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thomascremier introToday we have a guest from France. Thomas Crémier is the drummer of Deathcore and slamming brutal Death Metal band HURAKAN and atmospheric, progressive and instrumental Extreme Metal band with a cello, PSYGNOSIS. Both bands working currently on new stuff. And we got a little time to speak with Thomas about his amazing 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?
Thomas:I got my first tattoo in September 2015, when I was 19. I first wanted a tattoo there at the age of 15 but did not really knew what to get. And when I turned 18, meaning I could have a tattoo done without the permission of my parents, the idea came pretty fast. During these four years, I really thought about getting tattooed and being sure I would not get tired of.

RoD: How many tattoos do you have? Could you please tell us their story?
Thomas:I only have three tattoos! My first one is on my right calf. I thought hard about an idea which would not die with time. I chose the closest symbol of the passion I have for music. I decided to be a metal drummer at the age of nine after watching a live performance of ‘Space Time’ by GOJIRA from their ‘The Link Alive’ DVD and it blew my mind! And still today, I feel an immense respect and a bond for this band that has, in part, forged the musician I am today. This is why I chose the tree of life on the DVD cover.

My second one is my entire left arm. It represents the connection I have with nature: all the monumental landscapes as the fjords; beautiful animals as whales, deer and ravens; dangerous forces of the Earth as thunders and avalanches (which is the name of my solo project which means a lot to me). The only thorny detail is on my shoulder, it stands for our dying planet. My third tattoo is my entire right arm and it goes up to the neck. It is the exact opposite of my left arm, which represents life and beautiful elements (except for the shoulder). This tattoo on my right arm is the continuation of the tattoo on the left arm, when all life comes to an end. It shows an abstract and yet explicit landscape of a higher force getting rid of the human race. It’s the reign of death and destruction without a glimmer of hope to live again. It’s not very funny but the duality of life and death, light and shadow is significant.

thomascremier 02 portrait

RoD: Have you already got all the tattoos that you wanted or will you get some new ones in the future?
Thomas:I know I will have more tattoos; I do not know how many but I know for sure I will have my entire back tattooed and my left leg. Maybe also my chest, my right hip and thigh, and my ribs. For now, I do not want certain areas tattooed, like the face, the abdomen, the hands… We will see, ideas and wishes may arise later, but I will think everything through!

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?
Thomas: All my tattoos are done by Nils Boussuge (La Vanité)*. At first, Nils was a friend of a friend, and the only tattoo artist I knew around me. Without hesitation, I went to see him for my first tattoo idea. Over the years, I understood I was completely in love with his style and visuals identity. Then, I asked him to tattoo my arms, and we became very good friends! To choose an artist, you have to like his work, his style and I think it is important for you to be able to share and understand each other in order to carry out a project you will have on your body for life.

As for the sketches, my first tattoo is only a reproduction of an already existing drawing, he just added some shades and that’s it! For my left arm, I had the idea and some elements, but Nils helped me a lot with the structure and the shape of all the details I had in mind. I gave him a Photoshop picture of the landscape with all the details at the right places, he did it in his own way and the stencil was ready. I have to admit that for this tattoo he had very little freedom to express himself. But for my last tattoo, the one of my right arm, I gave him carte blanche. Well, not completely, I have imposed the theme, the fact I wanted the tattoo to go up to my neck, few details and one or two things I did not want, like human skulls.

thomascremier 04 leftarmthomascremier 05 rightarm

RoD: Getting tattooed hurts, how do you cope with the pain during the sessions?
Thomas:I am very fortunate not to be oversensitive to pain. I know the arms and calf are not the most sensitive areas, but even after more than six hours working on zones as the neck, the elbow or the underside of the arm… I still wish to continue. I am curious about the pain of being tattooed on the chest or the ribs. The advice I can give to deal with pain during a tattoo session is to sleep well the night before (getting a tattoo is tiring), not to drink (alcohol does not help blood clotting), and do not concentrate on needles penetrating the flesh. Also, talking with the tattoo artist and listening to music helps!

RoD: Do you regret getting tattooed sometimes?
Thomas:Absolutely not! I am proud of my tattoos and I really feel great having them. Even though my arms are sometimes glanced at in a strange way (I have a hang man on my forearm), I never had any issues. I hope I will never regret a tattoo, if I do, it would mean that not enough reflection has been given to it.

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?
Thomas:Well, I am quite choosy about tattoo styles. First of all, I really hate the “ignorant style”, I cannot understand how someone would tattoo something like this. Secondly, I do not like the “old school” and “traditional” styles on my body, as well as the patchwork of many little tattoos all over the body, making an entire piece without cohesion or uniformity. But on other people it can make them look good. Lastly, something I will never do and would not recommend, is to tattoo a date, a name or something related to relationships. These things can come to an end faster than expected.

thomascremier 01 portraitthomascremier 03 calf

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?
Thomas:There is some truth in that, when you start body art (tattoo, piercing...), it almost never stops with the first piece you get. I only know one person for whom one tattoo is enough. It is not the case I am in at all, as you saw. When I started my left arm, I knew I would tattoo my right one, and what the theme would be. Both my arms are a single piece, a single story. I do not think it is impossible to stop, but if you want to express something through your tattoos, then yes, you will not stop until you have said everything you wanted. I really think the first tattoo experience is extremely important on how you will be engaged in body art. If my first experience had been horrible, I am not sure I would have continued that quickly. In my case, I want to continue to get ink done so bad, I love the style of my tattoo artist. For me it’s truly impossible to stop at this point!

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?
Thomas:We see more and more people having little tattoos, frequently infinity symbols, stars, circles around the arm, etc… Tattoos are more and more done only to be seen by others just to meet a fashionable standard without true and deep meaning. I think it is sad, I would rather not have tattoos if they are meaningless and without any profound importance. As for the tattoo artists, I really believe that some of them take advantage of this situation to start their business without passion and without the will to push themselves to create unique designs. On the one hand, they are right to set out to earn their living easily on the simplicity of mind of some, but it is detrimental to the true artists who have dedicated their lives to their art.

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?
Thomas:I think people’s state of mind as to tattoo has changed for the most part. We see more and more tattoos everywhere (movies, fashion, music, pop-stars…) and in a sense, it is more socially accepted even if in some jobs it is not really tolerated. I am fortunate to work in a company being open-minded enough to respect their employees’ style and cultural backgrounds. In my close family, I was the first one to be inked, and I had to explain and show that it was not a pirate or a prisoner thing. But after a good explanation of why I did it, everyone accepted and became promoter. I believe that tattoo is always controversial because some people are afraid of it, and the fear is due to incomprehension.

thomascremier 06 neck

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?
Thomas:If you want to get your first tattoo, it seems silly to say but you should not do it on a whim. A tattoo is something you will not be able to remove. According to me, the two most important things are the “What” and the “Where”. What do you want to get on your skin, and where do you want it to be? You can have both answers quickly but generally you will have one before the other. If you have one of them and cannot decide the other or you are stuck in your mind, go talk to a tattoo artist, this is extremely useful. Choosing the right tattoo artist can be tricky, there are a lot of them in Instagram and other websites, there are many articles saying who are the “best” of each city… Try first to check which style and artists’ work you prefer. Contact them or go straight to the shop if you can to speak to them. Having a smooth connection with the artist is very reassuring for a first tattoo. He will give information on how to tattoo, what will work best, last best in the long run and can propose ideas based on his experience which will develop your thinking.

As for colours or black & white, I am not neutral. It's a question of taste, but the colours tend to tarnish with time more easily than black shades. White is the ink that will perish the fastest. For now, I only want black and white tattoos, if I ask something in colour, I think it will just be some single-coloured details. Last things, you have to get a tattoo for yourself, not for somebody else. And if you love your tattoos, take care of them! Treat them well during the healing phase, do not scratch them, and do not forget to apply sunscreen! Cheers!

ThomasCremier: / /
Hurakan: /
Psygnosis: /
Tattoos - Nils Boussuge: / /
Pictures - DayNightPicture:

Project by Daria Tessa and Daniela Vorndran, Interview by Daria Tessa
Pictures by DayNightPicture