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mrseidel introOur guest today is Mr. Seidel from Norwegian band TROLLFEST. The band describes themselves as the pioneers of true Norwegian Balkan Metal. The band is really something special with their funny show outfits or their cartoon videos to their songs. On 19th of March the band has released their new single ‘Happy Heroes’. Anyone that missed the live shows last year has hope to see the band live, because they are confirmed for “Das Oktober Metalfest” on 2nd October in Eindhoven, Netherlands. But let’s come back to our main topic, Mr. Seidel is not only an amazing artist but he has the perfect tattoo collection of super heroes. So let’s check them out!

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?
Mr. Seidel: I got my first tattoo the second I turned 18. My parents were not too happy about tattoos and you need to be 18 to get a tattoo in Norway without your parents’ consent. My first tattoo was a tribal on my left forearm that I drew myself. In order to convince my parents, I really wanted to get a tattoo, I drew this tattoo several months prior to turning 18 and pictured it on my arm almost every day, as they said I would regret getting it. But for every day that passed I got more convinced and eager to get it done.

RoD: How many tattoos do you have? Could you please tell us their story?
Mr. Seidel: I think I have passed “count how many” and each having their personal story. The idea with my left arm was to have an anti-religious sleeve, so I looked through lots of religious pictures and changed them up a bit. Added lots of demons, broken religious symbols etc. Also had to pimp up my first tribal to have it fit in with the rest of the arm. My right arm was going to be my Troll arm, so I got it started with an amazing picture from the FINNTROLL ‘Nattfödd’ album. Over the years I kept adding FINNTROLL motives and started adding characters from our own TROLLFEST-universe. On my right hand I got the KAOS-star from the TROLLFEST universe and also added the TROLLFEST beer compass. On my left hand I have the VEGVISIR-logo (Icelandic symbol That Which Shows The Way) and added the Coat of Arms from my home municipality in the centre. So now when I look at my hands, I will always find a beer (right compass) and always find my way home after (left VEGVISIR).

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On my chest I have a custom-made piece drawn by Samuli “Skrymer” Ponsimaa from FINNTROLL. When we toured with them back in 2012, they had a very cool ‘Människöpesten’ T-shirt and I asked him if he could draw a chest tattoo based upon the T-shirt artwork. He did and I got it tattooed here in Oslo by my good friend Bjørn at Symbolic Ink, who by the way has done almost all my tattoos since 2008. I am a huge Batman fan so I decided to dedicate the biggest canvas to him, namely the back. This piece is also done by Bjørn and is not yet 100% done. My lower legs have been dedicated to Transformers, another thing I loved since I was a kid. The idea here is to keep the evil Decepticons on the left leg and Autobots on the right. METALLICA is my religion, so of course I need to have some METALLICA symbols on me as well. On my neck I have ScaryGuy (tattooed by Tor-Øyvind who runs Tor Tattoos) and on my ribs I got the Ninja star.


RoD: Have you already got all the tattoos that you wanted or will you get some new ones in the future?
Mr. Seidel: I don’t think I will ever be done getting tattoos, so still have lots of new plans. Can’t wait to get back under the needle when this pandemic stops.

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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?
Mr. Seidel: Most of my tattoos has been done by Bjørn O. Holter from Symbolic Ink. My ScaryGuy neck piece is done by Tor-Øyvind Hansen Lolland from Tor Tattoos. Parts of my left sleeve has been done by Johnny Robin at Romerike Tattoo. And my first tattoos were done by Dagfinn S. Bjelland at Karma Tattoo. I met Bjørn O. Holter when I got tattooed by Johnny at Romerike Tattoo and we quickly bonded over music and became good friends in an instance. He has been my main tattoo guy ever since. I usually find the motives or the idea, and then the tattoo artist does the sketch.

RoD: Getting tattooed hurts, how do you cope with the pain during the sessions?
Mr. Seidel: Just relaxing and listening to music.

RoD: Do you regret getting tattooed sometimes?
Mr. Seidel: No, I have never regretted getting 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?
Mr. Seidel: Well, I do not want to get a face tattoo, it’s just not for me. I don’t care what other people do.

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?
Mr. Seidel: In my case, yes. It’s both an addiction and a passion.

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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?
Mr. Seidel: Again, what people choose to do with their bodies is their business. Me, however, would never go in a tattoo shop and pick a random draft. I do have one tattoo though, that is a cover up of a previous life mistake, and I had no idea what to get. So, me and my friend just got drunk, walked to the tattoo studio, and decided as we walked in the door what to get to cover it up. I really did not care about what the cover up tattoo was going to be, I just wanted the old tattoo to be gone. That is the one and only tattoo I have that is “random”. But of course, in these trendy tattoo days it’s impossible for a tattoo artist to only be 100% creative. There will always be someone who just want a random tattoo for the sake of getting a tattoo.

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?
Mr. Seidel: At least in Norway this state of mind has changed a lot. Tattoos are now trendy, and you see people of all ages and professions getting tattoos. Even tattoos that previously was looked upon as “tattoos for criminals” like hand, neck and face tattoos are getting more and more common.

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?
Mr. Seidel: First, really think it through and don’t follow a trend. When you have decided for the image / artwork, figure out which artists in your city are good at tattooing the style you want and check their reviews.

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Project by Daria Tessa and Daniela Vorndran, Interview by Daria Tessa
Portrait pictures by Eirik Folkedal, tattoo pictures by Mr. Seidel