 as a birthday present to myself. As for the why I can only speculate.
RoD: How many tattoos do you have? Could you please tell us their story?
Chris: If you consider each piece of art as a single tattoo then I guess I have six. From sizes including my whole arm to just a smaller one on my leg. The two largest tattoos I currently have play into the same theme of “balance”. On my back I have a pair of wings with a star of unity. A star of unity is 6-pointed star that is made by combining the original sign for male and female. On that star there is a “rune” that symbolises the word for balance. Around the star are two banners, one saying “Chaos” and the other saying “Order”. The concept being only between “Chaos” and “Order” can we find balance in our life and truly spread our wings to feel free.
The other tattoo within this theme covers my whole right arm and chest. This one consists of the four “elements” of life in their different forms. Earth, fire, water, air. Within this tattoo there is a woman made of ice and air, another of earth and fire pictured by burning trees. The whole sleeve is tied in through flowers and roses that appear through the design. As you get to my upper arm the tattoo moves from burning tree into an eclipse up to outer space and a swirling galaxy on my chest. The idea being that everything that creates our life and gives us balance transcends this world in to the next. I’m not sure what it is I truly feel about life and death, but I know everything changes from one from to another and can only be powerful through finding an individual balance.
My strangest tattoo is on my leg. And in all honesty, I still to this day have no idea why I have it. It was before my memory loss that I got it and none of my brothers actually knew I had it. It is on the “Evil monkey” from the show family guy. He has a WW2 style helmet on with the word Goat etched into it. I know my nickname was monkey before my memory loss, but I have no idea why the word goat would be on his helmet. Most likely I got it on tour or I lost a bet with some of my friends. I also have an exploding Ying Yang on the back of my neck, and have recently started a left sleeve tattoo that consists of anime characters from anime that have inspired me and will tie in to my right sleeve via flowers to give a matching feel to both my arms
RoD: Have you already got all the tattoos that you wanted, or will you get some new ones in the future?
Chris: I plan to have allot more in the future if my wallet will allow me too. Starting with finishing the ideas I have from my left sleeve and chest.
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?
Chris: All my tattoos have been done by different artists. I tend not to think about the cost of what it is I am getting but more finding the right artist that will be able to take the ideas I have add their own touch and create something that is unique to me. I actually sketch out all the ideas for my own tattoos leaving allot of room for interpretation. I don’t just want a carbon copy or mass produced “stamp” A tattoo is a piece of art that you are literally part of. It should have some input from to both you and the artist.
RoD: Getting tattooed hurts, how do you cope with the pain during the sessions?
Chris: I found that as long as you eat properly before, during and after a tattoo. the pain is manageable. I sit for a whole day each time I’m under the needle as I feel it’s the most cost-effective way. So, once the adrenalin kicks in I find I can just listen to music and zone out.
RoD: Do you regret getting tattooed sometimes?
Chris: No. I don’t feel that regret is an emotion that is worth having. At the end of the day everything is an experience and moment in your life. Regretting things cannot change. Having regret just shows that you haven’t learnt the lesson from those actions, and it will stop you moving forwards in life.
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?
Chris: I personally don’t feel that there is or should be a taboo in terms of tattoos. Just like in art, music, comedy everything is an expression of who you are. And it’s very important that people should be free to express themselves and their opinions regardless of what people me think of those people or their opinions. However, there are tattoos I would never get myself such as something supporting a political stance or movement. The reason being that opinions and ideologies change over time. With more understanding and more debate people often chance their ideology on how things should work. A tattoo is something that won’t change easily unlike opinions.
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?
Chris: I don’t believe that tattoos are addictive. But I do believe once you have one it becomes allot easier to get another or another. I think its possible someone could become addicted to getting tattoos, but they are likely to be people who have addictive personalities to begin with. And it may not just be having a tattoo that is addictive, but the draw and “shock” factor some people give you for some 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 anymore, they produce consumer goods. Not all of them, of course. How do you feel about this situation?
Chris: Everyone has to make money at the end of the day. If you’re an artist there will always be commission jobs that you take to pay the bills. It’s the same being a musician. Sometimes you have to play gigs you normally would not or learn somethings that you are not really passionate about to play a paid show because your short on cash. All art is subjective and to be able to make a living from it is very difficult. If you aren’t putting out some form of “consumer” product then you aren’t really going to be able to have a firm foundation to pursue the art that you love. To be honest I am envious of how easy it is for tattoo artists to get work that can support their artistic life. Their market is there for them. As tattoos become a trend, they have work. If someone wants a tattoo that’s 30 other people have then so be it as its their choice. So, the artist may as well get paid for it. In the music industry, especially as a starting band you really have to workday in day out 24 hours a day just to find the audience that appreciates your work. And with the industry as it is you end up investing more than you get out unless you are lucky enough to either have a huge initial investment or find the right person who is passionate enough about your music to help you get in the right places at the right times and Infront of the right people.
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?
Chris: I think those prejudices are slowly disappearing. even over the space of the last 5 years it has become much more acceptable to have tattoos in a “professional” workplace. I do think that for some jobs there is still stigmata over tattoos not giving the right look for the position. Such as politicians. Especially if they are tattoos that are visible all the time such as on the face.
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?
Chris: Once you have thought about what you want. Think about it again. Look up examples of things that are similar and hunt around at different studios to find artists whose style fits what you are looking for rather than having an artist attempt a style they don’t usually do. And before you put that deposit down and book in think about it some more. Because once you take that plunge you want it to be a positive experience and not find 3 months later when you see another artists work go. I wish I had gone with them. Other than that, make sure you look after your tattoo during healing. It is not the artists issue when you walk out that door if you don’t look after the tattoo. People who get a tattoo fresh for going on holiday then go and get sun burn or plunge into a pool two days later are only going to have wasted their money and the tattoo artists time.
Project by Daria Tessa and Daniela Vorndran, Interview by Daria Tessa
Title Picture by RebelRock Photography, Tattoo Pictures by Chris Dougherty
Special: Artists and their Tattoos - Chris Dougherty (vocals, guitar) from World Held Hostage
- Written by: Daria Tessa
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