During the early stages of their debut UK tour supporting Alaskan metalcore outfit 36 Crazyfists, we had a chat to Connor Garrity, vocalist with All Hail The Yeti, about his other job as a tattoo artist.
When and where did you get your first tattoo? Connor: "I was about 17 years old I think, I was quite young and I got it in a studio in Edmonton, Canada. It was a cartoon of some magic mushrooms."
What did your parents say? Connor: "Honestly, I kept it secret from them for ages. I think as soon as they realised that I really wanted to make a career out of tattooing then they were really supportive and, well, they kind of accepted that, if I wanted to tattoo people then I'd need some tattoos myself as it goes with the territory."
How did you get into tattooing? Connor: "Well, our first guitarists brother learned how to make a tattoo gun in jail and I got him to show me and from there I just really wanted to learn about tattooing. I didn't want to go back to school or college after I'd finished high school and my parents could see how much I wanted to do it so they pushed me into taking an apprentiship and that's how it started back in 1997."
Do any of your tattoos have particular meanings? Connor: "I have Yeti tattooed on my knuckles from when we first got signed and I also have a wolf which represents my dog who passed away a few years ago. Other than that, yes, some have specific meanings but, these days, I tend to not overthink every tattoo so that it has to have some meaning behind it. Sometimes you just fancy getting something done."
Have you ever been drunk when you've been tattooed? Connor: "Haha, yeah. Not that I would recommend it but I usually have a few Jacks to relax me and get me in the mood for getting something done."
Do you use any particular studio when you get work done? Connor: "I have a few I used like my friend Dean Carlyle who lives in Sydney is working on a big peice for me and also James Tex who is out of Calgary in Canada I go to and also, obviously, my own studio."
Have you ever made any mistakes? Connor: "Ha, oh yeah. I was doing a nautical star once and I was really overthinking it and I got the shading done in the wrong place."
Have you ever turned somebody down for wanting something outrageous? Connor: "It happens a lot but I think I've been doing it so long now that I can pick and choose what I want to work and so if somebody comes in and wants to have something like a name or something like that then I tend to turn it down if I don't feel like it. I used to do all that sort of ridiculous crap when I was in my street shop but now I think I've been doing this long enough to pick and choose. I don't do stuff like gang stuff or anything like that at all either."
Finally, what advice would you give someone looking to get their first tattoo? Connor: "Do your reasearch. Check out portfolios. Research the shop you are going to get it done at. The thing is that, these days, you don't have to have any credentials, any asshole can say they're a tattooist and it can be really easy to get something fucked up. Just because a guy has a tattoo gun and is in a shop doesn't mean he is a tattooist. Basically do your research."