Tattoo Talk: TAKEN Vocalist Ray Harkins “Reflects” on His Ink’s Deep Meaning and Messages

- Jun 13, 2018 at 05:00PM
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Southern Californian band Taken served up a hearty helping of hardcore when, on April 27th, they dropped their With Regard To EP via Other People Records. The melodic and punk-tinged five-song album may be found on Spotify, Big Cartel, iTunes and other similar services, but can now also be ordered in vinyl! Celebrating the vinyl release, we hit up vocalist Ray Harkins (@xpurposex) to “reflect” on his ink!

When, where and what was your first tattoo?
Ray Harkins: My first tattoo was from a friend of mine, Paul Miner, who actually did the design for one of Taken’s most classic merch designs (a nautical star with Taken in a banner). It is a straight edge inspired from Unbroken (as far as the style of the text is concerned) and Fall Silent. I got it when I was 18 and loved it and still love it even though the placement is definitely not ideal when trying to tie in other tattoos around it!


Do any of your tattoos have a particularly special meaning behind them?
Harkins: Every single one has a deep meaning as I personally am not a fan of “collecting” tattoos that are funny or meant to mark a trip/journey. My most recent tattoo was done on father’s day a few years ago for my son that shows two ducks in a pond which both my son and I love (ducks that is).

Do you have a specific shop or artist that you frequent?
Harkins: Yes, I have only work with two artists and the one I have gone for almost all of my work is Marc Jackson (here’s his Instagram profile too) who works out of Gold Rush Tattoo in Costa Mesa, CA although when I got tattooed from him in the past he was at two different shops in Redlands, CA and Long Beach, CA respectively. He’s been a friend for a long time and really enjoy working with him.

Do you have any new tattoos planned or underway?
Harkins: I have been examining doing a piece centered around a quote of “Late nights and impossible dreams” but trying to think of the best way to incorporate that. I always find myself centered on a quote first and then the imagery later.

Ray Harkins was kind enough to share a gallery of some of his tattoos.



Have you seen any fans with a band tattoo, anything crazy memorable?
Harkins: I have met two people that have come to our shows through the years that have my lyrics tattooed on them and it is so incredibly humbling that I can’t even begin to explain how that feels. Words don’t really do it justice, but I feel like that is something that I will never be able to thank people for.

Do you have any tattoos that you now hate, want to replace, or have covered up, and why?
Harkins: Fortunately, even though my first tattoo is faded, I would not change it at all. I am still straight edge and proud of the fact that was my first tattoo. The only thing that I would change about it now is the placement.

Have you had anything covered up? If yes, what was it and why?
Harkins: Nope, I really, REALLY think about what I put on my body.

“Reflect” on the band’s hardcore sound by watching this music video.

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